Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: January 2017

31 January 2017

726th post: PC Issues

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A bit of a background: I have two desktop PCs from around 2009. A Dell and a Lenovo. These aren't exactly great as they were acquired used and appeared to be used office PCs. The Dell was used as a family PC upgraded with a low-end graphics card in 2014, whereas the Lenovo was just sitting around not being used other than as somewhere to store copies of files from elsewhere.

There are also two laptops from 2008 and 2011 that have since become impractical to use. Apart from RAM, hard drive of one of them, and some lithium-ion cells from the battery back (may have mentioned it when I talk about power banks), none of the remaining parts are reusable.

Since around August 2016, the Dell desktop PC failed. Initially, I thought it was just the capacitors as a few on the motherboard were leaking, but (after waiting weeks for parts to arrive) that didn't work. Hadn't touched it since, other than transferring usable parts to the Lenovo PC. These were the graphics card mentioned above, RAM, and SSD. HDD had clicking sounds, and it already has an optical drive.

So, this meant that apart from a 2012 MacBook Pro, and now a slightly upgraded 2009 Lenovo desktop PC (not as powerful as the Dell to play recent games with), I don't feel easy having only a non-Windows laptop and, and a desktop PC that is considered old.

Only just recently, the HDD of the Lenovo failed when it too had that dreaded clicking sound. It didn't matter as I was thinking of reinstalling the operating system on the SSD, which I didn't do when transferring stuff from the Dell PC and already have copies of the files elsewhere.

There were early symptoms that the drive was failing, from slow read/write speeds, to very loud drive activity. As someone who has used PCs since the 1990s used to loud noises from PCs and even slower loading times, I never thought anything was wrong about that. With what I saw on the motherboard of this one at the same time as the Dell PC, my initial thought was bad capacitors as that can have the same symptoms. This turned out to not be the case.

This situation did leave me with a sense of insecurity. Those expended capacitors on the only PC hardware I have running Windows are a concern as who knows when they will go. With the things I do, I need a Windows PC. Can't do much with the MacBook Pro, and certainly not a tablet PC that is useless to me as a day-to-day device. I'm not that kind of person that uses a PC just for emails before smartphones and tablet PCs as we know today came to picture.

Long story short, I need a new desktop PC. Since I also need to replace the PS3 as something to play new games on, it has to be a new custom-built mid or high end PC. I could just grab any old PC or console from a place that sells them used, but there is a limit to what you can get away used. Used PCs generally aren't designed for playing the latest games, or anything with the specs of one released within the past 5 years. As for not getting a used PS4, it is already in its 4th year since release (PS3 was supported for 8 years), and if using the PS3 was telling anything, I'm kind of fed up with the lack of backward compatibility and endless updates that don't happen in the background is driving me crazy.

03 January 2017

725th post: Annoying power bank

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(A short quick post here when I realized it was getting too long while writing series of tweets.)

Just bought another power bank case without cells as replacement of my oldest power bank with 4 cells, but the next oldest that is still working (2 cells) has proven to be more annoying to use these days. I have opened it up before and know it uses two li-ion 18650 cells. The same cells used in laptops with removable battery and Tesla cars.

Part of the case comes off on removing charging cable on the USB micro-B end. On output end (USB standard-A), some plugs are either too loose or huge to fit it in properly without a pass through device like a USB charge doctor, which in itself adds to the bulk and consumes more power.

I thought its "discreet charge indicators" was neat, but proved annoying to tell if charging when looking at the opposite side. The wordings on it has faded away, so you can't tell which side the indicators are at as the design looks similar on both ends.

Even more annoying, the indicators are a series of 3 blue LEDs. What the indicators are fairly easy to understand, but:
  • 3 indicators means more ambiguity of its actual charge than those with more
  • Blue, the colour it uses, is one of the hardest LED colours for me to be able to see. The other being white.
  • The jump between solid 1 flashing 1, and solid 2 flashing 1, (all 3 solid while charging means fully charged) is a lot quicker than flashing 1 to solid 1 flashing 1. This made me doubt that one light represents a third of total capacity. This is a lot more noticeable when charging via my solar panels, if I could see the indicator.
Well, like I said earlier, this thing is my second oldest power bank still in use, so some of the problems I mentioned could possible be due to usage over time. Circuitry inside probably wasn't properly calibrated.

It also felt like it wasn't holding as much charge as it did when new, but no way of telling without being able to measure capacity. Owing to the way the cells are wired up inside (welded to a metal strip connected together), measuring the cells means a one-way disassembly, unless I feel like soldering the joints with wires, if that's possible.

The new (empty) power bank case is able to hold 5 cells. There could be a lot of empty space. Can't combine both old power banks without leaving out 1 behind since there aren't at least 6 slots. Without knowing the capacity at this moment, I can't say that I could just fill in the the blanks from elsewhere.

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.