Back in August, I was helping my uncle’s father with his computer. This computer was a P-266MMX from the mid-90s. It had a two gig hard drive and a whopping thirty-two megs of ram. In 1996, I’m sure this was a top of the line unit, but in 2002, with all of the advances of the Pentiums II, III, and IV… you can understand that I was pushing for him to shell out a few bucks to try and get him into the present. He acquiesced when the hard drive began to show signs of wear and tear, and so we went hunting for a new system later that month.

We started shopping for something moderately fast. He’s an old man, and it’s not as if he plays Everquest or uses resource-intensive applications under Windows or anything of that sort. At the beginning, we picked out an AMD XP 1700 for him and ordered it. When it arrived, though, the manufacturer neglected to put proper cooling fans on the processor and so it overheated when I attempted to install the operating system. The lockups continued to get worse, and in the dead of the August heat, it was not going to get any better. It was then that I decided to confiscate the box and started to poke around with the damned thing. Turns out that the CPU heat sink was made out of aluminum and they used a non-conductive adhesive. That’s about as helpful as no cooling fan. With the help of a friend, we starting working on the problem, taking up most of Thursday and trying to get it done by a deadline. After some small purchases and replacements, we did finally get the machine back to specs and made the delivery time. It took another hour or so to orient my uncle’s dad with the new computer, but I’m sure he’s really happy with it.

The headache will start soon, though. When he starts calling me for tech support. Augh.