Much of last week was spent on computer stuff. It was a bad week, some of it my own fault and some of it not. The main goals were to (1) assemble and get a new PC up and running and (2) install a new SSD hard drive on one of the laptops. Though assembling a PC can be fraught with hazard and it’s a pain to go through and reinstall everything, it all should have been pretty straightforward. But nothing that was supposed to go right went right.

I expected that I might order a wrong part due to carelessness, or that I might forget to plug something in and freak out when the computer doesn’t boot like it should, but neither of these things happened.

Instead, things started happening everywhere else in the constellation. The laptop that was plugged in to the TV downstairs stopped working. The laptop I assigned to replace it wouldn’t do the one and only thing I really needed it to do: play video. So the laptop I had to use was the one I wanted to put the new hard drive in. So before I could get to that, I had to format and restore the one that wouldn’t play video (the typical things, such as installing new codecs and drivers, didn’t work). Then, after having taken the PC I am replacing apart, one of my other PCs started acting funky and was no longer reliable. That meant placing a last minute order for a new power supply as I had isolated that to be the problem.

Everything with the new PC worked except for the high-falutin’ video card. Except, it being a new PC, I didn’t know the video card was the problem. So I had to run all sorts of tests to isolate that as the problem. In my investigations, I discovered that the video card wouldn’t work through a DVI-VGA adapter, which meant that even if it did work, it wouldn’t do what I needed it to do without a new monitor and KVM switch. But even accounting for that, the card still didn’t work. I called tech support and was on hold for four hours before giving up, leading me to question their “24/7 commitment to customer support.”

Then, the power supply I ordered didn’t fit into the machine I ordered it for. It was the right size, so it wasn’t an obvious mistake on my part. However, to get to the place where there was room for it, I had to go through a place where there wasn’t enough room to get it through. There may be a way to remove one of the offending bars, but it’s going to be a pain.

Note, while video cards and power supplies can be cheap, these weren’t. They cost $110 and $150 respectively. Oh, and I discovered that because of the pure awesomeness of the motherboard I got, having a 4-slot video card wasn’t even necessary because the mobo would let me use the PCIE card in conjunction with the mobo card.

So then on to the laptops. The F&R on the video-problemed laptop went smoothly until I installed a piece of “updater software” that updated everything from “working” to “not working”, forcing me to start again from stratch.

And the new SSD HD didn’t work. It took me several hours to figure that out (to rule out the possibility that the problem could be anything else).

Then, out of nowhere, the initial laptop that failed causing me to play the 3-card monty with my laptops suddenly started working perfectly again. I mean, a working laptop is better than a non-working laptop, but it rendered a lot of what I had been working on unnecessarily.

With the exception of a desktop sitting on the sidelines for lack of a power supply, and the inability to see video on one of my other desktops (I can still access it through Remote Desktop), things are working okay.

It does make me wonder a little – only a little – if there isn’t something to the whole notion of having “a computer” instead of “thirteen computers.”

On the other hand, throughout all of this I never lacked for a computer no matter what I did. Even on the PC downstairs, if I had really been adamant I could have hooked the Pentium Vista computer up and still been able to watch something. So it was and does remain nice that short of a nuclear bomb, I always have something.

Category: Server Room

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