Monday 31 March 2008

Lenovo tracking US Government laptops

Been a big fan of ThinkPad T series for quite a while. Not the latest greatest tech out there but rock solid, excellent build and just does what is says on the tin. There are some nice features like ThinkLight, IBM nipple and useful software like Access Connections and Software Update - makes tech support life easy, plus they can take a hammering on the road day in day out.

Just coming to end of life with a T42, had a T23 previously and one prior to that too. Got several clients with T20's, T30, T42, T43, T60. One of those ThinkPad T43 laptops recently started failing to boot at the start logo. After a session swapping memory, drives, power, batteries and trying to fix MBR I concluded there was a system board issue ... two weeks before end of warranty, good timing. No problem getting it fixed, probably took around a week and they didn't do a hard disk recovery which kept my life simple - yeah of course we had a backup.

To the point, I've just had a Lenovo Customer Support Satisfaction survey email which I duly completed right up to the last screen ...

Yes just discreetly dropped in at the end there is the question 'Is this computer assigned to you personally for the purpose of performing US government work?' ... oh and its mandatory. So are they just looking after probably one of their biggest customers ... or is it entirely coincidental that they want to identify US government work immediately after having a copy of the hard disk at their disposal. This being Blogger I'd have to go with the conspiracy every time :-)

Friday 14 March 2008

Shuttle SN41G2 (FN41 motherboard) BIOS

Got a new FN41 v2.0 motherboard from ebay for my ageing Shuttle SN41G2. System has always run well with an Athlon XP 2500+, 1GB DDR400, Radeon 9250 and Sony DVDRW. You can't use DDR400 with the integrated GeForce 4MX graphics unless you drop the speed down to DDR333. But it works ok with an AGP card - which also means you can disable the integrated graphics in the BIOS, reclaim the memory and disconnect the small noisy internal fan.

The replacement mobo had BIOS v18 (fn41s018.bin) and I was having a bit of trouble getting the memory speeds to stick properly. Went to Shuttle to get the v32 (fn41s032.bin) BIOS and found it wouldn't flash with the Award flash utility listed - kept getting an error about an invalid product. Available version was AWDFLASH v8.89. Fortunately I had a previous download of AWDFLASH V8.23 and that worked fine.

On the subject of noise Alfredo's Speedfan works well with this system and can keep the fan noise to a steadier level on a warm day - ideal if you've got the unit sat on the desk just by you.

Monday 3 March 2008

Samsung in need of therapy

Trawling through overnight server reports first thing in the morning is not the cheeriest introduction to the day, but the caffeine helps - M&S Fairtrade Dark Roast Espresso brewing as we speak, er type.
Just occasionally the reports throw up a real LOL entry. One of my old test servers just reported this

PlugPlayManager. Event ID 12. 02/03/2008 20:10

The device 'SAMSUNG SP0812N' (IDE\DiskSAMSUNG_SP0812N) disappeared from the system without first being prepared for removal.

It's an internal drive! Where did it disappear to and what sort of preparation did it think it needed!? I guess it didn't take well to the request to copy a 4GB file. I've got an image of it slinking out from the back of the PC, to hide behind the filing cabinet, rocking backwards and forwards, whimpering.
We need more error messages like this first thing :-)

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