finding peace in repair

Some time ago, in addition to being the trivia king of Fujitsu Primergy servers, I was also a master at finding used Macs for cheap on eBay. Nobody wants a Core 2 era Mac anymore, so naturally I bought a 2007 iMac 7,1 for 100EUR.

Now I have 8 Macs that I never use.

It was 100EUR because it would turn off randomly (power supply problem). Other than that it was perfect.

Life is so fast paced, nobody has time to repair broken things. I called a Mac repair store, even they didn’t have the time to repair it – too expensive to troubleshoot and take apart, they say, better to just buy another power supply. But they did leave me with a good tip – capacitors are the only thing that age and break down in a power supply.

It took me a year to finally get around to calling that repair store. I was constantly chasing the next nugget of knowledge, the next new hobby, the next acquisition. I have 14 jackets by the way, I just counted. I wanted to experience this, experience that.

When I bought that iMac, I was also chasing the next experience. But deep down, I was just chasing what I really enjoyed about computers when I was young – immersing myself in a project with no expectations whatsoever.

Pay attention to your self-talk (this goes for everything). “I’ve got to get it fixed by x date”, or “I’ve got to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible” sucks the fun out of it. Or “just gotta finish it quickly so I can move on to the next project” just misses the whole point of taking on such projects in the first place.

When I was ‘busy’ and ‘had to get all this done’, I didn’t get that much done and I was stressed and somewhat guilty at the end of the day.

When I told myself ‘you don’t have to do anything’, paradoxically I got so much done – because by not putting pressure on myself, I was able to reach flow.

And so it happens that after putting this off for a year, I suddenly have the time and energy to use an ESR meter on every capacitor in the power supply. Here’s the data, just to show the condition of the capacitors after 15 years:

C210 0.05O
C209 0.01O
C205 0.09O
C206 0.08O
C207 0.04O
C214 0.17O
C215 0.04O
C051 0.26O
C052 0.25O
C30? 0.19O 22uF 50V (obscured by goop)
C??? 0.70O 10uF 50V
C343 0.75O 10uF 50V
C204 0.03O
C406 47.0O! 10uF 100V 11mm -> replace with 10uF 160V 12.5mm tall Panasonic
C407 0.69O (out of circuit) 0.97O 22uF 50V
C213 0.06O
C212 0.07O
C211 0.10O
C004 0.26O
C057 0.20O
a 22uF capacitor can be considered ‘good’ until it hits an ESR of 1.8 Ohm

C406 and C407 were two small capacitors that lived under a large heatsink. C406 was totally gone, even though it wasn’t bulging. C407 had a in-circuit ESR of 0.97 Ohm. Compare this to C30?, which has the same capacitance, but is far away from the heatsink so it’s healthier at 0.19 Ohm. Although C407 is still “good”, it clearly has aged more.

C406: no capacitor should have an ESR that high

Buying the ESR meter, desoldering pump, desoldering the TO220 component and the heatsink to get to the capacitors, finding an electronic parts shop willing to sell me only 1 of each capacitor… imagine if I had approached all of this with the mindset of “I need to get this done”.

I can’t wait for the capacitors to arrive.

How to talk with a girl you really like, Part 2

Since I wrote the last post my understanding has changed. My last post was close to, but not quite, hitting the mark.

The turning point was when I read Emily Ratajkowski’s “My Body”. In case you don’t know who she is, she’s a Victoria’s Secret model. I don’t consider her to be particularly mature yet, and there is a lot of anger in her book, which I correctly surmised came from her living in America (there, people are always outraged/offended about something). But after reading it, it became as clear as day:

Beauty is a front.

Imagine you’re a happy little girl. Life is good, you’re not thinking about sex or boys or anything.

the pressures of sexuality turn one from this…

Suddenly, at school, beauty starts to become important. In fact, people start to treat you worse and treat others better – and it seems that it’s all predicated on being hot.

(this happens for guys too, except that it’s about being cool. not that the girls notice that they’re doing the same thing – they can only see the guys who are cool)

Everybody is now rated on beauty, and it’s the one dimension you’re ushered into. You can’t escape. Even into your twenties and beyond until you’re a grandma, everyone keeps harping about how hot you are or how hot someone else is.

… into this.

Understandably some rebel, “why is it all about looks”, they say. Some opt out entirely, becoming the girl that no one notices, even if genetically they have what it takes to compete. Of course looks are important. But overemphasis on looks can create a subconscious rejection that, if one is not aware of their subconscious, can last a lifetime and stunt one’s potential.

This is for the girl who didn’t win the beauty contest. What if you won? You might end up angry and… I don’t know what’s the word for it but I’ll go with superficial for now… like Emily Ratajkowski.

Guys can’t escape the coolness ladder in high school/university – but in real life, it is skills, success, intelligence that you are judged on. Success can be interpreted in many different ways, and is entirely under your control (unlike beauty, which is up to your parents), so there is more freedom in that dimension.

Now you know a beautiful girl is just another girl, just with her own set of problems. But let’s not stop there.

Luxury is a front.

Fashion is actually not glamorous at all, as Rosen’s Gracia Ventus (love her white Volta M65) writes.

Luxury brands aren’t actually rich and prestigious – once you subtract marketing costs, their profitability is only average, according to Jean Noel Kapferer’s New Strategic Brand Management.

A lot of work goes into making a front. On the small scale, you see girls trying to find the perfect angle in the selfie. On the larger scale, observe the efforts expended to convince you that a perfume you made is worth more than 20 Euros, because it’s prestigious/you’re going to be sexier/exclusive/you deserve to pamper yourself every once in a while with only the best. No, it’s worth 200! The price tags are the real achievement, not the product itself.

But we can take it a step further.

Your perception is a front.

I remember once when talking to a girl I liked, she said “but you don’t really know me, you just like your perception of me”.

I replied: “but that’s exactly why I’m here – I’m curious and want to know more about you.” Back then her objection felt silly and easily resolved with common sense – today it feels more understandable.

Anyway, women put up the front to attract – but they don’t want men who are bedazzled by the front! In a way, it is an intelligence/character filter.

(this is a human thing, not a man/woman thing – if you spent energy to put up a front to attract attention, you’d also hope that people would be interested in the person behind the front)

Master the front to not be blinded by it

Everything in my previous post simply comes naturally from this realization and applies to all other areas of life, which is why this is the true answer.