I considered naming this post ‘I hate computers’, because anyone who knows me really well knows it’s true. I hate computer hardware with a passion and tolerate it only because it enables me to write software.
Last Thursday I got home and my girlfriend said ‘your computer died, their was a blue screen and it turned off and,’ etc, etc. I know a lot of computer people find out they get to tinker with their computer and think it is great. I find out a part of my computer died and think ‘there goes my evening’. Another aspect of my nature is I just don’t keep up on things like the latest video cards and sound cards, I typically do a ton of research when I need to buy one and then promptly forget it all when I have it installed and running.
Back to the story, I booted up the machine and got a blue screen when an NMI / Parity error and I know enough about computers to know it’s a memory error so I begin pulling RAM chips one at a time. No luck; blue screen same error every time. I then think ‘awesome, now for one of the other things with memory on it in the computer. Luckily I had a spare video card (some nVidia with 256 MB of RAM, a couple of years old out of a torn down computer) so I swapped it out and lo and behold, no issues.
Following my troubleshooting skills honed by years of training and experience as a software developer I put the old video card back in, prayed, and hoped it wasn’t actually the video card or that just booting up once successfully would be enough for the machine to undo whatever was wrong. Again no luck, but at least I counted myself lucky to have found the problem and after a short sojourn online to make sure I couldn’t just disable parity checking in my bios (I couldn’t) I resigned myself to using a video card 2-3 generations behind what I was used to and with half the video RAM.
While this got me up and running it meant that
- Second Life sucked visually
- I could not hook my computer into my TV (as I do not have cable this is sort of a big deal)
Because of (a) above I put a building project on hold and some other things that I was working on in Second Life, which I already feel like I’m behind in because of my 2.5 weeks I had to be away from the computer.
The only upside I can find to this whole thing is that I have to buy a new video card and will end up getting something like a Radeon 5770 1GB, my only real questions being things like “is it ok to save a bit by going with ‘Sapphire’?” and “am I missing something? this will work well with SL, right?” I like that it has the ability to plug into my TV via HDMI and still connect to two monitors and some of the other features.
Any who, until I get my act together and get the card I just feel like I’m in sort of a SL limbo. I can see my friends on Plurk and some on IM and still do other things on the computer but can’t actually get to them.