Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Life and its little surprises
So here I am, feeling pretty good about myself. New computer that's just whizzing along. Still setting things up the way I like but no complaints.
New ISP - when you call the technicians, they actually speak English you can understand - now there's a plus. Unfortunately, the minuses are beginning to really outweigh this plus.
First of all, it is beyond me why the two major internet providers in Canada have teamed up with Yahoo and MSN. If I want either of those services, I can get them myself. To have them forced upon me is untenable. You have to go through hoops to find anything or to do anything. And if you decide to bypass them, you don't get decent service. One of the main reasons I decided to leave Sympatico was because they 'upgraded' my email to MSN. It was the last straw. Between that and their non-existent customer service I was totally fed up. Rogers couldn't be worse.
Famous last words........
I was having problems setting up email in Outlook Express for my soundsgreat.ca account. When I was with Sympatico, I could both receive and send email from Outlook Express on this account. With Rogers, I can receive email, but not send it. I used their live chat support and asked about this. I was told they only deal with rogers.com accounts and I should talk to my provider for soundsgreat.ca. Okay, I guess that makes sense. Then I went on to ask why when I accessed my rogers.com email account I had to enter my password every time. Now, remember, we are chatting on the internet. He asks me for my password! I never, ever give out my password to anyone. And, as mentioned above, you have to go through Yahoo hoops to change the darn thing so I wasn't too keen on doing that. I was left to troubleshoot the issue myself (which I did - don't know exactly how or why, but right now I don't have to enter my password all the time - who knows what tomorrow will bring).
Enough of computers for a while, I figured I'd watch a little TV. Ha!
It seems that when the technician came yesterday to install my cable modem for Rogers, he did something to my satellite cable. I am now not receiving a signal and have no TV (not the end of the world - but I am paying for it). I called Rogers and - wait for this - he said, in perfect Canadian English mind you, no problem. Just call Bell (who provides my satellite service and owns Sympatico as well). They'll send over a technician free of charge to fix it for you. We have an agreement. When we mess up something of theirs they fix it for free. And when they mess up something of ours, we fix it for free.
Well, it seems someone forgot to let Bell know about this marvelous arrangement. I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with their satellite customer service and it is going to cost me $75 to have a technician come and take a look at things. Wonder if I can get Rogers to pay for that.
I can see where this is going. When the Bell technician fixes the Satellite cable issue, he'll disconnect the Rogers modem cable and I'll be without internet. Thank goodness I still have my Bell Sympatico modem - I think I just might just go back to dealing with gibberish when I talk to their service people.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saga of the New Computer
Well, it's up and running, finally. Had a few scares along the way; but things are looking good right now.
I had been backing up all my data and settings from my old computer onto an external hard drive, cleaning up a lot of old data along the way. Late last night I realized I had forgotten a couple of things and went to copy them to the the external drive. All of a sudden, the computer wasn't recognizing the drive. And, I was unable to turn the drive off. I went to the Seagate website and followed some troubleshooting instructions. Their diagnosis - the drive had failed! And, although I had been removing a lot of old files from the computer, instead of the available space going up - it was going down. And it was acting cranky to boot (no pun intended). Guess it realized it wasn't going to be top cheese any more. I was up until 2:30 am trying to figure out what was wrong. I was sick at the thought that I was going to have to back up all that data again. But, being the eternal optimist, I thought - no problem - it will work with the new computer.
Before going to bed last night, I brought the new computer upstairs. It had been sitting in the dining room for the past week. It was heavy and bulky. But step by step I got it upstairs. The next challenge? Getting it out of the box. Couldn't deal with any more issues, so I went to bed.
Got up this morning - it was so foggy - I was glad I didn't have anywhere to go. I began dismantling the old computer. Just to be sure, I took a picture of the cables going into the sound card - just in case....
I decided the best way to get the computer out of the box was to make a door. Got the box cutter and voila I was able to slip the computer out of the box. While the old computer was slow and noisy, I liked the fact that it had a handle at the top. Makes moving it around a lot easier. This Antec box doesn't have anything to grab onto.
Next task was to get the M-Audio sound card out of the old and into the new. It came out easily enough. Got the new box up on the stand, took me a few minutes to figure out how to release the side after take out the screws. The sound card went in with no problem whatsoever. Got it all put together and then started connecting all the cables. This time I decided to organize my cables better and those that were too long I bunched together and tied them so at least I can see the floor now. Found some things I decided I no longer wanted to connect and even found an extra power cord plugged into my surge protector that went no where.
I wrapped up the Sympatico modem and cables as not only was I getting a new computer today, I was going with a new ISP. They were coming to do the install this afternoon.
Finally I was ready to turn it on. I pushed the button - nothing happened. Checked that the power was on on the surge protector. Yes. Checked that I had plugged in the computer. Yes. Pushed the button again. Nothing. The thought of having to take that beast back downstairs again..... I found a switch on the back of the computer. I have no idea what it is. I pushed it and then tried turning on the computer and, thank goodness, I had little dancing blue lights.
Holding my breath, I connected the external drive - and lo and behold - it works just fine!I checked out the hard drive to get ready to start loading software. I could see Drive C, Drive D (DVD/CD) and Drive E (external drive). Strange, I was sure he told me he was going to partition the 500 gig drive. So I looked at the Device Manager - Drive C was a little over 78 gigs - where was the rest?????
Visions of schlepping that computer downstairs danced in my head again. I called the store and they walked me through formatting the other partition. I think they did it just to give me a heart attack.
Okay, on to the fun of loading all my software again. No problems for the most part - except for Cool Edit Pro - when I put the CD in, it told me it was blank. Well, I've been thinking of upgrading to Audition so I guess I have no choice now.
The technician from Rogers arrived just as I had finished pretty well everything I could do without access to the internet - just in the nick of time. He did his thing and I was up and running in no time.
This computer is so much faster than the old one. I could go down and make a cup of tea while the other one booted up. This one boots up right away. I opened Photoshop Elements - what a difference. I'm really going to enjoy this. And it is much quieter. I can still hear the fan a bit but wow!
I'm reserving judgment on the new ISP - I'm holding on to the old one for a bit until I make a final decision.
But, I'm back in business again.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Yippee Kiyo Kiyay (is that how you spell it?)
Driving downtown today for another computer search binge I got a brilliant idea. So instead of going all the way down to 'computer row' on College Street here in Toronto, I took a quick right on Bloor Street and headed toward Long and McQuade where I buy all my audio gear. They also deal in computers and what better place to get what I am looking for. Why didn't I think of it before? I really don't know.
They could have tried to sell me their $3000 audio workstation which would be waaaaay overkill for my needs. Instead, they told me all the components to buy and even gave me the name of a great place to buy them so I could put together a box for a third of the price.
Well, later this afternoon, I will be picking up my new Quad Core computer with 2 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig hard drive all wrapped up in an Antec case. While I'm not looking forward to loading all the software again and backing up the old computer, etc., etc. - I am so excited. Oh yes, and I have to get my sound card out of my old computer and into the new one too. That may be a bit of an ordeal.
Called Sympatico to find out how I get back on the internet with the new gear - their reply was typical - just call us when you are ready and we'll walk you through it. Think that's the part I dread the most. Can't say I've enjoyed the best customer service from them in the past. So it may be a while before I'm back on the internet.
I'll let you know how it is once I'm reconnected!