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Fixing a processor with a broken pin

September 21, 2006

amd64 x2 4800 broken pin processorAt first I was grandiosely excited about the shiny new dual core AMD 64 X2 4800 processor I was about to upgrade my system with. Then I was bombastically disappointed when the computer did not start up after I had fitted the new processor on the motherboard.

After checking that all kinds of sockets, cables, wires and buttons were in place I removed the CPU to see if it had possibly been inserted inadequately.

To my horror I noticed that one of the minisculus processor pins had been bent all the way down to the surface of the processor.

In my 10 years of building custom computers and therefore fitting aplenty of CPUs, this was the first time something had gone as horribly wrong.

I accredit it to the fact that it was late in the night, I had had a double (single malt) scotch and I was too lazy to move the PC to a flat surface so I was fitting the CPU in a 45% angle.

Not giving up instantly, I tried straightening the pin with a tiny screwdriver but it snapped like only a dry stick could do.

For a brief moment I suspected that maybe the CPU had come like this from the shop but realised that no warranty return was possible after having further mutilated the CPU myself.

I decided to cut my losses and put the CPU up for auction on eBay clearly stating that it was not working. Then I proceeded to ordering a second AMD 64 X2 4800 from the same shop.

The following day I started looking into ways of repairing a broken pin on a processor. Just out of curiosity because a) the replacement processor was on the way and b) I didn't really think it was possible.

Almighty Google came up with a few possible solutions:

Only the last suggestion sounded like any fun so off I went to the AMD website for detailed specifications on the socket 939.

Figuring out the name of the missing pin was a bit confusing due to the orientation of the CPU but at last I had a position; AF-12 aka [STRAP_HI_AF12].

Looking up the functionality of that position I struck gold.

The specification said "Not used by the system" for that location. Two other locations said the same thing so this seemed to be a 0.5% (1 in 200) chance.

So I attempted a second, careful, insertion of the processor and the PC booted up like a champ. I ran a few tests and benchmarks and all indicated that the processor was working just fine.

Then there was the dilemma of the replacement processor being on the way and the auction stating non-functional processor whereas it was now seemingly fully working.

Luckily enough the shop had a "7 day cooling off" period within which you could return items without any hassle (still waiting for the refund though).

The auction was won by an Italian buyer who insisted that I tested the CPU before he would pay.

It did not matter how many times I wrote in poor Italian that the auction specifically said the item was not working so I could not give any guarantees.

I guess it worked out for the best that we decided not to trade since the handicapped CPU is now running my PC and doing well. I am getting quite attached to it actually.

So the moral of the story is twofold:

Don't be a meat head when inserting a new processor and if things go wrong, don't despair until you have Googled it!




A Mini Adventure

September 18, 2006

Once addicted FRIENDS fans, we could not believe our ears when yesterday evening somewhere behind us in the restaurant we suddenly heard Janice's hysterical laugh.

For the not so familiar with the Friends TV series, Janice was Chandler's ex girlfriend and had one of the most irritating, high pitched, ridiculous laughs ever.

It all started one fine Sunday afternoon when feeling a bit sad to see that our weekend was vanishing before our eyes.

The husband proposed that we go out for a walk, maybe stretching it all the way to the Putney Warf for a nice bite (remember that with a 4 month old even the most common place things are mini adventures).

We packed all the 567 essential items for the baby, and head off on our mini adventure.

All being well, a very pleasant night was falling around us when we found a perfect spot at a grill restaurant by the river Thames.

Baby cosily asleep in his pram, nice champagne was ordered (again, with a 4 month old ANY opportunity is a GOOD opportunity to celebrate) and we started to unwind when a sudden shriek was heard from behind.

An airplane turbine? A motorcycle crash? Pig slaughter? Noooooo, just Janice who was having a laugh behind us!!!

For the next 50 odd minutes we had to cope with what seemed to be a fantastically funny night out for the girls behind us. Nothing wrong with that if only JANICE wasn't part of the group; laughing away in her painfully witch-like laugh.

Well, thankfully enough, my company (hubby) was excellent, and so was the dinner and the chocolate drenched brownie dessert.

To top it all up like a nice fat cherry, walking back home with my fabulous husband and amazing kid in what could be one of the last summer nights was truly a treat.



Lost african python in London

September 16, 2006

People in London often say that the London tube is a bit of a jungle. If the below python makes it there, it will take it to a whole new level.

missing African python in London

Reward: Lost 8ft African python "Sandra" was last seen in the alleyway behind shop. Please call 07977xxxxxx Thanks.

If you do see a python without an owner do send me an email and I will notify the person who put up the above notice.

I was also about to tell you about current office politics at my office.

Despite being required 110% on a current project I had to accept a 50% working solution in order to prevent other staff QUOTE wanting the same thing UNQUOTE.

But there are no office politics at my office so there is nothing to talk about.

PS For some time ahead I am 50% available for any commercial propositions



Identity Fraud and Identity Theft in the UK, you next?

September 08, 2006

identity theft and fraudThere was quite a surprise in my latest Vodafone mobile bill. Two new accounts had been created and during almost a month they had incurred over £800 of charges.

After a short while on the phone with customer service, Vodafone quickly assured me that I would not see any of the charges on my bank statement.

It was almost too easy to get cleared from the charges and this to me seems to suggest that it is a frequent occurrence.

This happened just 2 days after a suspicious courier required my signature for a "signed delivery". The courier looked very amateur and when I asked who the delivery was from he did not know.

The delivery turned out to be a just a random advertisement so obviously the person was collecting signatures. I'm really glad I put down a phony signature that cannot be used.

To be on the safe side I reported these two incidents to the local police station. It is good to have a crime reference number in case of some later complications.

Reporting the first incident took around 1 hour. Reporting the second incident took an amazing 3 hours because two separate crime reports had to be filed as the two different frauds occurred in two different police wardens.

CIFAS is a fraud prevention service in the UK. The CIFAS web site contains useful advise on how to prevent identity fraud and theft and what to do if you are a victim.



Brazil 3, Argentina 0 at the Arsenal Emirates Stadium, London

September 04, 2006

brazil-v-argentina-emirates-s.jpgThe beautiful game; even more beautiful when your team is winning in front of nearly 60,000 spectators!

A friendly match was played between Brazil and Argentina at the Emirates Stadium in London but anybody who knows those two teams also knows that they are not friends.

brasil-v-argentina-emirates-arsenal-stadiumIt was a pleasure to visit the new Emirates Stadium.

All seats in the stadium seemed to be padded, there was plenty of leg room and all spectators were under cover.

There seemed to be many food and beverage outlets but still it took over 20 minutes to get a freaking pint at half time.

Some of the more noteworthy players in the Brazilian line-up were Robinho, Kaka and Baptista. Noteworthy Argentinian players were Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.

It was the Brazilians' second game with their new coach Dunga; first was against Norway.

There may have been some reservation back when Dunga was selected as the new coach but these two recent internationals have shown that he can lead the world famous players very competently.

bra-1-0-argA very early goal by Elano created a lovely atmosphere at the stadium; for the Brazilian supporters that is.

Elano then followed up with a second goal in the 67th minute.

In the very few last minutes, the 89nth minute to be precise, Kaka benefited from a Messi mistake and charged ahead with the ball.

Kaka started way down on his own half but rushed ahead and managed to pass a fair share of Argentinian players before pummeling the ball into the Argentinian goal. Cue mad celebrations.

Brazilian colors hugely outnumbered the Argentinian colors in the audience but a large number of the Brazilian supporters were non-Brazilians.

With a bit of bad luck, our group ended up with a few Argentinian supporters just in front of us.

One of the supporters was a (posh) older lady and she wasn't too impressed with my wife's passionate cheering. Several of our good friends are Argentinian so I won't go into details but let's just say that mas que um viado was shouted many times.

All in all a fantastic game and Arsenal supporters have a great season ahead at the Emirates Stadium!



TDAI: Hat-trick

September 02, 2006

tdai hat-trickhat trick; Function: noun; 3 : a series of three victories, successes, or related accomplishments.

We had been away in Prague so the destruction was understandable and quickly forgiven... despite the sentimental value that had just been so efficiently decimated.

Krtek (hedge hog) is a children's classic in the Czech Republic and I guess his colourful hat was simply too tempting not to tear into. It made also a spectacular mess across a large area.

Kasper was a children's book and it's fatal characteristic was that it had a squeaking cow at the center. Once again too good to pass up on.

Finally we have the present that was not yet delivered and never will be after the butchery. A lovely Vera Wang on Weddings book. Hardcover, extra tasty.