atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4236: The power went off with a bang.

9 AM this morning, both Mrs. Fungus and I were shaken out of a sound sleep by a bang from outside and the power cutting off. I knew almost immediately what had happened: a fuse on the pole in the front yard blew. It happens every once in a while; the first time was in 1992-ish and it's happened periodically since then. A few years ago ComEd got sick of sending techs out every six months and did...something...that apparently helped alleviate whatever it was that was causing the fuses to blow. It's been a while, but it's back! Whee!

The power was off until 10:30. I overslept for work, but I did it on purpose, and managed to clock in two whole minutes before my shift began.

...and I then proceeded to do NOTHING for ninety percent of my day.

When I am at work, and this kind of thing happens, there is precious little I can do if there are no productive tasks to fill my time. I certainly cannot write a blog post, or play WoW, or do anything that isn't work-related.

Trying to fill seven hours of time with about an hour's worth of work--bleah. I vacuumed at seven PM, an hour before close, because I literally had nothing else to do. At closing time I had been ready for close for nearly ninety minutes.

The "feast or famine" paradigm sucks ass. Having nothing to do is just as bad as having too much. Still, it all points up the fact that I've never worked in a customer-facing retail position during the summer months before, so I have no idea what to expect vis-a-vis weather and holidays.

Anyway, since I had absolutely nothing to do, I pulled out the Steelseries keyboard and hooked it to a laptop I was testing, and it worked splendidly--perfectly--exactly as the manual said it should work. This means that the issue is with my computer, not the keyboard, and I elected to return it rather than try another one.

I'm guessing it's an issue with current draw. That keyboard, with its illuminated keys, obviously draws more current than a regular USB keyboard does, and while the ports on my system are USB 2.0 they predate the real maturity of the specification. Besides, I have several USB devices plugged in already (a USB hub for the two printers, the mouse, and the UPS), and since each port on the motherboard drives two of the ports on the case--well, it's not hard to do that math. Probably I ought to get a powered hub and connect everything to that, so as to take the load off the computer, but it's increasingly looking as if I'm going to be stuck with a non-illuminated keyboard for the life of this PC.

Having nothing but downtime today let me do a little research, though, and I discovered that I can just barely get a USB 3.0 interface card that will plug into a PCI slot. It costs about $60, but it exists. A manufacturer makes one. That might solve my problem, and as a bonus it would let me connect an external drive that would be fast.

For my next trick, I realized that I might be able to contact Gateway and get a 64 bit Vista restore disk for this computer without having to pay $Assrape for the thing, which would then make getting more memory in this beast a useful upgrade. It would mean tearing down the system and rebuilding it again, but if I could have more than 2 GB of RAM with a 2 GB video card in the system....

For all of my complaining, though, I really did like having nothing to do at work today. It really was refreshing not to have to run at full speed all day.
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