Not with a whimper but a bang

There are times in life when you have to accept the prevailing winds, recognize the signs, acknowledge that there may indeed be higher powers at work in the universe, and that their plans may take precedence over your own.

I was willing to forgive a row of suddenly lifeless keys, or the rattling fan, or even the thixotropic 4200rpm hard drive. But the list of hindrances mounted quickly, and even in its last burst of beauty, it was obviously time for the Celeron to retire.

That fan rattle has only gotten worse over time, and the spindle or casing or whatever is loose is clacking like a pebble in a blender. At some point soon I really expect it to break completely, although that might be a blessing considering the quiet that would probably follow. Probably.

And without a long string of function and number keys at the top of the keyboard, it’s tough to use. That Arch system I set up a day ago to show off fbterm et al. took a long time to get into place, because I couldn’t use some of the keys I needed to configure stuff. It’s difficult to point your network card at a router when the station ID includes the number “7,” but your 7 key isn’t responding. 🙄

To add insult to injury, the CD drive is kicking back errors now, and it’s usually on CDs I am sure are error-free. Discs I have used in two or three machines in recent history are suddenly suspect, like a Debian install disc. But it’s never the same package or part of installation that reports an error — it’s random and inconsistent. Hmm.

Worst of all though, my Debian Etch boot floppy is now jammed in the drive. I don’t know if I should be angry at the loss of the floppy or the sudden futility of the entire floppy drive. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s a floppy drive.” But hey, that was more useful than you would think.

I admit I bought the machine looking for an underdog, and I got what I paid for. Sound is weak, the hard drive is slow and 64Mb of memory is useful only to someone like me. Just about the only redeeming quality — and this alone is rather surprising — is that the screen is in such good condition.

My brief, two-day solo flight with this machine reminded me that a solid large-size screen with a decent resolution is quite pleasant to look at. My day-to-day computer use is generally with porthole 800×600 machines or with 1024×768 machines compressed into 12″ frames, so this was a nice change.

I had a lot of plans for it, but I feel no remorse. It’s a half-eaten machine with only a few redeeming points, and the month or two it lived with me was a nice swan song. It almost tasted a little fame too, if grafting together a terminal environment with wallpaper decorations and drawing a few clicks can be called “fame.”

It’s time to heed the signs, acknowledge the greater plan for the universe, and set this one free. Who knows, maybe someone wiser and more patient than I will discover it, and it will go on to become even more famous. 😉

10 thoughts on “Not with a whimper but a bang

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Geez. That’s creepy when people comment that fast.

      Yes, I used compressed air on just about everything, even wiped down the CD tray and found a drive cleaner too. I am willing to let this one sleep peacefully. There are a half-dozen more like it at the recycling center, looking for good homes. 😐

  1. Nobody Important

    RIP, Mr. Celeron.

    Man, I need to get back at Arch. That picture you linked to looks like heaven. I’ve always had issue with Wi-fi though, which is, unfortunately a necessity. Maybe it’s time to hit the books.

  2. SIGTERMer

    Always an inspiration. After all that time relentlessly working to serve its users, it deserves to rest peacefully.. until the next user picks it up 🙂

    But even then, I’m pretty sure it will continue doing its best to satisfy its new user.

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  4. tigrmesh

    Would you please explain what you meant when you described the drive as thixotropic? None of the definitions I find make sense in this context.


    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Thixotropy is the property of certain gels or fluids that are thick (viscous) under normal conditions, but flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, or otherwise stressed.

      The drive is terribly slow under normal conditions, but less viscous when agitated. :mrgreen:

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