Who REALLY killed the ‘puter?

August 25, 2009

Computer Hell

Some times troubleshooting a computer (motherboard)  is just a bitch.

Usually I have all the patience in the world when it comes to repairing pc’s and dealing with their owners. Not this weekend though.   No, this one was starting to damage my calm.    Before painting circles on the shiny HP case  (for target practice of course), I discussed the issue with my  cohorts over at Tech Republic, and with so may great tips put down in one place, I figured I might as well share.

Here is a loose transcription for:

The HP MOBO… how can you be SURE it’s really the problem?

Not certain if it is the mobo, psu, or video card. I’m working on a HP a6303w with an Asus IPIBL-LB mobo (with no led indicator) and a 300 watt psu. Sometimes within 10 seconds of start up, it will shut itself down momentarily then power back up and stay on.  I get NO beeps, even with EVERYTHING disconnected. The fans come on, and all devices have power, but nothing responds. The monitor will say no signal and go to sleep and won’t wake up. the keyboard may or may not flash but never powers on up. The dvd drive will open and close but never sounds like it’s spinning/reading.

I have swapped memory, cleared cmos, replaced the battery, and reset the psu. I tried contacting both HP and ASUS, but frankly, they were useless.

1. Not much you can do here other

OH Smeg – 08/20/09 Than replace the PS. These things use at least 3 different Voltage Rails and if one is down while the unit may seem to work it’s not either getting enough or any power to at least one of those circuits.

By the sounds of your description it sounds as if either the 5 V DC or 1.3 V DC rails are either not producing any Voltage or are way down on current. Replacing the PS may get it working again but it is just as likely that the Faulty PS has taken the M’Board along for the ride and if this has a AMD CPU I would expect that as well to be no longer working.

It’s just that the AMD Chip Sets don’t seem to isolate the CPU’s as well as Intel Chip Sets do from nasty things happening.


1.1. 3 strikes, and I’m still out…

twilazoned – 08/21/09 Thanks for the fast response!

I had just returned to find your response after replacing the ps with two diff ones, but each had the same result. When I press the power button, everything comes on strong, lasts a few seconds, powers down like it’s dead for about 3 seconds, then boots back up and stays running. Still, none of the devices actually WORK, they just have power.

I did notice that the heat sink was totally gunked up. I cleaned it, the cpu (Intel, btw), and reapplied some fresh thermal grease. Wondering if it got overheated after seeing how thick as the gunk was.

Also noticed that the hdd led doesn’t flicker at all after the second power up. It just stays solid.

I just want to make sure it IS the mobo before I shell out that kind of money.

1.1.1. I was going to say, clean the processor, but you beat me to it..

Peconet Tietokoneet – 08/21/09 The first port of call to me would be the processor, but you have cleaned that. By the way did you apply a very,very small amount of thermal paste to the processor? With that done the second would be the power supply unit.
Another thing you can try out.. IS the computer in question Overclocked? Have a look in the BIOS and then select “Default settings”, then “save and exit”.
If that does not work then a new motherboard will be the next choice. Overclocked??

twilazoned – 08/21/09 Oh yes, I reapplied the grease, but unless there is a way to find out without reading a monitor, I have no idea if it’s overclocked. When it starts up, the monitor says no signal, going to sleep. (and yes, i put in a new video card to tbs) Depending on the M’Board here

OH Smeg – 08/21/09You can look at the Jumpers on it or Clear the BIOS to remove any Overclocking that may have been present. Though if the M’Board CPU has suffered because of Overclocking it will not undo any of the damage.


1.1.2. A thought….

—TK— – 08/21/09 I would look all over the Mobo for a blown compositor… If you find a “popped cap” that could and would cause this issue. They are the little cylinder looking things with a “x” on top. They should be level, not bumped up, or worse case leaking acid.

you can google “Popped cap” (Images) and find what they can look like if you have never seen it before.

Added: I should have read Jacky Howe’s post before posting… Popped caps?

twilazoned – 08/21/09 Had never heard that term before! Actually, I did go back and take a detailed look at them after you and Jack’s suggestion, however, they all look fine.

1.1.3. MOBO problems

dpalsen – 08/21/09 Easiest way to tell if it’s the PSU is to look at the BIOS and check if your CPU is overheated, as in most modern BIOSes, it will tell you. If it isn’t POSTing, are there any beep codes, or is there any way to look at the MOBO and find a troubleshooting light or some such.

As for it powering back on with the HDD LED not coming on, try unplugging all of the drives, and see if it will at least make it past POST. The other thought is to try a video card, but I’m REALLY skeptical that that would be the problem. I’m really leaning motherboard on this one. No bells or whistles…

twilazoned – 08/21/09 I am almost traumatized by this HP. I finally realized that I wasn’t hearing any post codes because there was no on board speaker installed on her pc! Add to that NO led on the mobo, and the realization that it was put out with a cheesy 250 w ps, and I find I have never been so disappointed in an HP product.

Asus doesn’t even have support for the mb (because it’s OEM) and the 1st Asus sepport guy stopped me cold and said “oh I can’t tell you a thing about it. I don’t have any manuals, specs, information, nothing”.  I said, “but you made it” and he says “yeah but really, HP just called and said hey we need you to make us some mobo’s, and we just cranked them up and shipped them out”.  So don’t expect any kind of support from Asus if it’s an OEM board.  The second 2nd Asus support guy (who was really cool btw) helped me out anyhow and said the only things left would be that’s it’s either grounding out or fried.

About to pull that puppy out and see if it’ll bark on a sheet of cardboard… New motherboard

bwilmot@… – 08/22/09 If it is one of the older AMD sockets (939) you may find a decent price at ascendtech.

I just replaced one this last weekend (HP AMBERINEM-GL6E S.939 2000FSB MBOARD, 5188-2526) 75.99 If it is the same style, be aware that the MB next to it (same page, bottom left and right) is the same but with composite out. (if not still a good source for other boards).


Edited to add; You can find cheaper 939 boards, but this saved me hours by not needing to do a repair, updates, ect.

2. Also

Jacky Howe – 08/21/09 Check the Capacitors around the CPU for swelling or bulging. They should have a flat head with a cross indent.

2.1. If the Capacitors are OK

Jacky Howe – 08/21/09 and it’s starting and running I wouldn’t suspect the CPU. They normally work or they don’t.

Carefully remove everything from the Motherboard. Remove the Motherboard and put it on an anti-static mat on a bench. Remove the Power Supply if it is a known working good one to test with. Remove the Heatsink and give it a good clean. Remove the CPU and reseat it. Reinstall the Heatsink remembering to use CPU grease. Clean the golden edge of each memory stick and the video card with a soft rubber/eraser, remembering not to touch the golden edge. Reseat the RAM and test with one stick at a time. Connect the Video Card. Connect the Power supply to the Motherboard. You can use a flat blade Screwdriver to short the Power pins on the Motherboard if you haven’t got a spare switch. Connect the Monitor and turn it on and see what happens. If it stars up add one Device at a time to test it. If it doesn’t then the Motherboard has failed.

The Best Accidental Discoveries

April 17, 2008

1. Viagra

Men being treated for erectile dysfunction should salute the working stiffs of Merthyr Tydfil, the Welsh hamlet where, in 1992 trials, the gravity-defying side effects of a new angina drug first popped up. Previously, the blue-collar town was known for producing a different kind of iron.

2. LSD

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann took the world’s first acid hit in 1943, when he touched a smidge of lysergic acid diethylamide, a chemical he had researched for inducing childbirth. He later tried a bigger dose and made another discovery: the bad trip.

3. X-rays

Several 19th-century scientists toyed with the penetrating rays emitted when electrons strike a metal target. But the x-ray wasn’t discovered until 1895, when German egghead Wilhelm Röntgen tried sticking various objects in front of the radiation – and saw the bones of his hand projected on a wall.

4. Penicillin

Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was researching the flu in 1928 when he noticed that a blue-green mold had infected one of his petri dishes – and killed the staphylococcus bacteria growing in it. All hail sloppy lab work!

5. Artificial sweeteners

Speaking of botched lab jobs, three leading pseudo-sugars reached human lips only because scientists forgot to wash their hands. Cyclamate (1937) and aspartame (1965) are byproducts of medical research, and saccharin (1879) appeared during a project on coal tar derivatives. Yummy.

6. Microwave ovens

Microwave emitters (or magnetrons) powered Allied radar in WWII. The leap from detecting Nazis to nuking nachos came in 1946, after a magnetron melted a candy bar in Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer’s pocket.

7. Brandy

Medieval wine merchants used to boil the H 2 0 out of wine so their delicate cargo would keep better and take up less space at sea. Before long, some intrepid soul – our money’s on a sailor – decided to bypass the reconstitution stage, and brandy was born. Pass the Courvoisier!

8. Vulcanized rubber

Rubber rots badly and smells worse, unless it’s vulcanized. Ancient Mesoamericans had their own version of the process, but Charles Goodyear rediscovered it in 1839 when he unintentionally (well, at least according to most accounts) dropped a rubber-sulfur compound onto a hot stove.

9. Silly Putty

In the early 1940s, General Electric scientist James Wright was working on artificial rubber for the war effort when he mixed boric acid and silicon oil. V-J Day didn’t come any sooner, but comic strip image-stretching practically became a national pastime.

10. Potato chips

Chef George Crum concocted the perfect sandwich complement in 1853 when – to spite a customer who complained that his fries were cut too thick – he sliced a potato paper-thin and fried it to a crisp. Needless to say, the diner couldn’t eat just one.– Compiled by Lucas Graves . Source WIRED

Twitterdom: Living in the land of Twitter

March 17, 2008




“She was in the Twitter-Light Zone.  She had been away from Twitter for almost a week, and was suffering Tweetdrawals. While Twaiting in Twaffic one Tweekend , she decided to Tweet to her Tweeps. In no time, she was lost in the Twitterstream, and caught up in the Twitterloop. She was feeling Twittilated by a few of the Twitticisms being Tweeted , and suddenly realized that she was/is a Tweetaholic.” 




Twitter.com is becoming its own country (Twitterdom) and the natives there have been developing their own vernacular.  I discovered the “Twitterictionary while looking for new Twitter apps to play with.  (I’ll be writing another blog later today covering those). In the meantime… are you up on the local jargon?


· Drunktwittering – Similar to drunk dialing.

· Friendapalooza – A scheduled burst of friend-adding on Twitter and other social networks.

· Link – Tiny URL for Twitter Glossary http://tinyurl.com/2f9pq7

· Mistweet – A tweet one later regrets. See here: http://urltea.com/gs7

· ReporTwitters – bunch of journalists publishing ‘reality style’ tweets in conjunction with their articles.

· Twittcrastination – avoiding action while Twittering, procrastination enabled by Twitter use

· Twaiting – Twittering while waiting

· Twaffic – Twitter traffic.

· Tweekend – Spending your entire Saturday and Sunday reading and posting via Twitter. (coined by Kim M. Bayne )

· Tweeple – Twitter people, Twitter members, Twitter users

· Tweepish – Feeling sheepish or regretful about something you tweeted.

· Tweeps – Twitterites that follow each other from one social media/network to another.

· Tweet-back – Bringing a previous tweet conversation or reference back into the current conversation.

· Tweet-dropping – Eavesdropping on someone’s else’s Home Page in With Friends mode.

· Tweetaholism – the continued use of Twitter as an addiction that is difficult to control

· Tweeterboxes – Twitterers who tweet too much

· Tweetheart – that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat

· TweetIn – When a group of twitterers agree to get together at a set time to twitter

· Tweet(ing) – The act of posting to Twitter

· Tweets – Posts on Twitter by twitterers.

· Tweetsulted, Tweetsult – What do you think it means, you dumb twitterer?

· TweetUp – When twitterers meet in person in one’s home nest. Example: Denver TweetUp in May. TweetUps – The meeting place for all Twitterers to TweetUp!.

· Twittercal mass – A community that has achieved a critical mass of twitterers.

· Twideo-cronicity – When you’re watching someone’s videos and they are simultaneously leaving a comment or tweet for/at/about you.

· TwinkedIn – Inviting friends made on Twitter to “connect with you on LinkedIn

· Twis – To dis a fellow twitterer. Bad form.

· Twitosphere – Community of twitterers

· Twittastic – Fantastic, wonderful, superb; coined by the folks at Twitterholic when referring to their robots

· Twittcrastination – Twittering as a form of procrastination

· Twittduit – If you need to Tweet a friend that does not follow you, post a Twittduit asking your followers to pass a message.

· Twitter-Light Zone – Where you are when you return to Twitter after any time away and feel disoriented and lost.

· Twitterer – A user of Twitter.

· Twittering – To send a Twitter message.

· Twitterish – Erractic behavior with short outbursts.

· Twitteritas – Women who play with their twitters.

· Twittfeinated, Twigged Out, Twired – To be so hyped up on twittering that you cannot sleep

· Twitterfly – Being a social butterfly on Twitter evidenced by extreme usage of @ signs.

· Twitterject – Interject your tweet into an existing tweet stream of conversation.

· Twitter-ku – Those who either post on both Twitter and Jaiku or load their Twitter feed into Jaiku.

· TwitterLinkr – A service collecting the best links posted trough Twitter

· Twitterlooing – Twittering from a bathroom.

· Twitterloop – To be caught up with friend tweets and up on the conversation.

· Twittermob – An unruly and ragtag horde of people who descend on an ill-prepared location after a provocative Twitter message.

· Twittermaps – A mashup technology that lets Twitter users find each other using Google maps.

· Twitterpated – To be overwhelmed with Twitter messages.

· Twitterphoria – The elation you feel when the person you’ve added as a friend adds you back.

· Twitterrhea – The act of sending too many Twitter messages.

· Twitterrific and Twitteroo – Two services that let users post to Twitter using a Mac or PC.

· Twitterrific (2) – a really good Twitter thing

· Twitterstream – the twitter timeline (public or friends)

· Twittertories – Clusters of twittererers that follow and friend each other with little overlap with other clusters.

· Twittertude – Bad Twitter attitude. Or a state of being, like solitude only with other people present.

· Twittfessional – A confession made on Twitter

· Twitticisms – Witty tweets

· Twittilate – To arouse with tweets.

· Twittish – Too skittish to twitter.

· Twittsomnia – Twittering due to inability to sleep, thus compounding inability to sleep.

· Twittworking – Networking with Twitterites using Twitter

· Twixt and tween – Can’t decide who or what to tweet

· Twoogle – Twitter as the human Google. Pose a question, get near-instantaneous results.

· Tword – Words formed by appending “Tw” to the original word (like most words in this list).

· Twoops – When you accidentally send a private sms to Twitter

· Twopsies – When you drop things because you are twittering.



Source: http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Twitter+Glossary

Nightline interview of the wine guy, Gary Vaynerchuck

October 5, 2007

Gary V — this guy’s a riot! He does an excellent wine tasting/instructing podcast, was on Ellen last week, and Nightline this week. Check him out! My thanks to Andrew Badera for the shout about it!

read more | digg story

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Observations from the lighter side of tech…

July 15, 2007


This is a new blog page dedicated to more or less dedicated to the lighter side of all things tech, written in layman’s terms, for those who are not as internet or technically educated, or informed, but who want to be. It should be fully up and posted by August 1st, 2007. In the meantime, keep an eye on it for the latest developments.

read more | digg story

The Tech Teen

July 14, 2007

At The Tech Teen, they have young adults from ages 15-19 speaking their minds about what products work, and what don’t. New products ranging from cell phones to laptops will be reviewed. Here, other teens can come to find out what they really should be saving up for. Here, parents can find out what their son or daughter would really like.


My 16 year old son turned me on to this kid, then I ran into him on Pownce. Don’t let his age fool you into thinking he’s less than he his. He’s brilliant, tuned in, and turned on to what makes other “tech teens” tick. Give him a chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Meet Truman, The Tech Teen

Founder and Lead Reviewer at TTT, Truman is 15 years old and is going into his junior year of Highschool. Some of his hobbies include Computers, Digg, Technology in general, Rock Climbing, and MMA.read more | digg story

Twitter, Art, and Building Bridges

July 8, 2007

Are You a Twitter Ninja?

OK… so this is a first. I’m writing about a website. Well, a couple actually. This should be interesting.

So, I’m a Chris Pirillo fan. Yep, I’m a hard-core endorser of Pirillo’s Picks, and Chris Pirillo Live. Chris led me to check out www.Twitter.com, which, along with www.Twittermosaic.com, is what I’m writing about.

What is Twitter.com? You mean you don’t know? OMG! Where the hell have you been?

Twitter is: “A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?” You can answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!”

Yep, it’s that simple… what are you doing? right now? wherever you are …

It’s the craziest thing. It’s like “express blogging”. More than that, people will start following what you have to say. Now that REALLY blew me away. I’ve been on just a couple months, I’ve posted 1,800 lines of… “express blogs”, one-liners, comments, observations… you name it, I think I’ve probably touched on it. I’m up to 63 followers. People follow my meandering on the web, on their IM’s, on their phones. Of course, for the most part, I follow them back. The thing is, when someone adds me, I take a look at their profiles, and most of the time, they sound a lot like me… or at the very least, they sound like someone I would want to be freinds with. There are some very interesting individuals on there.

That would lead me to twittermosaic.com.

One day I get this new follower, named twitter_mosaics. I check out his bio and “twits”… seems interesting enough, so I add him. One day, he posts a link to a site called twittermosaic.com. I check it out, and am amazed to find the most amazing artistic renderings! Actual mosaics… not just plain mosaics, but beautiful artwork mosaics compiled of nothing but the icons of his twitter followers. I was really knocked over when I got to checking them out and found myself in one of the mosaics! (see Cactus followers)

This week, I was humbled and delighted to find myself in yet another of his fantastic renderings called “Blue Marble, Negative” ( See The Blue Marble, Negative)

It makes me feel like I’m part of history, in some way. Not only that, but as I scan through the icons, I find other Twitter friends there too. It’s almost like a snapshot in time. Twitter asks “what are you doing”, and http://www.twittermosaic.com answers with “these guys were twittering”. It’s a really, really cool thing to look at something that is outside, and larger, than yourself.

As for building bridges….

ok, so I mentioned “followers” and “following” in return. While I’m certainly not going to “name name’s” here, I have to say that I’m making some really good freinds on Twitter. Sure, they started out as “interesting folks”, but some of them are so much more than that. I’m making friends with people all over the globe. From housewives, to CEO’s…. we are all just people. Somehow, we find in each other that “one thing” that connects us. That’s all it takes… and the next thing you know, you find one more thing… then another, and another… and soon enough you aren’t just Twittering to the masses… you are sending direct messages… or you are looking forward to checking Twitter periodically just to see what your “freinds” had to say that day. Just like the things I write, some people make observations, some ask questions, some just say what they did for lunch, or what their dinner plans are. Some people make statements, some people make wishes, and some people make no sense whatsoever at times. The bottom line is, that eventually, you feel like you are part of something. You are part of that “global community” Twitter told you about on the welcome page. It’s a nice feeling.

I’m already making plans to see a new friend in person during my next trip to California. She ‘s a really cool lady, and then I found out she makes her own glass beads, which has been an interest of mine as well. I’m going to check out her studio, and take a lesson or two from her while there. Just another bridge I built… from Arkansas to California…. and I built it on Twitter.com.

So check it out. … and if you want to check me out, you’ll find me there as twila_zoned. Throw me a “Twit” sometime!