Rantopolis

Category — Technology drama

I am channeling a 24 year old male

I have a secret I want to share.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve been channeling a 24-year-old male for the past decade.

How do I know?

Because many of my purchasing decisions—particularly those involving consumer electronics—are more in line with that demographic vs. my official baby boomer status.

Plus, something happened a few weeks ago, which I think provides absolute proof.

As a self employed person,  my most important tool is my computer.  A few years ago, I invested in a high-end, custom-built gaming machine.  (See what I mean?)  I had no interest in playing a single game on it, but I did want the power that this bad boy could offer me.  (I like to work with a zillion files open so that I can multitask.   For example having 40 browser windows open simultaneously is normal for me.)

Because of the fast processor and three hard drives (yeah, three…that’s how I roll), controlling the temperature inside the case is critical.  So, in addition to a fan, the system is liquid cooled.  (A pump runs non-conductive blue coolant through flexible coils.)

But here’s the thing.  Every nine months or so, the coolant needs to be topped up.   Hasn’t been a problem up until now because I had a great tech who makes house calls.

Noticing that the coolant was at a dangerously low level, I called him.  His response was devastating.  He had moved out of state.

I was officially screwed.

I tried calling other computer techs in the Chicago area, but no one seemed to have any experience with liquid cooled systems.  Then suddenly my situation went from bad to worse.

My computer started crashing and wouldn’t reboot.  I knew I had a thermal situation on my hands.

I decided that I was going to try to fix it myself.  (Again, that’s the 24-year old male talking.)

Cracking open the case was the easy part.  Trying to access the coolant reservoir that was shoved on top of the Blu-Ray burner was a whole other story.  Regardless of how hard I tried, there was a metal piece at the top of the case that would not allow me to remove the reservoir.

This is the belly of the beast.

I put everything back in place and waited until the next day to call the manufacturer.  A helpful tech on the other end told me that I would have to first remove the top DVD drive (there are two DVD burners), which would then allow the reservoir to drop down.

Okie dokie.  One little problem though.  How the hell do you remove a DVD drive?!

That’s when the 24-year old I’m channeling suggested I check You Tube. (Or maybe I thought of that myself.  Who can be sure.)  There I found several tutorials.  Apparently, DVD drives are secured via more than one way.

Lucky me.

So, once again, armed with my power screw driver, I disconnect all of the cables, remove the power source and ground myself by touching an unpainted surface (by now you should be seriously impressed).

Now I’m ready to remove the DVD drive.  I unplug the power and data cords on the back of the DVD player and then use the power driver to remove the screws holding it in place.  I carefully push on the back of the player forcing it out of the front on the machine.

OMG….did I just seriously remove a Blu-Ray player/burner?!!!

I then reached up and held the coolant reservoir in place, while I removed the screws holding it in place.  With that accomplished, I was then able to shimmy it out of its crammed position.

OMG….I am now holding the impossible-to-get-to coolant reservoir in my hands. I’m positively giddy.  I balance it on top of a tall FedEx box, because I need to have my hands free in order to add the coolant.

However, the problem is that if the coolant isn’t added carefully via the small hole at the top of the reservoir, then it will end up spilling all over the internal components, including the motherboard.

This would redefine the term “seriously fucked.”

I had thought of this previously so after my trip to the computer store to pick up the coolant, I stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up a condiment bottle.  (The kind with a tapered dispensing closure.)

I filled a third of the bottle with the coolant which would allow me to tip it over quickly and insert it into the reservoir without spilling.  (The 24-year old male did not come up with that idea.  That was female baby boomer all the way.)

I refilled the condiment bottle a couple of times, until  all of the coils and the reservoir were completely full.

It was then time to reverse the whole process and reinsert the guts back into the computer.  It took a few minutes to get the reservoir back into its crammed spot.  But after that, all of the other components, plugs, doors, popped into place fairly quickly.

As I plugged in all of the cables and inserted the power supply, I said a little prayer.  After all, I just performed surgery on a serious piece of hardware.  Without chipping my French manicure, I might add.

I pressed the “on” button on the front of my machine.  I sat back waiting to see what would happen.  A few seconds later, I saw the Windows logo signaling that my machine was rebooting.

This baby boomer heard choirs of angels.  The 24-year old male just fist pumped.

And that folks, is a narrative of one of the proudest moments of my life.  And, of course, proof that I am channeling a 24-year old male.

February 21, 2012   8 Comments

Carducation: I am flunking

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve just downed a glass of white wine in advance of the American Music Awards.  This was prompted by my traumatic Carducation.  So, what I type may or may not make sense.  I’m assuming that I will be amused tomorrow when I read some of this dyslexia.  Or not.

But wait.  This post is not going to be about an egregious grigio.  It’s about how I’m failing my Carducation.  Yes, new word.  Learn it.  Carducation.  It’s what you have to go through when you get a new car.

Fright night.

Rewind to 1969 when I first sat behind the wheel of a new car.  Transmission shift on the column.  Radio push button presets.  Headlights.  Wipers. Manual seat adjustment.  Yeah, that was pretty much it. Took maybe 45 seconds to learn where everything was and how to operate the car.  Other than remembering to put gas in the tank, that was pretty much it.  Key in the ignition, turn it, drive.  The end.

Fast forward to the present.  I have been in possession of my 2012 Mercedes C class for a total of five six days now.  I am now under the assumption that I have to go back to college to complete my Carducation.

Don't let the pretty graphics lull you into a false sense of security. Satan wrote the code for this thing.

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave for two decades eating bats for sustenance. They gave me five different books as part of the new owners package. Five books.  I had fewer books for college algebra.  They don’t even fit in the door compartment.  I am going to need hours of tutorial to figure out how to use the voice command and navigation alone.

And since I’m talking about the voice command,  I don’t think it’s been programmed to understand swear words.   Gross oversight by the manufacturer, IMO. I know this because I told it several times that it was a beotch and a fook pig.  The response?

“I do not understand, please repeat.”

Sure, no problem.  You are a beotch and a fook pig.

“I do not understand, please repeat.”

Once again, you are a beotch and a fook pig.

“Cancelling voice command.”

Yeah, that’s it.  Run away like the little beotch that you are.

Hold on.  Do you realize that you are swearing at a microchip?  Very mature.

That alone send me back indoors and right to the pinot grigio.   I may end up in twelve-step program before this is all over.  Just sayin.

November 20, 2011   3 Comments

My love/hate relationship with technology

On the one hand, I get super excited when a new operating system or a new gadget is about to be released.   On the other hand, I dread all of the little glitches that can occur if you are an early adopter.

That was exactly the case this past week when the new iTunes software and operating systems for iPhone and iPad were released.  Apparently, in the throws of my excitement, I forgot that it normally takes an hour to get a new OS up and running.  (That’s per device.)

I finally gave up and went to bed, thinking I would deal with the new features…particularly iCloud, the next day.

iSatan

And that’s when the problems started. iCloud is supposed to remove the need to tether the device to the computer via a usb port.  It’s supposed to update “over air” or WiFi.

Yeah, apparently not if your contacts and calendar are in a PC-based program like Outlook.  Suddenly what I’ve been able to do since 2007 is no longer possible.

Screw you iCloud.

I immediately remove the program from both my iPhone and my iPad.  Now I can sync again.

Apple, I love my iPhone and iPad, but honestly, more than four years has elapsed since the first iPhone launch.  You would think you would have your software shit together by now.

In the meantime, the only encounter I want to have with a cloud right now is when my plane blows past one on the way to smooth air.

October 16, 2011   Comments Off on My love/hate relationship with technology