Wiping Out Windows

the knife that helped me kill Windows on my T40p
Welcome to the first post from my rejuvenated laptop. I overhauled my IBM Thinkpad T40p (model 2373G1U) and it is now working better than ever. I replaced my old dual-boot system, which let me choose between using Windows XP, and Novell Linux Desktop 9, with Novell Enterprise Linux Desktop. I was afraid that my disk would crash soon. Whenever I booted, or suspended Linux, I found these two errors in the log file:

status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
error=0x04 { DriveStatusError }

2007 Software on 2004 Hardware

I prepared for my upgrade with two purchases, I bought a new hard disk, plus a USB enclosure for the old hard disk. Then I armed myself with two screwdrivers, (regular and Philips). When I finally turned my T40p upside down. I saw the actual screw, and it was not a screw.

Speed Bump

I used another computer to belatedly RTFM, and learned from The IBM Hardware Reference Manual (PDF), that I needed a 2.5 mm Allen wrench to open the compartment which houses the hard disk.

My friend Larry lent me seven different Allen wrenches, which all seemed close, but none of them fit. I got disgusted and went to the kitchen for a snack. Once in the kitchen, I saw the paring knife in the drawer next to the sink, and it was a perfect fit. I don’t remember why I even decided to try the knife, but I was finally able to replace my drive.

Green Light

Installation was practically perfect. I couldn’t do a couple of things, but that always happens, and I don’t want to get picky. My previous system is another drive now, which made this Linux installation much easier, because I could copy my old configuration files.

Best Benefits

  1. It’s new! I have new menus, programs, and fonts
  2. The display is better than it ever was, on either Windows or Linux
  3. I can suspend with Fn+4 again. This worked in Red Hat 9, but not NLD9
  4. I finally wiped out Windows

I recommend Novell Enterprise Linux Desktop to anyone with a Thinkpad T40p. Thanks Novell, for developing this excellent product, and for making it available for anyone to download.

My First Thinkpad

In 1996, on the evening before gall bladder surgery, “Ed” came over to pitch a Web idea. He was pleasant enough, and I waited to hear his idea, expecting a part about me working for free.

Instead of his pitch, Ed got very serious, looked at me and said:

“My wife has been cheating on me for a year, and I had no idea at all.”

Apparently, wife and boyfriend were musicians in a band, and traveled together frequently. When Ed came home from work that day, he found his wife packing up to leave him. They had been married for a couple of years, and but he said they never argued, their finances were OK, and he just couldn’t understand why she would leave him.

Ed wasn’t outraged; he was shocked. We talked for a few minutes, until he felt better, and he thanked me for listening to him. When he asked the inevitable, “How are you?”, I told him about my surgery, and wondered what I was going to do in bed for the three days, after the surgery.

Ed excused himself, went outside to his car, and returned with a Thinkpad, in a Thinkpad case. He handed it to me, said to erase everything, and then use it to stay amused for three days. Ed went outside to his car once more, and I never saw him again.

The Lucas Problem

My first Thinkpad only displayed sixteen shades of gray, but it had a modem to connect me to the world, and I loved it. I still didn’t know what to do with it, so I went to the library, and found one of Martin Gardner’s collections of Mathematical Puzzles, which had been collected from his Scientific American columns.

The Lucas Problem stood out for its simplicity, as well as its history. During my three days in bed, I wrote a CGI version of the what was once the most popular puzzle in the world. My twentieth century software version of this nineteenth century puzzle, stayed on the Web for ten years, and I missed it. Unfortunately, the original program didn’t work with Where Did My Brain Go? – but it was not to difficult to update it.

This puzzle looks very simple, but it has stumped folks of all ages, and backgrounds. It might stump you too.

Can You Solve The Lucas Problem?