Today’s rant

I’ve been helping a friend with his 5-year-old computer, in return for deep tissue massage. I’ve put a larger disk drive in to assist him in storing data (but it wasn’t large enough), I then put an even larger (40 GB) in, but I had difficulty with Ghost because he only had 128 MB memory. So today I went for the third time and brought 512 MG memory, a USB hub, and Partition Magic to assist me in transferring his data from his slow small hard drive to the big new one.

Ghost wasn’t working right (second time around I still couldn’t transfer an image to the new drive that would boot). So, we decided to reinstall Windows and go from there. (Oh, the memory and the USB hub worked fine). Well, when we got to the point that we’d have to reinstall his ADSL modem, he told me that a friend has given it to him but hasn’t given him the CD ROM with the drivers on it.

Oh, well, said I, what’s to be done. I packed up and went home, to return in a week or so with the Alcatel drivers. However, if I’m going to be doing this kind of work for other people in the future, this is what I’m going to politely ask.

In return for helping you upgrade your system, I ask that:

1) You ensure that you keep every scrap of paper, every CD ROM, every manual, in a safe accessible place.
2) If your friend Buggins gives you a piece of hardware without the driver CD or the program CD, refuse it politely until he gives you that CD. Ditto if he installs the latest whoop-de-do software program (illicitly) and then tries to carry the CD away with him.
3) When you ask me to help you upgrade your computer, make sure you know what you want, or at least what you want to do with the computer. This will help me immensely in figuring out what kind and size of computer you can use.

My friend did perform (1) and (3), but fell a bit short on (2).

A friend of his now is asking for my help. He has a digital camera, and a printer, both of which have USB connectors. He has 128 MB RAM in a 5- or 6-year-old computer running Windows 98 (not second edition). He has a 10 GB hard disk drive. Whenever he plugs the camera or the printer into the computer, it crashes. His question: should I reinstall Windows 98 (not second edition)?

My answer: You should get a bit more memory while it’s relatively cheap, you should get a larger hard drive and a decent operating system. I hope that he engages me. However, I’ve ascertained that he hasn’t fulfilled items 1 and 3 above.


He is cute, however, so that’s something anyway…I shall work at whipping his system into shape.

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