I was at my grandparents' house briefly this weekend. Their IBM Aptiva was "making a grinding noise" so I looked it over. The fan on the power supply was going out. This is a fairly common repair for a PC, as is the CPU cooling fan. I called IBM's tech support number, and found out that the machine was out of warranty (they bought it in February of '98) and that although they could give me the part number, they couldn't actually send it to me or tell me what it cost, I had to call a separate number for that. I called the other number, worked my way through the touchtone menus, and reached a live human. I gave him my part number, and he gave me the cost: $160. Yes, you read that correctly, one hundred and sixty dollars for a part that should cost about thirty. I told the IBM guy that "it would be a cold day in Hell before I paid $160 to IBM for a power supply". I'm hereby boycotting all IBM products for the forseeable future, as well as writing them a nasty letter. My grandparents decided they could live with a little fan noise for $160 (they can take out their hearing aids, they'll never know it's there), meanwhile, I'm considering just buying a new case and motherboard, I could move all of the other components into the new case, and it would probably cost less than $160, assuming I can pick up a motherboard for their K6-233 relatively cheaply.

This kind of price gouging is ridiculous, and of course I can't put in just a generic power supply, because IBM's design is slightly modified to require a specific proprietary style.

I received my new SanDisk USB Compact Flash Reader yesterday. I was tired of the sluggish transfers from my digital camera over the serial port. This is much faster, you access the flash card like a removable drive, and since my camera saves the images in JPEG format, it's no problem to open them on my computer. I bought it on eBay for around $35 after shipping and handling. My local OfficeMax was asking $50 for one!

Tonight is my first CedarLUG meeting! I think it'll probably be a pretty small crowd, since it's the summer, but hopefully I'll have a resource to turn to when I have Linux troubles. I think we're going to watch a DVD on a Linux system too, that should be interesting. I brought along Being John Malkovich and The Bone Collector just in case anyone wants to watch them. I wore my Tux polo shirt today too!