Category Archives: Misc

Frogs Looking For IT Work

At 5:30am this morning, I’m awakened by my bedside computer that one of my servers was off-line. The server, an embedded system controller that is used to control my video routing switcher for my goat website.

Dragging myself out of bed, I get dressed and go out in the rain to my office, which is a stand alone building next to my barn.

Opening the door and switching on the light, I am greeted by a huge, green tree frog. The frog has managed to unplug the Cat5 cable from the controller and was now happily hanging from the now dangling cable. How on earth he managed that I don’t know!

I shooed the frog away from the controller and plugged the now slimy cable back into the controller and managed to snap a photo of the frog where it ended up a moment later, on a video distribution amp.

Frog in the office

Frog in the office

You just never know what might give you a networking headache!

Busy Few Days On The Farm

The last 4 days have seen us finish one project and start another. The first project, started in beginning of May,  involved us building a small 2 x 4 meter camper for my autistic adult son. It’s been a great project for the two of us to work on together. My 28 year old son functions on the level of about a 4 year old, but he was so excited with the project, he really enjoyed the process.

You can check it out on my son’s web page:

The second project is smaller but no less daunting. Once his camper was done, my son started moving some of his possessions in, and came to me with his 6 core laptop that wouldn’t turn on. A quick check found that the power input jack for the charger was completely broken out!

My manual dexterity is greatly diminished   from multiple sclerosis,  but there was no way I was going to afford a new laptop with the same specs as this one.

Take it apart, I did!

Son's broken laptop

Son’s broken laptop

It took the removal of almost 40 tiny screws and a number of ribbon cables to get where I could take out the charger input card.

The card also contains network, USB, and VGA output.

Once the card was out, and unsure where to purchase a single board for this machine, I stuck the PC board’s part number, into! Before I even got 3 of the many numbers in the part number, Amazon’s auto complete took me right to the exact part I needed. The best part, it was all of $15!

So provided I can get the silly thing back together in working order, the computer should be as good as new!



Fixing Things: Linux Install

Saturday, we had a power failure. Not uncommon in Florida in the summer, which is why most of my computers each have an

Lineman repairing our power feed

Lineman repairing our power feed

uninterruptible power supply on them.

My bedside machine however does not, so after the power was restored, I turned my machine back on like always and continued on with other chores. However, a few hours later, while in another building on the farm, and wanting a file from my bedside computer, I could connect, but got a file permission error when I tried to access it. So I went in my bedroom, and opened my Caja file browser, but it wouldn’t open. Neither would mail, or any other application.

Figuring at this point that I had some damage to the hard drive caused by the power failure, I did a reboot. During the boot sequence, Linux announced that it was finding errors on the hard drive. Using the Fix Errors choice presented to me after Linux noticed the problem, the computer spent the next twenty minutes tidying things up on the drive. Linux then rebooted itself, and all was right with the world!

Lessons learned? First, I finally got around to ordering a UPS for that computer. Second, Linux is always aware of itself, and is able to fix most problems if you pay attention to the screen prompts!