Just to reiterate what Big Gee said in a comment, my computer is shot, so until I get a new one and transfer everything, I will not be able to post anything new. So please be patient, and those of you who thought I’d given up the ghost – hard luck! For I shall soon be hunting you down again, re-armed and refreshed from my wee break.

UPDATE 11.02.2017: I’ve splashed out on a new machine but it’s going to take a few days to get back in the flow. It seems I screwed up the hard drive rather than the motherboard, and not everything was backed up. Ah well!

UPDATE 16.02.2017: I was pushing on, I’d set up my e-mail accounts – downloading 11,000+ old messages from one account! – and even getting somewhere with unlocking the folders on the external hard drive, when disaster struck in the form of a power cut, or perhaps a power surge; either way, it scrubbed almost everything from my new machine and now I’m back to the bare bones and trying to put it all together again.

If it hadn’t been dark, and if my lump hammer hadn’t been in the shed, this latest episode could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, ending my association with computers in a very ugly scene.

I shall try to pick up the pieces, again, but another major setback could be the end of the line.

UPDATE 19.02.2017: I have persevered with my ill-judged purchase for long enough, so last night I filled in the online form warning PC World that I shall be returning it in the morning. I am prepared to splash out a bit more money to get a better machine and – on Big Gee’s recommendation – a UPS unit to protect from power cuts and surges.

After Aberystwyth (and if it’s OK with him) I plan to mosey on down to Aberaeon and leave my old machine with Big Gee in the hope that he can breathe on it, and if a full recovery is out of the question then I’ll settle for being able to salvage what I need.

While I remain computerless I can only apologise to my readers, and the ladies in Tywyn library who’ll be wondering why I’ve suddenly become such a regular visitor. As my phone isn’t set up for e-mails Twitter might be the only way to contact me, it’s @jacothenorth.

So there we are. Fingers crossed!

UPDATE 25.02.2017: I did it. I went to PC World and got a tidy machine, even splashed out on a new monitor. I’ve spent this week familiarising myself with it and trying to retrieve the stuff I’ve lost. My old machine was well and truly knackered, with Big Gee unable to salvage anything. Most of what I’ve lost is almost certainly on my external hard drive, so some time next week I shall sit myself down and work on it.

I also managed to get back my e-mails and contacts, going back 12 years or more, thousands and thousands of e-mails . . . then I lost them again! I somehow managed to lock myself out of Incredimail by changing my ‘identity’. So I have re-installed Incredimail and will go through the process again. One bright note was that I found all my documents, music, photos and videos on BT Cloud, and they are now safely on the new machine.

The big story in Wales over recent weeks has obviously been the Llangennech school dispute, and the lies and smears it has generated – all from one side, with those anti-Welsh protesters, or possibly ‘Welsh’ Labour’s press office, also managing to get a wholly misleading story in Private Eye and a disgusting account of the affair in the Wasting Mule, which was forced to issue an apology the very next day.

Fortunately, the Llangennech dispute has been well covered in the blogosphere, Cneifiwr and Caru Cymru are deserving of special mention. So lest I lose my treasured position among the blogs most hated by ‘Welsh’ Labour, the Third Sector, Plaid Cymru, Ukip, liberals, socialists, Unionists, Lib Dems, Tories, Swansea council, housing associations, Carmarthenshire council, the tourism industry, etc., etc., etc., I’d better push on and get out a post.

Expect something on Tuesday.

33 thoughts on “Problems!

  1. Anonymous

    I guess some of the old ladies in Tywyn Library think you fancy one of them Jac! I’m sure a couple probably think their boat has come in! “Two old ladies sitting on the sand, each one wishing the other was a man” as the words of that old Lonnie Donegan song went. A big disappointment for someone when you kick start your new machine into life, and disappear over the horizon.

    Nearly there, complete with restored back-ups. You should be up and running for at least another decade with that shiny new UPS guarding the shit from the grid.

  2. Big Gee

    UPDATE 16.02.2017: Whoa there boy! Leave the lump hammer in the shed. It’s tough I know, but as usual, when you think it’s bad it often gets worse – these disasters often come in gangs.

    Pack it up for tonight, have a mug of Ovaltine, a couple of Valiums and get a good night’s sleep – it’ll all look better in the morning. These little hiccups are usually resolved without too much fallout. You’ve just been the victim of some bad luck at the wrong time. Shit happens!

    I’ve just sent you an e-mail & a link to purchase an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit. With your dependency on a PC you really should have had one installed a long time before now. They’re not expensive, but pay for themselves in the long run. If I didn’t use one, I’d be a nervous wreck.

    Deep breath, count to ten and exhale slowly, deep breath count to ten and . . . . . .

    1. Vlad the inhaler

      Perhaps this is God’s way of telling you that supporting Brexit was a bad idea. 🙂

      1. Vlad the inhaler

        Assuming you disconnected your pc from the mains there is no way that changing the motherboard cell is going to damage the motherboard.
        Neither is there any way that changing the cell can damage your hard drive.

        This stuff you’ve been told about a failing hard drive sending out messages about a low motherboard battery is pure bollocks. It doesn’t happen.

        The most likely scenario, by a country mile, is that the bios got corrupted.

        This would (in simple terms) lead to the pc failing to recognise its own on board hardware, your hard drive and possibly the boot start up sequence.

        Make sure you get all your hardware back and get somebody else to have a look at it.

        1. I don’t think I disconnected it, but it was definitely switched off. What I was told struck me as a little implausible, especially the computer being lost for words (but then, what do I know?). I have kept the machine and may ask someone else to have a look at it, especially if I can’t get to what I’ve saved on the external hard drive.

        2. Big Gee

          Yes you’re absolutely right Vlad. It’s just that I put it over in a slightly more diplomatic way! To save any embarrassment to the parties involved.

          CMOS batteries are only used nowadays to keep the RTC ticking over and nothing else. When Jac reported what had happened I had visions of someone (no names given) with his protruding tongue firmly clenched in the corner of his mouth, whilst using an oversized flat head screwdriver blade to prize out the CMOS battery. Following a slip – with a nasty scratch mark across the rails of his multi-layered motherboard from the edge of his oversized ‘flathead’ – that’s how CMOS batteries can (indirectly) mess up your motherboard – when a gorilla is in charge of the Poundland screwdriver set!

          What he was told by his ‘techie friend’ in Towyn IS bollocks. Nothing to do with failing HDDs. False reporting? Well that CAN happen sometimes – but not in the case described.

          BIOS corruption could well give the symptoms described. All the talk of faulty motherboards, faulty hard drives and a run-down CMOS battery sounds more like drivel.

          The terms BIOS and CMOS both refer to essential parts of a computer’s motherboard. They work together and they’re both important, but they are NOT the same thing.

          The BIOS, or “Basic Input/Output System”, is special firmware stored in a chip on the computer’s motherboard (in times gone past the battery provided the tiny current to facilitate that process, these days that function is performed using non-volatile memory – as I mentioned in a previous comment above – that doesn’t need a battery). It is the first program that runs every time the computer is turned on. The BIOS performs the POST, which initializes and tests the computer’s hardware. Then it locates and runs the boot loader, or loads the operating system directly.

          When changes are made in the BIOS configuration, the settings are not stored on the BIOS chip itself. Instead, they are stored on a special memory chip, which is referred to as “the CMOS”. Like most RAM chips, the chip that stores the BIOS settings is manufactured using the CMOS process. It holds a small amount of data, usually 256 bytes. This information includes what types of disk drives are installed on the computer, the current date and time of the system clock, and the computer’s boot sequence.

          Now given that bit of basic common knowledge amongst us electronics engineers, the symptoms that Jac described, before his meeting with the ‘button’ cell, certainly points to corruption in his firmware programme in the BIOS. So Vlad the inhaler is probably spot on in his analysis.

          The lesson for Jac – when selecting someone who is proficient in computer hardware knowledge is:
          A one eyed man is king – in the land of the blind“! There are also big differences between doctors and nurses in this field, or cooks and chefs!

          Still, the important thing is to get Jac back on his feet, which, according to the e-mails ping-ponging back and fore between us is now in the final furlong. I’m glad you got your tower back from your ‘friend’ in Towyn though Jac. All the data files on the HDD inside that machine should be easily accessible, if it’s hooked up to your new PC as a secondary ‘slave’ drive.

    1. Big Gee

      Diolch yn fawr am dy eiriau caredig daffy2012.

      Jac – glad to hear you’re getting there. How changing the CMOS battery affected your hard drive I don’t know, it’s function is basically to keep your real time clock (RTC) ticking over in newer motherboards. Traditionally it also kept your BIOS memory settings when your computer was isolated from the mains. These days that function is done in non-volatile memory – that doesn’t need a battery. A bit strange that messing with your CMOS battery has caused a HDD problem.

      Highlights the importance of regular backups Jaco!

      1. I was getting a message telling me that the battery was low. I even had to switch off and on a couple of times before she’d start. But according to the bloke in the shop this message might have been referring to the hard drive but the machine couldn’t find the exact words . . . or something. Anyway, of the two hard drives, one I knackered, and the other one – so I was told – was also out of action.

        I’m slowly getting things up and running on my new machine but it would all be a lot easier if I could download from my external hard drive. I know it’s there, because I can see over 300GB of my stuff, but when I try to transfer it I get correctly labelled folders which are empty. Not helped by the fact that I don’t have the backup software I need re-installed yet, because so many companies make it very difficult to deal with them if you’re in my situation.

        One major problem is that there seems to be no way of getting in touch with my e-mail service – Incredimail – because I’ve lost everything. I’ve got ten years of e-mails backed up on my external hard drive but until I can reinstall the Incredimail software it’s lost. Fortunately, my personal e-mail address goes through a spam filter and I’ve got that working. And of course I’ve got my GMail address. At the moment I’m using Opera Mail.

        What I’d like from you, Gwilym, is the info to set up the blog e-mail addresses. Are they POP, IMAP or what? Please send it to my personal or Google address.

        1. Big Gee

          I’ll get the e-mail info to you tomorrow Jac. I don’t know what the original mailbox passwords are, but that’s no problem – give me new ones and I’ll change them on the server.

          I’ll drop you a line in the morning. I’ll also give you some info. re. the problem with your backup/ reinstating your data from the external backup drive you’ve been using.

            1. Big Gee

              I said I’d drop you a line, but I haven’t got your Gmail address – doh!. You drop me a line to ITsupport’at’ and then I’ll have it.

  3. Anonymous

    Terrible news Big Gee. You are showing commitment way beyond the cause. Condolences from me.
    Jac: Lenovo seem to be a name coming to the fore at the moment. I have a budget tower and it is absolutely fine. May be worth considering.

    1. That’s what I’ve just ordered in Aber. Should be with me tomorrow, then it’s a question of setting up and transferring everything. Shocked to hear that MS Office is £60 a year. When did that happen?

      1. Big Gee

        Don’t go paying money into Bill Gates’ pension fund Jac. Try Libre Office. Open Source software – absolutely free and it does everything that MS Office does and lots more besides. Here’s a link:

        Thank you everyone for your kind words and condolences – it’s REALLY appreciated. I probably won’t be back until the dust settles, now that I know Jac has access to the blog. Thank you all.

        1. Vlad the inhaler

          If it’s the motherboard then his HDD should be ok. Either install it as a secondary drive or add it as an external USB with a kit.

          Moving office software was blocked by MS when they”improved” their terms and conditions in 2013 but it is my understanding that MS backed down on this for some types later.
          So if he had a legit MS Office which was retail or FPP on his old machine he can probably move it to his new PC by re-registering.

    1. Big Gee

      I’m not sure if Jac has access to posts at present, so I’ll take the liberty of answering on his behalf, as I’m holding the fort for him for the time being.

      He has inadvertently shorted out some rails on his motherboard whilst attempting to replace the BIOS ‘button’ cell. Don’t ask me how he managed it, but these are often the problems we professionals run up against with over zealous DIY engineers!!! The machine is now in intensive care somewhere in Tywyn, it was obviously a bit far for him to come down to the hospital in Aberaeron! On the bright side he’s obviously taken on board the sermons he’s received in the past about back-ups, and I understand he did have a back-up on hand – thank goodness.

      He’s picked his time well, I’m up against it at the moment, as my little sister passed away in the early hours of this morning, so it’s not the best time for me to step into the breech.

      1. Nothing trivial then, Because I have a few unwanted odds and ends lying around I thought I might have been able to suggest a solution, although it seems he is already in good hands.

        Condolences to you Bee Gee, obviously a difficult time.God Bless.

    2. I’m told I’ve blown the motherboard/RAM replacing a £2 coin battery. Gonna buy a new tower, just the tower, got top notch everything else. Will mooch around Aber tomorrow, then go online. Should be back by the weekend.

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