Sunday, February 11, 2007

Updates and Handy Hints

First off, thanks to Ozzy and Etcher for helping out.

Well, I was loathed to remove my new video card (I make it a point not to do anything to my computer that I don't absolutely have to...after finding my processor was glued to the bottom of the heatsink with thermal paste...and the three hours I spent having to re-straighten the processor's pins with a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers...I'm a lot more wary).

That being said, I popped the new card out this morning, booted with the onboard graphics, and found it didn't help one bit.

Frankly, I'm at a loss.

Yesterday, I upgraded the firmware (turns out I had the most recent anyway), but re-flashed it in case it corrupted last time, tried various older firmwares...Nothing.

I tried putting the HD on the secondary and the DVD drive on primary, tried new ID cables. Nothing worked.

The only thing I find slightly odd (and this might just be because the last real hardware work I did was on Win ME), is that my device manager shows three Primary IDE channels and three secondary IDE channels...I have no idea if this is normal or not.

However, this matches up with my bios information, although my HD is on Channel 3 and my DVD drive is on channel 6.

The thing is, I haven't changed any jumpers on the drives themselves, so this is how it was installed from factory, and it worked when I first got it.

The only thing that still confuses me, is if the drive refused to read any discs, I'd just chalk it up to a failed drive and replace it. The fact it reads commerical CD's with no trouble at all is what confuses me.

I'm not even getting an error message. If I put in any DVD, the drive chugs for a while, but then lets me "open" the disc, but shows it as blank.

Any more ideas, guys?

The only other standard advice I've found is to re-install Windows...but of course, that's kinda hard to do when your drive won't read the discs XP is on.


Now we come to the little something extra that pisses me off. If you own a DVD writer, you'll know that you pretty much have to update the firmware fairly often to let the drive recognise different brands of recordable media.

For example, the first spindle of recordable DVD's I bought recommended updating your drives firmware, and the discs wouldn't actually work with my machine until I did so. So I did.

Lite-On, the manufacturer of my drive even offers firmware updates from their own corporate site. Their literature even recommends checking for firmware updates when you first install the drive.

But guess what? Updating the firmware invalidates your warranty. In other words, it's like inalidating a warranty on your TV by turning it on.

Doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Nothing like getting completely and totally fucked over by a company to really build up that brand loyalty.

Seriously, how can a standard, required update invalidate the warranty? Of course, the idea is I'm supposed to wrap up my PC, send it to them, pay them a couple hundred dollars and not see my computer again for months, instead of doing it myself in a couple minutes for free.

Thanks guys, I appreciate the anal rape, but how about a kiss next time?


Now, completely off topic, but something I found online that I thought was cool.

Basically, if you're anything like me, your wallet is stuffed with loyalty cards, club cards, video rental cards, etc.

Justoneclubcard lets you pick your store cards from a list, type in the barcodes from them, and will then print you out a credit-card sized card that holds up to 8 of your storecard barcodes.

Each is labelled, and allows you to carry (as the site name suggests), just one club card, instead of filling your purse or wallet with multiples.

I thought it was neat, so check it out!

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