The Week Where Nothing Worked The Way It Was Supposed To

This past week has been crazy. (Thus the lack of posts here.) Let's call it The Week Where Nothing Worked The Way It Was Supposed To.

I was supposed to be out of the office on Friday, leaving in the afternoon to go camping with Craig, Jen and Kayla. Unfortunately, client work just blew up in my face and I ended up having to cancel. Actually, this was probably for the best, as my family and I had a lot of work to do around the house.

Over the weekend, I installed my new sound card, a SoundBlaster Audigy ZS 2 Platinum. It's a great card. I just wish I had taken a look at my PC before I went and ordered one with my Amex reward points. Turns out I needed to sacrifice one of my CD-ROM drives to make room on the front panel for the I/O box. On top of that, I needed to clear two card slots, one for the card and one for the joystick port. I ended up sacrificing my NIC card because I'm on wireless anyway.

To go with the new sound card, I needed some 7.1 speakers. I'm not the type to want to go out and blow $400 on the Gigaworks series, so I was looking for a store that actually carried the Inspire 7.1 system ($99).

I reserved a set at CompUSA here in the city and was all set to go get it when the phone rang. It was someone in customer service who let me know that the speakers I had reserved for store pickup online were no longer available. Of course, I launched into the standard Seinfeld routine - "You can take a reservation, but can you keep a reservation?"

Turns out that I couldn't find the speakers at any other store in the city, so I tried Long Island. The Hauppauge CompUSA had them, thankfully. The speakers are awesome, the sound card is better, and I recommend them highly.

Over the weekend, I was reading the sound card documentation and found out that there was a version of Cubasis included with the card. So I dug around in my collection of wires and cables and dug out two MIDI cables, a microphone and some other stuff for digital recording. The software works great - I just wish I could say the same for my keyboard. My Yamaha EX-5 is less than 3 years old and for some reason, I'm running into problems with some of the buttons jamming up. Could be the dust in my room from all the sanding we've been doing in the hallways and rooms downstairs. I didn't have the energy to take the synth apart and see what was causing the trouble.

Speaking of trouble, I've been trying to cover up a hole in the sheetrock in the hallway. When we took the wallpaper down, I discovered a hole behind the wallpaper that my sister had punched years ago. Of course it needed patching, but it was too big for a simple patch, so I needed some sheet rock. Wouldn't ya know it - the guy from Home Depot gave me a piece of 5/8" when I asked for 1/2". So I got the patch in and it was bulging out from the wall. Thankfully, Kim and Rob picked up a few pieces of 1/2" on the way home, so I've begun the seemingly endless process of patching, spackling and sanding. It's pretty flat right now, but I need to do some more sanding when I get home.

This weekend also was a big weekend for getting the home network set up. Last week, I had moved the router and set up two computers in the corner of my basement. Over the weekend, I installed SuSE Linux 9.1 on one of the machines. I want to create a development environment where I can work on database-driven applications with PHP4, Apache and MySQL. I got MySQL running fine, but SuSE comes with Apache2. The configuration engine claims PHP is running as a module, but I can't get PHP code to render in the browser. Additionally, I can't figure out how to configure PHP and Apache2 so that it will work with MySQL. If there are any Linux geeks out there who want to give me a hand with this, please e-mail me. The last time I worked with Linux, it was simply command-line stuff and there really wasn't a GUI involved, so all I know is a bunch of basic shell commands. I'm not used to this stuff, plus I understand there are a bunch of issues with Apache2 and PHP that are somewhat tough to deal with. Help!

All of this, plus my 'vette is in the shop. The steering column locked up last week in the parking lot at the train station and the damn thing needed to be towed to the dealership. They fixed the steering column, but noticed a leak in the rear differential, which necessitated removing the transmission to get at the rear diff. This is going to run into the thousands, so I'm not looking forward to the final bill. And there's only 37K miles on the car.

Doesn't anything work like it's supposed to anymore?