Travelling into the unknown. More-so than usual.

Obligatory end-of-first-week compedium thing.

2003-02-23Geographical isolation and dodgy hardware

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Dan-Y-CefnThis is as close to the middle of nowhere as I've ever lived. Anyone wishing to visit should first ensure that their credit with national rescue services is good. The house is lovely, warm and plush. Although I currently have a folding dining table for a desk, my room (the smallest here) is decently sized and everything fits in quite comfortably. The photo attached to this paragraph is the view of my window, and is pretty representative of everything for miles around. We got a little lost on the way here, and the old lady we asked (a lifetime resident of Llandeilo) didn't know where the place is. The people at the other end of the road didn't know where this place is. We have our landlady and some sheep (not hers) for neighbours. Actually, we have the original farm cottage and she and her husband live in the extension, according to Richard.

There's a panel in my room which, apart from some wood, appears to lead into the extension… so, I've been keeping the music relatively family-friendly today at least, since there are grandkids around. The phone-line into this house is shared with next door… I don't think they were expecting people to turn up with a phone and cabling. Hopefully we can work out some kind of late-night share—if this pans out, e-mail will be the best way to contact me; Orange network signal is almost non-existent, with a little in the front porch and outside. E-mail and quick FTP access here would do me; the school is well-equipped according to Richard, who arrived last Monday and popped down to look around—I may grab a little free time in-school to skim TF boards. You haven't seen the last of me yet, I'm afraid…

Ellie (not sure if I have the right spelling there) and Dennis make up the quartet, and are at a different but nearby school (with approx. 400 pupils.) Ours has two hundred and something. It also works Saturdays, although that and Wednesday are half-days. It also takes three weeks for Easter. Rather a mixed reaction to all of that, tae be honest…

…oh, and one last, bastard thing: my serial port appears dead, as I feared it might. I haven't had cause to use it since having an external modem, which got transferred to Mom's PC to save opening it when it was brand new. It was temperamental then… now, it has gone the way of the dodo. Which means that the last two entries I typed on the Psion I then had to copy-type off an LCD screen. Not happy. :mad:

I have a possible solution: there exist port converters which turn a USB socket into a parallel or serial connection, or both plus PS2 ports. This would actually represent something of an investment, should my next PC be a Shuttle cube (or similar) which only have USB ports anyway. I've already ranted elsewhere at the frustration of this concept: keyboards, mice, printers, modems and speakers do not benefit from USB. They simply introduce more things to go awry. Legacy components, printers especially, are here to stay: the parallel port has seen over a decade of reliable use and is an entrenched standard. Null modem serial connections are the game-player's old reliable. USB keyboards and mice often falter under DOS or BIOS operation; neither of which are dead concerns. Speakers? USB is not the answer—buying a decent soundcard with all of the outputs is. USB is also hardware-assisted; with modern processors this is less of a concern, but there are untold millions of viable PCs out there, many with differing USB implementations even before USB2 was released upon a world which has barely registered its presence. Issues are being heavily confused.


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