Sunday, July 30, 2006

Things get fixed -- and break again

With all the strife around us today, the problems of one little man don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But still, they're my problems, so they matter to me.

Last time out, I wrote about the rash of technical problems I'd been experiencing. Well, what goes down must float up, so here's an update on how things worked themselves out.

First, my cable box problems, which amounted to a firmware update breaking the HDMI connection. No fix from the cable company (nor did I expect one, those technical morons), so my workaround was to switch from HDMI to component video. No big deal, aside from having to reprogram my remote to a different input on my TV.

Next, my Audi, which had a bum convertible top. The dealership fixed it right up, although it took two days, since they had to order the part (a bad microswitch). However, here's where things keep happening. I'm not sure whether it's related to the top fix or not (although it probably is, since they had the whole trunk assembly taken apart), but now the little shelf in my trunk that raises and lowers to accommodate the convertible top is broken; it won't raise to give me the extra trunk space when the top is up. Then, a day or so after I noticed that problem, the antenna on my car audio system (which is located in the trunk assembly) went bad. The AM/FM is completely unlistenable, and while XM satellite radio still has reception, I get an "ANTENNA" error message on the display. The Audi goes back to the dealership on Monday for additional repairs.

The dishwasher repairman made it out to repair my Bosch dishwasher. I thought a bad control panel was the culprit, but apparently a stuck latch was causing all the problems. A little jiggling with his screwdriver and everything was back to normal. And it only cost me $85. (Hell, I could have jiggled the damned screwdriver myself for a lot less than that.)

The folks at Niveus took good care of me concerning my broken Media Center PC. I had to pay to ship the hog back to California for repairs, but they took care of everything else. The problem was a bad power supply, which apparently fritzed the BIOS as it was going out. I got the monster back on Friday, but then more problems ensued -- no component video after boot up. Taking the advice of my contact at Niveus (who happened to be working over the weekend), I connected a second VGA monitor, set the video card for dual-monitor "clone" operation, and reset all the video settings for the big-screen TV's component connection. Not sure why it got bumfoozled, or how exactly I fixed it, but it's now working. I had an additional scare when the whole system started moving at a snail's pace, but that eventually worked itself out; it was almost like it had to take an hour or so to settle back into its old routine. (Actually, I think it had more to do with performing all the background maintenance -- spyware and antivirus updates, and so on -- that it hadn't had a chance to do over the past two weeks.) Anyway, it's back up and running, and I can't tell you how much I missed having my music. Kudos to the folks at Niveus for the exemplary service.

So, aside from my car radio and trunk thingie, I'm back in business. (And my Windows Vista installation continues to stay up and running, which is another plus.) All I want is my stuff to work. Is that too much to ask?

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

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