February 8th, 2008



oday I began taking apart my desktop computer to prepare it for the new hardware I'm expecting on my doorstep tomorrow. I was getting kind of excited about jumping to a Duo Core MB and processor. The board actually supports quadcore but, with the lack of employment I thought it best to be modest in my upgrade. After pulling the MB from the chassis, I thought I'd pull the processor off and see if I could determine the source of the problem. Typically in a situation like this, you can find char marks where the power surged through the circuitry, and having seen no indicators on the MB, I figured it must be in the processor slot.

The heatsink was being ornery so I gave it a little force and the entire thing popped out with the processor baked to the thermal grease. It's not supposed to do that. Out of curiosity, I opened the latch on the CPU slot and reseated the processor and hooked the board back up to the power supply. I was thinking maybe this could be something as simple as poor contact between the processor and board.

It booted!

After more troubleshooting, I've come to the conclusion that the power supply is going bad. When I hook the final hard drive to the power connector, the machine won't recognize it, and it becomes sluggish and wonky. Each individual drive works fine when plugged-in independently. In fact, it'll power everything except any one of the hard drives; it doesn't matter which, it's just too much for it to power. The little 350w PSU I have in there was probably already taxed to its limits with the high-end graphics adapter, 4 hard disks and an optical drive and, while it's apparently operational, it must've suffered some damage which is effecting its power output.

Of course, big dummy that I am already has the new MB and CPU on the way. The thought of going Duo Core in my desktop is sexy as hell, but I really don't need it and, given my general financial situation at the moment, hard to justify. So I've RMAed the new hardware and ordered a 500w PSU. In the meantime, I can use my machine, I just have to keep one of the drives unhooked until the PSU arrives.

The company I've been talking with about going to work for has told me that they have a company policy against hiring drivers who have been in "preventable rollover" accidents in the past 5 years. That is, drivers using their authority. The folks at McMullen told me that I might have to go the route of getting my own authority, so I asked her about that. She said in the case of having my own authority, the entire application process is foregone and none of the company policies apply, but that she'd have to let me know tomorrow for sure.

The prospect of getting my own authority is both exciting and daunting. Exciting because I'd be truly independent except for the lease arrangement with McMullen. Daunting because, well, I'd be totally independent and responsible. The good thing about McMullen's rent-to-own leases though is that, if for some reason I decide I can't make it or it's too much headache, I can get out of the lease and walk away. While in the lease, I'll still be tethered to them and working for a company they're formally associated with, for ease of accounting. Once the truck is paid for though, I could go to work wherever I wanted, or just "free-lance" with a broker and not be tied to any one company.

The folks at McMullen also had some good news for me, too. My contact there estimates that, after the insurance settlement on the truck, I'll have 9-10k in cash left over. That will be a welcome addition to this financial mess, especially since the process of getting my own authority could take some time, and money. They assured me that they would work with me, to the point of even fronting some of the cash necssary to obtain my authority and work it into the lease.