Friday, July 30, 2010

Taming the Computer Octopus

Those of you familiar with computers will understand where I'm going here.

Michelle's mouse has been acting up. I cleaned it a few weeks ago, but that didn't do much for it. I think the switches in the guts of the mouse are worn out. So we went to Wal-Mart today to buy her a new mouse. We could get a cheapo mouse for $11, or a wireless one for $18. The wireless one caught Michelle's fancy, because her computer setup means her mouse is on a short lead. But it's easier said than done. Both the wired and wireless mice required a USB port. Given that she has an external hard drive and two printers connected to her computer, she doesn't have a USB port to spare. Well, she does, but then she couldn't connect her iPod Nano or iPod Touch to the computer.

So we got the wireless mouse. I told her I'd take one printer and move it to the kids' computer, thus freeing up a USB port on her computer.

Of course it's a lot more complicated than that. Moving the external hard drive cable from the front to the back (one of my goals in this recombobulation). Unfortunately, I also unplugged the second printer. Ordinarily that wouldn't be all that bad, but it's an old parallel-interface printer we have connected to the computer through a parallel-to-USB cable, and it's a bear to get reconnected and recognized by the computer. The software is a bit odd -- you have to run it twice in order for it to take. That took an hour.

Now I'm busy installing the four-in-one printer on the kids' computer. I'd rather retire the thing, but given that it's still got a good scanner on it, we can't yet. Hopefully it'll work on the kids' computer just fine. Then I have to figure out why the printer we've got connected to our router can't be seen on Michelle's computer. Always complications.

All this because the switches in Michelle's mouse pooped out.

Update 1: Also caved in and connected the kids' computer to our home network. They're at the age when they'd be interested in using the Internet anyway, and besides, we wanted virus protection on the computer as well. It's obviously been a while since this computer was connected to the net, since I'm now busy churning through 77 Windows updates. Yikes.

Update 2: Got the kids' computer to recognize our new printer. Now have to go do the same thing on Michelle's computer.

1 comment:

carl g said...

I don't mind helping people with computer problems, really. But to be honest, I really don't like messing with computers. Working in IT would be my perfect nightmare. I figure out how to keep my computers running because I have to but, I'm hoping one the nephews becomes my own tech support guru. Liam?