Daily Archives: October 22, 2010

In Which She Messes About With Technology

This morning, my monitor started doing that wonky trying-to-load-the-desktop-and-failing thing again. This happened a few weeks ago and I panicked that it might be the Mac (oh gods no, please, no) because the lovely Mac guitar-chord startup sound had also crackled and slowly faded. (Curiously, that came back after the move, then slowly faded again. Meh, the onboard mini speaker è morto. Not a big deal.) Then I figured out that it was actually a problem with the communication between the monitor and the computer, and after reading a bunch of stuff online I lowered the monitor refresh rate. Worked like a charm. The display did this odd flashing off then on thing once or twice a month upon startup, but always settled down.

Except it happened again this morning, and nothing I did would wake it up; the display would flash briefly and then go dark, over and over. This time I noticed that the power button was also flashing on and off slowly, and when I turned the computer off to try booting again that button didn’t go to amber the way it’s supposed to. Fortunately we have a second computer in the house, and HRH had given me permission the last time the monitor had this stutter to unplug his lovely widescreen monitor and use it. Before I did that, though, I turned his computer on and searched for problems with a ViewSonic flashing power button. And wouldn’t you know, this is a common ViewSonic issue. The monitor tries to load the display, but it goes black repeatedly. The cause is blown flux capacitors in the power supply, which can be replaced by the user.

Heh heh heh. I get to turn my monitor into a time-travel machine a surgery patient and use a soldering iron. It will be a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new monitor, and it gives me a certain satisfaction to know that I can extend my monitor’s life instead of dropping it in a landfill and spending a couple hundred dollars I really don’t have on a new monitor. If replacing the capacitors doesn’t work, then I haven’t lost anything but a bit of time and a negligible amount of money, and I’ve gained an experience. Once the monitor’s on it can go for hours, but it’s the uncertainty about if it will load properly in the first place that’s unwelcome. It finally loaded this morning, for example, but only as I was on the floor reaching for the cables to disconnect them in preparation for switching the monitors after twenty minutes of this one flashing.

In other exciting-to-me technological news, I figured out how to hook my iPod Touch up to the stereo. When I was in the shed earlier this week I found the Random Electronics box and scrabbled through it till I found an RCA-to-minijack cable and brought it inside. Yesterday, when I was too dead from all the driving and celloing I had done the day before to do much other than just sit there, I decided to spin a chunk of the dyed BFL I’ve been working on (Lady Jane has to go home in a week, and I want this project done before then so I don’t’ have to switch wheels in the middle, because they spin differently and that affects the yarn, of course) and I wanted to listen to the great SpinDoctor podcast while I did it. I didn’t want to blast my computer speakers like I’d had to do before, though, so I pulled the stereo amp away from the wall and plugged the RCA jacks in, plugged the minijack into the headphone output of my first-gen Touch, et voila, podcast on the stereo. Look, this is a big deal for me, okay? The thinking it out, knowing I had the right cable somewhere (we still haven’t found the last box with all my wall altar stuff and the tealights in it after the move, argh), and the wherewithal to figure the connection out when I got the stereo, the iPod, and the cable all in the same place is a decent accomplishment for me these days.

Speaking of technological experimentation, there are two and a half ounces of that fibre left to spin up. And I have decided that what I originally considered a wood-violet colour scheme is actually more like polished fluorite when spun and wound on the bobbin. Equally lovely, just different. (Photos at some point, yes. This camera doesn’t capture colour and light the way I wish it did, and all my pictures look dull, which is why you haven’t gotten many lately.) It’s interesting to see how colours on a braid of combed top shift when drafted and spun. I find myself interested in the technical adjustments to a Saxony wheel set up in Scotch tension. What happens if I increase or decrease the tension? What happens when I move the mother of all away from the wheel? I’m secure enough to treadle at my usual speed now and my hand speed while drafting has caught up to it. I’m looking forward to Navajo-plying this BFL when it’s done, too, to see how the wheel handles it. I do wish I had time to try double drive, but I’m barely going to get the singles of the BFL done and all plied before it’s time to take Lady Jane back to her home. HRH asked what I thought of double treadling, and I’m fine with it. I thought I might feel ungrounded, but it’s all okay. So I’m no longer worried about getting a double-treadle wheel at some point and not being able to use it properly.