Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Buzz? I don't hear a buzz. What buzz?

The deal I made with myself when I left the office Tueday evening was to either fix my computer or write a blog post. Welcome to the lesser of two evils.

I built the computer a few years ago with my bare hands (literally smelt the metal on my cook top...) and it has mostly served me well. Only now it emits this odd buzzing noise which, despite five months of stern looks in the general direction of the half open tower and a bit of prodding at the fans, refuses to abate. I even went so far as to obtain a second tower full of replacement computer parts (though not enough to constitute a whole new computer soldier) and set it next to Tower #1 to represent the threat of war. "Do not mess with me! I can pull your innards out and go all Frankenstein on your ass!" I leered, "Don't think I won't... right after this episode of Best Week Ever is over and I finish shredding 2 months worth of junk mail." But still the buzzing persists (right beneath the satisfying growl of the shredder).

People will claim that I am annoyingly tolerant of any high pitched noises in my living room (Dirty.). My television has a whine that a few times and hour crosses the line between "audible only to dogs" and "dear god why is blood pooling on my shoulder?" Since replacing or, even less surmountable, fixing the TV seems shockingly painful I mostly just dab a Kleenex at the problem and focus on tuning out high frequencies. I excel at avoiding problems that can't be fixed without me committing suicide via sighing in agony so often that I fail to breath.

The computer buzzing highlights three of my most painful personality flaws: I am lazy and shallow with a side order of miserly.

I see my homebuilt computer as the castle where my geek cred lives. I may not program any longer and I may find first person shooters painfully boring and I may roll my eyes at the mere thought of the SCA but dammit I BUILT MY OWN COMPUTER. Give me my geek pin! I would take a moment here to address the irony of putting so much effort into being the antithisis of cool but I think the world (or at least the world of blog readers) has long since accepted that the geeks have inherited the earth. Hail Cthulhu (See? A Cthulhu joke! GEEK!)

In addition to possibly being the last proof I have of my geek nature Tower #1 is the cheapest means to a computer end. I built it (bare hands! gloveless!) in 2002 after a particularly painful experience at a computer parts store where, unsurprisingly, the staff had never actually talked to a girl before. I originally had installed on it a dual boot to Windows or Linux -- this was done entirely in service of geek cred as I used the Linux OS only when some thing broke badly in Windows that I was (shockingly) too lazy too fix right away. The computer occasionally chokes -- the video card has been replaced twice, I stuck in a new hard drive a few years back and upgraded the motherboard in 2005 -- but replacing a broken part is infinity cheaper than buying a new computer (which seems to be what Dell and IBM and Apple expect virtually everyone to do once every 3 years or so).

So Why not fix it? Lazy, remember? Fixing the computer requires knowing what's wrong with the computer and as far as I can tell there is no clear source for the buzz. It's not the fan. It also seems like it's probably not the processor fan -- though it might be... but replacing the processor is a huge pain and... maybe I should just buy a new computer. Later. After I take off my old nail polish and look up recipes for tatsoi and find the album art for every song I have in itunes. And, of course, right after I finish this blog post.


kajal said...

I don't get your geek jokes -- this is possibly one of the biggest things that you and I will NEVER have in common. Anyway, Brett may be able to help out -- he built our computer and fixed it the other day. And I've been looking for a reason to put him back in his toolbelt and wifebeater.

Chris said...

Oh my. That is hilarious.

lfar said...

Bri... I... this is... too much... this has reached levels of geekery that I don't understand. HOWEVER. It only makes me respect you more. said...

Now... I don't want you to hurt yourself running to try this, but we had the exact same thing happen to us over here at Chez Lopez. Only in our case, we removed the cover and shot canned air all up in there and watched dust fly, (GOD, how I wished we had had the forethought to take the filthy thing outside!) and ta daa! No more noise. Swear to gawd! And it wasn't the fans for us either. Try it. What have you got to lose? said...

So did you ever try blowing out the "pooter"? Still buzzing?

Garth said...

If I might be so bold... if you do take the above canned air idea, stick a vaccuum cleaner at the business end of the blower to suck up all the dust as it exits.

Also, if it is the processor fan you can just replace that without replacing the whole processor (though you'll need to buy some thermal glue as well). The only other moving parts in there (other than the fans which you've already mentioned) are the fan in your power supply and your HDDs. Or the "buzz" might be coming from the computer speaker, since they tend to generate sound. Might want to pinpoint the source of the sound with those bloody ears of yours.