Continuing from above, I managed to tie the new foundation together with rebar and wire and set up for the concrete pour, which I had scheduled for the next day.

On the 7th of August smoke returned; this time from the Trinity fire up North, and for the next week the smoke remained, causing me to be 'house bound' again, without air conditioning, in the 100+ degree computer room.

By August 18th the smoke had cleared and I quickly caught up on backlogged chores, with hopes of finishing the foundation by Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday morning (cyber) work took longer than usual and I was getting 'close to being done' by about 2:55 PM. Just as I was about to allow the ARPSN wx/seismic machine to upload new data, a BSOD appeared on its screen and died.

As stated before, I am one of those folks who believe, "If it's not broken, don't fix it," and once something is working, I leave it alone. In other words, I have not touched anything since starting ARPSN and the only thing different that happened before the BSOD was, a Microsoft security update, which caused a reboot of the machine. Shortly after the reboot, it died.

The next part comes from an article I wrote for my main page and placed here as part of ARPSN development history.

dBummerzs - Part One: Expensive Paper Weights
Could Be Titled: Computer Corporatists Fleecing Flock

Ok, so I know I should not attempt to write when I am angry, but WTF, Nobody cares more about ME than computer corporatists.

Yesterday (200808.18), a little after 3 PM, my Hewlett Packard/Compaq NC6000 Notebook displayed a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and died.

This is the machine that controls my weather station and seismic sensors for ARPSN.

Normally I would not get so angry, but there are added circumstances which fan this fire, starting with this quote from a thread on a HP Forum:


nc6000 no startup

I have an NC6000 which without warning will not start up. The power light comes on briefly, then the battery light comes on, fan starts, shuts off and nothing else.

Any help would be appreciated thanks.

There are many great comments and I found this one 'most interesting':

Why did the no-boot problem with the nc6000 suddenly arise at the end of July of this year? A search of these forums shows no similar problems prior to the start of this thread on July 28.

Odd, but possibly a clue...

Past vs. Present

I have been fixing, "My computer has turned into a paper weight," problems since IMSAI, and am considered extremely good at what I do.

All of my old machines; including two very early S-100 systems work fine today, along with my early Osborne and Compaq CP/M based portables (-; , that are the size of a small suitcase.

The best running machines are my Dec (Digital Equipment Corporation) Alpha and SGI machines; both of which, run Unix based systems.

About ten (10) years ago I started to notice a reduced user life of electronics and began to take notes.

At this point I am convinced manufacturers are designing electronics to last five (5) years or less, and here is my opinion on how that number came up. Usually computer products (the ones I shop for) have a two year warranty.. and, one can buy an 'extended contract' (good idea for laptops/notebooks) that usually adds another three (3) years, for a total of five (5). I have seen other electronic products, with shorter warranty periods, die within months after the end of a warranty.

My last three (3) PC purchases (Compaq/Hewlett Packard/Alienware) within the past 10 years, failed prematurely, none of them work now, all of them died with BSOD... and (to me) that is a lot of wasted money and high blood pressure.

Currently I use Apple products because my favorite companies (DEC and SGI) are no longer in business. I do have a long page which explains an interesting story involving Intel, Microsoft, and DEC titled, "How the Boyz in the Back Room Got Rid of Digital Equipment Corporation", if one is into computer history with source.


I am hesitant to spend any more money on electronic products until quality is restored. The only way I will be able to finish ARPSN is by apparently buying another Notebook and feel this would be like throwing 'good money on to bad money, already spent'. It also appears problems are showing up everywhere in electronics land.

For example, my main high frequency radio has been broken for nine (9) years (died two weeks beyond warranty) and I have been trying to find a competent replacement, with no luck, and could list many links of complaints about current amateur radio manufactures. (otoh) My real old (emergency) Atlas 210X HF radio and Swan 45 HF antenna (despite mild drift) still works like a champ.

One more thing...

I still do animation, video editing, music, currently use an old Mac dual 500 G4, and at one time had a large render farm running ten (10) tower machines, plus my wife's machines.

Our electric utility bill was quite high and since 2001 has become more expensive.

To date, I have eliminated the majority of towers for machines drawing 10 watts, or less (laptops and mini), and reduced the utility bill by forty-seven (47) percent. I am in the process of converting a majority of my electronics to alternative power.

A few years ago my G4 started to 'act up', so I started to look for a new tower and almost bought the 'latest, greatest', but had an odd gut feeling about the G5 being 'water cooled. I was about to click "Purchase" and am glad I did Not! If one is interested in reading why, check this out:

PowerMac G5 Coolant Leaks

A few years ago my wife offered to buy me a new MBP (MacBook Pro Laptop) for my birthday; allowing for more reduction in electric power by putting the G4 into storage, but I was not fond of MBP specs, at that time, and postponed the purchase.

Three and a half years went by, a MBP that fit my needs (A complete Movie/TV animation production package/etc. I could store in one small case) had became available, and I was about to hit Purchase again, when this popped up:

MacBook Pro GPU/Video Failures

The above threads also appear on Apple forums and like others, I am currently waiting to see if there will be a new MBP release that eliminates this problem.

Why Do I Still Work With These Products

I stopped using the Microsoft based PC years ago, but maintained one 'game machine' running XP Pro, which eventually got replaced with Play Station ;-) This also helped get over the 'no games for Mac' dilemma. (-;

ARPSN (sort of) required using Microsoft based machines because the majority of software for seismic and weather data required Windows.

My reason for saying 'sort of' is because, before retirement I was considered a 'top notch' developer and have a software development machine (SGI/IRIX) capable of producing excellent cross-platform.

During the 'old days' Unix admins were required to write their own device drivers, so writing controller programs (for me) is easy. I am also considered an 'above excellent tech' and . . the only problem is, statistically speaking, my life should be over in eight years, according to insurance companies, meaning; time has become a factor in 'getting things done'. In fact, last night I was considering 'turning it 'all' off and will explain why, but not today.

Notebook Is Toast

I just completed the last of my 'tricks' to get the notebook functioning and all diagnostic tests have failed.

As a 'last try', I attempted to install Fedora and it balked telling me, "This problem is serious, and the Install cannot continue."

Despite present feelings, I believe ARPSN may become useful one day and there are not that many who have the background to do it; that is, until it is simplified and explained. Plus, I am not about to let a piece of crap hardware with Windows software stand in my way! (-;;-) Yes, I'll shell out more (bad) money, replace the notebook, and say, in writing, this will be the last FNPOS WINPC for me, because Stupid can not be fixed!

Some References

Here is a brief description of corporatism from Wikipedia:

Corporatism is also used to describe a condition of corporate-dominated globalization. Points enumerated by users of the term in this sense include the prevalence of very large, multinational corporations that freely move operations around the world in response to corporate, rather than public, needs; the push by the corporate world to introduce legislation and treaties which would restrict the abilities of individual nations to restrict corporate activity; and similar measures to allow corporations to sue nations over "restrictive" policies, such as a nation's environmental regulations that would restrict corporate activities. [Continue Reading]

Here is an article written September 13, 2002 [Six (6) Years Ago]

What is American Corporatism? By Robert Locke
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 13, 2002

We are probably heading into some economic heavy weather which will spur needed debate on what's right and wrong with our economy. This will require our being clear about what kind of economy we really have. I have mentioned before that we increasingly live not in a capitalist society but in a corporatist one, and I would like to flesh out this notion.

What is corporatism? [Continue Reading] Me personally, I usually refer to THEM as the "Profits Not People Crowd" (YMMV).

It Appears I Am Not the Only One Feeling This!

Hams and Trust in Hamfest/eBay Dealings?
by Ray Swan (NV2A) on August 18, 2008

Has civility with one another gone the way of taking your hat off in a restaurant or not cursing in front of children?

I have purchased most of my equipment at Hamfest and from eBay. Of the last three transceivers I've purchased only one was accurately described. This has me wondering, do I have to start buying all my gear new as I have no way of knowing the used gear is any good if we can't trust the ham we are doing business with to be honest. Character has been described as what you do when know one is looking. Is that it, you don't know the guy at the Hamfest or on eBay so it's okay to sell defective equipment.

Don't give me the "buyers beware." We all know that and it doesn't hold water if you can't spend a few hours with the gear you are buying to test it out under every conceivable situation. We have to be able to trust each other in our business dealings.

Is it just me or have others noticed the unwritten rule of hams being fair with fellow hams taking the deep six for greed? It would be interesting to hear how you've been cheated but please, no call signs here. I'd also like to hear any social redeeming stories of guys who have gone out of their way to treat you right. Call signs might be nice for this one.

Ray NV2A - http://www.eham.net/articles/19853 - (imo) The comments are a good read, too

BSOD - ARPSN computer

How's the Weather?

Click above image for large picture. Top portion is local weather and bottom portion is recent seismic activity. UTC time noted on left. GPS date, with UTC and PDT time located lower left corner.