Friday, April 4

Personal update

Greetings. Well, its been awhile since I've put up an update on what's been happening with me, and a lot has happened in the past few weeks.

First off, and perhaps most notable, when I came back from the Easter weekend with my family up in Dallas, I also brought back a throat infection. I went to the doctor and they took a culture, which turned up negative for strep throat, but the infection has kept me from work since before the Easter break. The last day that I was at work was on Good Friday. When I came back from Dallas, I had no voice.

Its not been all bad though. The week of Good Friday, I took the plunge and bought a new Windows Vista Home Premium computer. I've neded a new machine anyway since my current one had been going for 5 years. It could have probably done another few years, but I wanted to upgrade to newer equipment and software. So, during the time that I've been at home recooporating, I've spent some of that time on the new computer. I don't know all the technical stuff, but suffice it to say that this new system is powerful. I'm of the opinion that if you can, when you buy a computer, try and get more power than you actually need so you don't fall too far behind in power later. This new system doesn't disappoint either having 3 gigs of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, plus a TV tuner, built in card reader, CD/DVD reader/burner, one of the new HD Blue Ray DVD Reader/burner drives, and other things. Anyway, its a great system. For the record, its a Gateway DX441X, which I would highly recommend. When i got it, it came with a free 19" wide screen monitor, which I was told was a $219 value. Over all, I'm impressed by this computer and have had fun, for the most part, in getting to know Vista. I'll write in a different post on my thoughts of Vista so far. I say "for the most part" because last Monday, I had an interesting thing come up.

I was tinkering around in my system's settings, trying to fix my speaker's audio orientation, when I accidentally muted the speaker. I'm still not totally sure how that happened. Well, what's a blind guy to do when the sound card's been muted? There's no sound from JAWS, and even if you plug in the headphones, there's still no sound. Nothing from Narrator, Microsoft's minor solution for a screen reader. Might as well call someone over, which I did. When one of my neighbors arrived and saw my computer, after commenting that it was a nice system, she said, "Your monitor's not working." Here's an interesting and ironic thing, a monitor that doesn't work for a blind guy. As a quick side note, I got a monitor in the first place precisely because there may be times like this when I need someone to read the screen so I know what's happening. It just so happens that this method didn't work out too well for me this particular time. Well, we spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out what the problem was, even calling Gateway tech support. At one point, I turned to my neighbor and jokingly said, "Well, aren't we in a fix: neither of us can use the computer since its not talking to me and not showing anything to you." We both got a good laugh out of that. Usually one of those is the case for me, but not both at the same time. Anyway, at one point, God bless her, the Gateway support representative asked me why I had just now noticed the monitor wasn't working. To which I explained, calmly, that since I was blind, and since I had no reason to use my monitor, this was the first person who I had over and has commented that my monitor wasn't working. Otherwise, I would have been clueless to the whole thing. Well, long story short, after testing the new monitor with my old computer, we finally determined that a crucial adapter wasn't included with my system in order for the monitor to work properly. Gateway sent me the adapter via FedEx and I received it today. When I called another friend earlier this evening to come over and check things to make sure it was working, the monitor was working fine. We were prompted to perform a system restore, which we did, and all was working great again, even the sound had come back. I had experienced one other issue with Internet Explorer, but I called Gateway again earlier this evening and the helpful representative and I were able to get that one fixed as well. So, as of now and for the moment, all appears to be working fine. So much for not getting too technical in this post, :)

I've filed my taxes for another year. That always feels good, to independently file your taxes and have the tax man say, when shaking your hand, "See you next year." This time I took a cab to and from, since I had scheduled the appointment for during the day since I was home anyway. And, I'll be getting another refund again this year, not as much as last year, but a refund all the same. I also qualify for the rebate checks that will be sent out in May or June. So, I suppose between the refund and the rebate check, I'm getting more than I usually get, which is good. All in all, I'm pleased with how things went.

That's about all for now. I'm off to tinker, though not like I did last Monday, play with and enjoy my new system some more. Have a good weekend.

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