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Laptops — IBM X40 vs MiTAC 4023

2008-11-26 by tg@
Tags: hardware bug

Today, I intended to do some hacking too, maybe on that new allocator for mksh again. However, I never came that far.

Michael "tazz" Kristensen decided he'd try MirBSD. He wanted to boot from a USB stick, before he found out his computer couldn't (now what a surprise, if you ask me...). Since he has a GNU/Linux and GNU grub running, I'd thought we could use memdisk (from SYSLINUX) to boot off the ISO as if it were a hard disc. I ended up making him a hard disc image with a small FAT12 partition (just IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, COMMAND.COM and BOOT.COM – a.k.a. /usr/mdec/boot) and a small 4.2FFS MirBSD partition (just bsd.rd), which worked. However, I first needed to produce a test hard disc (image) into which I could place GNU grub, memdisk and the fake disc image. For that, I booted Knoppix 4.0.2, and from then on (coïncidentally or not) strange things started to happen...

My shiny new IBM ThinkPad X40 started to blank the screen while I was typing (so it wasn't a screen saver issue). Fn-F7, waiting for half a minute or so, and Fn-F7 again brought back the screen. It did not come from moving, and it's not the inverter (I checked with a flashlight, the TFT is really out). Anyway, it continued to work for quite a while. Sadly, the intervals it would work eventually got as short as a few seconds. I found out that unplugging the AC power supply helped... for a while. The intervals eventually got down there as well. Cleaning the fan I tried, but it does not seem like a heat issue either.


I cannot simply afford another laptop. I bought this one because it was popular with the OpenBSD people... while the hardware is working nicely, the TFT is a tad small, the keyboard is an absolute shame, and the "mouse" buttons... well, let's just not talk about any IBM laptops, okay? — Nevertheless, I need it for work, development, and other (private or not) things. Fuck.

This wlog entry has been written on a MiTAC 4023 laptop. While it only has a DSTN (or STN?) LCD, 12 MiB RAM, a Cyrix 486DLC CPU with, I believe, 33 MHz, it works (despite the aged custom MirBSD #8-current single-user-only mostly-crunchgen(1)d installation).

Tom "nwt" Kohnen, einer der beiden Luxemburger, von denen ich viel halte, wenn Du wüßtest, wie oft Dein alter Laptop, den Du für wertloser als den Nike-Sticker, mit dem er beklebt ist, gehalten hast, mir schon den Arsch gerettet hat... Leider bist Du nicht mehr im IRC, aber falls Du dies liest, fühl Dir gedankt!

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