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Sometimes computers show their age. :)

I worked 6 days last week with Sunday being my only day off until Friday, so I decided to get a lot of things done with my computer and other items Sunday.  About a month ago, we picked up at Goodwill an Android TV Box for well under what it should cost.  In short - the Android TV box turns your TV into a media streaming system.    I hooked it up and it worked for about a week then died.   With it costing less than a meal at a fast food place, I didn't feel too bad about it.  In came my Raspberry Pi though to the rescue, one of the main features I loved about the Android TV Box is it hooks up to your TV and you can load a program on it called Kodi which lets you connect to your network and play music files stored on it, home movies placed on it, and other items such as streaming sources for video from networks like ABC, CBC, BBC, CBS, etc...  All over the world.    I have a program on the Raspberry Pi which loaded Kodi on it as well so I used that for a couple of weeks so we can continue to explore the world of Kodi.

After about 2 weeks of use, the Raspberry Pi had reached it's hardware limit and it was frequently overheating so I replaced it with another Android TV Box.  This time around, made for the task and it does it well.   This is what caused me to do some work on my computer system.  As part of our rights as owners of DVD's we are entitled to make backup copies of them.  I have started to make backups of them to my computer and with my current storage, I can back up my entire library of movies here and still have plenty of room to spare.  Anyway, this is where I began to notice some nuances and issues with the computer that are making it show it's age.  It is a 'dual-core' processor system with a modest amount of memory which is alright for Internet, email and misc tasks.  One of which is backing up the DVD's.  I have been noticing over the past several weeks a general slow down randomly on the system.   Knowing what I know about computers with 30 years under my belt of experience and the wisdom that comes with it, I know that it is coming of age and will be time to replace the system soon.  It has led me to check for hardware signs of wear and tear.  Visually, you can see if there are 'bulging' capacitors which are a sign of impending death of the computer.  A capacitor is similar to a coil on a car or you can think of it is a a place to store electricity for a temporary time until needed or they are discharged.  Kind of like a temporary battery!   Anyway, when they bulge, it is a sign that the gas inside is starting to expand as a sign of wear.  I took the time to visually inspect the computer and so far so good.  No bulging capacitors.

Fast forward to more troubleshooting, and in my case, it has become an issue more or less of the computer showing it's age in the world of software and operating systems.  I am currently running a Linux based system which I have been doing for quite some time and with it, have some pretty in depth tools you can use to monitor it and determine issues with it, if you know what you are looking for.   In my case, the amount of RAM/memory I have in my system is not going to be more than enough, but barely enough to run things.  It is not a matter of replacing the RAM in this case which would help, but my monitoring was showing that the CPU of my computer was being maxed out with Firefox open and my email client running in the background.  I also had the DVD backup program running, but it was Firefox taking up so much system resources.  I am not going to get into the argument about which browser is best, Chrome, Firefox, Opera etc.  Bottom line, a dual-core system is going to soon fall behind. 

As a family, we all are using outdated technology from tablets with older operating systems to a laptop which has a broken hinge and is overdue for the recyclers.   I was using my old Android phone last night to listen to music, since it has no use as a phone for me, it makes a fantastic music device.  I ran into some issues though lats night and a realization - this once speedy device which ironically is TWICE as powerful as my computer literally, is running very slowly and badly.  This - after a fresh factory reset a week ago.   Phone is about 4 years old to give you an idea of age and it is very lightly used.   That - I can see starting to parallel my computer in it's slowing down, and it makes me wonder if it is a memory chip issue or something else for the phone.   Time to find some alternate software for it which is lighter weight and much easier on it. :)

 

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