The Midnight Writer: July 1996
by Mike Lloret
Thanks to advice and help from a lot of my friends, and a very helpful visit from Frank Zeritsch, I've got The Beast running pretty well now. I've now upgraded my BIOS, installed new drivers for the components that needed it, and found a workaround for getting my CD-ROM changer to work under Win95. Although not yet problem-free, at least I can do pretty much what I need to do without too much cursing and ranting.
It took reinstalling Win95 to get it to work properly, but this seems to be pretty much everybody's experience. Maybe I'm unreasonable or too optimistic or something, but I don't see why you should have to do multiple installations of an operating system (or an application, for that matter) to get it to work right.
After reinstalling, for some mysterious reason, the choices available for joysticks in the hardware listing increased dramatically. This enabled me to select and calibrate my CH FlightStick; Win95's refusal to recognize it had been a minor but annoying inconvenience.
The CD-ROM changer works fine if I disable 32-bit access; not ideal but a solid, functional workaround until I buy a new jukebox with a Win95 driver. Thanks to Masayo for this one, and to Jim Tittsler , who had tried to explain the arcana of protected versus unprotected mode drivers to me a while back.
QmodemPro for Windows and (DOS) OLX now work fine under Win95, too. I don't know why they do after reinstallation when they didn't before, but if I'd wanted to be a computer engineer I'd have become one. I don't lack the curiosity; I lack the time to figure out these mysteries (besides, I've already got plenty of Exotic Oriental Mysteries to deal with). As it is, I'm satisfied with being able to communicate.
One thing that made the entire operation take roughly 30 hours to complete was the fact that although the BIOS upgrade seemed to have been the smoothest of operations, in fact it created a little pitfall. A call for a .dll that no longer exists was lurking here and there in the Win95 registry after the BIOS upgrade, and what seemed at first to be a problem with System Commander (still a great program, folks, no worries) turned out to be fixable just by doing a little search and destroy mission for the references to this .dll. "Just" I say, but those rascals were well hidden.
Now I'm just having a little trouble with occasional system freezes which seem to be related to my graphics board. Too-frequent hangups while refreshing the screen, or so it looks to me. I was going to upgrade my board anyway from the ATI Graphics Pro that's in there. If anyone has any suggestions for a good board that I'll be able to install while I'm still young, I'd like to hear them.SoundBlaster 16 Multiple CD sound board the other day (he offered it at the June meeting, for a very reasonable price, and I leapt at the chance). I'm not dissatisfied with my "Gateway 2000 Sound Board" — actually an OEM Aztech Sound Galaxy board — but I'll be happier with the SoundBlaster, and it has a lot of neat software applications, comes with a mike, and so on.
Since memory is getting very cheap these days, I'm also planning to upgrade my RAM. I've got two each 4MB and 8MB SIMMs and I'll either replace the 4s with 8s for a total of 32MB or, if the prices are right, put four 16s in. One would think that 24MB is enough, but you can never have too much RAM... The Beast ought to be pretty pleased with 64MB of RAM, and Beauty will be happier with more than the 28MB she has now.
I'm still resisting the temptation to upgrade the whole system (I just heard a low growl from The Beast) to a P6 with all kinds of bells and whistles. That's overkill at the moment; I think I'll wait for next Spring's bonus to do that. Stay tuned.
A company from California is planning to start business in Tokyo in the near future,
and have asked whether any of TPC's members would be willing to discuss the
market for network installations with them.
They do Novell and Windows NT
installations for companies, and would like to know typical local fees for
engineering, help discs, maintenance, cabling, and the like. If you can help them
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