The solution has always been "I'll get an illuminated keyboard when I can afford it," and thanks to a generous birthday gift from my mother-in-law and a fortuitous alignment of the planets, I could actually afford to buy a rather nifty-looking keyboard from work for not too much money.
...except that when I plugged it in, it absolutely refused to function. Vista reported that the driver installation for "your USB device" had failed. Ordinarily, you plug in a USB keyboard, and if the computer isn't a total hunk of refuse it will auto-detect and install the USB keyboard drivers. Not so here!
I managed to get it to work by rebooting the computer, but then the keyboard backlights began flashing; still, I managed to type "steel" in the Google search bar before the keyboard freaked out and turned it into "steelllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
(Steelseries is the manufacturer--it's a Steelseries Apex--and I was trying to download the application that manages the macro functions and such. But the quoted text above was as far as I got.)
So now I'm trying to decide whether I should exchange it, or just return the stupid thing. Since I work there it's not like I have to make an extra trip or anything, so I am leaning towards "exchange", but if exchanging it doesn't help I'm going to write a scathing blog post about it.
"Nothing worthwhile is accomplished easily."
* * *
Today was pretty calm at the store, so I spent about half my shift trying to figure out what went wrong with the network in back.
See, like many places we have a single drop coming into the precinct, which connects to a Cisco switch and distributes network service to whatever units are on the service bench. This makes a lot more sense than having two dozen cable drops.
But one of our repair agents decided she'd tidy up and reorganize the cabling...and now the f-ing thing doesn't work any more.
I spent several hours eliminating causes: not the cable, not the switch, not the drop--yet it simply will not work. I finally said to my coworker (the one who did the reorganizing) "Well, I've eliminated all the possible causes, so it should work now."
"Oh, you got it working?"
"No, I was just being sarcastic. It ought to work, but does not, and I don't know why." I even tried plugging the switch into the network drop for the main work PC back there, the one used for doing the administrative stuff. Its drop works fine when the computer is plugged into it but the instant you plug the switch in, it stops working. I couldn't even make a different computer connect via that drop.
Tried a different switch (we have three of 'em) and that didn't work either.
It's one of those maddening things, made worse by the fact that I didn't have any tools. If I'd had my $10 ethernet cable tester with me I could have eliminated the cabling as a factor in about ninety seconds; instead I wasted an hour on that nonsense. I'm tempted to haul out my briefcase and cram it full of tools, but if I did that it would just ensure that the counter was mobbed with idiots tomorrow. *sigh*
Unless it's something particular to Cisco switches that they have to be set up a certain way whenever the power fails, there is nothing wrong with the system. I mean, the 5-port switch on my desk auto-configures at power-up; if the power goes down, the thing will start back up and automatically configure itself and reconnect everything as soon as power is restored, and it cost me $20. I would expect a $750 commercial-grade 24-port switch to be at least as fault-tolerant as the $20 one I picked up at Fry's.
So it's a big mess, and no one really understands why the damned thing won't connect, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it's something egregiously, painfully simple which we are overlooking.
That's what really hurts about this: someone's going to come in from the corporate IT help desk, spend ten minutes fiddling with it, and have us up and running again. *sigh*
* * *
So today was frustrating, though at least it was a different type of frustration from what I normally deal with. That counts for a lot.
Well, except for the fancy keyboard not working. That's the kind of nonsense I'm all too familiar with. Argh etc.