Home > Computers and Internet, Life or something like it > Entry 11/26/2010 04:16:43 PM – Mentat 590

Entry 11/26/2010 04:16:43 PM – Mentat 590

11/26/2010

Black Friday here and I’m glad that I spent the majority of the day not unlike a Vault Dweller waiting for the end of Nuclear Winter. Jeez, it’s pretty amazing that the retail industry still feeds to the old brick and mortar attitude that everyone needs to rush out the door in the middle of the night to try to catch various sales and deals before the stampede that usually happens between 9 – 5. That might have been the case in the early 90s, but as this has been going on for the better part of 20 years — everyone and their mothers are now camping out in front of their favorite stores closing time the day before waiting for the Black Friday Sales to open the doors between 1 and 4 in the morning and stampeding like it’s the middle of the day.

Why, folk? Why do you continue to follow the beck and call of retail companies telling you when their deals are and aren’t going to be? This is well into the Information Age people. You can get those deals from the same brick & mortar stores online oftentimes weeks in advance, not to mention that you don’t have to deal with the lower-end of the gene pool fighting you gladiatorial style in the middle of the aisles. Further, you can definitely find the same and better deals from competitors as they try to undercut each other with shipping and handling, and so far, you still don’t always have to pay the sales tax set up in many states… Like here in Rhode Island where the sales tax is near competitive with the state of California (at a disgusting 7%, with the nearby state of Massachusetts 2% less).

I wonder how many more years will the sheeple of the population will continue to follow the failing trends of retailers before they say, “screw this! I don’t need another black eye or footprints in the middle of my back while trying to pick up a deal on a new Dirt Devil.” (And yes, I watched a fight that involved two women fighting over a Dirt Devil at the Dalton Wal*Mart some years back, and one of them literally knocked the other down and walked onto her to get the vacuum off the shelves first). I could hear the grunt followed by a whole lot shrieking from the one being stepped on from about 100 or so feet away.

I don’t miss it at all. Believe me.

So since the last entry, the video card did in fact die. Died that Monday in fact. I could sort of boot up to the desktop, but that desktop could only be maintained in a 640 x 480, 8-bit color scheme. Not to mention that with each time I had to reboot as the desktop had locked up and I was forced to reboot, there was more and more green pixels/artifacts even in the BIOS POST screen; so even then I knew that even with what I was seeing that was only a matter of time before it completely gave out.

And as I said I had ordered the GTX 465 from MSI from NewEgg.com. Watched with anticipation as New Egg e-mailed me from payment, to processing to shipping by 7 AM that morning. While the package left the doors of Edison, NJ sometime around 5 PM that day, my experience is that any shipments from New Jersey will be here the next day to the second day, in spite of it being guaranteed three day from day of shipping. By 10 AM Tuesday morning, UPS had knocked on the door, and by 11 AM it was installed and my computer was back to normal (relatively speaking).

It was running like a dream for most of the day and when it was time for me to call it a day, accidentally set the machine to hibernate instead of logging off. Tried to bring the box back online. Nothing. The lights on the box came on, the lights on the keyboard came on: the video card said that I needed to check the cable.

At almost 1 in the morning, I was seriously freaking the hell out about it. I didn’t even have the card a day and was seeing issues with the motherboard instead of the video card at this point. Sitting there with a “check cable” message on the monitor, and the PCU being up and running, I grabbed the motherboard manual to find where the pin-switch was to flash the BIOS back to the factory default settings. Sure enough though, once the BIOS was flashed, if came up, saw the POST and screens went happily trucking along back into Windows without a second thought.

Getting into Windows, I realized that factory default settings activated the floppy disk on the motherboard, and Windows sensing it was on, happily added the hardware for it and asked if I wanted to format the disc in the drive. Not venturing to find out what it was detecting as the floppy drive, I canceled it’s request and removed the controllers from Windows. Went back into the BIOS, turned the floppy controller off, and when the BIOS shut down momentarily and came back up the issues continued with the baleful message of “check cable” coming up on the screen.

Disgruntled, I shut the box off and left it for the night knowing if I were to stay up longer, I would to more harm to it and me than good. I ended up having dreams about the CPU being broken and no matter how hard I tried to fix it, it just wouldn’t come back on.

The next morning (Wednesday), after doing some whiplash shopping, I decided on dedicating my time to getting the system back online and find out whether it was the motherboard, the bus for the video card of whatever it was. Watching the lights carefully, I saw that when the lights flashed on the keyboard, I started tapping repeatedly on the escape key — and then I saw the error message — the Express Gate was on. While Express Gate works rather well with Vista, it wasn’t properly set up in Windows 7 and therefore was causing all sorts of problems. Getting back into the BIOS and shutting it off and saving the BIOS setting, the PC and computer restart without any problems whatsoever.

I’m still going to watch it for a couple of weeks to ensure that there’s no problems with the board, though at the moment it’s shutting off just fine, turning on just fine and rebooting as expected. And I’ve been more than satisfied with the way my games have been playing without skip, hiccup or stutter. Even posted a screenshot of one of the more GPU intensive games — Fallout 3 — here. That screenshot’s in max resolution, ultra/max shading, anti-aliasing, etc. And hasn’t once stuttered like it had when playing on the old 9800 board which played moderately well at 1280 x 800 ultra/max settings.

Another good thing I’ve noticed is that the loudest thing on my deskside was in fact the fans on the video-card. With the board replaced, and this one having not 1 but 2 fans, it been running cooler and quieter than my old board. In fact, now it’s the top fans on the box that make more noise than the fans inside.

Still though — I’m going to watch to see if anything else is going on — even if I’m finding myself hypersensitive like a car owner waiting for the next thing to break down after an expensive repair and thinking every noise heard is the warning sign of breakage. God, I hated that when I did own a car — doing the same thing with computers can be absolutely agonizing.

[Last Edited: 11/26/2010 09:13:57 PM]

So I’m in the final stretch of the year and the Christmas Holiday is just around the corner… The hormones are bit of an annoyance at the moment, and so it the loneliness. I could work on it, but honestly with the zaniness of this holiday time, it’s best I simply lay low and wait ’til the New Year. Would be the wisest thing for me, given how prone I am to emotional outbursts.

I might write more tomorrow or over the weekend. I might not. Depends on whether I can sort out of my thoughts some more and shake the maudlin that I’ve had going on the last day or so.

Until then or the next time.

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  1. 11/30/2010 at 6:39 pm

    Hi, can I quote some of the content found in this entry if I provide a link back to your site?

    • 11/30/2010 at 9:06 pm

      If you feel that strongly by all means… Honestly most of what I have in the entries with the tech support can easily be found through Google.

  2. 12/02/2010 at 4:29 am

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    • 12/02/2010 at 2:58 pm

      *bow* Thank you and thank you for reading. What I don’t normally put in my “About me” is the fact that I’ve been an Internal and External Helpdesk and Business IT Technician for more than 20 years; so home troubleshooting it just my way of keeping sharp between contracts.

  3. 12/02/2010 at 4:49 am

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    • 12/02/2010 at 2:46 pm

      Which ones? Christmas or the computer woes? 😀 Christmas I keep my head low until well after New Year’s. The computer seems to be running all right. I came across the issues which I’ll be talking about in the next entry. Thanks for reading and looking forward.

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  8. 11/28/2010 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and appreciating what I wrote about in this entry. *bows*

  1. 11/28/2010 at 11:03 pm
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