Hello, friends. 🙂

Two months after my last post, I’m back with another update. Nothing to stop the presses, really, but now that I’m officially on Spring Break from work, I figured it was time for a post.

So, what have I been up to? Nothing much, really. Same ol’ stuff, that being work and life. However, I did tend to some care and feeding of my OpenBSD laptop, a Dell Latitude E6410, specifically the one shown below which was taken this morning as I enjoy my coffee. ☕

Me on the couch with my black Dell Latitude E6410 laptop on my lap and my black mug of coffee with milk held by my right hand. On the laptop screen is MATE Desktop with Firefox maximized and focused on the default page for Firefox which shows the Firefox logo and brand, a search bar below it, and 8 icons for most visited pages below the search bar.
My Dell Latitude E6410 laptop on my lap as I hold my cup of coffee on my right hand.

This laptop started off with 4 GB of RAM which was good enough for a while, but I noticed lately that it was becoming rather cramped for my uses. On top of that, I noticed that the laptop was getting rather hot which I thought was also contributing to the lag. Thus, I decided to open it up and check the state of things with the CPU and cooling system.

One of the things I noticed was that it had an excessive amount of thermal paste, with a good amount of it caked on the outer surrounding areas of the die. There was also a good amount of dust by the fan and radiator since it hadn’t been opened this way since it was probably purchased new. While I was able to clean everything out, I was left without thermal paste because I couldn’t find the one I had “lost” earlier this year when working on my old Celeron D 335 PC. I tried putting it together to see if the copper heat spreader would suffice, but unfortunately, the system would freeze up right after logging in to MATE Desktop due to overheating. So, I decided to leave the system unused and ordered some thermal paste from Amazon. I also bit the bullet on 8 GB of DDR3 RAM since I was on a mini buying spree. 😛

Two days later, my RAM and thermal paste was delivered just as I arrived home from work. I unpacked everything and ripped open the Latitude to get that thermal paste and RAM installed, this time with proper thermal paste application compared to how it came from the factory. Once everything was ready and the laptop was closed up, I booted up and ran some tests before running sysupgrade to move to the latest OpenBSD snapshot. Running Firefox with a number of tabs and stress-testing the system via a stress-test website, the system’s thermals topped out a little over 70C. Things got noticeably slower, but that’s expected when stress testing. During normal use, things were a lot cooler without any slowdowns, and the extra RAM definitely improved performance. After some time using the laptop without any lockups, I decided to run sysupgrade and bring the system to a current state.

Having breathed some new life to this laptop, I decided to do one more upgrade to it down the road. During the process of removing the old paste, I noticed that this laptop has the CPU on a removable socket, so I plan to upgrade this from the i5-520M CPU to an i7-620M CPU. Granted, I’m sure this might introduce more heat, but hopefully not by much (or at all). For now, though, I’m glad to have this beater laptop in good and working condition. 💻

Well, that’s all for now. Hope to have some more interesting stuff to blog about soon. Maybe how I redid my PinePhone with postmarketOS running Sxmo? We’ll see… 😉

One week down, …

January 11, 2022

Well, I’m a bit late on this post, but better late than never. Managed to make it through the first week of 2022 in spite of being out of it due to 2 weeks off. Even going to the gym after work was a struggle! Thankfully, though, that’s in the past and this week has been much improved.

So, what have I been up to? Well, not too much until today. Sometime near the end of 2021’s days, I had posted on Mastodon that I was looking for a replacement keyboard for my Dell Latitude E6410 laptop which runs OpenBSD. This laptop used to belong to one of my sons when they were younger, and all three of them had one of the same model. Of course, kids being kids, they took quite an amount of abuse. After some years, they stopped using them because Windows 10 was just too slow on them (they each have a Core i5 M520 CPU).

At the time, I was still using my old Toshiba Portégé M400 that I’ve talked about in the past, but that was getting quite long in the tooth with pretty much any OS, so I decided to put one of the E6410s to use. I say one because I had to take two of the abused ones and create one somewhat-working one, meaning the final machine had a keyboard missing a “3” key. It still worked, but I had to make sure I pressed it correctly to generate either a “3” or an octothorpe (aka, the hash or pound sign). Anyway, once that was done, the SSD was moved from the Toshiba over to the Latitude and it’s been in use ever since. However, I did want to replace the keyboard at some point, but I was never compelled enough to spend money on one (plus the ones I’ve seen on eBay and Amazon were disappointing).

My black Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing "3/#" key on the keyboard sitting on my dining room table.
My Dell Latitude E6410 with the missing “3/#” key on the keyboard.

Fast forward to my Mastodon post about the keyboard, and a Masto friend was kind enough to offer me the keyboard from one of his Latitude E6500 laptops. Since mine and his are of the same series of Latitude (the E6410 being a 14″ model and the E6500 being a 15″ model), the keyboards are interchangeable. He sent me, free of charge, the replacement keyboard and the hinges from the E6500, the latter in the hopes that they will work with this one since the hinges on the E6410 are a little loose and the screen is a bit wobbly. I was ever so grateful for his gesture and waited patiently until it arrived yesterday.

After getting home from work today, I decided to tackle the replacement before heading off to the gym. Replacing it was easy-peasy thanks to the iFixit page for replacing the keyboard on the E6400 (again, they all fall under the E6000 series), and I now have a fully functional keyboard with all the keys in great shape!

Of course, I didn’t notice some other goodies until I unpacked everything from the box! This person was kind enough to also send a letter along with a sticker to use on something! What makes it even more special is that the letter was typed and printed on a VIC-20 and MPS-803 printer, respectively! And the sticker? It’s a Realms of Quest sticker from Psytronik Software (maker of new games for vintage computers)! So cool!

A letter from the sender with a Realms of Quest sticker with the words "Psytronik Software" on the bottom of the image. The letter behind it has printed text from what seems to be a dot matrix printer. It reads the following: "Hey Claudio, Hope this keyboard reaches you in one peice (sic) and works for you. Also hope the hinges are compatible. If you ever need other parts for this system please let me know I have many. I also included a nice sticker that I also hope you will like. Be safe always! [name redacted] PS: This was written on my VIC-20 and printed on my MPS-803 (ASCII image of a Christmas tree) MERRY CHRISTMAS!"
The letter addressed to me by the generous person who sent me the keyboard and hinges along with the Realms of Quest sticker.

A big THANK YOU goes out to this person for the wonderful Christmas gift and I wish him all the best in 2022. You’ve made this graybeard geek very happy. 😀

Until next time, y’all!