We’ve had a few hiccups over the last few days, the first and most important one being a major problem with JM’s computer! We got up Wednesday morning and it had crashed. We knew it was getting a bit wonky, but were holding on to the hope that we could coax it a little longer. I think it did a software update during the night, and then wouldn’t come back on. We were able to get it running again after trying multiple times, but the signs were there: new computer ASAP.
I didn’t want to mail order in case of problems, so I ordered online from DARTY, a big electronics store that has a branch in Carcassonne, about a 45 minute drive away so we could go, pick it up and take it back for service if necessary.
The first problem was my fault: I thought that we should get the most powerful CPU we could afford, even if it was more than we currently really need, because when JM manipulates the book files he really needs memory, processing and graphics speed. PCs are in the process of changing to 62 bit from 32 bit for more power, etc., so I got a Hewlett Packard with an amazing graphics card and loads of storage. What I didn’t realize was that most of our software is very old and a lot of it wouldn’t even LOAD onto the HP! In particular, JM’s version of PhotoShop 4 (that he still uses!!) wouldn’t load up! That was a disaster, of course, so we had to go back to Carcassonne to exchange it for something less good!
We picked an Acer, which is what I have and have been happy with for the last year. We brought it home, I hooked it up and NO SIGNAL WAS REACHING THE MONITOR! I thought, okay, JM’s monitor is older, so maybe that’s the problem and brought up my monitor, which is also an Acer. Nada. Clearly, the video card had a problem.
So, BACK AGAIN to Carcassonne. I had found a Packard Bell that was very similar, if only slightly less powerful and suggested getting that, but JM wanted to stick with the same model so they gave us the display unit, which had never been used. I asked to test it and everyone said, “Oh, it’s just an anomaly, it will be fine.” Do I even have to tell you what happened when we got home? By then, I was practically in tears. I love living in the country, but when you have to do something like this, it can be exhausting. The road between here and Carcassonne is very windy and tough in some places and when you’re tired, it’s a difficult drive.
Yesterday was a holiday, so by all accounts the stores should have been closed. But, in some places like the shopping malls in Carcasssonne, it’s getting more like the U.S. everyday and all the big stores were open! Lucky for us, because we boogied outta here at 8:30 to be back at the Darty opening time (9:30).
This time, we had them hook up the computer to a monitor in their store and I have to admit I was nervous, because I thought that if it came up fine, I was going crazy. Luckily it was exactly the same and the store manager (a computer geek) came over and was totally cool about the whole thing. He explained that they get shipments of computers that come as a series, and clearly, the whole series had a problem with the graphics card.
We wound up with the Packard Bell I wanted the day before and tested one right there to see if it worked, which it did.
Now is the part where something good comes from something bad; because the manager was a big comic book fan and totally thrilled to meet actual comic book writers who had written things he knew! So we had a great chat and now have a friend there if anything goes wrong so the way will be a bit smoother. But, also, he gave us a little program that will turn the Vista operating system from French into English. Now this is cool, because although I’ve gotten used to working with it in French, JM didn’t want to have to do that and there are some things that are easier to find when you know what it’s called in English but not in French.
We came home, walked Shmoo Alexander, ate lunch, then I went up and started loading everything onto the new machine, and, relief, it all went smooth as silk, so life can get back to normal!!!
This is good, because JM was having withdrawal from not looking at all the political sites! His job today is to print out OBAMA 08 signs for us to put on the door and windows! We’re having a couple of American friends over for breakfast on Wednesday morning so that we can watch the returns and hold the official Chalabre Obama Victory party!!!
Ciao for now,