Prior to Friday, I had exactly one problem with a motherboard, the clock battery leaked and damaged the traces. That system had been running for 5 years in a friend's garage, slowly rusting while running DNS, WWW, SMTP, my "blog" before the word blog was invented, and whatever else I needed in a server, but time did work its inexorable will.
The next power cycle attempt also got a bit of orange, but it was not small, and the smoke and cracking sound was more than clear as to exactly what had gone wrong.
"Other problem? You mean this gets worse?"
Magic Micro. I like their interactive online customization system, and I decided that I would not skimp. For once I would overcome my natural instinct for frugality and buy something that makes me happy. AMD Phemon II 4-core 3GHz CPU (the 6-cores weren't out yet), 4GB of DDR3-1600, HDMI for onboard video, Gig-ethernet, enough USB ports, and a 22" 1080p screen (it just happened to be on sale at Xxxx Xxx), recycled keyboard and mouse. Ok I skimped just a little.
A couple months ago, the utterly unreliable city-utility electric power went out, again, for a minute or two. I have never lived anywhere that I knew I had to keep candles available because of power failures. The perverse incentives in a monopoly deserve their own rant, so let's move on.
Prior to this, the computer(s) had simply powered off, and Linux showed its robustness by never having problems booting back up.
battery UPS. It's one of those things I will tell any client that depends upon their systems, "Get a UPS", but I had not done it for myself. It also makes a nice foot-rest.
I had a spare Nvidia PCI graphics card sitting around from an earlier project which provides perfectly good accelerated performance for my needs, and so life went on.
Friday evening, as I was using Skype, the microphone and speakers in the back of that on-sale monitor got too close together as I was working the wires around, and a SCREEEEEEEEEECH of positive audio feedback occurred. Here's pretty much what it sounded like.
I dropped the microphone/headset to the floor, pulled out the microphone cable, but the damage was done. The on-board audio sort of works, but it has awful static and the timing with video is shot to the point of uselessness.
Having another audio card in my green parts box sitting around from an earlier project, which would provide perfectly adequate audio for my needs, I put it in and thought things would work. But no, the audio, while without the static, hiss and whining, still skips often and randomly if I try to do anything else while the audio process is running, and often but less severely when I try to do nothing else.
But basically, YouTube, Pandora, or even watching a video locally, the skipping audio makes it pretty much a waste of time.
One more thing.
"There's MORE? Isn't that ENOUGH?"
Yep, more. I tried plugging in my USB card reader to upload the photograph of the fried surface-mount component on my other motherboard, and got my first Linux kernel fault in a very, very long time. A "hung task timeout". So it wasn't a core Linux kernel failure, just a driver failure, but it shows that I'm typing this on a very unstable platform. Good thing I've got full backups!
Both of these systems are well out of warrantee, of course, so I have to order two new motherboards tomorrow (Monday) morning. I have no idea how long shipping will take, but seriously, crap can happen, any time, anywhere.
static strap when I put them back together! I have one of those in that parts box, from an earlier project, which should provide perfectly adequate service for my needs...
Pictures of the rehabilitation will be posted when things work again.
Update: Part 2 has been posted.