"Entertainment page #8"
  April/May 2007 (10,007PH)
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Question to ponder on :
Has anyone shown that any space object (of any kind) outside our own solar system, has moved away from us by as much as spectral shifting (red shift) should indicate for the "Big Bang" theorists ?

Click here for crossword No 2
(answers at bottom of this page)

Articles from "Rick's Workbench"

Tale of interest no.8
The laptop that did go to the tip:

On a recent trip to the “tip shop” or the “resource recycling centre” as they prefer to be called,
I purchased a laptop computer.
The asking price was $28 so it wasn’t going to make too much of a hole in my pocket!
It was a Toshiba ‘Satellite’, and the sticker said it was capable of running Windows 2000 or Windows ME. Excellent!   I thought.
It should run Windows 98 really well!
There was another sticker applied to it by the tip shop staff informing the purchaser that it would not switch on,  had no hard disk,  and that the power supply for it was safely stored away.

What to do about a hard disk…
I had recently repaired another laptop for someone and had a devil of a job locating a suitable hard disk drive for it.
I ended up getting a 4Gb unit for $40.
Would I have the same hassle with this one?
Then I saw a mini IDE hard disk sitting in the shop,  not far from the laptop…
Too good to be true?
I turned it over…
3.2Gb and at the scandalous price of $3.30.    
I purchased the hard disk as well!

The next day I decided to tackle the beast.
They were right…
It wouldn’t switch on,  but the green LED indicated that the power was being applied.
Something didn’t feel right about the power switch.
I decided to pull it all apart to see if there was anything obviously wrong with it (as I was hoping!).
As soon as I saw the power switch arrangement,  I knew what was wrong.
The power switch proper was the typical small momentary push button type.
It was working fine.
The problem lay in the piece of plastic making up a combined switch lock and button in the front of it.

There was a small tongue of plastic which was meant to push the power switch actuator.
It had warped and would no longer push in far enough.
I inserted a sliver of scrap circuit board behind this tongue,  and lo and behold,  we had power!
A possible Achilles heel for Toshiba Satellite laptops no doubt!
I wonder how much they would have charged me at the tip shop for it,  if it had worked!

After I installed the hard drive,  I got into the BIOS setup using the amnesia trick.
(see Technical tales no.5)
I ran a scandisk on the hard drive and found it to be good.
I then reformatted it and installed all my favourite software.
The only thing I had trouble with was finding a video driver for the laptop.
All windows would give me was VGA and 16 colours which didn’t look all that flattering.
I obtained all the drivers for the laptop and installed them,  but the video driver (S3 Virge) refused to work.
So did any copy of the driver that I could find.

Finally,  after going through all the drivers in Windows 98,  I found a super VGA driver that worked.
It also gave me 256 colours and a decent size desktop area on the screen.
After that,  the “new” laptop replaced the old one (The subject of Technical tales no.5).
The batteries didn’t work,  but that didn’t surprise me.
A new one is available for just over $100 if I ever need it.

 So,  all in all,  a laptop with a 350MHz processor,  3.2Gb hard disk,  and 128Mb of RAM,  for a grand total of $31.30 wasn’t a bad deal.
I’m sure it will keep me going until an even better one comes along!
I think every state in Australia should have “tip shops”…
You never know what bargains you’ll get,  and it helps with recycling.


Till next time.

All rights for this article belong to "Rick's Workbench" in Tasmania

 Disclaimer  :  We do not recommend attempting mains powered projects or repairs without qualified assistance.
                                                     The articles from "Rick's Workbench" are for entertaining reading only.

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