Back online

If you’re one of my, say, 3 regular readers, you probably noticed that the blog was down for the last few days.  On Thursday morning I flew to Pittsburgh for some meetings but before I left, I checked my server machine to see if it seemed safe to leave on for about 5 days with no one home.

Upon inspection, I discovered that the power supply fan had died.  The computer was still working but the fan in the power supply had given up the ghost.  It wasn’t too surprising, actually, since it had been chirping on and off for probably 2 years.  In fact, I had bought 2 replacement power supplies in July of 2006 just in case the existing power supply would fail – an occurrence that actually took a lot longer than I expected.  In any case, I discovered this problem about 15 minutes before the taxi was supposed to pick me up, so I had to just shut everything down.  After returning late on Monday night, I spent some time on Tuesday trying to get things fixed.  However, things weren’t quite as easy as I expected.

Replacing the power supply was easy since I had replacements on hand.  I also took the opportunity to clean the case out properly since it was full of dust.  I expected that after replacing the power supply and cleaning everything I would just power the machine on and everything would be back to normal.  Unfortunately, the network interface didn’t work.  I was getting some kind of IRQ conflict.  If I brought the interface up, I could ping it for awhile from a different machine and then it would stop responding.  I wasn’t able to figure it out yesterday so I just left it and worked on some other, more pressing things.  I took a look at the issue this morning again and this time, the network interface wasn’t showing up at all.  The IRQ conflicts were gone since the system was no longer seeing the network hardware.  So, I turned off the machine, opened it up, and put in an old ethernet card I had lying around.  This was recognized by the system as eth1 so I made a quick change to /etc/network/interfaces to move all of my previous settings from eth0 to eth1.  I restarted the machine and everything worked!

I think there are two lessons to be learned from this story.  One is that keeping spare computer components around pays off.  I fixed the problem with a spare power supply and ethernet card that I had on hand.  I didn’t need to go to any store or order anything online.  I probably saved myself a bunch of money and I definitely saved myself a bunch of time by hanging on to old stuff.  The second lesson is that this machine may go completely belly up before too long.  When motherboard components (like my ethernet port) start failing, the computer may not be too much longer for this world.  That said, as a 500MHz Pentium III from 1999, I’d say it’s had a good run.

2 Responses to “Back online”

  1. 1 Milkshake
    August 14, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Just wanted to say welcome back and hello to the other two of you reading.

  2. 2 Jeff H.
    August 14, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    yo :)

    btw, that’s a good call on keeping the ol’ stuff and parts. good call, indeed.

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August 2008

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