Well, I got some good news with regards to one of the computer "missions of mercy" I've been in the process of facilitating since returning from Comic-Con. My good friend Brian from SFVLUG has a functional lappie again.
I was able to turn the computer karma I have accumulated over the years of running Ms. Geek's Home For Orphan Computers towards making sure someone who should always be equipped with a functioning lappie due to the fact he's trying to make a living as an itinerant software engineer is actually equipped with one. One of my fellow SFVLUGgers, Nick, offered me his 600e. It's basically a twin to my BlueTomato: 400MHz. Mine has a combo drive that was retrofitted, his had a CD-RW that unfortunately died before it could get to Brian. His had a 20GB HD that died, mine has a 40GB HD. I told him that instead of giving me, of "too many computers" fame, the machine, he should give it to Brian. His Compaq's display would occasionally flicker off, and to get the picture back he would violently whack the thing around. Just before Nick and Brian could get together, the Compaq died completely. Unfortunately we couldn't get it to him before the Compaq kicked off, but at least we got it to him to where he wasn't long without one.
Note that I mentioned not a singular mission of mercy, but plural missions of mercy. I'm hooking up another friend with my beloved 600e, and moving up in the ThinkPad foodchain to a 600x. Thank you, Tom Reed: this friend has become involved with the ToonMag.Com/The Cartoon Geeks project, and this is why he's participating in this particular mission.
The 600x arrives tomorrow and will get the standard treatment: booting from a live CD to check the fitness of the machine, a test install of Debian Sarge or maybe Ubuntu on the provided hard drive, a swap of the provided CD with the Combo drive, then preparation to transfer the 40GB drive in my 600e to the 600x, and installation of a 30GB drive in the 600e. The one sticking point is going to be installation of another SO-DIMM in the 600x. I don't have it now. It will have to come later.
When I get both working to my satisfaction, I'll send the 600e to my friend up North and begin life with my new 600x. Yes, it is a major upgrade: 600e is 400MHz Pentium II, 600x is 500MHz Pentium III. Same basic chipset, new generation of chip. Big difference for video and audio geeking: Streaming SIMD Extensions. Linux audio and video apps are pretty much all optimized to take advantage of what Mike Magee, who started The Register and is now at The Inquirer, calls "Screaming Sindies." My buddy Chad seems to thing that audio will work right out of the gate with the 600x. As anyone who has read these pages knows, I have had constant battles with audio on my 600e. It's complicated to explain why this is the case with the 600e but suffice it to say that the implementation of audio on that particular model ThinkPad is ideosyncratic to say the least.
Anyway, all this, and Tuesday I still have to take that damn "Microsoft Literacy" exam. Bleah.