Category Archives: Technology

Out with the new, bring back the old!

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As with any design overhaul, the typical backlash abounds. People don’t like change, even if it’s better for them (::cough::metric system::cough::). But this is one case in which I agree–new sucks!

Grooveshark is like Spotify, but web-based, of questionable legality (I’ll talk about that later… in some other post), and with a hell of a lot more of the music I’m looking for. I use it pretty much constantly, and was looking forward to the new design. Yeah. About that. Read the rest of this entry

Technology Hates Me

It’s debatable whether or not our tech gadgets have become sentient and are in fact secretly plotting to kill us all. Regardless which side of that debate you’re on, I’m sure you’ve had a string of days where everything you touched, broke. That’s a bit how the past couple days have been for me, only I work at an IT Service Desk. So it’s a bit of a problem.

Issue One: The President’s Laptop

It all started when I was imaging up a laptop for the company president. It’s a standard procedure, but I needed to go through extra lengths to make sure he had everything he needed, including iTunes, which requires Quicktime. I tried to install Quicktime, but got a message saying Windows was already installing something, and I had to wait for that to finish. That’s all well and good, but I wasn’t installing anything and the CPU usage was at 0%.

After a fresh restart, I tried again and got the same error. There were three Windows Installer processes running, using none of the CPU. I tried ending one, and two more came to replace it. I tried another, and got the same thing. I restarted again, but let it sit this time. Nearly an hour later, all of them were gone and Windows Update wanted to restart.

I went into Windows Update and checked which updates were installed. The most recent item on the list was from hours previous, and I had restarted numerous times since then. So the system had self-replicating installers that seemingly took an hour to install a hidden update? What. Read the rest of this entry

Adventures With Ishy: Tech Support Edition

My mother’s wireless router suddenly stopped working after four years. To get internet at all, she has to plug the main PC directly into the modem. This means she can’t use the shiny laptop I bought her for Christmas, and I’m stuck on this ancient PC when I come to visit.

Since I’m here for the night, I figured I would try to get her router working again. I didn’t expect to fix it — I don’t know much about routers — but I had to try. It’s already broken, what’s the worst I could do? Break it more?

Aside: I know most of my readers aren’t technicians, so I’m going to be vague on the tech-related details. If you are a computer nerd like me, don’t shoot me for the inconsistencies.

I know the Comcast modem works perfectly fine, as the PC is connected directly to it and has no problems with being online. The Linksys router, however, didn’t seem to be working. (modem = wired internet, router = wireless internet). Basically, the computer would claim to have connected to wireless internet, but couldn’t actually load any webpages (or get a ping).

Let the troubleshooting begin! Read the rest of this entry

Ishana vs Viridiana: Webcam Smackdown

I’d like you to meet Viridiana, my netbook. Viridiana is an Acer Aspire One 532h,  named after a character from Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy. Of course, I ended up hating said character by the third book, but I loved her at the time. At any rate, I’ll not go into the details of the hardware architecture, but the important things to know are that Vi has a built-in webcam and came with Windows XP installed.

The Crystal Eye webcam didn’t exactly work 100%. The software for it worked perfect, I could capture video from it using Windows Movie Maker, but things got weird when I started a video call in MSN (AKA Windows Live Messenger). In a video call, you can see your friend’s video on the top left of the window and your video on the bottom left. For whatever reason, I couldn’t see my video, though my friend could. Which meant I had no clue what they could see.

It was inconvenient, but it worked. Then I installed Windows 7.

MSN wouldn’t recognize my camera, meaning I could not initiate a video call because MSN didn’t think I had a camera. However, if my friend who did have a working camera initiated the call, mine worked perfect. I could see me, my friend could see me, all was well.

I also installed Skype recently to speak with a friend of mine, and Skype had no problems at all with my webcam.

Huh. Read the rest of this entry