[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"es

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Wed Jun 25 07:57:24 PDT 2008

On Wed, 25 Jun 2008, Lombard, David N wrote:

> On Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 02:09:37PM -0700, Robert G. Brown wrote:
>> <HTML>
>> </HTML>
> It would appear the rgb-bot ran amuk!

The rgb-bot just got a new Dell XPS M1530.  It is only sold with Vista,
and Duke gets Vista Business.  It got here Monday.  I took it out of the
box, booted it up into Vista, and started to "dress" it in Duke's
software packages -- VPN clients, AV, a few site license packages -- and
went through the mandatory updates and setup needed even for Windows
that I was planning to use pretty much to watch movies and that's it
(although I was going to give it an honest try before deciding whether
or not to retroactively install XP Pro in a VM).

Well, the fingerprint scanner wouldn't work at all, but I postponed
worrying about that.  I did about an hour and a half of work (through a
couple of reboots) and decided to defragment the system (now that it was
"done") preparatory to installing linux on it.  I figured that if I
defragged it it would minimize the work gparted would have to do.

It threw an error in the defrag and forced a reboot.  The reboot
reported that Vista had eaten its own partition table, irreparably.
Five or ten passes through its recovery tools indicate the latter.

I sigh, decide that it is "good luck" as it makes it really easy to
repartition for linux if I have to reinstall Vista anyway, and do a
Fedora 8 install into a solid half of the 320 BG disk.  Totally
uneventful install, then a short while mucking around on ITS post
install update, and then I start to move in.  I login, everything is
completely normal -- a few devices I have to tweak, some bios settings
that conflict with linux (the bios wants to manage wireless, bluetooth
and cell, and linux can't cope unless this is all turned off so that the
devices are just devices).  The GUI works fine, X works fine, the mouse
works fine.

I reboot, and the touchpad goes berserk.  At first it just doesn't work.
Then it is clear -- it has "pad disease".  That's where one touches the
wristrest or the mouse and the mouse whips off to the lower left corner
and issues some random click sequence.  Usually my laptops get this when
the laptop is two years old.  Then the keyboard gradually gets keyboard
disease, where if I press on the left wristrest with any weight at all
it gets "stuck" and goes nuts for a second or ten.

All covered by Dell's Custom Care etc, so they'll replace it all as soon
as possible, but in the meantime the rgb-bot can generate interesting
noise if his thumb brushes against the pad or either wrist actually
rests on the laptop.  Sigh.


Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
Book of Lilith Website: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Lilith/Lilith.php
Lulu Bookstore: http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=877977

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