Bobbing for Kernels

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What if everything breaks at once?

Posted by kernelbob on August 1, 2008

Everything in my life is breaking now.  This post is a long enumeration of problems and symptoms, lightly sprinkled with self-pity.  If you want the synopsis, the major categories are pinball games, cars, computers and network equipment, and the bed.

Let’s start with pinball.  On Tuesday, I got the parts to repair the Monster Bash game.  I installed a new gear in Frankenstein’s gear box and new parts in one of the jet bumpers.  Also put in the “Cliffy” steel reinforcement around the center hole.  Then I blew a fuse while checking lamps.  Got a new fuse Thursday.  Installed it, tested the game and pronounced it working, for the first time since November, at 2:30.  At 3:30, Dave told me that the same jet bumper had stopped working again.  So I took the jet bumper apart, and now it’s being held up by a rubber band.

I’ve been trying to get my employer’s hardware VPN installed for over two months now, and the latest snafu is that I misconfigured the router and the only way to de-misconfigure it is to send it back to California for a reflash.  So that’s broken, along with the IP phone.

The home DSL line went down on Saturday, came back Sunday night.  Last night it was down again.  While I was waiting on hold with the ISP, the home router broke.  It doesn’t remember the DSL line anymore.  I didn’t get to figure that out or open a trouble ticket with the ISP because…
When I got home last weekend, I found out the home backup server had been nonfunctional since I installed Ubuntu 8.04 in May.  Fixed that. Then it ran out of disk space because of all the new files since May. Ordered new disks (two 1,000 GB drives).  They came in yesterday.  To migrate the data onto the new disks, I temporarily need a machine with 6 SATA ports.  The only motherboard I have that can do that is my main workstation, so I took both boxes apart and installed the backup server’s disks in the workstation.  Can’t get grub to write the secondary bootstrap to the new disks, and can’t figure out why with no ‘net access.  So both computers are still apart.

And our waterbed sprang a leak a couple of days before the California trip.  We finally selected a new mattress last night, but won’t have it until Sunday. So we’re sleeping on an air mattress.

Let’s consider cars.

The Elise came back from its road trip with its headliner hanging down on one side, a turn signal popped out (the second time for that turn signal), and its one warning light flickering constantly.  (AFAICT, that’s not a meaningful warning.)  Also, the alarm is beeping, which means that one of the intrusion switches isn’t working anymore.  Once in the last two weeks, the switch that adjusts the brighness of the dash illumination wouldn’t work, and I had to drive with an unlit speedo.  That started working again, just as mysteriously as it stopped.  I’m not touching the Elise until a couple of the other cars are working, because…

Anne’s M Coupe had a routine service Wednesday.  After the service, the whole car started shaking at at 75 MPH and above.  Took it back yesterday, then again this morning.  The mechanic found that one wheel was just installed off-center.  Fixed for now.

Anne drove the Subaru yesterday while I took the M Coupe to the shop. The Subie had a dead battery when she left work.  Turns out the running lights don’t shut off anymore — even when the car is off.  So I took jumper cables over and got her jumped, then she drove home and we disconnected the battery.  I’d guess that a mouse has eaten a critical wire.

I just noticed that the M3 has cord showing on both front tires.

And today, both my phone and iPod have dead batteries.  They both charge from USB, so I can’t charge them from the computer that’s disassembled.


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