Monday, September 03, 2007
For our friends in Jingleheimer Junction... Friendship, Understanding, Caring, and Kindness!
In the stupidities department, there were a couple involving computers and despite my ego I'm glad that Chrome was there for them because it would have taken me awhile to figure those items out on my own (if I did). How to balance the anecdotes between the nontechnical half my readership craves and the detail my geeky friends expect...
Item 1: A year ago a friend of my wife handed me this notebook computer that would not fire up, and asked me if I could fix it. No such luck; even after I bought a new power supply there were no signs of life. The friend wrote the computer off and (after I plugged the hard drive into my own computer) I copied everything from the notebook to a CD, but kept the machine for stray parts. Chrome and I came across an external drive case for sale that would let me use that 6 gigabyte hard drive from the notebook as a USB memory device, so I did. There were no setup directions, and quoting the manual: "There are only two steps: first, install the hard drive in the case; second, plug the cable into the computer." It's that first one where a little info (does this work with hubs? what should the jumper settings on the drive be?) would be nice! To skip the "we did this, it didn't work, so we tried that, no luck" details, I have learned that if I plug this drive into the back of my computer either directly or through the beige extention cable, it gets enough power to work, but if I try to use the four-jack hub on top of the computer that I plug almost everything external into or use the white extention cable I just bought it doesn't get enough juice. There was plenty of head-scratching and screwing around with this hard drive, the inside of my computer, AND the hard drive out of Chrome's notebook (for test purposes) before the matter was ironed out.
Item 2: I have DSL and have been using an A-B switch for moving the connection between my computer and my wife's computer in the next room. (No, I don't want wireless!) Thereby only one person can be online at a time, which normally isn't an issue because she hardly ever turns on her computer but there have been a couple times she's been online when I wanted to be. So Chrome and I found a four-port router so we can share the connection. (Ethernet and that's it routers are getting a little harder to find, everyone's gaga over wireless. Which I don't want.) There were no setup instructions. He wanted to set it up manually, I wanted to use the disk that came with it, and to cut to the chase neither method was working. It seems both the modem and the router wanted to use the same address, and the software would say things like "error 119, try rebooting" without an actual explanation because of that fact. I tried changing the last number of the router's address, and this didn't change anything; Chrome's had training so eventually realized that it's the second-to-last number that needed to be changed, and then everything worked. The stupid point (other than the router having the same address as 75% of the modems out there, geez) was that the software didn't diagnose or correct the problem, and I don't think the manual (found as a file on the disk) made mention this could be an issue in its Troubleshooting section. Oh, and no setup directions on or in the box, or in the manual.
While the interior home improvement thing is at a pause point, I think our next project will be an exterior one (and another huge stupidity on someone else's part): In the front yard there was this 4 foot high wooden fence that was rotting and overgrown with ivy, which technically was the neighbor's property, and they took it out with the promise to put up a new one. This was about a year ago, and every time we've asked the neighbors about the fence they have excuses why it's been delayed. My wife is tired of looking at their semi-functional cars, and I can understand though I kind of like being able to see up the street in that direction. Other less visible yard projects of theirs have not been put off, but digging flowerbeds and edging probably costs less than fencing. So we're going to take the bull by the horns and install our own damn fence -- the pre-built stuff, wood not vinyl, with the posts cemented down -- possibly over the next three days if the good weather holds out and before the snows blow. [Oh look, it just started raining...] Won't the neighbor be surprised? :) Speaking of neighbors, while the woman on the other side of our house said she was told by the skanks across the street they were being evicted so they were to be out of the hovel by the first of this month... they're not. *sigh*
We didn't buy a lot on our yard sale journey. We did it more for the time to be together as well as talking with the native hicks. VERY fun times!!
So, I suppose the next photos of home improvements will be of that new fence.
Happy week to you!