Samsung: never again

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Dell isn’t the sexiest of computer brands, but there is a bloody good reason that enterprises will buy it above and beyond other brands: Support and parts. I spilled water on my keyboard back in September. The right shift key began to stick right afterward and the keyboard was cruddy to boot, so I ordered a replacement from eBay. When it arrived I discovered that the entire top panel of my laptop is one integrated unit. The keyboard can’t be replaced otherwise, so now I wonder why the fuck it is even sold by vendors as a separate unit. I damaged the panel in learning this: I tried to peel back part of the metal on the panel on the mistaken assumption that it popped off.

Damaged panel on Samsung laptop

From that point on I had to constantly glue down the panel. I found a panel advertised for my laptop on eBay. The seller emailed me, confirmed that it was indeed for the Samsung NP300V3A-S03NL and promptly dispatched the top panel of the Samsung NP300V4A-S03NL… which is a completely different shape and size. I dug deeper into Google and eventually found a German reseller, M.K. Electronic, who had a page with a list of Samsung’s part names for the NP300V3A. My new problem is that nobody in Europe stocked the part. I hit up maybe thirty different parts portals in France, Sweden, German, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Nobody held the part in inventory, would order it until I placed an order in turn, and couldn’t guarantee a delivery date. It took me a week to find a Singapore-based seller through DHgate who claimed inventory for this specific, obscure Samsung component. I had a surprise phone call from Hong Kong thirty minutes later to confirm the exact part I needed.

That was November 28. The panel arrived in good order from a Beijing warehouse this morning. There was a tiny bit of damage on the bottom, and two wires weren’t correctly secured, but its the panel. It works perfectly. See above for the scale of damage on the old panel. Dat glue action, mmm-hmm.

Lesson learned. I don’t think I’ll buy Samsung again given that specific parts have been a bitch to source.

TL:DR: China FTW.

Mark's new ghetto battlestation

by Mark -

CLACK CLACK fuck CLACK CLACK CLACK

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My jimmies were definitely rustled

I splashed water on my laptop yesterday. I’ve seen parents take longer to react to a child in danger. Really:

“Oh…” *flip it over, smoosh it with a towel, rip out battery and power cord* “…fuck.

I stripped the Samsung down to its bare components, and laid them out overnight on paper. I came as close to praying as I ever come, because the Samsung is my lifeline to everyone. Literally-and I don’t throw that word in a serious manner very often. Skype, work, play, and a fair amount of odds and ends of files. There wouldn’t be much actual important data lost outside of possibly my Sublime Text editor (and other application) configs.

Everything else is mostly Music? Google Music. Documents? Google Drive. Photos and videos? Dropbox or Amazon Glacier. And all of that because I fucking prepared. Everything goes into backup.

Reassembled, the laptop works fine except for the keyboard, but that was expected. I’ve already ordered a replacement board (which will be in Cyrillic because I’m just that metal a touch typer \m/).

In the meanwhile I’ve borrowed a USB-powered Dell keyboard from the hackerspace. It clacks. Loudly so.

by Mark -

Ubuntu died

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I did an in-place do-release-upgrade yesterday. The laptop was not completely plugged in, and the battery went out when the upgrade process was about 75% complete. Since then, things have been…very interesting due to the lack of 64-bit recovery media in the hackerspace.

by Mark -

Boo

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I’ve been quiet here. The new laptop is awesome. There are no two ways about it. I’m having a ball playing World of Warcraft and enjoying the Internet, as a whole, in a marginally-higher resolution.

Oh yeah, school work. Totally. See:

by Mark -

Oh yeah, new laptop

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Screen: 13.3″ Widescreen (1366×768)
Processor: Intel Core i5 2430M – 2.4GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 (1 x 4GB)
Hard disk: 640GB – 5400 rpm SATA2
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GT520M – 1 GB DDR3
Optical drive: Dual Layer DVD-ReWriter
Card reader: 4 in 1 (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)
Network: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless, BlueTooth 3.0
Colour: Black
Peripheral ports: 3 x USB2.0, HDMI, VGA
Battery: 6 cell 4400mAh
Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Dimensions: (w x d xh) 31.5cm x 21.8cm x 3.3cm
Weight: 2.1KG

The laptop should be on my doorstep by Friday and I am oh-so-excited. :D

This means:

by Mark -

Undocumented Applications

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I have absolutely nothing against Windows and Microsoft. I toast them every bit of deserved success in the desktop arena. But Windows on the desktop just isn’t for me; Linux has always offered me the perfect user experience on the desktop because it allows me to tweak, fiddle and change almost every damn thing. Want proof? I regularly berate Linux evangelists and wind0ze haters for being a pain in the ass.

And with this said, one of the fun things (…well, fun for me. Your own mileage may vary) I’ve been doing has been to take what I have learned about Windows systems, Windows programming and Windows utilities, and apply this to Linux. Turn C# into Mono. Turn CPUID’s CPU-Z into cat /proc/cpuinfo and dmidecode.

by Mark -

slowpain ≠ slickeasy

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I have a functioning Linux installation on my laptop – Fedora Core 15 as it happens. Compared to the slickeasy process of setting up Ubuntu, getting Fedora Core to the same point in usability has been very slowpain. While using any non-Ubuntu distro while in the mindset of a vanilla Linux home user, I’m always struck (repeatedly and agonizingly, as if with a big wooden mallet) by just how much less polished the setup is. Say what you like about Ubuntu and Canonical – and by god, people do! – they have polished the turd of user experience to a diamond sheen. Ubuntu Just Works.

Let’s compare
I don’t have a set standard for “functioning desktop environment”; if I have an Internet connection and access both Dropbox and Google Chrome, I am 90% setup. However:

Steps to launch Google Chrome in Ubuntu: 1. Fetch google-chrome.deb from the download page. 2. dpkg -i google-chrome.deb. 3. Launch Google Chrome.

Steps to launch Google Chrome in Fedora Core: 1. Fetch google-chrome.rpm from the download page. 2. rpm -i google-chrome.rpm. 3. Note the missing dependencies, research them and install them. 4. Further research the missing dependency and wind up having to download it separately, outside of the package manager. Have awful as fuck flashback to the dependency hell that originally drove me away from Fedora Core, seven fucking years ago. 5. Resolve all dependency. 6. Launch Google Chrome and en…it doesn’t launch. 7. Pop open a terminal, and attempt a launch from there to determine what the error message is. 8. Google the error message and seize upon a solution (disable selinux) while sailing through a frothy sea of angry comments regarding Google’s packaging policies, Ubuntu, Fedora, SELinux and that cunt squirrel who jangled the modem cable. 9. Disable SELinux, reboot. 10. Launch Google chrome. All of the above is typical of my experiences with Fedora. I mean, Christ, I had to hunt down

wicd by hand in Windows because for some reason the version of Network Manager that ships with this version of Gnome/Fedora wasn’t able to connect to my fucking wireless network. I would call all of this taking the piss, but for the fact that I have actually managed to install it. The Ubuntu installed crashes out because of a bug regarding the RAM in my Netbook, and the 4GB Debian and Suse downloads are just fucking frightening. I have no need whatsoever for that many packages. I /love/ Arch Linux, but there is way too much work involved in just getting it running.

by Mark -

Oops

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Each and every time I’ve chanced to say this around a computer I’ve had amusingly educational an experience.

Tonight’s? I left my laptop unbootable. Literally. I deleted GRUB. I do it twice a year. No oops. Usually. Tonight I have no handy Linux ISO on a pendrive ready to boot from.

Whoops.

by Mark -

Mario! Mario! Mario!

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super mario world

After 19 years I still have this fucking advertisement stuck in my head. I’ll worship Nintendo’s marketing as advertising gods for creating a meme that is still lodged in my hippocampus two decades after the fact, but I still want to be…unpleasant…to all of you, all the same.

So holy non-existent childhood memories, Batman. The Grealish family never owned a [[SNES]]. I remember when it first came out in Ireland, when I first laid eyes on its aesthetically-pleasing goodness, the console cost

by Mark -