Tim's Ferrari Laptop

Hrm – that didn’t last long. Last Friday (when I usually work from home) I turned on my 3400, only to find that it didn’t boot.

Not only didn’t it boot, it didn’t even get to the bios screen. The disk spun, the fan whirred, and an orange light on the front blinked green, orange, green, orange – in a sort of forlorn “I’m trying to boot, but I just don’t know how” sort of manner. Putting it out of it’s misery, I hit the power button again.

So, I went through the ritual of checking each pluggable component, making sure they were all seated properly – the mini PCI wireless card, bluetooth module, the easily accessible RAM slot, hard disk, and eventually dug around in the guts of the machine (under the keyboard, which required 9 screws and a bit of prising) to get to the additional RAM slot. No joy.

On Monday, I brought it into the office to try some spare RAM modules – but no joy there either. After a quick search around some mail archives here in Sun, and from talking to a few folks, I was getting ominous indications that the motherboard had gone out to lunch and that I’d probably need to send it back to Acer to get replaced. Worse still, I found that the machine’s now out of warranty, and that others had reported a repair bill of £1175 to get the motherboard replaced! Yow (that’s $2332 – probably more than the laptop’s worth!)

So I’m hanging around at the moment, waiting to see whether I should go ahead and get it fixed (it mightn’t be the motherboard, after all) – but in the meantime, I’ve been pulling data off it’s hard-disk.

Popping the disk into a spare USB enclosure, and plugging that into a nv_55 machine here was a pleasant surprise. Nearly all of the partitions on the disk were immediately recognised and mounted (yay Tamarack!) although for some reason, it didn’t automagically mount the fat32 partition that Windows was on (but did mount the Acer diagnostic partition) – had to manually mount that. It also didn’t automatically import the zpools on the disk, though interestingly, it did recognise them, and created links on the GNOME desktop for the pools (dangling links, but links nonetheless). Two calls to zpool import later, and I was in business, happily sucking 30 or 40gb of data from the disk, lest it has to go back to meet it’s maker.

For now, my work-from-home machine will be either my Mac (erk), my 733mhz PIII 256mb Dell running snv_37 (must upgrade it RSN) or a laptop that Damien kindly lent me – an M100 with a broken screen (vga-out will do) which will no doubt remind me of happier notebook times.

I’ll post an update here if I get the machine back on it’s LRFs again – and otherwise, write more about what I end up getting it replaced with. Given yesterday’s announcement, perhaps something with a Core2 Duo would be nice ;-)

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