17 Nov 2012 nutella   » (Master)

Assault & battery
A silly number of my Advogato entries concern me replacing CMOS batteries. This might be because I hang on to my boxen for so long. The latest casualty is my Sun Ultra 5, as I wanted to have another go at getting X to work with my LCD monitor. That computer is not connected to the internet and hasn't been upgraded since woody. It also hadn't been switched on since I moved house. Last night I decided to try the upgrade (why yes, my wife is out of town at the moment - how did you guess?) and after [STOP]-[A] I was greeted with frightening error messages and a claim that the MAC address was now FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF and IDPROM is now invalid. I pulled the cover off and played Hunt-the-Battery for a short while before giving up and RTFM. The battery is embedded in a bigarse chip (an ST M48T59Y-70PC1U), along with the crystal. Yes, you can get replacements, but they are a little spendy. I was thus gratified to see that other, budget-conscious folk have found other ways to fix it. I'm not sure my skills are up to the level of carving out the old battery, but wiring a new one in parallel seems doable. Then, of course, I'll have to restore everything. Amazingly, since my Ultra 5 journey has been so interesting, I actually kept notes about all the key settings. We'll see how this goes.

As a follow-up to my previous entries on books, I was both amused and horrified when I borrowed a copy of one of the new omnibus editions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (my nearly three-decades old copies of the original books have all been "borrowed" by my nephews) and found that they've made some odd changes. One was to remove references to Biros and replace them with ballpoints. That destroys one of the local memes from my undergraduate days, when we referred to all writing implements as "biroids" (except when they were penciloids). The other noticeable change is that the Rory award is no longer for "the most gratuitous use of the word F**k in a serious screenplay", but instead links in a piece from the radio series on the meaning of Belgium. Strange people, these Americans...

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