Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wacky 08 for technology in our home.

2008 has been a set of bunny steps for technology in our home. It's a case of 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

Before the holiday two co-workers gave me old Tivos they were no longer using. They were older series 1 units and one had a lifetime service on it but had a bad hard drive. It was the holidays and I had some time between patching walls and baking cakes so I worked on the Tivos.

I poked around on the oracle of the Internet and found for $20 I could download a program that would create a new hard drive for a Tivo, no sweat.

Great. I also bought a 250G hard drive at CompUSA (which was going out of business) for $90. So I figured for $110 I'd have a lifetime Tivo with 300 something hours on it.

It worked!

For a while.

One morning after allegedly recording Letterman, I awoke to find Bill Mahr, mouth agape, frozen on my TV screen. I don't really like Bill Mahr and I really didn't like when the Tivo locked up.

I reset the Tivi and moved on.

The very next night at about the same time, it froze while I was moving through the screens deciding what cable gems I wanted to record.

And that is when it died completely, never to return. I reset it and it powered up and finally it stopped at the Tivo "Green screen of death".

I tried two new hard drives and they both do the same thing. The Tivo is dead. I still had the other one with no service, but I wasn't into it as much after the first one died.

Next up, fix the stupid PC that struggled to run XP with 128 Meg of RAM. That's right 128. It was a PC I bought back in 02 when 128 M of Ram was well, OK for Windows 98. I had found some PC-700 Rambus Ram and added that and ran with 256 for a while but it was time to fix that so I bought me some PC-800 Rambus ram on eBay for $40. 512 M. I figured that plus the crap I had would make for enough to get by until the thing died. Bedsides, now I had a nice 250 G drive from the deceased Tivo to put in it.

So the memory arrived and I slapped it in. Big mistake. The two Memory Modules were sealed, looked new and I thought "what could go wrong"?

Apparently, plenty.

XP came up once, blue screened, and then tried to come again, blue screened in the middle of that and then the Operating system that retails for for like what $300? Died. It was missing some special Bill Gates file and now it wouldn't boot.

Fortunately, I keep maaah feathers numbered for just such an occasion.

I had to build a new "C:" drive with XP, Office, Adobe and printers. No data was damaged in the course of this event. My Itunes data is on separate disk and so I just moved all that to the 250G and off we went.

I told the eBay guy I bought the memory from and he sent a new module and now I am up with 640 M of PC-800 Ram. Oh and a 250 G hard drive.

Next up. Xbox360. Youngest Son got Rock Band for Christmas for the Xbox 36 While my back was hurting, it died. My wife, God Bless her, called Micro-crap and they walked her through a few trouble shooting steps. In the end they told her "You have the red ring of death"

What the ....? Red ring of death? That doesn't sound good.

They would fix it though because the warranty was extended through 2009 so we were good. They would send a box and we would send them the Xbox for repair.

So, within the space of a week I had the "green screen of death", a "Blue screen" and now the dreaded "red ring of death". It was like a bad technology rainbow. I just needed Yellow, Orange, Indigo and Purple to round out the month.

There have been other events as well. I got a GPS for my car but the heat died. I was freezing my a-- off, but, I knew where I was going.

The case of the wire cut to my weather station at 10:30 at night, in the rain. I no longer knew if it was 33 or 34 degrees outside.

At least there were no colors involved.

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