lexin: (Default)
Saturday, September 12th, 2015 11:24 am
In the comments of my last entry, the question was raised about whether I remember not having computers - and I do.

I bought my first computer in 1986, and it was an Amstrad 8512, it had two disc drives and an integral printer, which was the reason I'd bought it. The word processing program was called Locoscript, and was a total bugger to learn, though I did get quite adept at it in the end. I can't imagine I paid for it myself, my husband and I largely lived on welfare benefits, so I think it was either a Christmas or birthday gift from my parents.

At the time, I lived in Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire and was married. All that was to change pretty quickly.

So, yes, I do remember what it was like before computers.
lexin: (Default)
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 10:45 pm
Spent a good hour this evening sorting out my DVD drive which was the last thing that didn't work properly following my installation of Windows 10.

I don't know about you, but I'm always wary of touching the BIOS or the registry, and for this bit of wrongness I had to check both. I was getting an error message telling me that I had an error 19, some kind of issue with the driver. But there was no new driver to install.

Eventually I put the error message into google and turned up suggestions (1) that it was the BIOS, and how to get in (I got in, and it wasn't), or (2) it was a problem with the registry. I printed off all the instructions, which involved messing about with my printer, because the person who'd put in the printer ink cartridges (i.e. the seller) hadn't taken out the tag, meaning that I had to lever them out with scissors, and then I had to run regedit, find the relevant entry, edit the entry (scary stuff) and then reboot.

It worked. Go me.

So now I can rip DVD's again. Go me.
lexin: (Default)
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 05:37 pm
I've finally got my computer to talk to my TV, something which before I 'upgraded' happened natively and now doesn't.

I had to install something called "Plex", which works but is something of a nightmare to set up. Getting the two things to admit they both saw the same IP address was an uphill struggle.

Reading the "help" sections on their website, I discover that the files have to be named in a particular way in order to show up properly. This will involve me in a huge undertaking to rename and reorder my video and some audio files to make the best use of the software.

This is a huge undertaking. I have around 600 video files of one sort or another and they'll all need work. Needless to say, I view this as a bit of a nightmare job. It'll take me hours of work.

Stupid computers.
lexin: (Default)
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 12:49 pm
I used my iPad as phone, today. My first use of Skype. What a weird thing that is.

Anybody wishing to Skype me will need to know my real name (and there are many people with my name, including three also living in London) and also let me know so that I can have the iPad or the laptop on. My desktop, which is my workhorse computer has no microphone or camera, and is staying that way. I have enough trouble with the bloke who contacts me through FB chat if he happens to catch me - I keep it mostly switched off to discourage him.

On the plus side, though, I have managed to finally find an app which allows one to use an iPad as an extended screen. The odd thing about it is that it's wired, not wireless. Good thing is that there's no lag, but it is strange. I've invested in a six foot fire cable for the iPad for my trip to Wales.

Knowing my luck, they (that is Lone Wolf Development) will announce their browser version at Gen Con, and I'll have bought it all for nothing. We will see.
lexin: (eye)
Sunday, July 26th, 2015 11:11 pm
I've bought some software that I really don't know what I'm doing with. It's called "Campaign Cartographer" and it's for designing maps to use in role-playing games.

I've never used CAD (computer aided design) software before and while this is probably fairly simplified CAD, I'm largely at a complete loss. It's far more complicated software than I've ever used before. I've just spent half an hour trying to make a statue align to the back wall of a temple. I cannot make it turn to face straight on and may have to leave it where it is. I'm quite insanely proud that I managed to make the horses I chose for statues face the right way. (There are stock figures for these things, I didn't have to draw them myself. That would be well beyond me.)

I designed a lovely pirate island, too. Very pretty. Volcanoes, mountains and everything. There's a website somewhere of a guy who uses software like this for a living and his designs are absolutely lovely, and must take him many hours. Mine are kind of weird and take a few minutes.

For some reason, too, I seem to fire it up at 9pm, and am squinting at it through tired eyes. That cannot help.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll tackle it when awake.
lexin: (Default)
Friday, July 24th, 2015 12:35 pm
I haven’t posted here about my interesting experiences with my broadband supplier.

I arranged to have my broadband upgraded to fibre. So far so good. All the bits arrived and the installer was due round on Wednesday to put it in.

He arrived on time, which was the only thing that went right. He whinged the whole time about the way that telephone service in my flat were set up, and that he’d have to move my phone socket from the corner by the door to further into the flat and that would take wire.

During his stompy look around, he (accidentally) kicked Smokey.

He just wasn’t looking where he was going, despite the fact that I’d told him I’d got a cat when he arrived. Shutting her in my bedroom wasn’t an option, the phone service comes in the flat through that room. Putting her in the spare bedroom wasn’t an option either even if I’d thought of it, there’s another phone socket in there and he did need to see it even though it’s dead.

An accident I can forgive, but he didn’t ask if he’d hurt her, and he didn’t apologise. That I’m having trouble forgiving.

He didn’t hurt her as it happens, she was just a bit surprised. She’s been a bit clingy since, but I’ve checked her over very carefully and she is all right. She’s eating and pooing and nicking my spot on the sofa just as normal.

And yes, I know I’m quite mental about my cat, but she’s the light of my life and my constant companion and I adore her to little tiny minty bits. I don’t want her hurt by oafishness, not mine and definitely not someone else’s.

He finally did install the fibre broadband, but didn’t finish the job. He said it wasn’t up to him, and I had to put in the router and link it all up.

I did all that, and it didn’t work.

So I cursed like a cursor, and tried again.

It still didn’t work.

I phoned my supplier, who are PlusNet, and the person I spoke to said it was a technical issue that wouldn’t be fixed until Monday. Cross? I was well cross by that stage. Not only did I have broadband I’d paid for but was not working, by then my hard drive had fallen off my computer while I was lying on the floor plugging in wires and it had hit me in the face. So I had bruises to add to my troubles.

I phoned PlusNet again yesterday to complain about the installer kicking my cat, and was told initially that I had to complain in writing. This is not what it says on their website, the website says you can complain on the phone or in chat or in writing.

I tried chat next, and that customer service person was excellent. She is called Hayley, and she’s a credit to the company.

Not only did she take my complaint (though the company employing the installer is Openreach) and apologised straight away on behalf of PlusNet, she asked if she could do anything else. I told her about the problem with the broadband and she fixed it. It works! Yippee!

Then I tried to complain to BT/Openreach. Their website has a form for complaints but for some reason it won’t work properly. All day yesterday I tried to get it to take my complaint and it just wouldn’t have it. It ended up that I was whinging all day on Twitter (ably helped by [livejournal.com profile] shezan, [personal profile] legionseagle and today [insanejournal.com profile] yonmei). BT got in touch by Twitter in the end, but say that the only way of complaining to Openreach, which is a different company from them, is to use the daft form.

I did eventually get to make my complaint, but only by entering one sentence with no returns, no full stops, no commas, no capitals and no apostrophes. That’s a mad form. How are you supposed to guess its limitations? I bet there’s also a limitation on how long the complaint can be, too, but no sign that it might be there. They just don’t want complaints, that’s what it is. Plus, there are only three options for the kinds of complaints – (a) bad driving, (b) mess left in the street or (c) bad new positioning or plant work. Apparently these are the only things that can go wrong. Rudeness or cat kicking are not included.

Currently I’m hating Openreach and that engineer in particular with a large hate.
lexin: (Default)
Friday, July 17th, 2015 01:37 pm
People who know about computers...why might a hard drive 'argue' with a keyboard and mouse?

I've just bought a new expansion drive, a 5TB Seagate, and when it's plugged in my keyboard doesn't work and my mouse is flaky.

Why might that be?

Keyboard and mouse are wireless ones from Microsoft.

The drive is plugged in (well, it isn't at the moment but when it is) to a USB3.0 hub.

ETA: Fixed, thanks to a bright spark on FB. It was that I was plugging it into a hub, not into a USB thingy directly. Frustrating because I only have one USB 3.0 connector, which is why I have a USB 3.0 hub. But there you go.
lexin: (Default)
Thursday, July 9th, 2015 06:21 pm
I do hate software, I wish computers just worked - I've just had to uninstall ZoneAlarm from my desktop because installing it on the laptop led to the realisation that it hasn't beem updating properly.

On the other hand, every time Windows updates, my computer has a nervous collapse and has to be cossetted into behaving properly again.

All Linux and Mac users will now say, "Ah, Windows, there's your problem right there," but that would be exceptionally unhelpful.
lexin: (Default)
Sunday, July 5th, 2015 03:04 pm
What I’ve done is to fall madly in love with a purple laptop. I don’t need a second computer, I already have an iPad after all, but it is so beautiful.

So, I ordered it.

No thanks to my bank, who managed to block both my cards in the process and I had to unblock them.

It should be here Tuesday, after 5pm. Fingers crossed and Currys permitting.

It’s more logical than is sounds (yes it is, stop giggling at the back) even if it is the most expensive solution to the problem that I outlined the other day that [personal profile] doire has been helping me with, that was ever thought of in the history of history itself.

It even beats the time my sewing machine went belly-up in the middle of making a frock for someone, meaning that she and I headed out to Bluewater (posh shopping mall) and bought a new machine from John Lewis to finish it. I would have gone somewhere local, but it was a Sunday. It would be. Just call me three sewing machines Lexin – I bought an overlocker not long after that. Now I’m to be two computers Lexin, too.

What I mean about it being more logical than it sounds, is that the iPad extender apps that I was whinging about should work from the laptop as that won’t (presumably) have dual graphics switching and will be intended to operate external screens in a way the desktop is not. Windows 8.1 on laptops has something called Wi-Di, which my TV has natively. Desktops don’t seem to have it, or if they do it’s not accessible.

Worst case scenario is that I buy the Player version of the Realm Works program and put that on the laptop separately under an assumed name and let the players use that.

Like I said, most expensive solution to the problem ever, ever.

But it does give me a laptop to take to HeroMeet in Wales in August to extend my capabilities.

The background…

What I have is a thing called Realm Works which is a program for writing up role playing games and sharing (or not sharing, as the case may be) information with the players.

There is a Game Master screen (which only I should see) and a Player Screen (which is what I want visible on the other monitor/iPad/whatever). You can run Realm Works on as many computers as you like if you have a licence. What you can’t do is open your ‘realm’ simultaneously on two computers or you’ll corrupt the database.

Looking at the screen options from inside Realm Works, it clearly expects that there should be two screens attached to the computer for this sharing to work optimally. Alternatively there is a ‘players’ version of the software for players to use on their own equipment, for a fairly nominal cost – it’s $5.99 or about £4.00 and I could load that on the laptop.

Meanwhile, if none of that works, I’ve checked the back of my computer and there are currently two HDMI slots unused, one which looks to be on the motherboard and one on the graphics card, so I’ve ordered a 7m HDMI cable just in case, and will try that option before investing in Miracast solutions.

I do think that I have ‘dual graphics switching’ on the desktop, and this may be why the iPad solutions don’t work properly there. They are great for cloning your screen, and I can see uses for that like operating my desktop computer from the comfort of my sofa (laziness FTW) but won’t extend.

Plus, Win 8.1, which is what I use, doesn’t identify anything as a second screen, it's all a mare's nest. I think that what “Display Settings” under “Control Panel” is seeing as a second screen is actually not – I think it’s the fact that there must be native graphics controllers on the motherboard and actually the graphics card has taken over operation but the motherboard graphics are still there, hidden - there isn’t really a second monitor there, even if Display Settings thinks there is. Plus, that is an indication that I do have this ‘dual graphics switching’ thing that is such a problem.
lexin: (Default)
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 01:53 pm
What I want to do should be fairly simple, or at least there should be a means to do it which isn’t a complete hassle to set up. Computers, however…


What I want is to set up a second monitor using either my TV or my iPad so that it shows something different to what is on my computer screen, an alternative view, if you will. Additionally, I’d like this to ideally be a wireless solution.

One, not ideal, option is to buy an HDMI cable (and possibly a splitter as I can’t remember where my monitor is plugged in, whether it’s an HDMI cable or a standard monitor connection) and run it from the TV to the computer. This will mean (a) rolling around on the floor to get under my desk, which is never good for me as I struggle to get up again and (b) a long wire across my living room floor as my TV and my computer are on different sides of the room. It is possible to buy a 5m HDMI cable, but only from Amazon that I can find.

Note here for those in the UK looking for an HDMI cable – do not buy one from Argos. They are three times the price of those on Amazon and you cannot get long ones. I was shocked as Argos are meant to be cheap.

The TV screen option is possible – apparently – if I spend £140+ on an item of hardware and some kind of software called Miracast. The problem with that is that I can’t even be sure it will work as I want it to without shelling out on what is a considered purchase for someone in my position. Advice, please? Would this be worth it? Has anyone any experience of this?

The iPad option is more attractive, and there are (I think) six apps which purport to be able to do this. Three won’t work on my system because they are only for Macs. Scratch them.

One, (Airdisplay), probably won’t work on my system because the information says it won’t work on systems which have “dual graphics switching”. I cannot be sure that mine is one of these, but my feeling from the description on the app’s advert of what to look for is that it is. (Anyone who can confirm, please contact me by email, a PM, or as a reply here and I’ll post a screencap of what my device drivers look like.)

That leaves three possible options for apps that might work. They are iDisplay, Splashtop, and Twomon.

I’ve tried iDisplay and that didn’t work for me. The system interfered with my mouse for one thing – I just couldn’t operate my computer with it loaded up because the mouse disappeared. Plus, it only showed a copy of my desktop on the iPad, which wasn’t what I wanted. On the other hand, the iPad did show up in the program I want to use as a second display, which is useful at least. I couldn’t check what Win 8.1 or the device drivers were seeing because of the mouse problem. Put that on the back burner, perhaps try it again, but mental note to ask Apple for a refund.

I do wonder if it's the 'dual graphics switching' thing that prevents iDisplay from working properly. If so, I should warn the sellers.

I then tried Splashtop. No system interference with the mouse. Hurrah! However, this only shows a copy of my desktop on the iPad, and nothing I’ve done so far has changed that.

From the support web page of the designers, this was a known problem in 2011 and even up to 2013, but there’s nothing on the support pages since then about it. I’ve tried the solutions set out in the support pages, but nothing has worked so far. And now it doesn’t load on startup since I updated my NVDIA device drivers, so I’ve no idea what’s happening there. I might have to reinstall it, but I’m putting off the evil day by writing this. On the other hand, do I want it to load on startup? I won't need it all that often.

I haven’t yet tried Twomon yet, because it’s £5 more than either of the other two (it comes as a bundle with a similar app that requires a USB cable (I mean wtf? What use is that? I suppose it would cut out lag, but distance would be an issue) and I thought I’d wait to see what happened with the other two first.

The other interesting thing is that I’ve just discovered on the Micro$oft website that some kinds of multiple monitor arrangements (presumably not all, as that would be weird) are only available on mobile PCs, which mine is not. Mine is a desktop, a mini-tower. I like desktops, I’m odd like that. So sue me.

I really don’t want to have to buy a laptop for gaming purposes. At least, not right now.
lexin: (Default)
Thursday, March 13th, 2014 08:13 pm
Bloody Apple updates! Ios7.1 made my iPad die and I had to restore it from factory settings. Which took a long time.

Plus I bought an Apple TV device and I found that my computer is very sticky about downloading episodes from the Apple Store. It really doesn't want to play. Which is very frustrating. I even tried changing the ethernet cable, I got so frustrated. I keep getting 'dropped connection', but nothing else has this endless problem.

ETA: And while I'm on the whinge, why does it need to download them anyway? Netflix will use programmes straight from the net. Why can't Apple do that? Why does it need a gizmo anyway? Wouldn't an app do the same job?

We hates Apple, we does. We hates it to pieces.
lexin: (Default)
Friday, January 17th, 2014 07:57 pm
The other odd thing that's happening is that my Google calendar will not propogate from my iPad to Google online and thence to my computer. And I don't know why.

I'm sure I'm following the instructions correctly - they're not rocket science - but nothing happens.
lexin: (Default)
Monday, January 13th, 2014 03:26 pm
I have the Vibox machine back, and so far, it works. Fingers crossed!
lexin: (Default)
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 12:43 pm
Well, so far, I got through to Vibox just after 10am, and they agreed that the problem is probably the PSU. I've a collection of the unit scheduled for today (which is impressive considering I rang them today) and that should happen before 5pm.

The idea is that they will replace the PSU, check it all again, and send the machine back to me within 5 working days. If there is something else wrong with it, they will fix that and if the HD has a problem, they will warn me. (I hope that's not the case, and I don't think it's likely as I do think it's the PSU.)

We will see how that all works out.

But the lady I spoke to on the phone was fine with it all. No quibbles at all. So score one to Vibox so far.
lexin: (Default)
Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 10:36 am
Well and a happy new year to one and all.

I've been playing with cables under my desk, and I'm 99% sure that the problem is the power supply unit in the Vibox machine. I've re-installed my old XP machine and it's working fine with the same cables - as it has done these several years. So I don't think it's the power supply to my house.

I mean, it could be, but it seems unlikely as this machine has never exhibited the same problem, or anything approaching it.

This is so frustrating! We'll see what Vibox say when they re-open tomorrow.
lexin: (Default)
Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 06:04 pm
For a New Year's Eve, I'm pretty pissed off. I am so annoyed, i do not have words.

The "new" new computer has just done what the previous new computer did and has ceased to function.

I was changing key boards, so turned it off. When I tried to turn it on again, it wouldn't switch on.

I have checked the cable with the fuse in, and the rocker switch which is on/off, and neither of those put it right. Grump. That's as far as my current knowledge will take me, it could be something inside, but the options are many and I don't have spare units for testing.

Most annoying thing is that I'd dowloaded series 7 of Criminal Minds and tonight's TV sucks.

Any suggestions, I'm open to them.

Obviously, I have contacted the manufacturer, but their helpdesk is shut until Thursday.

In all other things, Happy New Year!
lexin: (Default)
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 03:24 pm
New computer seems to be working well so far. Only four niggles:

(1) It came with Windows 8.1 which is sufficiently different from Windows 8 (which the previous "new computer" had) to create a slight learning curve.

(2) The product key I'd been given by the seller didn't work. This involved a lot of phone calls and emails explaining this to the seller and then a long phone call to Microsoft in which I was asked every conceivable question to validate the key I'd been given and to prove I wasn't a nasty software pirate. They finally gave me a working product key, but what a palaver!

(3) It has a USB 3 thingy, but if I want it at the front I have to plug a wire in at the back. I didn't realise this and didn't plug it in. I cannot now face kneeling down and crawling under the desk to plug it in. I'm going to wait until the cleaner arrives tomorrow; she's younger and fitter than me - I'm hoping she'll agree to do it.

(4) I'm still using the Lenovo keyboard, because the keyboard I bought for the new computer doesn't work under Windows 8. Or, at least, I can't get it to work. I will have to have another go, but I'm not hopeful.

So, four niggles, only one of which involves further expense, and that's the keyboard. A flat keyboard does not suit me, it makes my hands hurt.
lexin: (Default)
Thursday, December 12th, 2013 08:50 am
I am so pissed off!

I'm having to send my new computer back to Amazon because it stopped working. It's just dead as a doornail, and it's not anything obvious that I can fix.

I noticed last night that it was switched off, but I assumed I'd just left it too long and it had switched off automatically (except I hadn't set it up to do that...) but when I came to switch it on this morning, it wouldn't turn on. Tested fuses, changed plugs, nothing.

So I've got to send it back.

Probably the most annoying thing is that there's some software you have to rebuy for each computer - it's not transferable. Worst for this is 'Memeo', the backup software I use. I've complained to the software company, but they don't even respond. Time for a change from that crap, I think.

Bah! and Pah! and Ptui!
lexin: (Default)
Monday, November 25th, 2013 10:09 pm
Are there any other Windows 8 users on my flist?

I ask because google searching and checking on the Windows help forums hasn't helped, but I don't seem to be able to 'send' emails using my gmail account, which is my default account.

Outlook.com, of course, works perfectly. But I don't want it to work perfectly, I want gmail to work perfectly and outlook to just sit there, being.

Any suggestions gratefully received.
lexin: (Default)
Thursday, February 14th, 2013 04:22 pm
There are times when I hate computers. I did an update of some of M$'s finest attempts last night, and it seems that when the computer did its thing this morning, they corrupted some of my old files, and quite a lot (about 2/3) of my music seems to have disappeared. I've linked up my iPod, but that didn't seem to help much.

I hate computers!