Saturday, August 9, 2008

And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth


This week I am a computer technician. Got some upgrades for my computer and since I am a Certified Computer Technician, I am going to play geek. Richard was over at Walmart and saw a computer monitor he was quite impressed with, came home and suggested maybe we should get a new one - our old one being quite elderly for a monitor. Now when I say our old one, you understand I am talking about the computer in the living room, of course, which is 7 years old, not the one in the bedroom which is only 1 year old. The "new" computer has an old-fashioned CRT monitor, not one of the sleek, modern, LCD Wide Screen ones.

When I start talking computer components Richard's eyes usually start to glaze over much like mine do when he gets into the technical aspect of an automobile engine. So when he suggests a new LCD monitor my eyes open wide. Off I go to scope out monitors at Staples, for comparison, and to ensure that Walmart really does have the best deal.

They do, and soon we do too! An Acer 22" Wide Screen LCD monitor and she's a beauty...I connect her to the "old" computer and take her out for a spin. It becomes evident - to me at least - that while the graphics card in this old computer is adequate, we really need a new, more modern and up-to-date one. With more RAM. Better Graphics capability. And while I, er, ah, that is, WE are at it, why not get a TV Tuner for the computer as well. I mean, we have the 22" Wide Screen Monitor, a TV Tuner to watch TV on the new monitor would be just the ticket.

We had plans to drive up to Courtenay for something to do and I suggest a stop at Futureshop while there. We browse, Richard in large appliances, me in graphics cards. I am surprised to find a card in my budget as well as a TV Tuner and soon the new components, a BFG nVIDIA Graphics Card and a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1250 internal HDTV Card, are in my hand and we are out the door. I read the instructions...

...Graphics card calls for a PCI Express x16 slot. New technology since I last purchased any upgrades. Do I have one of those? And TV Tuner calls for PCI Express x1 slot. Do I have one of those?
Hmmmmm. I had the cover off that "new" computer the other day, first time since I got it. Why have I not had it off before? Because, silly, it was under warranty and I didn't want to invalidate the warranty by taking the cover off. And...I just never got around to it. So now I am trying to remember what it looked like inside. I think I have both of those. Fingers crossed.

Turns out I do. Install the Graphics card first, and that was a breeze. Made quite a difference to the video display. Now for the TV Tuner. Installs and sets up easily. It comes with a remote control, that's the reason I bought it, and the remote is IR - Infrared. That's where the problem begins. You see, in order for the remote to work, it has to have and IR sensor plugged into the computer - into the TV Tuner card. Unfortunately whoever designed the tuner card, didn't take into consideration that the hole to plug the IR sensor into shouldn't be right at the edge of the tuner card as that means that YOU CANNOT PLUG THE SENSOR IN BECAUSE IT HITS THE EDGE OF THE COMPUTER AND WON'T SEAT ALL THE WAY IN LIKE IT NEEDS TO BE SO THE REMOTE WON'T WORK!

I call Bente and ask if perhaps Max needs more oysters for the store - Max being the Codfather of Codfather Seafood here in Port Alberni, and Bente being the Codmother - so we can have a reason to make a trip up to Courtenay. He does, and we do. I return the poorly designed tuner card and then, having done my research, go to London Drugs and purchase what I feel is an even better one, an ATI TV Wonder HD 600 USB Stick. All you have to remember here is USB because it just plugs into a USB port, you install the software and it works...

...sigh, until you turn your computer off. When you turn your computer back on, the tuner has lost it's tiny mind. Uninstall and reinstall the software, and it all works again...

...until you turn off the computer again and it loses it's tiny mind again. This is getting really old, really fast. I make a scrunchy face and sit down to figure out what to do, besides taking this tuner back up to Courtenay to return it.

And I am still working on it. I THINK I will take a 200 gigabyte drive I have, put it into the "new" computer, install Windows XP on it, then install all the software on it that is necessary, then install the TV Tuner on it and see if it will stay working. If it does, well, good. If it doesn't, I am NOT playing Computer Geek again for at least another year.

Seriously!

I mean it!

Really!

Although, I would like to get Windows Vista Premium to put on the "new" computer though, it only has Vista Basic and that's a pain. And I would like to add more RAM. Oh, and when I was in Futureshop the other day, I saw this neat gadget for computer that you can use to copy your old VHS tapes to DVD. And the "new" computer doesn't have a DVD Burner, only a CD/RW burner and DVD player combo so I would like to get a DVD burner for it. And a new web cam....

1 comment:

Eric said...

To solve all problems, please click the link below...
http://www.ubuntu.com/

Although VHS to DVD sounds like a great idea, we forget until we see the completed project that it does in fact look like VHS on DVD, then we wonder why the hell we went through all the effort. (The last statement does not apply to copying the origional Star Wars to DVD. Hayden freaken Christiansen should not be in Return of the Jedi!!!!!!!) Love you :)