Friday, June 11, 2004

Drivers, Drivers, My Kingdom for Some Drivers

I've been plagued by computer woes the last couple of days.

With some intermittent use of my computer, I've been updating critical patches, defragging my hard drive, doing a full virus scan of the hard drive.

It's been no fun.

I finally hit upon the likely culprit this morning. The video drivers for my video card. I'm downloading new drivers right now. We'll see if they work.

I've seen the complaint before that having the hardware manufacturers make drivers for their hardware is often a hit or miss proposition. Well, the drivers for my video card came with the operating system. Chances are they should work well.

The homepage of the card manufacturer linked to a download page which listed driver software that is only a couple of months old. Hopefully whatever went wrong is fixed in this incarnation of the software.

Thinking of this makes me consider how much some businesses rely upon others. Windows benefits greatly by having so many third party hardware manufacturers build parts that will work with the operating system. They mostly have no choice since there is such a large market filled with users of the software.

What annoys me is that the drivers I was using were loaded from the Windows XP CD. I noticed an updated driver on the windows update page at the beginning of the year, and updated to that. You would figure that they would have the bugs out of it by now.

I was happy to see that the manufacture had a newer date on the version I'll be trying out this morning. Fingers crossed, hopefully I can write about something a little more interesting. At least now, since I dumped the video drivers and am working with a generic driver, I can at least start up the computer and work with it. Previously, I was getting the video signal cutting out on me.

Well, I needed those critical updates anyway.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ringing in Changes

I was getting a kick looking at a page from the Smithsonian Institute on how information technology has changed over the past 150 years.

To be honest, when I think of information technology, I really don't think of the telegraph or the telephone.

But maybe I should. The means of communicating over long distances, aided by electricity and wires, are the roots of information technology.

When you look at the pictures, it's easy to forget that these devices cause profound changes in society as they were introduced. But some of it didn't happen overnight.

I found a much more detailed view of telecommunications, which goes from the 1820s to today's mobile phones.

It's become pretty common to see people walking down the main street of my town with a mobile phone pressed to their ears. It wasn't as common in 1879, when David Hughes received the first radio/telephone call.

Yes. The mobile phone is now 125 years old. Not what you'd call an overnight success. Wonder what David Hughes would think of ringtones.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Improving News Sites

When I was in high school, we used to get two different newspapers.

They carried all of the same stories. I'm not sure that my parents knew what they were doing when they insisted on getting more than one newspaper delivered to the house every morning. But I suspect that they might have known.

I took advantage of it, and usually read both papers every morning. What I found interesting was how stories were often presented differently from one paper to another.

It turned me into a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the media. It also had me wishing that newspapers would take active steps to improve.

I usually look at a dozen or so papers everyday now. With so many papers are on the web, I recongize that most of them that aren't taking as much of an advantage of online opportunities as they could. has a great list titled: 101 ways to improve your news site. These are excellent suggestions. If a news site adopted even half of these, they would find themselves amongst the best sites on the web.

Funny, but the best benefits may come from getting more involved with the community that surrounds them.