Once upon a time I was a teenager with lots of idle time and angst and will to do pretty things in my life. Those were the times I didn’t yet own a computer – the computer at home concept got me when I was already 18. Ever since I was a kid I loved to draw and especially paint (my mom being a painter, who loves to do decorative painting and restoration). I take pride in having water colours and dry pastels in a separate box with portable easel, having different kinds of papers for doing drawings and water colours and owning a Wacom Graphire 2 tablet.
Unfortunately I don’t have that much time or inspiration in me left anymore. I don’t remember the last time I’ve actually painted something, even less remember painting something as elaborate as the butterflies, some of which took three days to do. But having the tools for water colours can be handy at times. And having vivid imagination and a knack in making silly inventions.
I bought a used Acer Aspire 3100 from a friend in March. He needed it for a while, and I was really busy doing work stuff so I told him it would be ok if he used it until Hardy Release Fest, since, me being a geek and all, I’d end up wasting my time playing around with the laptop instead of doing paid work.
The laptop, though not being top notch in all the possible ways, was cheap and had more features that I could have imagined. I’ve never owned a webcam, widescreen, even less a DVD-RW drive. The only gripe about the laptop is the Wifi, which I’ve later managed to work with ndiswrapper with not-encrypted access points. Still, the laptop is great. Laptop allows me to work in my own couch (yes, the horrible mustard coloured abomination bought from a recycling centre for mere 14€s) which is far better in comfortability than my awful desk and awful office chair (yay for piriformis syndrome and sciatica!). The laptop allows me to work at my own balcony.
But alas, the laptop had a problem. It heated up badly when I ran my script building up a 600 page PDF document with lots of pictures, table of contents and bibliographic references. I had to work, so I took the easy way – first installed nfs server to my home server (a puny used Dell Optiplex GX50) after upgrading the hard drive of it to 160GB from 20GB and installing an encrypted Ubuntu LTS server to it, shared my backups and media files on it with nfs, installed ssh on my desktop computer (Dell Optiplex 755 or smthn, Core2duo and 4G of RAM) and simply just ran the PDF conversion on the desktop computer over ssh commandline and checked the outcome over nfs shares mounted on the laptop. Now atleast the laptop wasn’t heating up as bad, didn’t reboot itself and I didn’t have to juggle with it when working.
Last week the crashes started again, more randomly. I shrugged them off as being caused by the heating for a few times. Then as I was doing a bug report that took ages to write and the thing crashed (but only X did, which got me thinking later on), I got fed up, took out my toolbox (Dad, I love you, you gave me the best Christmas gift of Christmas 2007) and started to carefully open up the laptop.
Here’s where the teenage hobbies come into the story – I had my trustworthy sobel brushes at hand. I don’t have compressed air, but I do have my watercolour brushes. To be honest, I don’t think compressed air would have done anything to the dust clots I had in the laptop fan. Now the idle heat of my laptop is as I write this at mere 39Cs compared to the 50 or 60 I used to have before cleaning up the fan. I can actually feel the air blowing out the laptop, and it doesn’t feel as burning as it used to was before. YAY \o/
The crashes this week were apparently caused by the combination of fglrx, hardy-proposed and 64-bit. I’ve now switched to mesa (yes, mesa), and the crashes seem to have stopped.