Monday, August 23, 2010

Windows 7 has officially ruined my life (part 4)

Okay, so this isn't exactly the next post I had it mind, but I had to go with it.

I dropped my computer off with Anna on Tuesday of last week so her husband could take a look and work his magic. Anna updated me and said that the "virtual machine" isn't working and it's still doing "it". And by "it" I/she/ means recording "out of time" (and I'm not talking REM).

Ever since I dropped the thing off, I've convinced myself that there isn't actually a problem with the computer. I'm just too picky. I just have to come to terms with the fact that (while recording) it may be a millisecond or 500 off.

In order to truely justify my feelings towards the computer/operating system/soundcard, I figured I had to do a trial run. I had to test it out. (yes, yes, I am a scientist)... So, I plugged in my recording unit to my brand-new Toshiba laptop. The delay was slightly crazy, but not "Whoa.... what's going on" kind of crazy"... So I started to think that "the problem" is something I could actually work with. So it's true... I am unreasonable.

And then I plugged it into my desktop (which is an old, old, Acer, that has many, many, processing issues)... and when I tested it out.... I could hear myself AS I SPOKE! This equals "real-time", people.

For awhile there, I thought I was too picky. Maybe I didn't need real-time recording. Maybe I was being unreasonable. This test really cemented my belief ... and that belief is Windows 7 sucks.

Or else all laptops suck... but I don't think that's the case. In fact, I'm $400 away from buying a Mac. And even though some people say "Noooooo..... Mac's are evil!" I think I should save up a bit of dough and buy myself a MacBook... because the Lard knows I won't have recording issues with that bad-boy.

Windows 7 has officially ruined my life (part 3)

Alright... so The Husband managed to get XP installed as a "virtual machine" (Thank-You!!). This is apparently the $200 option BestBuy offered me. It still doesn't work.

The latest theory is that it's the soundcard and not the operating system. To me, that's neither here nor there, because the bastard is going back.

Will be going to BestBuy today or tomorrow and will update as necessary. "I got my $600 back" isn't much of an update, but I didn't think buying a new computer would warrant 4 posts either, so I think we all learned something: Nothing is easy. If you've managed to convince yourself otherwise, you will be shot down, bound, gagged and flogged until you manage to muster up the strength to murmur "Uncle". Things may or may not get better after that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Windows 7 has officially ruined my life (cont'd)

The saga continues....

I took my computer back to BestBuy on Friday after work. I walk into the joint and a young man with a headset and a clipboard asked me how I was doing and what he could help me with. I took a deep breath and said "Okay, here's the deal..." I told him my plight. I thought that I was going to have to go into detail and discuss what exactly I'm trying to achieve and what audio latency is... I didn't have to do this.
Me: ... ... and Windows 7 has an inherent audio latency problem

Clippy: *nods* Yeeeaaahhh. It does.

Me: So you know about this?

Clippy: I had the same problem when I bought a new computer for trying to record music.

Me: I wish you sold me this computer. What did you do?

Clippy: Honestly, I brought it in to these guys [Geek Squad] and they fixed it for me.

Me: What do you think I should do?

Clippy: Buy a Mac?

Fuck you, Clippy. So I start talking about operating dual operating systems. He stops me and says that's way beyond his expertise and I should talk to one of the "agents". I'll have to wait because one of them is helping another customer. I take a seat at this bar and wait. I'm pretty optimistic that it's an easy fix. I don't know why... nothing has been easy so far.

While I'm waiting a guy makes eye contact from me from afar and starts heading over (if I had a drink in front of me, I would've thought I was getting picked up). He was wearing a "Windows Guru" shirt.
Guru: Have you been helped?

Me: I have. I'm just waiting for that guy there. But based on your shirt, I think you'll be able to help me.

Guru: Oh no. *takes a seat* What's going on?

Me: *explains problem*

Guru: Okay you have two options that come to mind. 1 - wipe hard-drive and install XP straight up. 2 - there's a "XP professional suite" program you can get that tricks your computer into thinking it has Windows XP installed, it just runs in the background, but when it's on, your computer runs just like it had XP on it. It's basically an application.

Me: How much?

Guru: I want to say $179?

Me: That's way more than I want to spend. In fact, I want to spend nothing because I just spent a bunch of money on this brand-new computer.

Then the Geek Squad guy comes over and the Guru bolted. For the third time I explained my problem, this time to the Geek. He said that I could wipe the hard-drive and put XP on it, but doesn't recommend that because there could be compatibility issues with my drivers for devices such as my sound card. Well, wouldn't that suck for my sound card to stop working altogether. Otherwise, dual operating system is the best bet and they charge $100 to do it. Which, again, is far more than I want to pay.

To get a restore disk, so I can re-install Windows 7 in case things go horribly, horribly wrong with XP costs $50. So pretty much my options are to spend a bunch more money just to make my brand new computer work, or else return it. Oh sure, I can exchange it, but any computer in their establishment comes with Windows 7 on it. So really I'll be in the same boat even if I switch it up.

I took it back to Brain Trepaning today and we went all over the internet searching for instructions on how to set up a dual operating system and trying everything we haven't tried before (and all the things we had already tried). We downloaded the latest drivers for everything. Windows 7 just won't allow it. It feels threatened by the older, wiser and more eXPerienced operating system.

My options as of right now are: to write a strongly worded letter to BestBuy and demand they pay the Geek Squad bill, or else; alternatively The Token Skeptic's husband is good at computers and he says he can install a secondary operating system. Despite her typical skepticism, she's confident in his abilities, so I can only hope there's some trick that he knows about.

Otherwise... *giant frowny face*

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Windows 7 has officially ruined my life

My computer is on it's last legs and it has been for quite some time. I have been obsessively archiving for the past year and a half in fear that my computer would suddenly stop working and I would lose everything.

As discussed in a previous post, I've started recording music. My computer was getting to the point of ridiculousness when the sound of my fan turning on and off could be heard throughout my recordings. Not desirable. I decided it was time to buy a new computer. I wanted a laptop; it would be nice to be able to bring my computer to school and not be tied to my computer desk while recording.

So yesterday I went out and I bought a new laptop. I spent weeks researching and was confident that I did pretty well. I got it home, got it all set up... everything seemed to be working smoothly; new computer smoothly. I downloaded my audio program, plugged in my guitar and got ready to record.

But when I started recording there was this crazy delay. I'd hear what I was playing nearly a full second after I played it! I couldn't figure it out. But it clearly wasn't working the way I was used to. I spent hours fiddling with the audio program, the computer settings and surfing the internet for help.

But all I found were a lot of angry people using words like 'audio latency', 'drivers' and 'complete bullshit'. I didn't understand much of the technical mumbo-jumbo but I did piece together that 'audio latency = crazy delay I can't figure out = complete bullshit'. I admit that I whole heartedly agreed with them after having owned the computer for merely 3 hours.

I came to the conclusion that I could not figure this out on my own. I needed professional help, so I called my friend, Brain Trepaning; he routinely helps me with my computer and recording problems. He's my technology go-to guy. I brought it over to his place, he was stumped. We spent hours fiddling with the computer settings and surfing the internet for solutions... he was much more productive with the technical forums than I; he understood what the terms meant and tried what they were suggesting to do. But, still, no success.

We found a site that has a giant thread all about Windows' audio latency problem and as of Aug 6, 2010 (the date of the last post) there are no solutions for this problem. At all. This is a problem that is inherent to Windows 7 operating system and there's no way around it. Except wipe the hard drive and install Windows XP.

I just paid a bunch of money for this computer because it's all new and current and as state-of-the-art as I can afford. And it is physically incapable of doing the one thing that I want it to do! My baby, for all intents and purposes, is retarded. And even though I think it looks nice and has 'good qualities', it's blatant lack of capacity to function how I expect it to in my life severely diminishes it's value to me. Terms like 'totally useless' and 'waste of money' come to mind.

To top it off, this has been a problem since Vista. Vista. That was the last operating system... Windows 7 is supposed to be an upgrade, you know, fix all the bugs that cropped up in the last system (and invariably create new ones, but that's beside the point). They've known about the glitch for the past 3 years and have done nothing!

This is a new computer. I would expect this kind of problem from a computer I got at a yard sale for $10 and whose parts are no longer available because the technology is so old and out-of-date no one could possibly still want to purchase them. Nope, brand-new. Receipt is probably still crisp and everything.

If I wanted to continue living in the past and keep using XP (a 10 year old operating system), I'm fairly certain I could get a computer for half of what I paid and it would work two times better than this over-priced, over-qualified paperweight. I have had the computer for 30 hours.

Windows 7: You were not my idea.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Attack of the Corn! (part 2)

Ian Wade

The splice worked! The cells multiplied and started resembling something corn-like. Success! The corn-like substance grew into corn. Seeds were harvested, and more corn was planted. First, in small greenhouses and when all went well, the corn was upgraded to small crops (of course, segregated from all other crops).

Corn - segregated

We started growing the crops in the open in order to subject them to the elements; the crops were more likely to encounter pests, but even when neighbouring crops became infested, not a single bug could be found on our test corn. This lead us to believe the splice was, not only complete, but also, very, very successful.

Happy Corn

The project was a success; everyone was happy, with the exception of my wife, Dawn. But she isn't easily swayed when it comes to matters of genetic engineering. Hugo and I hired lab technicians and field hands to help with all the work; we were working 16 hour days prior to this. My uncle wouldn't increase the funding until it was clear that the project was successful. I don't blame him, Hugo flip-flopped like yesterdays pancakes.


Dawn was the watchdog throughout all of it. She would keep a watchful eye over us to make sure we never grew complacent with the project. We would have to maintain constant diligence to keep the outside corn out and our test corn in, no matter how successful the project 'appeared' to be. Dawn immediately spotted (and criticized) every lapse in security, she warned everyone of what 'could happen'.

Once the crops grew to substantial size, strange things happened... Large, and often, intricate, crop circles started appearing. It's literally as if the corn just keeled over and died, but it wasn't dead.. it was just lying down, or playing dead, if you will. It was truly baffling.

Corn - dead

But really, crop circles were a bit of a fad at the time and they'd soon die off like all other fads. And my uncle, who is a respected, experienced businessman agrees with me... so then it must be true.

Dawn Knotts-Wade

I sat at my kitchen table cutting out an article from a magazine; I folded it carefully and stuffed it inside my husband's lunch box. I've been doing this for months and Ian doesn't seem to be affected by it at all. He's even passing the obscure quizzes I started giving him!

Dawn at table

I was already pretty much completely against my husband's work, but when Ian started coming home and talking about strange happenings in the crops, I began sensing something sinister lying in wake. Crop circles? I mean, seriously, you can't ignore that shit! I even told Ian, but he just rolled his eyes. It drives me crazy when he rolls his eyes - it's the most drawn out process.

Ian - Rolling Eyes 2

The part that's the most scary is that Ian and Hugo don't know what could possibly go wrong - no one does. But here they are splicing a gene out of bacteria and putting in it a plant. What if that specific bacteria plays role we don't know about; a role that we cannot even fathom. That bacteria could be the reason birds fly, or the sky is blue, or oxygen is on Earth. Putting it where it doesn't belong (like in corn!) could lead to strange and bizarre things and I think the crop circles are just the beginning.

Big thanks to EliseArt for providing (the good) illustrations.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Attack of the Corn! (Part 1)

Hugo Sentrik

I straightened up from hunching over the microscope, took off my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose. The splice completed, I had some time to take a break. A well-deserved break, if I do say so myself. I stripped off my gloves and shot them into the garbage.

Garbage Can

I unbuttoned my labcoat with one hand in less than 20 seconds. Oh yeah, I'm pro.


I left the lab and went into the coffee room, where I found my associate Ian; Ian looked up and nodded. That's the most the guy ever does, look up and nod. What a prick. But his wife is one of my best friends so I put up with him.

I grabbed my coffee and sat down next to Ian. "Hey, whatcha reading?"

"An article Dawn gave me."

"Oh yeah? Another one of those you're-destroying-the-world-articles?"

Eating Earth

"Yep. It's all she's on about since I took this job."

I feel kind of guilty. I went to high school with Dawn and then the same university; Dawn in philosophy and me in biotechnology. Dawn hated biotechnology. Dawn met Ian in one of her philosophy classes; they were smitten from the get-go.

In Love

Turns out Ian was studying molecular biology, so naturally when we met, we had much to talk about. Ian became interested in biotechnology, but, frankly, lacked the skills and education, whereas I struggled in molecular biology. We were a perfect match for starting our own biotech company. Ian also had a really rich, really eccentric uncle that was willing to pour money into random ventures. And so began the history of InterSlice.

Dawn hated it, but loved Ian, so her way of passively venting her frustration involved putting you're-destroying-the-world-articles in his lunchbox instead of the love notes, other husbands got. Or so I assume; I never married. And I'm not involved with anyone. Or know of anyone that I might be interested in. Or that might be interested in me. I pretty much live to work.

Hugo - Sad

Ian looked up and asked, "How did the splice go? Do you think it worked this time?" We've done this splice roughly a dozen times so far and every time I've said the same thing: "It went well, I think it worked." This time was no exception; Ian rolled his eyes.

Ian - Rolling Eyes 1

I became defensive, as per usual lately; I spat "You know, it might not be my splicing that's causing the problem maybe you didn't find the right gene in the.... in the... thur-thingie..." (I hate that I can never remember the name of the bacteria we're using, whereas "Mr. Ian Wade" can rattle off the full name, crystal clear as if he's been saying it his whole life).

"It's bacillus thuringiensis." There he goes...

"Whatever. Or maybe you didn't find the right gene in the corn."

... You better not tell me the Latin name for corn, you bastard...

Hugo - Mad

"Maybe. We'll see I guess." You're lucky... this time...

"I guess we will."

Enough of an awkward silence elapsed and I was about to go back to the lab when the receptionist walked in. "Hugo? You have a call; line 2." I looked up and said "Thanks Whitney" as I pushed away from the table. This lab is so ghetto, you can't even hear pages... what's the point in having a paging system??

As I walked away I heard Whitney say "Oh, and Ian? Your wife called, she wants to know how you like your lunch?"

Luncho Box

Oh, Dawn, always checking up on him. No wonder he reads every single one of those articles you give him; he probably has to answer a quiz when he gets home.


Upon entering the lab, I went to my workstation and peered through the microscope one final time. All looked well, I really felt like it could work this time.

Happy Corn

I popped the plate into the incubator and then dashed to the phone because I nearly forgot there was a call waiting. It was Samuel Wade, Ian's uncle, calling to see if there was any progress on the project "It's really coming along, Sam!!" which is what I always said to the man. I swore I could hear Samuel's eyeballs roll into the back of his head.

This better work this time…

Big thanks to EliseArt for providing illustrations.