Some news regarding my TravelMate 8371 notebook

A while ago my Acer TravelMate 8371 notebook’s monitor developed a darker spot in the lower right corner. The problem was annoying at most because it did not let through as much light as it had before, but sufficient reason to send it for repairs. After coping with the problem for some months, I decided to send it to Acer for repairs a few weeks ago in September. Had I waited any longer, the two year warranty period would have passed.

I had very negative experiences with Acer’s customer service, as you can read in the archive of my weblog, and when I requested the RMA I again feared for the worst. The person helping me asked if the Windows installation on my notebook was Dutch or English. I answered that I had installed Linux after I had been given a refund for my Windows license. Apparently Linux or anything different from Windows was not an option in the script of the rigid call centre agent or the RMA process used at Acer, so she concluded it was an English Windows. Fortunately my fears proved to be unnecessary when I got the notebook back a week or so later. It had been sent on long trip to Acer’s repair centre in the Czech Republic and I noticed the monitor was replaced and everything was fine.

Meanwhile, bug #240802 in KDE’s bug tracker which I filed because something in KDE prevented the audio device on my notebook from switching to power saving mode no longer occurs on the latest development version of Kubuntu 11.10. It was probably accidentally fixed. The other bug, bug #15612 in the Linux kernel’s bug tracker (currently down due to security problems), has been fixed by very helpful developer. It took quite some effort on my part because I had to learn myself how to compile my own kernel after applying a patch to the kernel source with the help of documentation on the internet, which was an educational experience. The catch is that the developer is not going to implement the fix before it has seen wider testing, which has yet to happen. That’s understandable, but on the other hand frustrating because owners of my notebook still have to implement the workaround to fix suspend.

At the moment I have the Fedora 16 beta installed on my notebook because I wanted to check out GNOME 3.2. I’m pleasantly surprised with the power consumption, which is around 8,3 Watt according to PowerTOP while idle with WiFi enabled. That’s a lot less than the values I encountered with my previous tests which I wrote about in my previous blog posts. The latest Kubuntu 11.10 development version sucks 10.2 Watt under the same conditions. Not sure if this is caused by differences between Ubuntu and Fedora or the difference between GNOME and KDE, to figure that out I’d have to test with Fedora’s KDE spin. 8,3 Watt is still a far cry from the figure of 5,9 measured on Windows Vista for my notebook, but it’s acceptable because it prevents the fan from becoming audible. I hope to learn some tricks to decrease power consumption on Fedora 16. Also, because Fedora 16 does things different from Ubuntu you have to apply the workaround for the suspend fix as follows: the grub configuration file to be edited is located at /etc/default/grub and then the command grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg should be executed to make the changes take effect.

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