Category Archives: malfunctioning computers

tablet unbricked

1 Hour Device Repair (the one in redmond, not the one in issaquah) repaired my device for free, because they have a lifetime warranty on the repair that they did a few months ago.

as it should be.

they also apologised for the guy in issaquah sending me down the wrong rabbit hole.

this has been a very early, abrupt and completely satisfactory end to this battle. 👍

brick tablet update

tablet became brick.

took it to 1 Hour Device Repair in issaquah, who told me that the charging port was damaged.

took it to the genius bar (two days later), and they tested it, and told me that the charging port was fine, but “have you had the display replaced?”

why, yes. yes, i have… by the people at 1 Hour Device Repair… 😒

the charging port is fine, according to the genius bar drone. he tested it, and it works fine. the display, however, is another question. according to the genius bar tests, the tablet is in “recovery mode” which normally displays a “connect me to power” icon, on the display, but, wouldn’t you know, the display isn’t working.

so i called 1HDR and talked to someone, who, it is my guess, is the “owner” of the 1HDR franchise in the area (if it is a franchise operation, which it appears to be), a young woman with purple hair and an eastern-european accent, and brought it in to the location in redmond, which is where it was repaired before. the FIRST THING she said, when she tested it, was “i don’t know why anyone would tell you that the charging port was the problem.” and didn’t even respond when i told her that it was the 1HDR repair guy in issaquah…

which tells me something about the 1HDR location in issaquah that i didn’t know before. 😒

long story short, she’s going to have to keep it for one to two weeks, because she doesn’t stock the screens because they’re so expensive, and it’s the holidays, and there’s a pandemic…

and she said that it’s a free replacement, because there’s a lifetime warranty, as long as i can prove that there’s no external damage that would have caused the display to fail. the fact is, she looked at it very closely, and told me that “sometimes the displays fail”… but i’m not ruling out the possibility that, once she gets it open, she’ll discover some “damage” that voids the warranty. i don’t know of any “damage”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. 😒

so, fine. keep it. it doesn’t do me much good as a brick, but then…

i realise i’ve got an appointment on telehealth, and another appointment on gotomeeting tomorrow, which i’m going to have to attend using my phone, which is about one-eighth the size of the tablet (tablet is 12.9″ ipad pro, third gen; phone is iphone 6SE, which is 5″)…

this is going to be “interesting”… 🤦

my tablet is a brick

i woke up this morning and checked my email on my tablet, like i usually do. nothing seemed amiss, as i browsed twitter for a half hour or so, then i put the tablet to sleep, came downstairs, plugged the tablet into my downstairs charging port, heard the chime as it connected, and walked off to get my morning soylent…

when i got back to my office, about 5 minutes later, i tried to wake the tablet up, but it wasn’t having any.

i tried a number of “tips” that i found on internet (using my computer) for waking up a sleeping tablet, and elicited some interesting responses — siri, speaking from a blank screen, saying “i’m really sorry”, for example, and various official-sounding chimes, boops and bongs — but no screen action whatsoever.

i took it to the guy at 1 Hour Device Repair, in issaquah, who said that he thought it was the charging port that was damaged, because the device he hooked it to was saying .09 amps when it should be at least 1 amp. he said that it’s working, but, because of the fact that the charging port is damaged, it doesn’t have enough electricity to run reliably.

so, i made an appointment at the genius bar (because it’s new enough that i think i might still have apple care for it) on wednesday.

that doesn’t sound bad, does it? except for the fact that i can’t login to twitter — which is pretty much my ONLY social contact these days — because of the fact that i have my authenticator for my 2FA login on my tablet… i have an authenticator on my phone, as well, but it doesn’t have my twitter account, and the only way to get a 2FA authentication for my twitter account is from WITHIN my twitter account, which i can’t get to because the authenticator is on my tablet. i don’t usually use twitter on my phone, so i never updated the authenticator when i started using 2FA on twitter.

😒

MUA

today is the third day of NOT using Kontact, the MUA that i have been using pretty much ever since i switched to linux, back in the dark ages.

i really liked kontact. it did EXACTLY what i wanted it to do: it handled all of my email addresses in a logical way, made it easy to switch from one email address to another, worked well with my business set-up, my installation of sigrot

but it had a fatal flaw which i have been trying (and, mostly, succeeding) to work around for quite some time now, and that is its use of akonadi, which is the interface between the MUA and the SQL database that lives behind it.

for the first few years i didn’t even notice a problem, but then i upgraded my operating system, and everything blew up. i ended up installing the new operating system from scratch, and summarily trashing three or four years worth of collected email. it was a difficult process, but i got through it.

through the years, i have tried installing a number of MUAs, in order to try and get away from kontact, but either they didn’t do what i wanted, or they simply didn’t work at all, so i gave up and went back to fighting with kontact…

“the devil you know”, right?

after that, there were a number of times, primarily during updates or upgrades, when i had to battle with kontact/akonadi/SQL, to get it to work, and i had to trash a number of years of collected email at least one more time before reaching the point at which i am, now.

four days ago, i ran the operating system updates, and, after i was done, i tried starting up kontact, and nothing happened. i tried starting it from the konsole (rather than “clicking” on the “icon”, which is how you start it in the GUI), got a vaguely worded, cryptic message about being unable to start “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell”, and then it hung up.

which is very odd, because i have never even installed the hebrew language pack, and have no idea why it would even be attempting to start the hebrew spelling dictionary…

i tried asking Kubuntu Forums for solutions, and got the same answer that i have gotten every OTHER time i have asked about how to fix kontact, which is “kontact is broken, install thunderbird instead”.

so i tried installing thunderbird (AGAIN), and, after having some “words” with my operating system about whether this new piece of software actually worked (or not), i successfully installed and more-or-less correctly configured it, and started using it.

it’s a little different than kontact… or, at least, my perception is that it is a little different than kontact. after some futzing around, i learned how to configure it to use more than one email address — actually, i may have done it “the other way” first, because the terminology for “accounts” and “identities” is slightly different on kontact — and, as far as i can tell, there is no easy way to add an “X-” header line to outgoing email, like there is in kontact, but that may just be because i have yet to find the place where such a thing is configured.

and, then, yesterday (after i had, more or less, given up on kontact), i discovered that kontact actually worked… it had been a few days since i had given up trying to start it, because of “hebrew.wgz.sizes.sonnet.plugins.hspell” not working, and, without thinking about it, i “clicked” on the “icon” and kontact sprang back to life!

so, the first thing i did was transfer all of my contacts, and most of my RSS feeds (i got bored and antsy, so i’ll finish them later) to thunderbird.

for some time, now, when i “quit” kontact (select “quit” from the “file” menu), i have had to go to the konsole, and “kill” the process that kontact was running, so that it would actually quit. i also discovered that “kill”ing kontact STILL allows incoming mail to be downloaded, a process that i don’t completely understand (it may have something to do with akonadi interacting with the POP3 mailserver).

also, for even longer (i recall at least two kontact upgrades that have had this behaviour, prior to the one i am currently (not) using), when i first start kontact, after booting up my computer in the morning, about 98.9% of the time it gets to the point where it’s displaying correctly on the screen, but before i have the chance to do anything, it puts up a dialogue box that says that there has been a fatal error and kontact will quit now. the dialogue doesn’t say what the fatal error is, and it only has an “OK” button, which makes everything disappear when i click it. under this circumstance, when i run “ps -u salamandir | grep kontact” in the konsole, kontact is, actually, not running (unlike when i select “quit” from the “file” menu), and if i restart kontact, it works without any further problems…

except that, sometimes (usually at least once a day), it freezes for anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, and when it does, there’s a very good chance (greater than half the time) that it will crash. usually this happens when i have just selected a message to reply to, and/or usually it happens when it is in the process of downloading new mail or RSS feeds. sometimes i can anticipate when it’s going to happen, when i have to reply to a message and it is in the process of downloading.

thunderbird doesn’t have these problem. when i select “quit” from the “file” menu, in thunderbird, it actually quits, and doesn’t keep downloading mail anyway. thunderbird doesn’t crash for no reason, or freeze and crash. it may not be kontact, but on the other hand, it’s not kontact.

my impression is that the operating system struggles when there is more than one MUA running, and, because of the difficulties i’ve been having getting kontact to quit, i don’t like to keep both of them running for long periods of time, especially since, apparently, kontact’s interface with the POP3 mailserver takes precedence, even after i “quit” and “kill” it, and even when i start up thunderbird first (which it shouldn’t, but it goes to support the fact that “kontact is broken”).

ahhhh! now we find out…

my newly redesigned site uses the enfold theme, which has faulty (under certain circumstances) caching and optimisation routines, so we use lightspeed cache, which doesn’t have those (particular) faults, and works better (under certain circumstances).

except, last year, prior to my site being redesigned (when i was still using the avada theme), i was told (by SOMEONE) to disable lightspeed cache, because it had some sort of incompatibility with… something…

so, i went through the site redesign with a disabled lightspeed plugin. no problem, until i put in the enfold theme, and whatever circumstances that cause the caching and optimisation routines to fail, were happening, which was the cause of the first go-round.

turning on the lightspeed cache fixed the first go-round, but whatever incompatibility i was trying to avoid by having the lightspeed plugin disabled, took effect, which was the cause of the second go-round.

which was further confused by the fact that part of my routine for fixing the first go-round was good enough that it fixed the second go-round well enough that i didn’t find out about it until it was too late.

what i found out, today, via my web developer, is that the people who make the lightspeed cache and webhost python (my host provider) have their own battle going on: on webhost python’s servers (which include mine), the lightspeed plugin causes expired transients to multiply and duplicate. lightspeed says it’s python’s fault. python disagrees…

on the record…

OFF the record, python agrees that there is a bug in their system that they haven’t found yet… compounded by the fact that it was THEIR ERROR which caused the third go-round… 😠 but it’s not for me to say “i told you so”, especially with my already somewhat precarious position with this particular host provider…

and so, i’m caught in the middle. 😒

apparently, for the time being anyway, the plan is to disable the caching modules on both enfold AND lightspeed, keep an eye on the database (which hasn’t blown up since implementing this plan), clear the expired transients manually, and examine other options for a cache.

😒