Friday, February 02, 2007

Technical Difficulties

January visited a host of computer problems on our household. This culminated with an early dawn motherboard meltdown Wednesday. It was a six-year old machine, so I was pushing my luck. I was hoping to limp it along until Vista was better established.

If the machine had gone out the week before, I would have replaced it with another XP machine. No XP machines were available this week. I bought an HP Pavilion a1730n, 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 X2 with 2 GB of RAM, GeForce 6150 video card w/ 128 MB RAM and one 320 GB SATA HD. There is a 5 inch bay available for another drive. It has a 300 watt power supply. It was off the shelf.

I stripped my old machine. It was a fast machine in its day, made right when DDR RAM came out. It had 2 roastingly hot Athlon processors and a high end graphics card. It had a nasty habit late in life of eating 400+ watt power supplies until I shelled out for a lovely Antec ps. It was noisy, hot and an energy hog. I had grown quite attached to it.

Rosemary got the 2 GB sticks of RAM, which made her quite happy. The 2 and 4 year old WD harddrives turned out to be fine also, but it took me awhile to figure out how to access them. A major problem (I thought) was that there is not a single SATA HD external enclosure in stock within driving distance, and I spent hours pursuing what turned out to be misleading and incorrect information. Finally my tech guy got back in and set me up to transfer files. It was an easy solution. I already had the cables and I should have figured this out myself.

My fears that Vista will make my life miserable are fading fast. Although I have yet to do any billable time on the beast, Vista is looking good. My open source programs appear to be Vista worthy with one exception. Working are 2.1, GIMP 2.2, ghostscript 8.54, and my ghostscriptviewer, GSView 4.8. These are all running perkier than I have ever experienced, especially GIMP, the graphics program I rely on for marking up maps.

An open source application not working is my PDFCreator 0.9, which I use heavily for creating pdf invoice and map files to email to clients. The good news is that ghostscript, which PDFCreator relies upon, does not seem to be the problem. A fix can't be too far off.

I haven't loaded all my programs and data yet, but no matter how bad it gets, it looks to be clearer sailing and better winds than we had in January.

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