The Midnight Writer: May 1996
Those of you who read last month's issue may remember that I was having trouble with The Beast, my Gateway 2000 P5-66 computer, and planning to make some changes in my setup, hoping to (no snickering, please) rationalize it a bit. Well, I've had somewhat spotty success.
A suggestion from Charlie Lipton fixed my floppy drive's problems: I stuck the thin attachment of my vacuum cleaner into the drive door (gently), turned on the vacuum cleaner, and Voila!, problem solved. I wish they were all that easy to deal with.
Installing the IBM 2.1GB drive was dead simple. Win95 scanned for new hardware and found it, the SCSI utilities worked fine, I got it partitioned into two 1GB virtual drives with no problem...the whole thing probably took only about 20 minutes or so, unless you count the time I spent going out to buy a new SCSI cable, since the old one lacked sufficient connectors. I removed my old Colorado 250MB tape drive, even though I didn't really have to, having found another space for the new hard disk drive. The Colorado had been left in place after I installed a new Conner Travan tape drive, but it wasn't connected any more, so while I had The Beast open, I pulled it out. So far so good, but when I checked the system I found that I had a new problem.
My Pinnacle Tahoe MO drive (into which I had carefully transferred a lot of little-used data and programs) is no longer responding. It's in a permanent "not ready" state, and although it powers up OK, it doesn't respond properly. Don't know why, and I'm not exactly a happy camper because of it, either. I haven't had the anticipated time to deal with this during Golden Week so far, and it's a relatively minor problem when compared to a non-functioning floppy drive.
Maybe the problem will spontaneously disappear when I get around to upgrading my BIOS, as soon as I finish this issue of the AJ. I probably should have done this before installing the new HDD, since one of the features of the new BIOS is apparently the ability to deal with drives bigger than a gig, but I'm anxious about doing a BIOS upgrade with the AJ deadline close. Who knows what catastrophes might ensue? (Think I'm getting paranoid? Read on...)
Another problem I've noticed recently, as I use Win95 more and more, is that it seems OLX isn't working right when I access it under Win95. I'm using the DOS version of the OLX mail reader, which I got in my DOS version of QModemPro, but I'm using QModemPro for Windows, and the version of that which I bought didn't include OLX. It's always worked well under Windows 3.11 in a DOS shell, but for some reason when I use it under Win95 the reply packets it prepares are perceived by BBSs as being in an "unknown format". The same packets seem perfectly fine when I upload them using QModemPro in a Win3.11 environment, though. It's a mystery to me why this should be, and even whether this is the fault of OLX or QModemPro.
No doubt I wouldn't have this problem if I upgraded to a Win95 version communications program, but 1) I'm far from rich, 2) I still haven't adjusted to the way my salary is paid under the new system at work (considerably smaller monthly salary, much larger bonuses), 3) the next bonus isn't until late June, and 4) I do have other things on which to spend my disposable income.,
I also recently discovered that my joystick won't work under Win95. It's connected to my sound board, which is a Gateway-provided Creative Labs SoundBlaster 16 (I think; it might be a SoundBlaster Pro...it's a little hard to tell, but that's another story). The sound board works fine, and Win95 recognizes that there's a joystick attached, but although I believe that I've loaded the newest drivers, I can't get the joystick to work. This is not a really serious problem, though, since Activision 's MechWarrior 2 tends to crash very quickly anyway, that's the only game I have which can only be played under Win95, and I wasn't going to have much time to play games until sometime next year, anyway.
By that time, I'll probably have upgraded to a new computer. With its own share of problems, no doubt.
I've bought another couple of Win95 programs recently, but I'll talk about those next issue, after I've had a chance to really try them out. Maybe by then I'll have solved some of my current problems, too.
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