Sunday, January 31, 2010

Got my notebook back!

Yes! Got my notebook back today.

Yesterday was crap. When there and the technician didn't even look at it yet. Today, they called and they said it was ready so when in the evening with my wife to pick it up.

They fixed the speakers and said there was a damaged cable. Not quite sure what they guy was trying to explain but I think he was trying to tell me the cable got brittle and was damaged. Hrm, odd. Benq could be using sub-standard cables.

Anyway, the bill came up to RM360 to repair the video card. Ouch... for that money, I could have done so much. Don't even want to think about it too much. The money has already left my hands.

Sitting in my living room with the notebook now. Going to give it a run and see if everything's okay.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not what I was expecting

Today, I drove to the Digital Mall in Petaling Jaya to pick up my notebook. As I was driving up the parking ramp, I saw a thick trail of smoke coming from one of the row of houses.

I took a closer look and two of the houses had extensive fire damage. Its roof was burned of and the immediate neighbours of the two houses also had fire damage on its roof. The two houses without its roof had its upper floors totally gutter and I could still see flames burning on the wooden frame.

I parked my car and ran up with my digital camera to get some pictures. I had my small video camera but I forgot to bring any tape with me! So all I got was some low-resolution videos with my digital camera and some still photos.

After all that excitement, I walked to the shop expecting to pick up my notebook.

At the shop, they handed me my notebook and as I was testing it, I noticed after a few minutes there was no sound coming out of the speakers. I did some trouble shooting and the sound card was working. I could hear audio when I plugged in my headset through the audio jack.

The guy who was attending to me asked me to leave it for another day and another service guy said normally, what happens is that customer sends it in and the speaker wasn't working already. That pissed me of, because when I brought it into the shop and booted it up in front of them to show the display problem, I could hear windows starting.

I when to see the owner and after talking to the person who usually attends to me, they said I would still have to come back tomorrow as the technician who fixed it was on his off day. Hopefully, its just a speaker that has been unplugged. I don't want to be paying money for the damn speakers!

Another trip to the Digital Mall tomorrow. Argh!

Damn! What a waste of time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The call I have been waiting for

3 days ago, I called the computer shop to check the status of my notebook repair. I asked the guy what was wrong with it, at first he said

"yeah, have to change the motherboard".

I think my heart almost skipped a beat when he said that. Then I said

"motherboard, are you sure not just change video card?"

He puts me on hold and I could hear him shouting at the technician at the background asking what was changed.

"oh yeah, just change video card only. It's RM380 to change, if you confirm now ready in one week".

Phew! Lucky just video card! So I told him okay.

Today, just to bug them and see if they made any progress, I called them again and asked what was the status. The guy said

"well, we just told them confirm so it would be ready in one week"
"but I you said one week 3 days ago?"
"yeah, it always take one week"

So I left it at that. Surprisingly, a few hours later, I got a call and the guy said "your notebook is ready for collection". Wow, now that's pretty fast!

I couldn't collect it today because they were closing early because they had a company dinner. Hrm, okay... I guess I can wait one more day.

RM380 is kinda steep to pay for a NVIDIA 8600GS replacement chip. I did ask the guy initially if it could be upgraded to the 9600 chip. The Benq Joybook S42 is basically the same infrastructure as the S41 I am using now. The only difference is that they have a faster processor and a NVIDIA 9600 video card. The guy just said its going to be very expensive, better buy a new notebook. So it sounds like they would do it but they rather I buy their S42.

I think instead of upgrading to a new notebook next time, I might just do that, upgrade the processor and video card. If the LCD screen still holds out, then it might be cheaper I think.

Anyway, this Chinese New Year is going to be really expensive. Ang Pow's to give out; a notebook to repair; and I got to repair a leak in my kitchen ceiling (that's another long story). I hope there's no more big expenses!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Giant Chinese lantern

Check out the huge size of the lantern!

I when with my wife and in-laws to buy some Chinse New Year decorations at a shop near the Kelana Jaya LRT Station.

I think this shop was once a mini market and they changed their business model and started selling all these CNY decor and other stuff from China.

They have a huge variety of cut out decor like tigers and lamps.

The monk wasn't sure if he should get it. I'm guessing it's for his temple. I don't think this would even fit though my apartments door.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

video card burn out and firewire ports

On Monday, I downloaded a movie on my notebook and I hooked up my notebook to my TV with the HDMI cable to watch it.

The movie kept stuttering and wouldn't play finish after a few minutes. After that, I got a blue screen of death. So I quit and thought maybe it was just a bad file and my notebook didn't like it, thought looking back that was quite strange. I've never seen an AVI file crash a system before. I had more than the minimum specs to play it.

At first I thought it was the new NVIDIA drivers that installed on it. So last night, I uninstalled the old drivers and then put in the original drivers from BENQ. The same thing happened. In fact, it got worst, the Graphic User interface on the desktop started going crazy. The notebook started restarting by itself.

Then I knew what it was already as I have seen it a few times before. It means the video card was dying. When I was first doing research 14 months ago before buying my notebook, I did read a lot of complaints about NVIDIA cards (8000 series, and probably the 9000 series also) on notebooks burning out. It had to do with their manufacturing process. The constant ON/OFF of the notebook caused the soldering to burn out. What happens if, the soldering will warm up and then cool down and the long term effect of this contraction and expansion of the soldering will result in it breaking of.

So last night, when my notebook when totally black, I was cursing NVIDIA, BENQ and myself. Myself for not taking the extended 3 year warranty. I bought this BENQ Joybook S41 in October 2008. Just a few months after its 12 months warranty, it had to die on me. Damn!

I took it down to the Digital Mall today to see what were my options. My first stop was this small stall that I knew fixed notebooks. They said if it was the video card, it was RM280 to replace a new one. They will replace it with a brand new one, not a reconditioned one. They didn't do it at their shop, so they have to send it out to be done. It would take them 2 weeks to do.

I've never used their services before so I didn't quite trust them. So I when back to AonePlus, my trusted IT supplier. This was the shop I bought the notebook at anyway and they are also a Benq vendor. I have been doing business with them for almost 8 years now and their customer service has always been great.

They told me, since it was passed the warranty date, better not send back to the manufacturer to repair. They have trained technicians who can repair it. Since they can order the parts, the technicians can change it themselves. I would pick AonePlus over a small stall to repair my notebook any day.

I don't want some dodgy technician changing or stealing my notebook parts, which I know some people have experienced before.

I told them I must have it back before Chinese New Year, as I would like to use it then. So hopefully they get it fixed and do it for cheap! Hopefully, they don't have to change the whole motherboard as that would be more than RM1K.

As I was in the digital mall, I walked around looking at the new notebooks. I realized that most of the large brands use ATI instead of NVIDIA now. I think they also realize about the burn out problems. Also, most of the new notebooks didn't have a firewire/1394 port and a express card slot. This is going to be big problem the next time I want to upgrade to a new notebook.

Most of the video cameras still use firewire ports to connect to the notebooks. If there is no firewire port, at least I can buy an express card with firewire, but if the new notebooks don't even have it, then I don't know how I am going to connect the video camera.

Some of my colleagues have already bought these new notebooks for editing video and when I take a look at it, I tell them they can't capture any video from the camera because there is no way to connect it to the camera!

Maybe there is a USB device out there that can convert firewire signal to USB, haven't heard of it before but I assume some guy in China would have thought of it already.

Anyway... so here I am, using my old desktop writing this. I use it rarely as I had my notebook. It feels like an old car I haven't driven in a long time. All my current bookmarks are not here. Even staring at this monitor is giving me an eye strain as the notebook had a higher contrast ratio.

I'm gonna have to rely on my Iphone more these few days to connect to the Internet. I hope I can last through the next few weeks!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Figuring out what I want to do

So it's a new year and I haven't figured out what I want to do this year. Looking back, I think a lot of my goals have changed.

When I just back to Malaysia after I graduated from uni, I wanted to travel. Do the whole backpack thing and travel to Europe maybe. Then I got a job and the travel thing never materialized.

After I got a job, I wanted to apply for a scholarship and go to UK and do my masters in broadcast journalism. I got as far as applying for the scholarship, they put me in the waiting list, I declined.

Then I got married; got a morgage; and a car loan. Now I'm totally tied down. So much for wishful thinking eh?

Ah, where has all the time gone? Soon, I'll be too old! Hopefully, I will have something I can look back on and be proud of.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New shoes!

Hey check it out! I got new shoes!

I was walking to my desk and one of my colleague called me over. He pulled out a plastic bag and gave it to me and shook my hand. I took a peek inside and he said thank you for all I have done. It was my 'reward' for some help I had rendered to him last year. I never thought he would give me a pair of shoes all the way from the UK. How the heck did he know my size? It fit perfectly (with my socks on). Either he got lucky or he's been spying on me!

Anyway, never look a gift horse in the mouth! New shoes, I like! Now here lies the problem.

First of all, I'm not really crazy about shoes. At any one time, I probably have only 4 pair of shoes. The every day Timberland work wear (which I wear almost every day); my slippers; my dress shoes for weddings and events; and my boots which I rarely wear.

Now with this 5th pair of shoe, I have one too many options to decide what shoe to wear to work. Yeah, I know it's dumb but I like it when I don't have too many choices, I get too picky and confused. In the end, fret and spend too much time deciding.

Heh... wait till I show my wife.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The morning

Man, this morning was wierd. Woke up at 7:15am with a stomach ache and sat in the loo. After that, I stood by the window watching parents drop of their kids at the primrary school. There was a small puddle of water at the drive way up to the school gate. You'll be surprised how many parents actually stopped right next to the puddle and the kids had to tip toe across it.

When I have kids, they'll probably go to the school next door. I told my wife I'll buy a telescope just so I can keep an eye on them from the apartment. From my study room I get a pretty good view of the school already. With a telescope I bet I can look into the classes also.

I might turn out to be the most irritating parent. What's that, drawing doodles in class? Send SMS 'pay attention in class, I'm watching'. Yeah, the kid would turn into a privacy freak with multiple locks on the door.

After the wife when to work, for some strange reason I thought the best way to get ride of the stomach ache was to do some sit-ups and push ups. All I got was a stomach cramp and when right back to bed exhausted.

First post of the year

Oh man!

I haven't update this blog in a few months!

Well, I haven't been doing much actually. Since my show ended, I took a long break in December. Basically, I didn't do anything the whole of December. I took a few weeks of to finish some of my annual leave. The plan was to go on a road trip around the country but I ended up staying at home instead. Why? Because I'm like that. Procrastinate.

It's January and I still don't have anything to do. Hopefully something comes along. Man, bored already.