Swimming with the Razorfishes

Friday, April 22, 2005

Chuck can't possibly be a real person. He has yet another question:

what is a heat sink that's on the procesor that the fan pulls air from  #a2shat      and how good are 8200 fans at keeping cool oh ty

Clearly, we will need clarification on this one.

This e-mail is in reference to issue #A2SHAT

Hi Chuck -

I'm not sure if what you are describing is the heatsink or not. Heatsinks usually have a texture on them kind of like a french tickler.

Can you pull it off of the processor and send us the serial number? The number is usually on the bottom. Once we have the serial number, we'll know whether or not it is a heatsink.

Thank you for your continued support,

Dell Customer Care


The Scene
click for high-res

Thursday, April 21, 2005

click for high-res

Could Chuck possibly be a real person? Apparently not content to monitor his processor's temperature, he has more questions (which he e-mailed to me three times):

hi i have one fan where the power cord plugs in  i have one fan where the processor is but what is that gray metal thing on top the proessor       #2SHAT and should the fans be cleaned

This was an easy one. I could handle it myself without consulting any Dell engineers:

This e-mail is in reference to issue # A2SHAT.

Hi Chuck,

I believe this is a retaining clip to hold the processor to the motherboard. As you know, a processor vibrating at 2Ghz can really rattle around in the case. We use these clips to keep the vibrating microprocessors from shooting out the side of your PC.

Is this where you saw the flames you spoke of in an earlier e-mail? Around that clip?

Thank you for your continued support,

Dell Customer Support.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Apparently Dell's response didn't answer all of Chuck's questions. To get further clarification, he responded:

what i ment was i;ve got to cooling fans that keep my pc from over heating if one was to stop working or both would how would i know if one or they other was working or not would my pc shut down or what

or i've never seen a cooling fan burn up i've seen house fans but never a computer

Here at Dell Customer Support we strive for the best possible service, so I consulted several of our engineers to find an answer for Chuck:

Hi Chuck,

We have opened support ticket #A2SHAT for this issue. Please reference this number in future communications.

The Dimension 8200, as you know, is a very high-performance machine. The Intel Pentium 4 chip usually requires 4 fans in the case (hence the "4"). But Dell's engineers were able to build the system using fans that are twice as good, so we only need to use two of them. Additionally, we named your system's chipset the "850E" because it can reach temperatures of 850 degrees Fahrenheit. This systems run hot, Chuck.

Around here we used to joke that you could fry a can of spam on those things. I'm not sure if you like fried spam as much as I do, but regardless, that is pretty hot.

Our concern is that if one fan fails, the processor would overheat, melt a hole right through your motherboard, and continue burning right through your floor. We don't think it would burn all the way to China, but no one wants a hole in their floor. Normally, if a fan failed and caused the processor to overheat, temperature sensors would safely shut the PC down. But nowadays all these components are made in China, and they have crap quality control over there, what with the smaller eyes and all.

It is probably safe to use your computer with one fan. But just to be safe, you should monitor your processor's temperature. One trick we use here is to coat the chip with a layer of butter; if you smell something like cooking pancakes, you know the processor is too hot.

If you do continue to use the PC with one fan, please refer to the safety instructions in the previous e-mail.

Thank you for your continued support,

Dell Customer Care

So you are having problems with your Dell PC. Do you go to dell.com and click the button that says "support," or do you go to Google, fashion some kind of search, go to a random link, and ask your question?

If you are stupid, you do the latter.

The universe, toying with me, brought someone named "Chuck" to this page, which in some kind of crystal meth-induced blur appeared to him to be the right place to ask a computer question:

yes i've gotta question i have a 8200 dell pc and wanna no what will happen if one of the cooling fans burned up when useing and what would happened i didn't know one burned up .ty

I suppose that if Chuck sent this question, I must be Dell support, right? Here is the response we sent. Who says large corporations don't provide good service anymore?

Chuck, listen to me carefully: step away from the computer.

It appears that your PC fan is very much defective. So much so that it has effected your spell checker. You also appear to have a virus that is inserting advertisements for the Beanie Babies into your e-mail. This is quite odd.

Please call your local fire department. Have them thoroughly douse the computer with water. If the flames persist, smother them with a blanket. Then unplug your PC. Then send it to us (don't worry, we'll pick up the shipping costs). It is vitally important that you not use the PC, as the burned up cooling fan could come loose from its bearings and shoot through the side of your trailer.

We are very concerned for your well-being, Chuck.

Once we receive your computer and complete our examination, we will send a replacement. Rest assured that this is all covered by your warranty.

Thank you for your continued support,

Dell Customer Care

CNN: Some see Virgin Mary in underpass stain

For a moment, I thought that said "underpants stain." It was like Running With Scissors all over again.

Zacarias Moussaoui's guilty plea will be accepted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So, yes, I joined. But I'm my own man. As soon as I heard that we were going to make necklaces out of human ears, I was out of there.

Look, in my day, joining the Hitler Youth was like young people in your generation joining the Pat Benatar fan club: in retrospect it looks embarrassing, but at the time, everyone was doing it.

No no, you've got it all wrong. When I was a boy, the Hitler Youth was much different. Really more like a day camp. All hay rides and learning to tie knots.

You see, I was in the Hitler Youth, but I didn't like it.

Move along; nothing to see here.

The New York Times runs a story on graffiti artists. What do they think they are? A bunch of photobloggers?

click for high-res

This is my favorite Revs sculpture, by the way.

Pope Pope Pope Pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope Pooope Pope pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope poooope pope pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope

Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope Pope poooope pope


[Please sing this to the fourth movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony. Feel free to end with your own special flourish. Thanks.]

Monday, April 18, 2005


The Face
click for high-res

Why did Safari stop playing AAC files inline after the 10.3.9 update?

Washington Post: Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say

CS Monitor: Islamic scholars challenge Yemen's Al Qaeda prisoners to a theological contest.

I couldn't see a whole lot of changes after installing the 10.3.9 update to Mac OS X, it looks as if a lot has changed in WebCore and Safari, in particular:

  • HTML editing API in both Objective C and HTML (via contenteditable and designMode).
  • Full DOM level 2 support, including APIs from Objective C.
  • XSLT support in Safari

Pretty cool. Hopefully Tiger will have some tighter networking code to make the whole sheebang faster.

This has been making the rounds, but fun nonetheless: what kind of American English do you speak?

Adobe buys Macromedia for $3.2 billion. Yikes.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Via scripting.com, Brian Buck died on April 8. I'm really sad about this. He had been fighting cancer, on and off, for quite a while.

He wrote about his struggle with the disease, as well as with the treatment on his 'blog. He was open and courageous about the fight, and he inspired me. I'm glad that his pain is over, but I'm sad that he has gone.

He was 33, one year older than I am.