Monday, June 29, 2009

The war on technology

Have you ever noticed how quickly friends can become adversaries? It happens.

My favorite technology is my computer. I use it to access local weather, the time, my personal calendar, my blog, my e-mail, the news, music, and games. I spend more of my free time with my beloved computer than with the TV, my car, or my phone. (I still appreciate other forms of electronic technology, but my computer is my ally in the voyage of life.

But yesterday, it was war!

Over the past six months I've had two DVD/CD roms die and a video card go obsolete. After doing some research, I journeyed to my local (10 miles) electronics store and bought the components for performing necessary repairs. (I hoped I had the right stuff. I depended on the expertise of the Fry's Electronic's guys. They recommended this cool looking box containing an up-to-date video graphics card: $60)

Although this doesn't seem like a war, it's the only analogy that comes close. It's more than a dance, more than a contest, it's me against them! (Okay, it may not be the life or death of real war, but I live a sheltered life.)

Armed with no more than some experience, a screw driver, and a can of dust remover I began the operation. I did my own computer first attempting to replace the DVD player. It didn't work. The computer couldn't find the new hardware.

I called for technical support via the phone. I called my nephew. He's my son's replacement as my technical guru. My son is living in Canada, and he's harder to get a hold of than my nephew who lives close by. John game me a tip, "Try uninstalling the drive from where you have it, to where the old one was."

This is a little like, "Try it again Uncle. You can do it!" But I'm easy going, and I took his advice. Or at least I started to. As I was uninstalling the new drive, I noticed a loose wire. "Oh. There were three connectors, not two, like the diagram showed."

Abandoning my nephew's advice, I reinstalled the DVD player with all three connectors in place. Victory was achieved! (In fact, another drive that wasn't working before, joined in and recovered itself.)

My own computer was somewhat of a preliminary to the key objective: my wife's computer. She's a bit of a gamer and over the last six months not only had her DVD drive died, but two of her games quit working. Two new ones wouldn't play at all.

I had exchanged e-mails with tech support and as near as I could guess, my video card was obsolete. It couldn't handle the latest graphics in the new games.

*sigh* I've never done a graphics card before. I've done memory upgrades, but usually with my son's moral support.

I began with her DVD drive. It worked. (It was identical to the one I'd just installed on my own computer, so I hoped it would be easier the second time around. It was.)

Next, I began my assault on her computer's graphics card. But it was elusive. It hid. In fact, I had to search my manuals (on and offline) before I figured out, I don't have a graphics card. It's built-in to the motherboard. Hmmm...

I thought to myself, "Oh, well. Let's give this a try. I'll use this slot... Opps... not that one, but this one... C'mon, c'mon, dammit... c'mon slide in... oh, yeah!"

That's how I think when I'm working. Very complex stuff.

I plugged the monitor into the new graphics card, fired up the computer, loaded some drivers, and the computer surrendered to its superior. Our friendship was restored.

I'm happy. My wife's happy. Technology has been subjugated in the Evans household. Victory is mine. Ahhh...

(As you can see, I'm very self-satisfied. Some things are just esteem boosting. Being able to fix your own computer is one of them. I am delighted!)


  1. Hey, thanks for the comment! Titling pictures is the always the hardest part... trying to come up with a title that's catchy and relevant without being cliched is always a challenge.

    By the way, I was wondering why you followed the Taiwan Drift? I'm half Taiwanese myself.

  2. I'm impressed! I wish you lived nearby so you could fix mine-My cd burner has been stopping, mid-burn and leaving errors on the discs. Since I love to make mix cds, this has been a big deal. I've been told it may be dust in the drive so I've purchased a "cleaning CD" but I have no illusions about how well it might work.
    Good for you for taking on the challenge!

  3. @Kane: Your photos are beautiful, and I hate to see work displayed and not verbally appreciated: that's why I left a comment. Titles, like a good composition, often require several drafts.

    I follow the Taiwan Drift because I enjoy Chase, the author. He's a 20 something Southern Californian who has a sense of adventure and thoughtful nature similar to mine. (I'm from So Cal and share his Christian outlook. He's in his 20's, I'm in my 50's, but we have a lot in common. I traveled a lot in my 20's, though not beyond North America.) I have also known and worked with a number of Taiwanese, so that's interesting as well.

    @DeeDee: Thanks for the comment. You may have to replace that drive. I spent the $50 this time to get a new one, because I wanted a DVD/CD drive: a multi -- that's what they are called now. Otherwise I would steal a CD drive out of one of the old computers that inhabit my closets and garage. This time... I went new.

    (There is a danger in letting people know you can work on computers: they want you! My main method is what I call "Don's method of aggressive muddling." It's not pretty, not quick, but usually gets the job done.)

  4. Don, you did better than I could. I've never tinkered around with the inside of my machines. Maybe one day soon (but hopefully not!)

    @Kane, to paraphrase what Don wrote, "No one really knows why they follow the Taiwan Drift. We're still figuring that one out."

    I hopped over to your page, Kane, and have to admit I love your photography. I'll be back soon, no doubt.
    And Don, thanks for the kind words. It's a mutual follow.

  5. Don, thanks so much for your kind words about my poetry. I also enjoy your contributions to Pictures, Poetry & Prose. It's a great place to explore creativity. Congratulations on tackling those computer problems. My husband is a tech guy so I'm used to seeing all sorts of hardware and half-assembled machines. You did a great job! Terrific post!

  6. @Chase: Perhaps one day you'll have a need (and a friend to help you) explore the inside of a computer. I think I learned by necessity and by trial and error. These days, with things like Wiki-how, it's amazing how close help really is. (Kane's photos are good aren't they? B&W and color.)

    SeptemberMom: Thanks for stopping by and for following! I've enjoyed your work at PP&P as well. I've been exploring your blog as well: it's fun, interesting, insightful, and it has poems! Oooo... ahhhh... Keep posting!

  7. There's so much love here! :D

    About your hush puppy must understand that the difference in quality between the prior dogs and Betty's is so great, that I had no choice to conclude that anyone who could make a hush puppy taste like THAT must be serving the best ones.

    Let me have my ways, Don. ;)

  8. @Saphron: I'm glad you enjoyed my "ragging." And I'm glad you've presented such a rational argument, punctuated with a good: "Let me have my ways, Don." You can have your ways, I just reserve the right to make fun of them. ;-)

    Thanks for stopping by... as always, I enjoy your comments.