Using Others’ Tech

The most common corollary to being a tech person is the fairly constant requests to help others with their tech issues. Another one, more infrequent in my experience, is the need to get others’ personal tech gear up to working order to get something accomplished. Sure, we often have to troubleshoot equipment when using it for a presentation or for some other reason connected to our jobs, but the obstacles put up by others’ private gear is there, too.

I am currently visiting my parents, and I spent a better part of the morning getting their scanner to work. I remember this was a challenge before when my wife wanted to scan something. Evidently, whatever we did then did not take, and the scanner was not working this time. After much mucking around, I finally got it back on line and got my task completed.

How far do people go to fix others’ equipment to meet personal needs?

Windows Reinstall Revisited

 My brother-in-law sent me some replacement hard drives, he has these laying around his apartment, and I stuck them in the machine. After booting to the Windows DVD, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it recognized one of the three drives I put in. I don’t know why it does not see the other two, perhaps pin settings or bios settings will sort that out if this install is successful. So far it has made it through most of the initial install phase which is way more than I was getting from the old drive. I’ll cross the other drive bridge if I get there.

That and reinstalling gobs of software. I hope for the tedium of this process. It sure beats the frustration of not having a desktop when I need one.

Right now the computer screen is reading, “Completing installation…” I sure hope so!


99 percent, or really about 75 percent

With my desktop down for several days now (just waiting on a new hard drive) I have found that I really can do most things I want to do on the iPad. These posts are exclusively written on the iPad using Blogsy. I can certainly check mail, surf the web, and do the basics.


Even more than that, there are now things I only do on the iPad. The recipe programs Epicurious and Pepperplate drive my cooking. RSS reading only happens on the iPad through Mr. Reader from which I can send to Facebook, Diigo, and Twitter among other services. I mostly read Twitter and Facebook on the iPad. My lists reside on both the iPad and iPhone in Wunderlist. I almost always use my IOS devices for passwords, too.


Consolidating my lists from the various old sources, however, is awaiting some good desktop, two monitor action. Graphics for my blogs and blog themes along with other more in-depth blog maintenance will be done on the more powerful machine. I have not yet figured out how to hide the posts from a particular person using the mobile Facebook app. I was also unable to remove myself from a group using that app. It is quite likely that it is doable, I just did not find out how. There are little annoyances or “features” like this that make me itch to get the desktop back up and running.


Is It Plugged In?

 Today was an excellent example of when tech support is all about the question, “Is it plugged in?”

One classroom was having difficulty getting a network served typing program up and running. I did all the more advanced troubleshooting including reinstalling and reconnecting to the server. It turns out that all these machines were connecting through the wireless which, while recently upgraded, has a few bugs still to shake out. The ethernet hub was lurking on the floor, unpowered and yet so powerful. The IT guy later went by the room and discovered this. Grr. I did not check the fundamentals; I did not start from the ground up. 

An email thread on another IT issue also showed that an ethernet cable was disconnected from a printer that had mysteriously stopped printing.

Always ask, “Is it plugged in?”

A List Waiting To Be Done

 OK, I am stymied by this computer down issue. I am getting a SATA USB converter tonight to see if I can format the thing and get back on track.

In the mean time, here is what is queued up:

  • Create better themes for my blogs.
  • Create art for my blogs.
  • Work on my digital art on Cafepress.
  • Continue working on my presentation for parents on Internet safety.
  • Create designs for a papercutting class I am taking.

This list goes on. I just have to bear down on this and get it finished.

Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…

 They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot. Oooo la la la.

My computer sat for weeks, maybe even months, without being turned on, but now that it sits in my office chair with its guts exposed and no hard drive, I find that I have oodles of projects that I can only do on a desktop rather than the iPad.

No fear, there are several solutions on the horizon including a USB SATA drive connector and a possible replacement drive on the way.

I just feel exposed without a working desktop! 


It’s Dead, Jim!

And whoever else cares to know. My computer is dead. Yep, somehow in trying to reinstall Win 7, I managed to make my drive completely unreadable. Either, I will miraculously get the drive back up (though I have removed it and put it back in, tried different drivers, etc), or I will have to get a new drive. Perhaps it was a drive issue that was bogging down my computer. Who knows. 


All I know is that it is a pain to deal with a computer crashing, and it never happens at a convenient time. 


The first thing that first tier customer support often advocates is reinstall Windows. While this nuclear solution is rarely called for, my computer is suffering from the boot-for-30-minutes disease caused by a multitude of issues. Time to reinstall. 
I was saving this for a day when I could focus on it, but really the few times I have had to use my pc, the irritation has been too great. I will pick away at getting it up and running.
So far I have booted from the OS disk and initial install seems to be going well.
I’ll keep you posted. 


My poor desktop computer. I abandon it for this iPad, and it hasn’t updated for quite a long time. I turned it on, and it promptly froze, tried to update too many things simultaneously, and became more pokey than normal. After several days of futzing with the computer, it seems to be working ok. I am trying to avoid a complete overhaul since I really don’t have time for that.