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Old 01-17-2008, 02:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,360
Default New things every day...

Sooo...my new system is pretty much up to speed and it was a rather interesting learning experience...

The first thing I learned was that my memory doesn't serve me well all of the time--either that or there are evil Brownies living in my house who take joy in hiding things...'-}}

As you may remember from this thread, back in October I discovered that I'd lost the power cord that connected the power brick to my Minolta Elite II slide scanner. I was able to buy a new power cord--learning about them in the process--but it was annoying to say the least. Guess what I found when I moved the cool wheeled thingie (thanks Susie!) that my pc case sits in/on?

Yeah...that's right...the missing power cord all neatly folded with a rubber band around it sitting smug and smiling (those damned Brownies!!!) under the case support...'-}}

If you remember from this thread, in addition to the new custom built pc, I also ordered a new monitor. I had been wanting a LCD monitor for a long time and while I really wanted a 21" monitor, it was just not in the budget so I ordered the Nec LCD2090UXi and it's eversoslickandcool but...there's always a "but" isn't there?

I had allll this lovely screen real estate--native res is 1600x1200--and the only problem was that I couldn't actually read anything because everything was so teenytinyittybitty small even after playing around with the WinXP font settings--something I've done on practically every pc I've every owned. Tahoma is now my fav screen font...'-}}

Then I learned that you can change the ppi of the monitor and so with some trepidation, I changed it from 96 ppi to 101ppi (it's a bit tricky to get the slider exactly where you want it) and that helped quite a bit...

The next problem was that this screen was sooooo BRIGHT!!! that it gave me a headache and I practically needed sunglasses when I was using the monitor. I figured I'd resolve this issue when I got around to calibrating the monitor with my brand new state of the art Colorvision Spyder3 Pro which was pretty cool looking compared to my original CRT Spyder.

Having used the crt Spyder for as long as I have, I didn't expect the level of frustration I experienced with trying to use the Spyder3 Pro but I was so pissed at the lack of documentation and what initially appeared to be less than useful Help information that I was very seriously considering returning it and getting monitor calibrator from another company. I decided to give it one more go and after changing the brightness and black level settings to 80 and 48 and working through the calibration process, I ended up with a monitor that doesn't blind me and a workable monitor profile.

Colorvision could have saved me a lot of frustration if they'd provided a nice pdf document (with screen shots and step-by-step explanation of the process) to be read prior to starting the monitor calibration process--I like to get a feel for where and how I'm going before I start...'-}}

On the whole, the transition from W2K to XP wasn't too bad and thank goodness for annoyances.org and their very useful tweaks to get XP working the way I'd prefer rather than what Microsoft thinks is best for me. I still haven't decided if I'm going to uninstall the incredibly annoying Windows Defender which insists on talking to the mothership mulitple times every day--I finally set ZoneAlarm to remember the "deny access".

I ordered a Seagate FreeAgent 250gb external hard drive which made moving files from my old system to my new very, very easy and I still have over 100gb of space on the drive--the installation instructions are so cleverly and wittily written that it's worth buying one just for the instructions...'-}}

As I was getting the system up to speed, I started taking fairly detailed notes on what changes I made to the system (via the suggestions at annoyances.org), settings for various pieces of hardware and software and as I installed each software package, I wrote down any oddities I encountered, the workarounds and the serial numbers so I now have those all in one place.

Every system I've ever had has its own little quirks and while it was exciting to discover that on this XP system, I no longer have to open Quicken 4 before opening WinCim (on the W2K system, if I opened WinCim first, it didn't work very well), what I wasn't expecting was the installation of my Epson 4000 printer to take me days and days. I still don't know why the Epson Status Monitor won't see the printer when running the 5.30 drivers but I guess it's just one of those things...

The most recent new thing I learned was that there is a difference in the quality of the mouse one uses.

While testing the Epson 4000, I discovered that trying to use my (inexpensive and old) mouse to do a quick selection in Photoshop--something I've done easily and quickly on the old system using the same mouse--was like working with a brick and after a bit of research I realized that in moving from a 19" crt with a res of 1152x875-ish to a 20" LCD with a res of 1600x1200 requires a mouse with greater accuracy than my old mouse was able to provide.

I am now the proud owner of a Logitech LX7 cordless/wireless mouse with a ppi/dpi of 1000--I never understood the lure of a cordless mouse but now I understand...'-}}

Of course, the mouse comes with its own peculiarities as it sometimes (no discernable pattern) blocks the sound on my system but (so far anyway) a reboot seems to set it right...

I'm hoping to actually start doing some imaging work in the next day or so now that I've gotten the system fully tweaked...

Oh! And maybe I'll actually get around to installing CS2--currently tableware...'-}}

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