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Desktop is down -- Rethinking Home Computing

Posted by Paul Macklin

19 April 2008 at 10:22 pm CDT (UTC +?)

Well, on Friday night my main desktop went down after a failed BIOS flash. The Windows flash utility from Gigabyte (the motherboard manufacturer) failed with a cryptic error message. When I rebooted my computer, the fans and drives spun up, but there was no video and no beep codes. All my efforts to force a reflash failed. So, now I'm in the middle of an RMA to get the motherboard replaced.

The surprising thing is that aside from the loss of data, I don't miss the desktop. The ThinkPad is more than sufficient for my writing and minor coding work, and this is really forcing me to rethink home computer resources. I just switched my nice monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, and speakers to the docking station for the ThinkPad, and it's nearly business as usual.

When I get the desktop back up, I'm starting to think that I'll reconfigure it as a workstation / file server that's tucked away and accessible by network. In an ideal setup, I'd be able to stream media from it to the living room TV, maybe with some kind of wireless bridge. I really don't have time for gaming anymore, so it really makes sense to use my best monitor, etc. on my laptop when I come home from work. I'll probably install the scanner on it, too.

I'm not entirely decided, as there are some great benefits to using the desktop as a desktop: it's designed to be very quiet, it gives me a non-UT-owned machine to do personal work on (and helps avoid all sorts of IP-type headaches that way), and it has much nicer audio and graphics cards on, which is nice for working at home. So, I guess we'll just have to see! But I'm surprised at myself to even be at such a point, given my PC desktop tinkering roots!

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