The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

£16.99 instead of a new computer

“That’ll be your power supply,” said Mark, “Just put a new one in.”

Mark is a Novell and LINUX network design & support, solutions and services provider. If you understood that last sentence then your business would probably benefit from NDS8, the company he works with. Personally I don’t understand a word and just lifted it from the website. All I know is that in his specialist area he is one of the top guys in the world and is frequently being dragged around the globe to where important people can call on his vast computing knowledge, insights and intelligence. When my computer died on me a few days ago, he was the only person I thought of calling.

When I used to run my web design business, people often assumed that because I worked with computers, I knew how they worked, but that’s like assuming because I know how to drive I must have an intimate knowledge of the internal combustion engine and could build one from scratch if asked to. In reality, when I took the side off the computer to take a look, I wouldn’t have been too surprised to find a portal to another dimension where demons and wizards actually caused the thing to function.

“But it’s just wires all over the place,” I whined, “how am I supposed to know what goes where?”

I took some photos of the multi-coloured spaghetti and emailed them to Mark, then over the phone he calmly explained which bits went where and made the whole thing sound very sensible and straightforward, so today I went and bought myself a power supply unit from a local computer shop and fitted it myself. To my immense surprise, the whole thing is now working again.

It’s not this first time Mark’s bailed me out (see Raising a Toast to Mark) and I do feel a little guilty that if I’d had to pay the going rate for advice from a guy with his level of expertise, it would have been cheaper to buy a new computer.

I’m sure he must get something out of our friendship, although I haven’t figured it out what it might be yet. Perhaps he likes knowing someone who can beat him in backgammon. More likely it’s Maggie’s cooking when he comes to visit.


Anonymous said...

So.. does Mark blog? Novell and Linux are my brands of poison as well, though I've never been sent beyond the confines of my insular nation.

quinn said...

I suppose in that respect I am quite lucky as my hub is a high level, top security clearance computer guy. So he knows both how to operate one as well as how to build/fix etc.
Actually we recently acquired a "new" computer through a local auction that was selling off computers from a business.
The computers were complete but were said to have been wiped clean. etc...
But my hubby knows how to pull things out and he was able to find a complete history of where the user had been on it as well as personal emails and all that.

So....remember just because you click delete does not mean its gone.'s why I have been able to learn so much on my own about computers because he has always said ..I can go on here and click on anything I want to etc. cause he said whatever I do wrong he can fix. I have and a I do..
I don't know as much as he does I never will but I am very comfortable with being on a computer and surfing the web etc.
I am glad your friend is there to help you and save you some money.

restaurant gal said...

That's why I've been married to Mr. Restaurant Gal for so long--he's my tech support, and sometimes he lets me beat him at backgammon.

Anonymous said...

i salute you. Too many people just chuck things away and buy new at the slightest problem.
I am married to a scavenger, who takes pleasure in making things work that have been discarded because he hates waste.
You've also just done your bit for the planet.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say I'm a whiz around the computer, but I can add and take away things. I know enough about it to get by. That's what I tend to do with most things in my life, just know enough to get by. Cars, music, cooking, etc.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you lost me at the word "network."

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, where are the rubber bands, hamster wheel and the tube that we use when we send things over the internet. Speaking of the internet, I didn’t see any internal net in there either.

Mark may have been able to diagnose your problem but I also could have told you that your thingamajig needed replaced with that whatchamacallit and placed in to that you know, that thing that has those wires sticking out of it.

Kim Ayres said...

SafeT - no, he doesn't have time

Quinn - so does your husband have any advice if we REALLY want to wipe the disc clean?

Restaurant Gal - what a guy!

Kats - well at least on your boat you won't have to worry about rising sea levels :)

Fat Lazy Guy - If you were to live up to your middle name, you wouldn't need to know as much as you do - all you need is to know enough to find someone else to do it for you :)

Kieran - my apologies for the techno-babble

BStrong - Now you're on Skype I could have set up a webcam and you could have talked me through it to!

Next time...

Open Grove Claudia said...

HURRAY for Mark! A new power supply is nothing compaired to a new computer. He deserves a cyber kiss!

Foot Eater said...

I’m sure he must get something out of our friendship, although I haven’t figured it out what it might be yet.

A free plug on your blog, perhaps?

Nikki said...

Even with detailed instruction, it must have felt satisfing to do that yourself.


Anonymous said...

"people often assumed that because I worked with computers, I knew how they worked,"

I get the same thing, but I haven't got a clue what goes on inside them. I told St. Jude the other day that as far as I'm concerned there could be hamsters inside frantically turning little wheels to keep everything moving LOL

Mr Blogs is the computer whizz around here, but people assume that because he knows all this stuff I do too. So, when someone phones for help, often, instead of making an appointment they will try to ge me to diagnose the problem over the phone - quite frankly they might as well ask me to launch the space shuttle.

cabronsito said...

off topic
I´d like to link to your site (I´m a DS-"beginner") and I´m crazy enough to use small (photo-)buttons.
With photos of our children. But I better ask for permission first, so do I have yours to "steal" a picture of Meg from your pages?


Kim Ayres said...

Claudia - welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to comment :)

Foot Eater - I hardly think
a plug on my blog is going to create riches for him, but it was the least I could do.

Nikki - It's true - I did alow myself a brief *smug* moment

Kate - hamsters in wheels seems to be a common theme :) Now, if we could just train themto become customer support operatives...

Martin - Welcome to my ramblings. I don't have any objections to people linking to me, although I would like to see your site before I'd feel comfortable about you using a picture of my daughter on it. Please send me a link. Thanks

cabronsito said...

Of course, Kim, I understand that very well.
If you click on my nick you found the link in my blogger-profile now.
(Dindn´t put it before because I don´t have a Bloggerblog).
There is an (google-) Englishtool on my page for a little bit of understanding. ;-)
I´ll wait for your OK before I do anything, allright?

Dr Maroon said...

Kim you young fool!
It's too late to warn you now, but the capacitors in most power supplies can carry a potentially (no pun) lethal charge and should be discharged before you start in on them with a screwdriver.
Found your text on the phone today btw.
Happy New Year.

quinn said...

Hello Kim..I will ask him tonight and get back to you asap.

Kim Ayres said...

Carbonisto - I'm quite happy for the link, and will link to your site, but my wife is not too keen having a photo of our daughter on another website, so I ask that you keep it as a text link only - thanks :)

Dr Maroon - don't worry, the power supply is a sealed unit with a bunch of wires hanging out the back. I just replaced the whole unit, I didn't open it.

Hppy Nw Yr

Quinn - I eagerly await your reply

quinn said...

HI kim....

After a very long conversation with my hubby about this stuff...LOL...he does this for work etc. so for him he likes to talk in the technical stuff and for me that just wasn't working.. so here it is in basic laymans terms..

If you have a computer that you know longer wish to keep. If you were going to sell it or give it to someone else then Yes, he totally thinks you should "wipe" the hard drive clean that they can never pull up your photos and or personal emails etc.

To do this you can follow the instructions through most computer books..he suggested ..and it is nothing personal....DOS for dummies books...we have a copy here too..

( I also have a poker for dummies LOL ) but that is another story....

Anways..he said it is very easy to do and you should "wipe it " like 3 times to be sure.

But note..this means you lose absolutely everything would need to reload windows, and all the other software etc that you wanted on it.

He says, if you were just going to toss an old computer to the garbage and get a new one but you were concerned of someone getting a hold of it first and pulling up things..he said for that he would just open up the computer, take out the hard drive and smash it with a hammer ....

Hope any of this helps..if I missed the mark completely feel free to tell me and I will get a much more detailed answer from him and write it verbatem.

cabronsito said...

No problem, Kim, and you´re very welcome.
If you change your (or Maggie´s) mind some day please let me know.
Meanwhile there will be a text link.

Anonymous said...

Kim said: If you were to live up to your middle name, you wouldn't need to know as much as you do - all you need is to know enough to find someone else to do it for you :)
Haha! Well, there's that too if I'm stumped :D

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad,

I would have a hard time replacing the plug in the back of a computer without calling tech support. Just found my way here via Restaurant gal/fat lazy guy. Going to read more.


Dr Maroon said...

Yes I know it's a box. The little coloured metal things that you call 'wires' but that we scientist/engineers call 'conductors' are in fact the conduits for the electrical fluid that you would call 'the go-go juice' which in circumstances too numerous to mention will cause your heart to actually stop.
Ask your friend if you don't believe me.
Capacitors discharge with time on their own and quite suddenly if a cicuit is made. We use them for phase correction or as electrical 'dampers' but I won't go into that.
Try this; while your TV is on, pull out the plug from the socket and touch the pins. Feel that? Capacitors. In fact, you better not try that. You would probably contrive to touch it with your right hand while your left foot was in the bath filled with salty water.
I am surprised there was no warning on the box.
Computers are designed such that ALL the innards can be replaced by the user (read the instructions), be careful, is all I'm sayin'.
I have spoken.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that is what my hubby does for a living. He is a CISCO, Symantec, Linux kind of guy. Has used Novell too apparently.

Kim Ayres said...

Quinn - So if you can wipe the whole thing 3 times and people can still access everything I've ever done on the computer, how come I can run out of hard-drive space?

Still, when I get rid of the computer, a hammer it is then. Cheers.

Cabronsito - thanks :)

FLG - :)

Briliant Donkey - Welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to comment!

Dr Maroon - I thought I'd go one better and get the whole family involved.

I unplugged the TV, got us all to stand in a line, holding hands, with Rogan at the end standing in a bowl of washing up water, and put the plug to my hand, but it took so long to get everyone into place I think it had already discharged itself.

I've clearly not got the right kind of mind for this kind of thing. Come round for dinner one evening and you can entertain the children with fancy experiments using kitchen table implements.

Jo - how come everyone seems to be married to computer experts? When I was at school, they were the least attractive kids.

quinn said...

sorry Kim,what I meant to say is when you wipe it ..hubby says it not just once...he recommends 3 times..I have no clue as to why ..but he is the computer guy...

Most people would not know how to pull anything up if anything were left still there by chance...

Most likely all would be gone..If you know how to check yourself then you would know for sure..

Like if hubby wipes our hard drive he also knows how to go in and make sure it is clean..but the average user does not know how to he recommends the 3 times ..that is what I mean.. read of my latest mess check my blog..hub says at this moment..that my hard drive is 90% gone but he wont replace it unless he is certain it is 100% he will be spending the day working on it..will update later.

Right now...every thing we had is completely gone and he cannot find it anywhere can be WIPED completely clean LOL LOL ..

Kim Ayres said...

So if I really want to wipe my disc, I just need the appropriate virus!

It's amazing what you learn in the blogging community :)

quinn said...

EXACTLY!!!!! lol.

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