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September 19, 2012

Compy is sick

My hardworking netbook, my lifeboat until I can afford the parts to fix up my desktop, is currently down for the moment until I can get a couple of new parts for it too.

What's wrong with it? The simple explanation is that your computer should never make burnt toast smells. The more technical answer: I need to replace the fan and the heat sink and check to make sure that the magic smoke doesn't come out. I also had to use a Dremel tool to cut out the big screw that holds the harddrive in place. (ATTENTION AMATURES: DO NOT DO WHAT I DID! You could destroy your computer from the sparks that shoot out from using the grinding tool!) Fortunately, nothing was damaged and I took precautions to protect the other components of the computer including the screen, the mouse, and as much other areas as possible.

So that this point, a can of compressed air is useless so I sucked out much of the crap with a regular vacuum. (Never use a Shopvac!) Again, a risky move but it was worth it.

So my computer is all cleaned up, reassembled, and for the most part works, but I can't use it. Because as soon as I performed all this much needed maintenance and put everything back together, the fan was making loud whirring sounds again and that slight burning smell came back. So, it is off until further notice. Expect pictures though and some hardware hacks in the next few posts. I might just open like a Imgur account to host all the pictures, at least until I figure out a way to write my own software to resize and display images.

So what's my back up plan until then, and more importantly, if my computer is off, how am I posting this post? The great Reverent Kyle posted this video a while back so, my HP Touchpad is acting as a dummy terminal. My current app of choice: AirTerm. Connectbot and Tmux aren't simpatico with one another even with Hacker's Keyboard installed. AirTerm also has a few things I really don't like like things that make it so easy to accidentally close AirTerm. I hope future versions of AirTerm fix this. I'm hoping to finally getting around to setting up my servers local .vimrc file such as enabling spell checking (:set spell), enabling syntax highlighting (:syn on) and having new windows appear below current windows rather than above (:set sb).

There is one flaw to Reverend Kyle's dummy terminal hack: You are still running on the Touchpad's battery. Hoping fix this issue, I've ordered a Female-to-Female connector to determine why Kyle never used this method. Perhaps part of HP's hubris was that they made the Touchpad's charger and USB cable explicitly for the Touchpad. I asked one person what they though was the reason and they said that the Touchpad's power cable was thicker than a regular USB Cable which isn't true because I have several other USB-to-USB mini cables made by other manufactures and the Touchpad's USB cable is much thinner than than those cables. So, If my theory is correct, I could trick the Touchpad into using the powered USB multiplexer that I am using to plug a mouse and keyboard into the multiplexer to be used as input devices for the Touchpad.

I've also had success with the multiplexer to charge a Sony PlayStation 3 controller for which it's been a while since I've used the joystick hack that allows me to play videogames on the Touchpad. I should really make a post about that in the future.

I've already used about half of my Touchpad's energy writing this post. (Timestamps generally indicate when I've started writing.) Perhaps its just me or the Cyanogenmod folks finally figured out how to improve the battery life on the Touchpad. It's life lasts much longer if you turn off synchronization. The downside is that you don't get to see any email updates. I'm going to put this thing on its charger and probably plug in the computer keyboard later.


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