Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I haven't been quiet, you just couldn't hear me cuss!

My 1998 Compaq Presario finally gave up the ghost. Dead, man. Kicked da bucket. Sure, please, laugh! After I flamed out my 2002 eMachine (in 2010, long after that beast should have been exiled to the dump), I didn't have the cash to go out and buy a new machine. Could have come up with the cash, but my eyes fell on the old machine gathering dust in my wife's den. That little phrase that has gotten men all over the world in buckets o' trouble for many a generation came whispering into my head.
    You can fix it, Dave. It just needs some new hardware and a software update or two and you're good to go.
   That voice, as is so often the case in the heads of men...was full of shit. I knew it. My wife knew it. One out of two of our cats knew it.
   We also knew that I had heard the voice and that I was compelled to obey.
   So I popped the lid off the old Compaq and wandered down to the local computer shop--the kind with a few shelves of new hardware like hard drives, and power supplies, and other miscellanea that is foreign to the Best Buy crowd.
   The Voice told me to buy some used RAM (otherwise known as "memory" to smarter people than me). So I bought some RAM. Went home and stuffed it in the old case and told myself I was smart. Then I bought a new hard drive. The old one held 1 Gigabyte. Hey (laugh again if you're of a mind to) One Gigabyte was HUGE in 1998. The new drive (purchased used) was 40 gigabytes. Wow! What a dude! (That was THE VOICE AGAIN.)
   I'll spare you the drive for drivers, the wrenching pounding of the internet for drivers that would make my salvaged DVD drive from the eMachine from Hell work on the Compaq From Yesteryear.
   I got it working. I did! I was proud of my old machine. I was running a version of Windows 1998 never dreamed of by those (now) old guys who created that vintage version of Windows.
   I have to say it was a success. I wrote 6 books on that old Compaq. Designed 12 book covers (paperback and dust-jacketed hardcover) on that old Windows 98 Compaq. It took a long time to do that on that old machine.
   Well... Sorry to say, the lifespan of that old Compaq was reached. It's gravestone (I'll bury the case with honor in the backyard some dark night) will say:
Here lies Old Compaq,
May he Rest in Pieces

And now to the next adventure--one I'm proud to say (finally) is a success. It was a lunatic's mission, guided by THE VOICE.
   Again deciding not to use credit to buy a new machine, I went about building a new computer. Bear in mind a couple of points about me:
  • My verbal skills are quite high and my mechanical skills are quite low. Screwdrivers are almost beyond my skill. Believe it. I'm not kidding.
  • I have no formal computer training. Well...there was a class I took in 1981 that involved saving data on a tape recorder, but I think that doesn't count anymore. And I got computers merit badge in 1978...
  • I was willing, and it's a good thing, to take my time and buy the hardware one piece at a time, used, from guys in polo shirts buttoned all the way to the top.
I bit off almost more than I could chew. Bought an empty case. Bought a motherboard. Put the motherboard in the case, loaded it with used RAM, took the motherboard back because it didn't work, put in another motherboard, put in the old hard drive...and discovered it was dead. Bought a used hard drive. Fought with the used hard drive for 5 agonizing days before I figured out it was dead. Exchanged the new used hard drive (80 Gigabytes, $15) and put it in. Then installed an old version of XP (with a missing product key) and finally got it to work. Now I have 30 days...soon to be 29, to find the product key before I have to start all over again with the software. I'm not worried. I have, as they say, a plan. you know why I've been quiet. And now you know I'm back.
Soon I will finish Sexton Sand. I promise.  Unless I miss my will be within 29 days.

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