A little while ago I got a second VIC-20 which was in a cosmetically almost mint condition. Sadly the motherboard has a fault where it fails to read the joystick and the keyboard correctly resulting in the controls in games not functioning. The VIC-20 I had works great but cosmetically has seen better days. The label has come off and there has been extensive yellowing of its case. One has a serial number only in the ten thousands while the other machine has a serial number well into the hundred thousand. The cosmetically good looking machine being the oldest of the two and the yellowed machine being the younger system. So the younger system works great but looks sh*t and the oldest system looks great but runs sh*t.
Well, my wife and I have been jinxed these past few weeks, with various expensive house repair issues and an as-always bad timing computer disaster. This time, it was my relatively new HP TouchSmart IQ524 and its 500GB hard drive. Apparently the extraordinary issues I was having with creating Armchair Arcade TV Episode 1 - Route 16, was not entirely software or inherently system limitation related. By this past Thursday, my system's hard drive died, as in no longer bootable and no longer even data accessible, which makes some of the performance issues leading up to the complete failure explainable. Ironically, an MXM (laptop specific slot, which is what my all-in-one desktop PC has on its motherboard) video card that I had ordered from China just came in as well after a month long wait. My only option then was to run out to the store (an Office Depot by my work in this case) and plunk down the $85+ for a new 500GB 7200RPM Seagate Barracuda hard drive (I could have spent more for a 1.5TB HD - the only other option there - but it would have had less performance and I really don't need the extra space at this point). Since the original hard drive was no longer accessible, my only recourse was to restore from a hard drive clone from the middle of December. Luckily, as was the case with the last computer disaster with the Gateway, most of my important data was either in the cloud or on a flash drive, so once I went through the entirely too long process of getting the clone data off of my network server onto a USB drive so the amazing Acronis True Image 11 could work its restoration magic, it was a relatively easy process to get back to 100%. Unfortunately, this process took from late Friday until this morning (Sunday), so, of course, this put my already packed schedule behind schedule, including getting a script revision over to Matt Barton, studying for an "exam", and getting the second episode of Armchair Arcade TV produced. Such is life. What follows are photos of the take-apart-and-put-back-together process with my HP TouchSmart, along with some light commentary, including how the video card purchase seems to have been an ill-advised one:
As some of you may recall, I recounted my personal tale of woe back in October when my Gateway Tablet PC (CX210X) - my then primary system - decided to no longer start up. It wasn't a hard drive issue, it was a motherboard issue. Since I bought it from Gateway directly back in 2007 - and they no longer support direct purchases out of warranty (even if you want to pay) - I was out of luck--or so I thought. I took a chance and hit up a repair service out of California via eBay called Laptop Rescuer, which for a $175 flat fee (plus my cost to ship it to them) promised to make everything right (their regular Website is here). So, with some reluctance, I shipped it off. They professionally called me when they received it. They professionally called me when they sent it back. Best of all, it arrived back to me relatively quickly (within a few weeks) and most importantly, working as good as new. While I don't necessarily like to promote such things, I must say in this case I give them my wholehearted endorsement and if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you probably wouldn't go wrong with this company.
So now I have my primary HP TouchSmart desktop (64-bit Windows 7) and my now secondary Gateway Tablet PC, which is now maxed out for a 32-bit system with 4GB of memory and a new 7200RPM 320GB hard drive, upgraded with Windows 7 Home Premium (for those wanting a 100% clean install from the upgrade version, check out these instructions). The OS install of Windows 7 was a major pain mostly because of the extra features of the laptop (namely the digitized screen via a pen) and Gateway's lack of drivers, but, through some hard detective work and a bit of luck, it now appears to be 100% and better than ever. Whew!