It's been a slightly frustrating week, technologically speaking. But the frustrations have balanced out nicely.
Problem #1: The fan on my notebook died.
This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't brand-new — a Sony VGN-CS160J which I bought back in January or so.
I've generally been happy with the quality of Sony's hardware: this is the fifth notebook I've purchased by them. The first was in 2002, when my then-already-ancient Dell-clone book suffered a header and the display cracked. Said Sony lasted four years, and was only replaced when the hinge on the display started to go (along with the display wiring). My wife liked what she saw and bought the next-largest model. That machine is still running, although she's since bought a replacement for it as well.
I fired up Sony's help page and found a note posted last week about issues with the fan on the CS series. Plus this little gem:
As a part of our commitment to quality, for any customer who requires replacement of the cooling fan due to this issue, Sony will provide a free repair for an additional 12 months beyond the standard limited 12 month warranty (24 months total) for fan replacement.
H'm! says I. I called the repair center. They found my information in a trice, took down the machine's service tag number, and put me in the queue to set up a repair appointment.
I've been impressed with the quality of Sony's customer care before, but everything I'm seeing from them now has been superlative. Their notebooks may be that much pricier, but they wear like iron and you get treated like an actual customer when you have a problem.
If all goes well I might have the notebook fixed in time for NYAF, which would be downright spiffy.
Problem #2: A new drive on my PC was behaving strangely.
A friend of mine sent over a gift of a couple of spare drives: a 1 TB and a 500 GB drive. The actual drive-cloning and installation process was a snap (some more notes about that here), and I got booted back up and running in no time.
Then I heard it: click-click-click.
I'd heard sounds like that before, from a pair of 160GB Western Digital drives that turned out to be defective and had to be RMAed. Any drive that makes a click that sounds like insects slamming themselves against a window is either on the verge of death or suffering from some kind of transient defect that you don't want coming between you and your data. SMART stats came up empty, as did the system log. (I've since found that such things are almost worthless when it comes to diagnosing the kinds of things that can really kill a drive.)
There was a 2nd 1 TB drive in the same carton, originally intended for another friend. I dug that one out, imaged the original over to it, and booted it. No clicking.
My friend is sending me a replacement. So far he's competing neck-and-neck with Sony in the customer care department.