It started last night, I think. At least that’s when I became aware of it. My main computer was occasionally making small sounds of the “frrzzt!” type. You know, not unlike the sound of insects being fried to a crisp in the electric insect killer. Now, you occasionally hear about the being bugs in the computer, but it seemed unlikely to be literal. At least since the sound repeated from time to time. Usually this computer is running night and day, since this is where I run “folding at home”, a program that contributes to the science of protein folding. But this night I turned the computer off. I really didn’t want it to catch fire during the night!

This afternoon, after work, it was much worse.  I also noticed another disturbance in the electric force, which I had also noticed a few times yesterday afternoon:  The kitchen ventilator made FRRZZT sounds randomly when off.  Yes, they were louder than the ones made by the computer. Also, the light blinked.  Today, the computer also rebooted.  But only the big black quad-core computer.  The slightly smaller and a good deal cheaper tri-core computer that stood beside it was fine.  As the afternoon went on, the computer rebooted more and more often.  Cutting off the power to the kitchen equipment did not stop it.  Eventually I took the computer into the living room (which is uncomfortably cold at this time of the year, by the way) and booted it there, with an older screen.  It purred happily.  No suspicious sounds, no reboots.

Back in the home office, I connected the tri-core to the big widescreen monitor.  It may be slightly slower than the other, but not slow for ordinary use.  A bit slow when playing Sims 2, but that is pretty much it.  Well, after a short while it rebooted.  Actually, it just turned off, but the effect was much the same, since I turned it back on.  And a while later, it rebooted again. Not nearly as often as the other had, and there were no strange sounds, but occasionally the lights would flicker, and sometimes when they did, the computer would reboot.

Well, it must be the monitor then, logically.  But just to be sure, I carried the widescreen monitor into the living room and connected it to the big PC.  Since then they have been running happily for hours.  No symptoms of any kind.

The tri-core mostly works fine too.  But once every few minutes there is a small flicker in the light, and once every couple hours there is a major flicker and the computer turns itself off. So clearly there is still something in the room that sets it off.  But what?  I don’t know. Perhaps a rodent has been gnawing on the power cables in the wall somewhere.  Or perhaps there is a defect in some minor electrical equipment in there, some small gadget I have not suspected. I have a lot of gadgets each drawing a tiny amount of power.  Also, I have the Linux laptop up and running again in that room.  It had been off for a few weeks. Hmm… but it does not blink or act strange in any way.  Still, perhaps I should turn it off before going to bed.  And the tri-core too.