Computer Tinkering

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I served as President of the Huntsville PC Users Group from 2004 thru 2007.   Click here to access the HPCUG Webpages.

My home computer system consist of 3 home made (by Sam's guys at DTM Computers) AMD based desk top PCs and one Asus X52F laptop all running Windows 7 except one which is a dual boot W7 or W8.   I also have one reasonably reliable Acer Aspire 5100 laptop.    It works pretty well but the external monitor port stopped working so I could no longer use it for PowerPoint.    I use the laptops primarily for PowerPoint presentations.   

The Acer came with Vista which I didn't really like that well so I replaced it with W7.   

All computers were networked using a Netgear WGR614 wireless Router.     My wife was the recipient of an Apple iPad Air for Christmas.   It worked poor at best and not at all on my home network.    After many attempts to make it work, I concluded that the router was the problem.   When I updated the firmware on the Netgear router the installed version was 10 years old.     I consider 10 years to be great life for a router and it still worked just not with an Apple product.     Best buy had no Netgear Modem/Router combination so I purchased a Zoom 5352 Modem/Router with wireless N.    My research indicated that wireless N was what worked with the iPad Air.    That did the trick, after a short chat with my Internet service provider (Wow) the system worked great, even the iPad Air!     By the way, I have had 2 problems solved by the Wow technicians out in South Dakota.    I have nothing but good things to say about that group.    They are fast, efficient, professional and a pleasure to work with.

One of the towers was used to run my ham radio station.    I purchased a software defined ham radio and decided that I needed a faster machine.    It still did the job but I was in a bigger hurry than it was, so I upgraded.    The new Ham shack computer was built for me by DTM Computers and is a whizzer.   It is an Asus M5A97R2.0 with a 6 core AMD processor with a solid state "C" drive.    I added a second 23 inch monitor.    I now display the Software Defined Radio on monitor one and all of my digital ham radio programs on monitor two.    That really works slick.    I can run my satellite tracking program, MulitPSK, and HDSSTV (easy PAL) all at the same time and display them on the bigger monitor and see them all at the same time and still have room for more.   The dual boot is working well but once I used W8, I really like it and maybe didn't need dual boot.   All of my ham radio digital programs are interconnected within the computer with the Software Defined Radio using Virtual Audio Cables (VAC) which further adds to the speed of operation and eliminates the need for intercafing boxes between the radio and the computer.    The "C" drive is pretty big so that dual boot has not penalizing me that much, so far.     It is a major problem in that to date I have not figured out if or how I can run a given software package on both W7 and W8 on that machine without having 2 copies of the software.    I purchased Office 2013 because I needed a feature that was new in that version of PowerPoint.    Problem is, it only works on the W8 side, where I installed it, and I have not figured out if or how I can make it work on W7 and W8 without buying another copy of Office 2013.

One of my software programs that I used for tracking satellites was Nova for Windows.    So far, I have not been able to get it to work at all on W8.    It works fine on W7 which is also a 64 bit version but not on W8.     That forced me to look a little deeper into another satellite tracking program that I have "SatPC32".    It runs great in W8 and after reading the operators manual a little closer, it is probably the best program so I plan to continue to use it instead of the Nova program.

 Before retiring the old ham radio computer I had to reformat the Hard drive and had planned to continue using XPpro thinking it was more compatible with my ham radio software.   When I tried to reload XP, I got a "call µsoft" screen.    It was on a weekend and the phone number connected me to someone in India that spoke a different English than I so I had a lot of difficulty understanding.   I finally gleaned after several attempts that he was telling me that I had to get a new product code from µsoft and that it had to come from a state side phone number and that number was not available on weekends.   With such poor service, I choose to load W7 instead.     That was probably best because all of my ham radio software so far rns fine on W7.

I like messing with computers and software.   I am not that good at it but I beat my way through.   When I get too hung up, I call on my friend and owner of DTM Computers, Sam, and he bails me out.

More later!

Last updated 4/17/14 brf 

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