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Christmas in June, part 2

Where have I been since the last journal entry about Christmas in June?

Well think about all of those Christmas presents labeled "some assembly required." How long did it take to complete the assembly? Sometimes next Christmas rolled around and some of these things were still in need of some assembly.

So it has been the last few days. The IKEA bed was no problem--just a lot of grunt work. The two tricky projects have been the developing home entertainment center and the addition of a wireless connection to my mom's old computer in the garage.

I'm going to be very sparing on the boring details here. The new Pioneer receiver is a monstrously wonderful machine. But the first thing that stymied me was the lack of an RF input for my non-digital cable connection (HDTV is still not available in this area). So I tried running the cable RF signal into my brand-new JVC digital VCR and component-cabling to the monitor input on the Pioneer, plus an optical connection for digital sound. Not quite right--I can get either sound or a picture but not both. On a more positive note, the DVD player works fine with its DVI video connection and coaxial connection for audio. My old receiver used to pick up FM radio from the cable input; it looks like I will have to hook up the FM antenna for this new receiver. How primitive. I'll have to see what I can do until cable HDTV arrives. On another bright note, Axiom called from Canada to say that my new surround speakers should be arriving soon.

I see my mom's old computer (an HP Pavillion) as an embodiment of her soul since she passed away a year and a half ago. All of her creative writing and favorite programs are on it. She was running Windows 98, original edition, and I have refused to update it because its schemes reflect her. I have been doing some hardware upgrades, however. Her original, 8GB hard drive was failing, so I moved everything to a new 40GB drive. Her two 64meg memory sticks seemed to be inconsistent, too, so I replaced them with three new 128 meg sticks. I replaced the 350Mhz CPU with a Tualatin CPU Upgrade Adapter from Powerleap that boosts the speed to about 1.4Ghz. I had the machine on our home network with an ethernet cable for a while, but this summer I moved all of my "extra" computers to a corner of the garage. To get the machine back on the Internet I purchased a wireless network card. All this new stuff caused a lot of incompatibilities and crashing. After HOURS of reconfiguration, driver updating, etc., I got a weak connection going. To improve the connection, I purchased a D-link wireless extender from Amazon. It arrived in two days, right in the middle of the rest of this Christmas in June madness. I got perfect, strong connection yesterday, but now DHCP doesn't work. I'll have to get back to that one later.

A further Christmas arrival this week was a new basketball system for the driveway. Our old pole had rusted and fallen over. Last week I found a system at Dick's Sporting Goods that was reduced from $600 to $300 and I wanted it immediately, but they were out of stock. Got a call this week that one had come in, so I picked it up. It is currently lying in my breezeway in pieces. When it stops raining I will assemble it.

It is a good thing I like to put stuff together.