Technology Weak

November 18, 2000

I liked my last entry, I liked the flow, I liked the combination of words and photographs.

So on Sunday morning I dropped my son at hockey practice and ran into the office for a quick hour of slide scanning. I had several stories that were bouncing around in my head, and I was looking forward to a compliment of photographs.

It didn't work.

My scanner, purchased about 4 or 5 years ago, was one of the best available at the time, and came with an adaptor that is usable for slides, or negatives.

It does not work well.

Behind each posted scanned slide, are hours and hours of scanning, rescanning, tweaking and retweaking. Even though I may post the photographs, I am almost never satisfied with the end result, because I can see the original, and shake my head at the quality of the computer image.

I left the office on Sunday without a single scan in hand, and I was disgusted. I have thousands of slides, and even more black and white negatives that I would love to work with, but I cannot, because of the limitations of the scanner. Last year, I posted an entry about having won the lottery after finding thousands of original black and white negatives. My excitement faded quickly, once I was able to view the results.

So, instead of writing this week, I have spent countless hours scouring the web for reviews of film scanners. I have visited sites in England, Hong Kong and Malaysia, to name a few. I have spoken with scanner manufacturers, distributors and local dealers, and still have no scanner in hand.

Somehow in the midst of the scanner search I also decided that I was tired of sitting in the dark in my office. My six year old monitor was slowly going dim, and I had to continually flip off the lights to see clearly.

Forget it. Don't even think it. I am not the one going dim here.

I think since I was already searching, I decided that I should find the "right" monitor. A new Samsung 19 incher now graces my desk, and the lights are on in my office again.

No longer weak in the monitor department, I also decided to contact one of my favorite vendors for rebuilding computers, even though I swore I would not rebuild again. The fact that we have a new assistant starting at the office in a couple of weeks, coupled with a failing "homework" computer at home, prompted me to fix those weak links.

Weak nothing, how about missing links. The computer under the reception desk in my office is "missing in action" having been toasted by one of my attempts to improve its performance.

Motherboardexpress is building me two new machines, and they are supposed to arrive on Tuesday. One goes home, one stays at the office, and we will swap the third home computer for an office "antique."

Improvements on the home front were prompted by one or two homework crashes. And to add insult to injury, youngest comes home the other night with a box in her hands. A gleeful smile spread across her face as she handed me the package.

She was sooooooooooooooooooooo proud of her accomplishment as she said: "I think I have gotten the best deal of anyone in this house, especially when it comes to computers.

Here Dad, it's worth 20 grand. Top this!"

And the reaction is... "Yeah right"

I listened to the story and my skeptic meter went right over to the "in your dreams" category. No one gives a 16 year old kid 20 grand worth of software.

I did however, have a box in my hands.

Trust me, before I went to the trouble to replace the computer, I opened the software, and then checked with a couple of engineering software dealers. The price for the package is legit. Seems her school has some major benefactors from the automotive and software industries, and she, as leader of her robotics group, got the package. She also informed me that she "convinced" the vendor that she needs a cad (computer aided design) package, so that they can build the best robot possible and win a national competition at Disney later in the school year.

As a child I worked with tinker toys and erector sets. She works with robotics.

The thought leaves me weak.

Anyway, I think I have finally picked the scanner all that remains is to try and negotiate a deal. I hate paying retail, and since this scanner is considered "high end technology," the manufacturer does not plan on letting it out into distribution channels that will allow for price competition.

There is another thought that really leaves me weak. I have to pay full retail, and hefty retail at that.

Fortunately, I somehow snuck in two weeks of "day job" work on Friday, which means I now have earned all the cash to pay for this stuff, and then some.

Some may call it the "leading edge" of technology.

I call it the "bleeding edge."

I'm getting weak, and my eyes are going dim. Is there a doctor in the house?