Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Fussing With Computers

Yesterday, we bought a computer game, Sid Meier's Railroads! and tried to install it on Lisa's ThinkPad. It says the program won't run, despite the computer having a 1.8GHz Pentium 4 and 1 GB memory. We think it must be the display adapter, as the game seems to want only the newest and whizziest displays. Today, we tried installing it on my pair of Inspirons, which have more-recent displays (Radeon 9000, compared to the, as I recall, 7000 series on that ThinkPad.

The program installed, all right, but insisted that the machines don't have the most recent display drivers and that we should update the drivers. Okay, I tried going to ATI's web site and downloading the latest drivers. The installer won't work. Their web site says you have to uninstall the existing drivers first. (Stupid design! An updater should be able to anticipate an older version of the same driver being present.) And the uninstall isn't simple, particularly as it seems to require multiple restarts, and it takes my computer between five and ten minutes to restart at the minimum. And even when I follow all of those instructions, the new drivers won't install anyway.

To add insult to injury, now the features of my video driver that I do want, like being able to send the signal to a TV set, are gone. So I went to Dell's web site and downloaded what they say is the most-recent driver for that display. (I note that this is an older version than what I downloaded from ATI's site.) One more round of install-and-reboot, I got back to where I started. There's 90 minutes of my life I won't get back.

The program actually will run on these two machines. It just insists that I don't have the most recent drivers and that there might be a display problem. We haven't found any yet.

This is what I get for buying software that only wants to run on powerhouse gaming-optimized machines and turns up its nose at machines that are mainly oriented toward business applications.


Meanwhile, our plans to go up to Camping World and Fry's and get a refund on the trailer latch and video-capture software are on hold, mainly because it looks like both stores will be open on New Year's Day. We have to go to Portland tomorrow anyway because Lisa has to take me to the airport so I can head back to the Bay Area. Wilsonville is two-thirds of the way to Portland from Mehama, so the only reason we would have gone to Wilsonville today was because the store wouldn't be open tomorrow.

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