Thursday, March 10, 2011

One piece at a time: Parts 7 & 8

Last Tuesday the WiFi card, memory, and optical drive arrived. Lydia charmed me into spending another evening at work, installing parts in her computer. The memory went in first. I am letting her do as much of the installation as I can. A big part of this exercise is confidence building. The innards of a computer will not be scary to her after this is over, much as the innards of a chicken were no longer scary to me after the first time I cut one up.

Less goo with the computer though.

Pushing in the memory cards required a bit more pressure than she was capable of, so I did it. Click click, your in. Then came the WiFi card. Here we met a problem that required more than pressure. PCI cards like this have a piece of metal that is supposed to slide into the back and keep the dust out. As this is a small case, the piece of metal was too long. There was no getting it to fit. I was afraid we were going to have to use a USB wireless adapter which would've done the job, but I didn't want to waste a USB port.

Lydia had the answer.

"Dad," she said, "couldn't you just take that metal thing off with the screw driver?"

Indeed there were two screws there that were easily removed. I took them off and it fits fine.

Then came the interesting discovery. Both the optical drive and the hard drive are SATA drives. SATA drives require special power connectors. The power supply that came with this case had exactly two of these, presumably one for the hard drive and one for the optical drive. My discovery is that there is no way these could both be plugged-in at the same time. There simply isn't enough wire between them. Connecting them is physically impossible without positing the existence of wormholes.

Fortunately, there is a fix. An adapter that is a SATA power cable can be bought for a couple of bucks.

As soon as that adapter gets here, we will be ready to install, so we will need a monitor. A brilliant idea occurred to me. I could give her my old 17-inch monitor and I could buy a cheap one for myself.

I am so thoughtful.

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