The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A serious lack of power

I walked into the Computer Room at Chez Boca to a squealing UPS, but unlike last time this happened the computers were still powered up. I shutdown both computers and decided to deal with them after lunch. There wasn't much else I could do at that point, seeing how the power was out for our entire neighborhood.

After lunch, the power was restored, so I went to power up the Linux box and … it didn't come on.


I checked the internal cables to make sure none have come loose, evicted multiple dust bunnies, and even changed the CMOS battery just to be sure. But nothing I did made the Linux box power up.

I called my friend Tom Singkornrat (not only is he wise in the way of hardware, but he lives less than a mile away) and he said that it could be one of two possible reasons—it could be a bad power supply, or it could be a bad mother board. He had a spare power supply I could try. Why not?

The only difficult part of the whole procedure was unscrewing the old power supply from the case. Other than that, the new power supply fit right in and it powered right up. Great! But for some reason the keyboard wasn't working …

Update later today …

I found the issue with the keyboard.

The Keyboard situation

Okay, about that keyboard

The setup I have is … not straightforward. I have two computers, a tower running Linux and a Mac mini. I have a single keyboard and mouse plugged into a KVM switch (an industrial 8-port unit I aquired mumblely-mumble years ago), but each computer has its own monitor. I also run Synergy on both computers to allow sharing of the keyboard and mouse across both computers. It will also allow you to move the mouse from one computer to the other (and supports “cut-n-paste” operations between the two computers). It's a neat program and really, the KVM is there when I need to shutdown in the event of a power outtage (and when I boot the systems back up, before I get Synergy running).

The KVM expects PS/2 style connectors, but both computers need a USB converter. This all just works and I rarely have issues.

Until I do.

This time, it turned out to be the cheap USB converter on the Linux system that just … I don't know, gave up the ghost or something (thank God! I was fearful the USB ports might have been blown out). I can work around it with Synergy, but it's a bit of a pain initially (boot one computer, switch keyboard/mouse to other computer, boot that one, switch keyboard/mouse back to get Synergy running). So now that I'm back up and running, I just need to get a new USB converter and maybe this time it'll last longer than a year.

The Lord of the Rings as a D&D game

Ever wonder what The Lord of the Rings would be like as a D&D game? Well, neither did I until I saw this video series:

It starts out with a large group, then due to interpersonal conflicts, the game splits into the role players and the roll players, then they all get back together for the final boss fight.

And Frodo's player never did learn the D&D combat system.

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