Dimm wit

If you are not interested in technobabble about computers, please move on. Or if you look at the title of this entry and think I forgot how to spell, you can also move on. These are not the droids you are looking for...

OK for all you techno geeky people out there - I have the wonderful job of IT Manager and System Administrator for ABC Therapeutics. Of course that is in addition to my other job duties including occupational therapist, CEO, and janitor.

When you wear so many hats you sometimes start to think that you actually have the competence to be doing all the jobs that you take on. This can be dangerous.

I am one of the original computer nerds though. I built a Heathkit Z80, loaded my programs off of cassette tapes on a TRS-80 Model III, and ran an Atari BBS off a 300 bps acoustic coupled modem. Back in those days we wondered, "Why do we need speeds over 1200 bps? You can't even read that fast?" Mt war dialer ran all night, sequentially searching telephone numbers until it found a carrier. I wonder how many people I woke up in the dead of night to the sounds of my modem?

I had my souped up Atari 130xe with a 320k Hi-speed OS jerry rigged via a MIO 256k to a Lapine LT2000 20 mb hard drive and a NEC D5126 20 mb hard drive via a Western Digital controller. Life was good until my controller caught on fire,. and to this day no one believes me when I tell them that I found a spot on the motherboard with three fried tracers so I soldered a penny over the tracers and the stupid thing actually ran again after that 'fix.'

Life changed quickly though. PCs took over, the 6502c was a thing of the past, and having small children meant that it was no longer practical to spend my life programming BBS modules. Cars started being equipped with fuel injectors instead of carburetors and I was suddenly as technically useless as the rest of the world. 1990 or thereabouts was the end of my technical expertise.

Old habits die hard though, so of course I never admitted to anyone that I was technically ignorant after 1990. This leads me into tonight's problem.

I was about to purchase a new computer for the home office so I called my friendly Gateway rep and started talking about the relative merits of different systems. Now this guy talked me out of getting a new computer and instead talked me into getting a new video card and some new memory chips.

"How easy are they to put in" I asked with some trepidation. It had been some time from those old soldering days of yore. He assured me that a baby could do it, and in consideration of the fact that I am an IT Manager and in consideration of the fact that I am computer genius in my own mind I figured that a $300 investment in 1 gig of RAM and a hot new video card would be preferable to spending $2500 on a new computer.

I spent the better part of the evening cursing the Gateway idiot who talked me into this idea. My computer is now completely useless and won't even recognize the old RAM or the old video card. They are thinking that I somehow damaged the motherboard while inserting the RAM. This seems so remotely unlikely, but the nighttime technical support dudes don't know what to do when the problem deviates from the scripted book in front of them. Now I have to call tomorrow and see what the real gurus have to say.

There is nothing worse than having a totally functioning computer one minute, and then have it totally non-functional after spending time to actually improve the stupid thing.

Gone are the days of soldering pennies onto flaming hard drive controllers. I wish it could be that easy again.

In the meantime, thank goodness for my daughter's computer. At least I get to come here and rant.


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