Sunday, March 09, 2008

Upgrade my Computer Capability - Chapter 5

Hopefully this is the final Chapter of Upgrading my computer capability Who said that upgrading to a new computer and operating system was ‘easy’?

As Chapter 4 closed, about the last week in February, I had hooked up to DSL, my printer installed OK, and things were looking good. In a nutshell, things are still looking pretty good. But, there has been some turmoil. Let me tell you about it.

1st there is DSL. It was really neat to be able to get to web sites easily and look at stuff and download large pictures that people had sent me. Previously I had resisted checking referenced websites and downloading large files. As we all know time is relative.

I hooked the new Vista Dell up to DSL and wanted to filter the telephones. Also wanted to be able to connect and use the other computer(s) on dialup, at least for a while. No need to get a Ethernet router . . . yet. My 1st hookup resulted in a very noisy phone line when the DSL box was on. Especially the remote phone. After lots of disconnecting trouble shooting I traced it down to the fact that I had decided the fax machine should not be filtered and I had a filter on the fax extension to the hard wired phone. Under every case checked, just adding the filter to the fax extension (even without the phone connected to the filter) caused excessive noise on the other phones. It only went away if the DSL modem was powered off or the filter was removed from the Fax phone extension jack.

With a telephone call to my ISP I understood that I should filter ‘ALL’ of the stuff that usually used normal telephone dialing/connections, including fax machine. So I hooked everything back up with that in mind. Now line is quiet everything working normally. In fact better than expected. In fact we could connect the Dial Up computers to the Internet WITHOUT powering down the DSL modem. I had understood from my ISP techs that this was not possible. I would have to power down the DSL modem to do a dial up connection. So I called them back to talk about it. Below is the result:

“I talked to my ISP tech this morning (BTW all of the KCOnline techs are in the US and as far as I know, all located in Warsaw (Warsaw Indiana that is)). She told me, and repeated, what I thought they told me, previously, when I was researching DSL

- That I should not be able to connect with both the DSL modem and the Dial Up computer at the same time. I would need to turn OFF (power off) the DSL modem to connect the dial up computer to the ISP server on our 1 account.

This is how it is working now from our experience.

As long as I have a phone line filter on the Dial Up computer modem, we are able to connect the Dial Up computer AND the DSL modem computer to the ISP server and the same time. Connect to web sites in parallel, work Outlook Express email on at least 1 of the computers. I am not sure about both the DSL computer and the Dial Up computer accessing the email server at the same time.

When I explained this to the tech, she said.
-You are just lucky. It is not supposed to work that way. You should have to shut off the DSL modem power to connect the Dial Up to the ISP.

I asked if it hurt anything that it was working and would it hurt anything if we tried to connect to the email servers at the same time.

-She said it should not, but if something happened and it did not work they would not be able to help me figure out what was wrong, because it is not supposed to work in the 1st place. She again used the phrase, 'you are just lucky'. In fact she used that phrase several times.”

We are still lucky, because it is still working that way.

Virus Checking & Email. As I mentioned in Chapter 4, I did not want to do much email until I had installed a virus checker. I finally decided to stick with AVG FREE…. I was used to it and it seemed to still be getting good reviews. So I downloaded it. By the time I got it all installed (the program, the virus updates) it must have been around 50 meg. It sure was a lot faster than on the HP Win98 with dial up.
I imported my OE address book from the HP and I was in business. In Vista (don’t know about XP) the mail program is called Windows Mail. It is about, exactly the same as OE. I don’t know why they changed the name.
However there is, at least, 1 change. For my Panhandle Pathway Secretary job, I have an OE identity called Trails. The contact list on that identity consists of 50 MOL email addresses from people who have expressed some sort of an interest in the trail, but do not want to be totally involved.. . . yet. They just want to know, generally, what is going on. They get an email message about once, or twice, a month about monthly meetings and/or a summary of ‘accomplishments’ and ‘goals’. This separate identity keeps these addresses separate from my ‘regular’ contact list, avoiding a lot of confusion. Windows Mail eliminated this function. They said for ‘security reasons’ it was better to establish a separate account. I have not done that yet. In fact I am thinking of getting a separate email address for this task. My ISP says I can have as many email addresses as I want. I haven’t set it up yet. Maybe this week I will get it done.

Scanner. I connected my brother’s discarded Epson to the HP computer and the HP Flat Bed scanner. Since the Scanner uses a parallel cable hook up and the Epson had a parallel and USB cable hook up. It works well. This set up may be in use for a while, as I may be reluctant in loading the old (8 years or so) HP scanner software onto the Dell Vista. AND I don’t know how to hook its parallel output to the printer.

Data Transfer. The data transfer from the HP to the Dell has 2 options. 1 A Flash Drive and 2nd A hard drive/USB cable. I guess there is another, Ethernet capable and set up a local network. I could not get the Coby 1gig FD to work with Win98. I had email conversations with Coby. I was told that there were no drivers, there was no way it would work with Win98 without SE, I was out of luck. Anyone need a 1Gig Flash Drive? A few days later I was in Staples and found a 2 gig Sony HD that listed Win98 (as well as Win98 SE and others), as OK with a driver download. So I forked over the 18 bucks for it. Downloaded the SW using the Dell Vista DSL transferred the file to the HP vial the 128meg Simpletech FD. Installed it and BINGO, the 2 gig Sony FD works fine. I noticed the capacity under properties is 1.8 gig. They get the 2 gig by file compression SW that is installed on the FDrive. I removed this SW. Now I can move large amounts of info from the HP to the Dell, rather easily.

The other method, would be to buy a HDrive to USB cable. By removing the HDrive from the HP chasis and connecting it to this cable I should be able to plug it into the Dell Vista and get anything I want from the HP HD. These cables run about 20 bucks or so. I have been told that I only need the IDE HD interface since I am working with Win98 era hard drives. I haven’t implemented this yet. It could also be used as a back up drive.

Digital Camera. I do not like the Kodak Easy Share Software. When I loaded EZShare on my Win98 computer it ‘took over’ ALL of the picture files. It is cumbersome to use. I was reluctant to install it on the Dell Vista. 1 morning I took a snowy picture. I decided on the spur to connect the camera USB directly to the Dell. BINGO again. Vista recognized the camera and I could off load the pictures. No need to load the Kodak Easy Share software.

I installed my cheap 3 or 4 year old ArcSoft Photo Impression Photo editing softare that I got with my 1st digital camera 5 years ago or so (under $50). And low and behold it works well also. I can load pictures directly from the Kodak digital camera.

Now the BIG story. . . My HP 845c Printer. As mentioned previously my HP printer was working good. Except for a little quirk that bothered me. The neat 2sided printing function. I used it all the time on the HP. It was not available on the Vista ‘the 845c in the box’ install. I had to manipulate the odd-even, even-odd, front to back, back to front, options to get 2 sided printing. It was cumbersome.

A friend sent me a note suggesting that I, maybe, should try to load the printer CD, and install from the CD. Finally I decided to try it. Friday morning 3/7/08. First I loaded the XP CD into the drive. I figured it was a later version than the Win98 version and Vista would be more likely to recognize it. The computer would not recognize the CD at all. Even if I went to Computer etc properties. I loaded the Win 98 HP printer CD. It was looking good. I started the install process. It looked like files were being transferred. Finally I got a message that said, something to the effect, ‘this installation not recognized’ and further installation processing stopped. I was not able to make any further progress with it, so I quit the install. OPPS! Now my HP845c did not work at all.

I reinstalled from ‘the box’. Everything seemed to go ok, lights all good, no errors. Except for the print qeue would say “error” with no other information and no print. I tried all kinds of things, going to the MSoft, Dell, HP web sites for help. . . Nothing. Finally called the Dell tech.

The Dell tech took over the computer. An interesting method. I had previous experience with this on my brothers new Dell computer. The Dell tech said everything was good and it was HP’s problem. Call them they will fix it. He concurred with me that I must have corrupted a driver file in some way. I also tried the driver restore function on Vista. It did not seem to cover the printer drivers. However, I was not sure what I was doing. I had already found out from going to the HP driver down load site that the HP 845c driver web pages said “you don’t need to down load this driver it is in the Vista installed software”. I called the HP tech. He started telling me it was an old printer and I needed to upgrade. I told him that was unacceptable. It was a perfectly working printer, it was only about 5 years old, it had worked earler, I did not want or need a new printer. I said all I needed was to reinstall the Vista HP 845c driver. It must exist and I wanted it. He finally gave up, said he couldn’t help me any more. I had to talk to another tech who would solve my problem. I was placed in contact with another tech.

We went through the same thing. He quickly got down to the ‘you need a new printer’. I told him - that was unacceptable etc. The Vista driver had to be somewhere and I wanted it. If I needed a new printer it sure wasn’t going to be an HP. That I was totally disappointed with HP etc… He said something like ‘let me check to see what I can do’. A minute or so later he came back with an offer, of a discounted new ‘hot dog’ printer. About 90 bucks. That is way too much. I said I am leaving. Wait a minute lets see what else we have. He came back with another printer about 60 bucks. He wanted to add shipping, and tax. I said NO shipping, NO tax. OK.

We settled on a Replacement Model: PHOTOSMART DJ5160. From a (later) search this seems like a pretty good printer. New ranging from $120 to $160 or so. This one is refurbished. Which doesn’t bother me too much. According to the tech the refurbished list price was $89 or so. My bill $58.29, next day shipping, 1 year warrantee, no tax no shipping charge. I was not happy, but somewhat placated and I told him so.

I had been struggling for hours, on the phone with techs (in India? I forgot to ask where they were located, which I usually do) for seemingly hours. After I was done I had to have a shot of Yukon Jack to settle down. The HP customer survey I took later was not good. Lots of ‘unacceptables’

The printer should be here Monday. From reading the paper work (electronic). It appears that the tech called this an ‘unrepairable returned out of warrantee’ printer and it was replaced at a substantial discount. Another positive point is I, hopefully, can get a refund from Staples on my $35 ink cartridge for my Brothers discarded Epson. I won’t need it anymore. Net cost of my ‘new’ HP printer about $23.

The last Hurdle. The last hurdle which I have not started yet is moving my 98 Quicken Basic program and files for household accounting. 98 Quicken basic went away a l.o.n.g. time ago. Files are not even recognized by the new Quicken software. But I stll use it, it works good for me and I DO NOT NEED to change. Will it work on Vista? I haven’t taken the challenge, yet, of trying to load it from my HP Windows 98 CD. I have loaded it onto other computers (Win98) from the HP CD. So, it seems possible that it may work…. Only time will tell.

That’s my story about Upgrading my Computer Capability, aka moving from a 10 year old Win98 HP desktop to a New state of the art Dell Vista computer.


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