Thursday, July 31, 2008

As one of my good friends pointed out the other day, I've been posting more about the operational status of my computer (usually during a period when it's actually operating) than I actually do about rocks or field camp. The subjects have more or less become intertwined, though, so I consider the statement nullified. >: )

So, to continue with computer-related posts, the latest incarnation of quirky behavior from this machine I discovered today after work. Powered it up to make sure it would boot without going to sleep (check), tried unsuccessfully to connect to Arialzone (check), then closed the lid and went downstairs to make some (not so good) microwave dinner stuff. Get back upstairs with food in hand and check the computer, only to find it appears to be OFF.


Open lid, hit power button --- and the display reactivates. It had just turned the display off (normal for my custom battery settings). No sleep. Must've fixed it too well. Also suggests that the previous malfunctions may have been the computer thinking the lid was closed because of some sort of disconnect between the offending part and the motherboard. It DOES sleep normally when I select the option from the menu.

All in all, I'm hoping it stays this way, because I will take the extra steps to sleep this thing over the alternative any day and everyday.

Anyway, I'm putting up a few more pictures from out West. I'm sitting in front of the (defunct) Burger Down just across the street from campus and am yanking MSU Wireless from Burkee Hall, because it's too nice to languish in my room.

This is the Grand Prismatic Pool in Yellowstone. It's not as spectacular from the ground as it is from the air, but it's still beautiful. I have some great panoramics of this. The color progression is unbelievable.

Ol' Faithful. It was pretty cool. They have benches ringing most of the way around the geyser and we were there with approximately 500 other people when it erupted (sometime around 1:30 pm). There are several eateries, a visitor's center, and a HUGE gift/food/more food/indoor court thing nearby. Definitely one of the (if not THE) place people in Yellowstone appear to flock to.

Back to the Tetons. I love this range. Apparently the French did, too (give you one guess what "Tetons" translates to). Took this right after sunset and a GREAT dinner.

This is from one of the first sites we went to in Yellowstone. Can't remember the name, but I could point it out on a map for you. This was an area riddled with small hydrothermal pools. They drained off into the lake and deposited these spectacular iron oxides mixed with some other stuff -- maybe sulphur?

Back to the Grand Prismatic Pool area (sorry for the random, I really don't like how Blogger handles images and I'm too lazy to fight with it)! This was in the mid-afternoon and one of the last sites we visited. We spent most of our time there alternatively steam-bathing (in slightly sulphurous steam), marveling at the hydrothermal pools, and watching this beauty of a high-base thunderstorm roll in. In the foreground is one of the smaller pools preceding the Grand Prismatic Pool. The color contrast between the mineral deposits on the ground and the storm above was pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frankenbook Part . . . whatever

Yes, I just resurrected the "Frankenbook" for the third time. Same part, this time with a little extra solder to *hopefully* fix the problem. At least until I can get this bugger BACKED UP!!! (My external hard drive is BURIED and I won't see it again till I can move.)

So right now I'm sitting right next to the Beaumont Tower and picking up wireless from the library. I'm hoping this lasts at LEAST the next two weeks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back in EL!

The co-op where I'm staying is still in one piece! It's humid like you wouldn't believe (still not used to this airborne moisture phenomenon), which slowed up tonight's run considerably. That and the 5 hours all told on the road today probably didn't help.

Anyway, the Arialzone network, so pervasive throughout the "historic district" just off campus is actually working, which means teh Valdemort has Internetz!!! Who knows how long this will last, but I'm making full use of it while I can!

Tomorrow is back to work and bug chasing, unless the bossman or the other bossman have new MM5 assignments for me, which would be welcomed!

Anyway, some pictures to cap the evening:

Bo-nanza. One of the many aspen groves. They speak. Not telling what they say, though!

The Grand Tetons. Simple shot just past dusk. Liking the soft light in this. Tetons and Yellowstone deserve their own post, which I'll take care of tomorrow. I have many fine photos from both parks, some of which you might've seen already.

More Bonanza! Looking to the southern part of the mapping area.

Celebrating the Fourth in Utah. The Chateau's in the foreground. It was insane, seeing how many people showed up in our little dog park/Frisbee field.

Sledding on remnant snowpack! This was near the end of our second Bonanza field day. We were leaving the next morning for the Tetons, so by 3 pm just about everyone, faculty included, lost focus and we kinda dicked around for a while before heading back to the vehicles.

FrankenBook is Resurrected . . .

Yep, the piece in question, though not detached like I had thought, did indeed need a few hits with the solder gun and the computer's been functioning as perfectly as a 4.5 year old computer can!

On to the pictures!

I'm here right now:

And heading back downstate shortly. : (

Webmomster's about to take off for Troll-land, so it's sign-off time for now. I'll illicitly post again at work.

Missing my field camp folk!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Apparently I either did not use enough superglue or it just doesn't handle heat well: one of the display components separated from the motherboard and my computer, while still operating perfectly, is receiving bad signals because of that disengaged component and going to sleep. Power back up, goes immediately back to sleep, repeat ad nauseam.

Time to go find the solder gun.

When I'm back in Michigan.

In a week.

(I'm borrowing my roommate's computer.)

Sorry y'all, no pictures till I can access them in some way or another. I promise lots of Grand Teton and Bonanza goodness. No pictures of the crap on the fault line, though.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


No one in Utah has heard of a spudger.

My hinge was in four pieces.

I fail at finding the Gateway shopping area in SLC.

iFixit lacks directions to disassemble one's monitor. I had to improvise.

I have two screws and a little plastic disc, all of which probably belong to the monitor.

Screw you, Apple techs. I can fix parts and you want to do the whole damn thing. SUCKAAAAA.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Not Dead Yet . . .

Broke my computer. It still runs perfectly. My roommate distracted me with what was floating in the toilet earlier this afternoon when we returned from the field (it was grass), and I had my laptop perched on the window ledge, the only place I could get Internet access at the time.

I walk the 4 feet over to the toilet, where my roommate was standing, and we both jump at a *CRASH* from behind me. Laptop is on the floor with the monitor bent back a little too far. pick it up.


Wow, I can see the monitor hookups. Check the hinges? Okay. One hinge is sheared. Plastic case is fine, and the computer is functioning perfectly (okay, as perfectly as a 4.5 year old computer that's on its 3rd hard drive, 2nd OS upgrade, and had a RAM installation will work, which is surprisingly good).

Okay. Turn computer off, try to realign aluminum hinge. No go. Probably bent, because it's trying really hard not to move. Okay, call Mom, have her zip some directions to the nearest Apple Store.

Turn computer back on, finish project with screen propped against the wall, print project and directions to downtown Salt Lake City, eat dinner, head out.

Get to the Apple Store, and there are no more open slots at the Genius Bar. Talk to the nearest rep I see -- consults a tech. Takes the computer back to the repair room, and I'm left to wander the floor for a while.

While the estimate's taking place, I fell in love with the iPod Touches. Will have to get one of those after my Gen 4 iPod kicks it.

Tech comes back out and she tells me that they have to send it out and they have to replace the entire lid section. $600. Totaled. %@&#!!!!!! However! There is another option. I can buy a whole new computer for just a couple of hundred more with my student discount.

Okay, call Mom and discuss. Need more details on computer replacement. Find tech, talk to tech. Turns out it's just "buy a new computer," which she recommends. No surprise, they are salesmen first and foremost. Call Mom again, decide to hang on for the rest of field camp and replace the computer when back in Michigan.

Roommate and I wander around downtown SLC for a couple of hours till most of the shops close. NICE PLACE. I was a little distracted and upset at having totaled my electronic companion of the last 4.5 years, so I couldn't enjoy it fully, but I was overall having a good time.

9 pm rolls around and we head back to Park City, and I boot up my rather flaccid computer to check mail and hunt for hinge parts. I had decided during the drive home that I couldn't justify replacing a computer that's functioning really well. After all, it's been in pieces before this. Multiple times.

Checked out teh Google and found some places where I could buy a 12 inch iBook hinge. $29, free shipping to the Chateau. Okay, pretentious Apple Store techs, take that! The new hinge ships tomorrow, and I've downloaded instructions from iFixit (thanks, GG!) already.

So no, I don't have to retire this computer yet. Maybe in a year. The techs were surprised that I'd already isolated the problem and tested for functionability before getting there. They must deal with some really incompetent people. The bit I don't get about this whole problem is that yeah, it's a PITA to replace components in iBooks, but they're techs. This is *not* an uncommon problem, as my quick searches have revealed. I didn't really even scratch the surface of the results I turned up, and I saw lots of posts detailing exactly my problem. Too bad they can't charge me $50 for labor and parts and just sauck it up and take the damn thing apart. You don't need to replace the ENTIRE lid section, because the monitor sure as hell ain't broken. And it sure ain't worth $600.

On that note, time to prop my trusty laptop against the wall for the night and head for bed. Hiking 2.5 miles tomorrow because the Forest Service won't open the road for the day tomorrow. Not sure why . . .

Pictures of the Tetons still to come. Pans are assembled, and they turned out REALLY well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Working on the Bonanza project. Pictures of the Tetons to come later.

Back from the Tetons

And we have no Internet. I'm typing from the window ledge because I can pick up what I'm guessing to be the library's wireless connection. When Kurt resets the modem, I'll have some pictures!

By the way --- everyone must go to the Tetons. They are amazing. Yellowstone is a hop, skip, and a jump away to the north as well.