Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"Scan THIS!"

I'd been having some problems with my scanner leaving yellow lines on the images here lately and figured that old scanner I gave a mere fifteen bucks for at the flea market was just about on its last legs, until a friend sent me a link to THIS site. Really good information about a simple "clean-up".

Seems like this has been my month for pc problems, but, fortunately, not my own for a change! You see, I've been trying to get a system together for my 80 year old mom. All she wanted was one where she could email some old friends of hers as well as email her sister, all of who live out-of-state. I figured getting her even a good used one at the moment was sorta unrealistic as I just didn't have the extra funds, but one day while my wife and I were visiting her father, he gave me this old pc. And, I do mean, old. It had this two foot tower with it that actually had a "turbo" button. Well, I thought maybe now would be the chance to get her On Line, so I hooked it up and actually was able to get it to Connect up to The Net, but never could get the email working right for it. Neither was I ever able to get a Windows Update to download on it right where the Outlook would be restored, so those hopes were somewhat dashed again.

Then, where she works as a librarian, they told her she could have their old pc, so I took it home and hooked IT up, but something was wrong with one of the cards and I never could get a phone connection to work on the thing, so here I had two pc towers(both unusable), and a couple of keyboards and mouse lying around, plus at least a decent monitor.

Still determined to get her a computer that worked, I contacted an aquaintance who works on pc's and he had a Dell modem which contained neither a CD Rom OR a floppy drive ( but neither was needed for her use ), and it had Windows ME, so I bought it off of him for $50. He showed me it was connectable and had Outlook, so I took it home to test it. NONE of the keyboards I had as extras would fit the ports! In fact, the only keyboard I had around that would was the one on my own computer! Remembering that the guy had a keyboard on it when he showed it to me, I got back in touch with him and asked him if he'd sell that to me as well, which he did for five bucks, so now I was ready to give it to my mom. She got the Net folk over and they connected up her DSL and I went over and tried to install her email address. Figuring I'd screw that up, I called the "help center" and they walked me thru it, but---although she could receive email, she couldn't send it! (As well you could imagine, I was getting a bit more than frustrated with the whole situation.)

After talking with two Help Line "experts" for a good three hours off-and-on, I finally gave up and tried to figure out what the problem was on my own. I knew it HAD to be something really simple. I mean, I could go to where her email was on her Server and send and receive both, but just not send mail on her pc. So, I posted a question on one of the Chat Boards I frequent and someone mentioned looking for "typos" in her server addresses, and that made me remember that once I reverse just two letters in something and it took me forever to find out where that problem was; I rechecked the addresses on both her incoming AND outgoing email to see if they were the same. BINGO! A mere two letters were reversed! I corrected same, and the problem was fixed and now she has her computer and email and all before Christmas.

And now, what really peaves me about that whole situation. Here I talked with two different supposingly highly qualified technicians who work for this company that supplies her Net Connection, and both of them looked at the very same information that I did, and neither of them could tell me the cause of a extremely simple problem. One of them had a "solution" of up-dating the Windows to see if that'd fix it, which it did not. The other recommended uploading Mozilla "Thunderbird" as the mail server to fix it, and that was, of course, not a solution either. But here I am, practically computer illiterate with any information I have on the repair of a pc being based on five years of experience of just "having one", reading some tutorals and asking one hell of a lot of questions, and I fixed it! Geez. What are they paying these guys for?!?

And this is not the first time they've not been able to fix a minor problem. A couple of years back my computer slowed down to a crawl. It was taking forever to download anything, and when I went to post a message on a Board, it always had this 15 second hesitation before a letter would appear. I called my "help center" numberous times, told them all the information I could about my system, what was downloaded on it and everything, and they never were of any help until somebody reminded me that the Spy-Bot I had downloaded was a form a spy-ware itself. So I went and eliminated that from the programs and my computer went back to acting like it was new again.

I think now the lesson I've learned from all of this is, Never to listen to anything my server has to suggest, but just ask around to people who have suffered the same sort of ills with their computers as well. At least they know what they're talking about!

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