Me versus mechanical contrivances

2 12 2008

So I finally bought a new computer yesterday. It was long past time, as my old computer was displaying the following signs of non-life:

  • The Ethernet plug was non-functional – I had to use a USB port to access my cable connection.
  • Occasionally, the computer would just not start up at all until I unplugged all the USB connections. After it had started up, I could plug them back in.
  • It only randomly connected my iPod to my iTunes. Occasionally, it would get partway through an update, and then just disconnect. I once was left with about six songs on my iPod Shuffle. They weren’t bad songs, but still.
  • It was making strange whining noises on startup.
  • My monitor was turning everything yellow. (I still haven’t replaced the monitor – I’m using an old one right now.)
  • And, worst of all: 512 MB of RAM was now no longer anywhere near enough. I could run either Firefox 3 or Photoshop, but not both. And I couldn’t do Photoshop pictures in print-quality resolution, as that took up too much space. By the end, Firefox plus iTunes was pushing it.

So far, my new computer has been just great. I now have 5 GB of RAM. As I type this, I have iTunes, Firefox and Photoshop open. And I’m flipping back and forth between them at will. Because I can.

My new computer is displaying some eccentricities, though. It seems to want to reinstall the Bluetooth device every time I log on. And I had all sorts of trouble installing a driver for my graphics tablet. First, it crashed; after crashing, the tablet worked for a while, then started only allowing me to access a small area in the top left corner of my screen. I uninstalled the driver, then reinstalled; my computer crashed again. Right now, the tablet seems to be completely functional, but let’s see how long that lasts.

I also had trouble with a washing machine today. When I went down to the laundry room, I discovered that one of the washers I was using was asking me to reselect a wash cycle. When I did, it locked its door and basically stopped working. I unplugged the washer and plugged it back in again – it was still locked. I went up to see whether there was a late night number for the superintendent; there wasn’t one. I debated my options: Wait? Rip open the door of the washer? Leave a note saying, “Please don’t steal my laundry?” Whimper?

Fortunately, after a few minutes, the door opened – maybe malfunctioning Coinamatic washers have a fail-safe option. (To keep people like me from ripping open the door, perhaps.) Relieved, I transferred my laundry to a new machine, and unplugged the old one so that other people wouldn’t waste $1.85 on a non-functional washer.

So, at the moment, the score is Me 2, Mechanical Contrivances 0. Yay.




One response

3 12 2008

I just bought a GPS doodad for the car. I connected it to my computer and updated to the latest map. After restarting it, it though it was in Guam. A quick google search showed that this is not a unique problem. I went through the upgrade cycle again and it finally realized it wasn’t in Guam and offered to switch to the North America map. That was nice of it.

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