I wanted to take this opportunity to write about my recent trip to Canada, but there's a topic that's much more pressing for me: My laptop.
My laptop, a Lenovo Y530, has a weird behavior where it freezes up and becomes totally unresponsive at random points. This happens once every few days, and I can't seem to figure out what causes it. I thought that it was a heat issue, so I've been very careful to keep the bottom uncovered and make sure it has proper ventilaton. However, it happened again tonight with no signs of over-heating, so I guess that is not the cause.
This crash happened the first night I got it on WinXP, and it happens now on Linux too, so I doubt it's a software issue. I'm becoming convinced that it's a hardware issue, but at the same time I'm damn certain that I've voided my warranty by installing Linux. I need to go back to the fine print to double-check it, but most OEM computer manufacturers don't have a history of being too tolerant of things like that.
The behavior is quite a simple one: The computer locks up at random times with no aparent warning. The screen freezes and it becomes completely unresponsive to user input. I haven't tried to connect it to an external monitor (to isolate any potential problems caused by an LCD failure), but I doubt that's the issue anyway.
When it freezes, the caps-lock and num-lock indicator lights start flashing in unison. The flash rate is about 1Hz with no patterns or variations. One time I left it in this condition overnight, and when I came back in the morning it was still happening. I've also tried any other things I can think of to "snap it out of it", to no avail: hitting sequences of control keys, clicking the power button, closing the lid, unplugging/plugging the power cord, etc. I'm trying to think of things that would trigger an interrupt and maybe snap the computer back into a functional mode. Nothing. The only solution is to hold down the power button for several secods until the computer turns off, and then power it back on again.
I've done some quick google searches, and was a little dismayed by what I've seen. Nobody else has mentioned this problem. The user manual doesn't mention this condition at all. I can't find any mention of it anywhere. What I have found, however, is a long series of cut-and-paste "reviews" about the laptop. That, in a word, is not helpful. Tomorrow I may try to get in touch with technical support, but I don't have high hopes for that conversation ("Is the computer plugged in? Do you have the latest drivers? Oh you're on Linux? Sorry, we can't help you"). Tech support, in my experience is rarely helpful or supportive.