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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Worst tech week ever

WTF!?! Last week our new printer came in. We spent months researching what to buy - a color laser that is networkable and does duplex - our ink jet of 8 years was finally just not even trying to work right. Thwe night after I set it up and get it installed on all the machines on the network, I try out printing in duplex... no go. I mean really???

Then out of nowhere, the wireless router dies. Actually, the wireless worked just fine, but the ethernet on it stopped working, so it couldn't connect up to the DSL modem... which makes it relatively useless. I spent about 3 hours fighting the damn thing and eventually had to give up and run out to Best Buy to buy a replacement. I get it home and after spending a while on the phone with Verizon tech support (gee, shock, awe - an Indian who spoke barely understandable English... I didn't expect that from Verizon) until I gave up on her, she wasn't fixing enything. Another hour of trying myself, I got it to work. Unfortunately it's a newer version of the Linksys WRT54G (v8) so the DD-WRT firmware isn't released for it yet... grrr, so for now, bittorrents are touchy since the machines aren't able to be assigned IPs by DHCP using MAC addresses. Grr... yeah, I said that already. I put on some requests in the DD-WRT forum and it looks like it's really new, but I think people are finally working on it.

Thursday afternoon I get home from school ready to do some work on the laptop and then go to violin practice. My screen wouldn't come up. I figured it was just that it was stuck in sleep so I hard booted it - something I really really hate to do. It came up, but then the screen went super dark shortly after. I tried, fruitlessly, a few ideas to get it working, but no go. It stayed on if I started it without the AC adapter attached and the external VGA worked when I plugged into an external monitor. But not good enough... battery life is low and resolution is too high for any of our power hungy CRT monitors.

I break down and call Dell. The machine has Complete Care on it, meaning they are supposed to fix thing and in next day fashion. Well, after 2 and a half hours on the phone with yet another Indian tech support person - who also could barely be understood, causing the call to likely take twice as long, I was told anc convinced that it was a driver issue. I gave him control to install a new driver (which is really the same driver I installed not too long ago anyway) and update the bios for the video adapter. It did work, for about 30 minutes, then the same old thing. I wrote an email about the comeback of the problem. No answer by the next night even. I think I waited even an extra day. Then I remembered my typical standby... boot to a live linux CD. I had the newest Ubuntu CD already downloaded so I burned it and booted to it. I figured, it the machine worked just fine with the other OS, then it's NOT a driver issue. Lo and behold... after plugging the AC adapter in, the LCD went dark after about 10 minutes. Ding ding ding it's a hardware problem. I wrote to Dell again. Still, two more days later, nothing. I'll call them when I have a chance, hopefully tomorrow night. I expect them to send someone here to fix this thing.

Right now I'm working on an older Dell (Latitude C600) that I've had Fedora Core 6 installed on for fun for quite a while. I can't complain, I love it, but the resolution sucks and the machine is slow. I also have web development stuff I needed to do, so my normal way of doing things got torqued. I also had to use the Gimp for some image editing. Don't get me wrong. I love the Gimp, but it does an ass job of creating a nice transparent gif. Photoshop just does it better. Of course, I prefer using png, but since so many fucking dolts still use Internet Explorer (pre version 7), they can't properly see png with alpha channels (that's transparencies), so I still need to do shit like make trans gifs - when I'm doing something for a paying client, unless they are cool with a big F.U. to IE-tards.

Anyway, an install of thunderbird and a few other tools and I'm ok to go, but damnit, I want my main laptop back. I can't even play Lord of the Rings Online, another story altogether. If I'm half lucky, they might have to replace the machine with a new machine that might be better equipped to play LotRO with better video options... hahaha, um, don't count on it.

So, for a guy who lives by technology, this last week was just crappy.

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