Monday, October 29, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Or: Some People Never Learn

Several years ago I gave my folks my old computer when I upgraded. They were happy to have a computer with Windows 95 and a modem. They got set up for email. And I got called every time my mother or father could not figure out the simplest of things. It was annoying. More annoying were the calls for the non-simple things. I am not a geek. I am, however, occasionally lucky.

Eventually they got into their groove with the computer. I did get calls about their spam (sorry, can't help) and life went on. Then they got sick of spam, their monitor (they thought) was going out and they discontinued their internet service and rarely used the POS computer. And it was MY FAULT for giving them a POS that they were thrilled to get when they got it. Whatever.

Fast forward to this summer when a friend who works in IT at a Big Company told me they were upgrading and did I know anyone who wanted a computer with XP for $50. Sure, I said, and made the mistake of mentioning it to my folks. Mom wouldn't commit until Dad agreed to the $50 upgrade. I don't know why. All the money is hers. Whatever.

Dad had decided hell, yeah, he wanted a $50 computer. Then I was hounded about when it was coming. And oh, he NEEDED a new monitor, too. So I put out feelers and found, free of charge, (except for my free labor) a good used monitor.

Eventually, computer and monitor, time and opportunity all came together and I went to my folks to install the new system.

In my parent's eyes, being able to hook up the right connectors and plug in all the plugs on a desktop system qualifies one for geekdom. I was ready to ride in on my white horse (dark red Subaru), fulfill my duties and fade into the sunset victorious.

First: take out the old system. No prob! A big brother was there and my dad was waving his arms declaring it all JUNK so big bro hauled it out to a junk pile.

Second: install the new system. No prob! Except.... Dad wanted the tower on the desk next to the monitor so he didn't have to go through all the trouble of leaning over to push the button on the tower to turn it on. Fine. Only it didn't fit.

No prob! Get big brother to saw away at the bracing facing piece on the desk. Repeatedly. Until the tower fit. Very, very snugly. It made hooking up all the peripherals much more difficult (Mom, can you feed that cord up through that and find my hand?) but as long as Dad was happy....

Everything got hooked up but the phone line. One last thing and --- no dial-up modem. Of course not! This was a corporate computer! So big bro, could you bring the old tower (with the dial-up modem) in off the junk pile before it rains?

Their new system was humming nicely. Dad was happy to have the Microsoft games plus two Hoyle game systems I'd loaded on the machine. After everything was done, Dad said, "What about our pictures on the old computer?"

(Insert internal screaming and vile, vile swear words here.)

I took their old tower home. I hooked it up to my monitor and discovered it was NOT their monitor that was the problem, it was their video card. With freaky things appearing on my monitor I saved all their pictures and email addresses (and not without drama, either -- the cd burner didn't work and I had to unhook their system and hook up mine to save stuff on the only USB drive their computer would recognize, clean it, rehook up their tower to save their stuff to the newly clean USB - insert more screaming and swearing).

That done, I took the damn tower apart and pulled out the modem. I found a driver online and downloaded it and saved it to the USB. I went back to my folks and installed the new (old) modem and driver. My mother was SOOOOO impressed.

And then they started talking and thought that they would rather have the DSL.

(Insert more screaming and swearing, screaming and swearing.)

But, because their phone lines are shit, they may not be able to get DSL so maybe my efforts were not in vain.

They still haven't gotten around to getting any internet service, what with my dad's bypass surgery and all. Not that that's the end of "no good deed".

There is no sound on their computer. Not that they listen to music on their computer. My dad needs sound when he plays pinball.

I checked it out the day I delivered lasagna and as near as I can tell (did I tell you I AM NOT A GEEK?) it is the sound card.

(Insert more screaming and swearing, screaming and swearing.)

Good thing I still have their old tower. Which I took apart tonight and removed the sound card.


Now I have to go searching for a driver.

1 comment:

Will said...
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