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Do what the man says….

Yaaay …. I’m back ! Well, the PC is back. Its alive, its working and all is good in the hood. A massive thank you to Andy, its been a long time since we saw each other but this guy went out of his way to help. In the end, it wasnt as serious as first thought and a small purchase from my favourite PC retailer solved it. RAM or random access memory if you are not in the know. What does it look like..well let me show you.

So there you go. That was the problem. I was trying to squeeze a double-decker bus under a low bridge in record time doing 70 miles per hour and it just didn’t like it or fit in the buses case. I can understand why now. I don’t know about you but opening a box containing circuits and hard drives, fans and wires, lots of wires actually, coloured ones as well scares the living daylights out of me really. I can identify what all the bits do, I was brought in to computers in 1982 by a very nice teacher at school called Mr Gaffney. If I recall we were the first school year to have this type of education back then. It was fantastic learning about flow charts and binary, it made sense at the time but it was very difficult to associate it with anything outside the classroom. Logic…now that’s a word isn’t it? That’s what it’s all about. Anyway, without drifting off track; I absolutely loved Computer Studies, it taught me how to program and how to understand computers. And in the end I came out with a GCSE and an A grade. I find it really funny now, since my first computer which was a Sinclar ZX81  ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81 ) people not in the know have always seemed to turn towards me for help. I wonder if computing over the years has always been and still is one of those “you either know it or you don’t” scenarios. Over the years its done me well, don’t get me wrong here I don’t know it all, in fact thats quite rash because I know sweet Felicity Arkwright compared to most after all you only need to read what happened over the last few days to work out that I needed help and I will be the first to admit it. Many times I have been offered a couple of quid or a freebie of some variety for popping round and performing the simplest of tasks on the hosts PC, walking away feeling very happy with what had been a simple task for me and my pockets lined with english pounds.

To give you an example of my incompetence, before Christmas I installed Windows 8 and I loved it, I then went on to have a new hard drive installed and that’s when it went wrong. My initial thought was to blame myself for something I had done, this is despite the fact I hadn’t done anything. It seemed an easy way out. Elaine has seen me like this before, she know what it does to me when the PC is not playing ball. I become quiet and seem to retract inside myself if that makes sense and as much as I will deny that anything is bothering me she knows, it’s a wifes intuition I am sure of it. The very sad fact is, I know what I am like, I don’t think I am happy until it’s the way I want it, and the repercussions of this involve me messing and tinkering until it does what I want. The internet is a massive resource for finding things out but it’s not always the best. In past instances its proved to be my downfall; believing what I read and standing by it until it all goes tits up and then there is no one else to blame but yours truly. This is all by the by now as my machine is alive and kicking. No screen flickers, no sudden shut downs and an up turn in performance.

January was a terrible month for photography. In past years I have managed over 2000 images, blue skies and sunshine been the reason. When you have taken images of places in all weathers it’s very hard to muster up ideas for something different especially when you seem confined to barracks wrestling with a poorly PC. This has an added effect of ” What will I do with the images if I take them as I have no PC”. It’s a non starter really, so I didn’t bother. For almost one whole month I have had my photography brain switched off and used what very little I have had in ideas on writing this blog. But, and that’s a big but…Here I am ready to start editing. And, in the future I am going to try listening for once and doing as the man says……… I think!

The PC, The Which & The Wardrobe

It does sound like a sub heading from Narnia doesn’t it? Trust me it’s not. However, that’s the way it has felt for the last week….in the 1950’s. If it hadn’t been for a very kind individual picking up on one of my numerous Facebook statuses regarding this subject then I may well still be in the same position today. Before you think any different, Facebook can be a great networking tool, as well as a bad one too. After the dual monitors started shutting down in to standby whilst using the PC I tried every possible solution, from reinstalling the drivers to unplugging the graphics card, to even replacing the graphics card. Still no joy. Well, that’s not entirely true. I managed to get it working only to inherit another problem… the screens kept jumping and flicking. I knew it wasnt down to the monitors as they were both doing the same thing. It had to be something else.

I know enough about PC’s to install hardware, change a disk drive, reinstall Windows. But that’s where it stops. I have dozens of exhumed PC parts scattered across the top of the wardrobe, I just wouldn’t know which to use. The Graphics Card diagnosis was a whole new ball game. So I went ahead and had a go. Low and behold it worked, well in a fashion. The screens need some adjusting and it was quite sluggish. I couldn’t understand what I had NOT done. I kept going through an imaginary check list inside my head, going over everything I should have completed. And that was it, I couldn’t figure out why things weren’t working the way they should.
My call to the …ssshhhh f a c e b o o k (it doesn’t sound so bad if you say it quietly) wall was a last resort. One that was answered by a very old friend, Robert. He informed me that he knew a computer literate person that would be able to help me. Just what I needed to hear. Oh, and apparently I knew him too, from years ago. After making contact with Andy there was a whole new perspective on the issue. I had blown everything out of proportion and being prepared to reenact the film with Nicolas Cage in, and say bye-bye PC “Gone in sixty seconds”. Elaine would not have been impressed should I have taken this course of action. So, I only considered it. Andy was very helpful and suggested I remove certain items of PC hardware in what seemed like me taking on the role of a surgeon. Graphics Card re-seated, RAM sticks re-seated and then the long painful job of connecting everything back up again.

Something is not quite right. Here I am, writing this blog but my PC & I are not singing from the same hymn sheet. Andy has very kindly offered to come around and have a look for me tomorrow. Kind fellow.

I would have done all this yesterday, but Monday was a very busy day. Sunday had seen my parents leave Singapore bound for Manchester and being the dutiful son I had offered to pick them up and take them home. So Monday morning at 04:45am my alarm went off and creeping out of bed I headed off to Manchester Airport. 2013-01-28 07.39.13My plan had been to get to the airport and go straight round to the Premier Inn near the Freight Terminal and grab a Costa. I was on to a loser from the start as when I arrived it wasnt even open. I wandered inside, used the toilet, checked the flight screens and saw the SQ327 on approach. So much for a relaxing all you can eat breakfast and a cup of the finest Latte.  By the time I was parked up in the multi-storey the flight had landed and so I proceeded to the arrivals hall to “Meet the Parents”.
I had secretly hoped they would want to go to the Premier Inn for breakfast as they had been in exactly the same position a few years ago after arriving from New Zealand. And it was awesome; There is nothing like a PI Brekkie. I thought that the last experience of doing breakfast would have been fresh in the memory, but all said and done, they looked tired. They were tired and they had just travelled round the world in 23 hours. Instead, I was asked to stop at Lancaster Services on a quick pit stop which would reveal its trump card. Yes, a Costa Coffee. It was great to catch up on what had been happening with my family in New Zealand. One day maybe I will get out there myself. I dropped my parents off in Haverigg and heading back. I eventually got home late afternoon, after 12 hours on the road I was shattered and I don’t know how I managed to stay awake until 11:00 pm. But I did.

I knew that I had to tackle the PC issues today, and there it was waiting for me as I came downstairs this morning. Wires everywhere, disk drives removed. It looked like something from War of the Worlds. I looked at it again, almost singing the theme music to the film in my head. If I didn’t fix this, my life was going to be Forever Autumn, let alone Justin Heywards.  Like I said earlier, its working….well sort of. We will see what Andy can do with it tomorrow. Hope you have had a great day, I have….byeee.

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