Friday, March 21, 2008

It's Not A Half Day Or Anything Like That...Oh, Wait, It Is.

So yesterday I officially made the transition from one boss to the other.
While getting lunch at the café in the building next door, I encountered my new boss who asked, “Have they sent out any kind of notice about tomorrow being a half day?”I confessed that I had seen no such notice, to which she said, “Well, just plan for tomorrow to be a half day.”
She got no argument from me, and shortly after noon today I was on the road and headed home, though I did make a brief stop at Best Buy.
Why? Well, the last time I’d gone to Dell to check on the status of my order, it said that it was “In Production” and the estimated shipping date was 3/25.
However, when I got to work yesterday and checked my mail there was a message saying that my computer had shipped on Wednesday. I thought, “Oh, well it’s two day shipping, so it should be here on Friday. I’ll have to see if I can arrange for Kathleen to be at the house.”
Then I clicked on the tracking number and discovered that it was already in VA and on its way to my house.
Unable to get a hold of Kathleen, I was annoyed when I checked the status during lunch and saw “Delivery Exception – Customer not at home or business closed.”
By that time I knew that it was possible that I would be home in time on Friday, given the half day thing, but I couldn’t be certain, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to sign the signature sticker that I found waiting on my door when I got home, which would have authorized them to simply leave the package outside my door on the next delivery attempt. Even in the nicest neighborhood you don’t want a big box that says “Dell” on it sitting unattended outside your door.
So I called FedEx to ask if it would be possible for me to go somewhere to pick it up, as the most likely alternative was waiting for the third delivery attempt on Saturday. Sure, that would have meant getting the computer sooner than originally anticipated, but now that I knew that it was so close, how was I supposed to wait?
The lady on the phone told me that I could pick it up – from Winchester, which is a pretty good distance from Leesburg – particularly given that travel is measured not in distance but in time in these parts – which was a pain, but which still beat the alternative.
Looking online, I saw that they had more than one facility in Winchester, so I called back to make sure which one it was.
This time I was told that I couldn’t pick it up. Picking up a package from a service center is only an option after the third and final attempt at delivery has been made.
So I was annoyed.
However, sometime later I was upstairs in the office and heard a noise outside. I looked out the window and saw a FedEx truck parked next to my car and the driver heading for my door.
The driver – who is now in the running for “Jon’s Favorite Person” – decided that he should swing by again to see if I was home this time.
(While I was signing for it, he was peering over my shoulder at my TV and raving about how wonderful it is.)
So, long story long, I have my new computer!
I don’t, however, have my Digital TV Tuner, as that will be shipping separately. It’s not a big deal, as I need to schedule an appointment with Verizon to have a tech sent out with a CableCARD anyway, and will need to be home for that. I’m hoping the Tuner comes soon, though, so that I can try to schedule the appointment for the 9th, as I have that day off. I’d requested it off – along with several other days – because that’s when my mom’s flight will be arriving, and we’d originally anticipated her arriving earlier in the day. Turns out she won’t get here until around 10 PM, but hey, a day off is a day off.
In any case, most of my time has been spent transferring files and settings (made, appropriately enough, easy through the use of Vista’s “Easy Transfer” application), and installing essential applications.
I had hoped that the new Hugin would come with Vista Service Pack 1 already installed, as MS did the RTM (Release To Manufacturing) of SP 1 back in February, but alas, such was not the case.
In fact, since turning the new Hugin on and hooking it up to the network I’ve downloaded hundreds of megabytes worth of updates and patches.
I’m holding off on SP 1, though.
I actually installed it on the old Hugin the other day without incident, but the old Hugin has an ATI graphics card, whereas the new Hugin has an nVidia card, and so far most of the SP 1 horror stories I’ve seen have involved issues with nVidia drivers.
So I think I’ll just wait until it gets served to me via auto-updates in the hopes that MS will have the kinks worked out by then.
Anyway, the reason I stopped at Best Buy on my early trip home today was that while the new Hugin came equipped with a respectable number of USB ports, “respectable” isn’t a high enough number for me, what with external drives and the graphics tablet and whatnot.
(There are some extra ports in the front, but I don’t like to use those for permanently-connected devices.)
I was going to transfer the USB card from the old Hugin to the new Hugin last night, but then said, “Meh, I’ll just buy another one.”
So I did.
While I was there I considered picking up a Blu-Ray DVD or two to test out the new Hugin’s drive, but couldn’t really find anything that I was terribly interested in owning.
At least, I couldn’t find anything that I didn’t already own in standard DVD form, and I’m not going to start replacing my regular DVD collection until after I have a Blu-Ray device permanently hooked up to my TV.
While I was looking at the Blu-Ray titles I noted that the HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 is selling for the fire sale price of $49.99, which, given the death of the format, is hardly that surprising. I don’t own an Xbox, but I did note that it connects via USB, and wondered if it would be possible to hook it up to a PC. It turns out that it’s more or less possible, with some caveats, so I may see about doing that so that at some point when I make the switch to Blu-Ray I can convert my existing HD DVDs over.
In any case, once I got home I put in the USB card, hooked up everything else that needed to be hooked up, and am now going to get back to the task of installing applications.
I’ll likely be back later, possibly with pictures of the new rig.

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