GerbilMechs 145: Isolated Circuits

26Jul05 (Monthenor): Hoooooly crap. I'm glad I had the comic done before Monday. Here's what happened, right?

  • On Saturday I went through the Fark thread with Half-Blood Prince spoilers, and came upon a link to a fansite named Dissendium.
  • Dissendium has an unofficial Quidditch game for PC that looked fair awesome. I downloaded it on my iBook and stowed it away on the PC for later.
  • Sunday, I tried to install and play the game. It would launch to a black screen and just sit there, forcing me to kill it manually. The forums said this problem was likely outdated graphics drivers...fair enough, my card is pretty old.
  • I went to NVidia's site and downloaded the latest set for my card. I discovered that my current drivers were about two years old! It was definitely time for an update.
  • Upgraded drivers. Played games and watched TV on the computer as usual Sunday night.
  • Monday morning I woke up to a black screen. The computer had crashed at some point during the big deal, it's Windows 98. Rebooted and up came...a black screen. Rebooted again. Panic sets in.
  • There followed four hours of emergency repair to the video card drivers. It was a breathtaking journey through a place I like to call Colorbook Fantasyland -- 640x480 resolution at 16 colors.
  • I keep almost everything I install archived for just such emergencies. I found the old driver packages and tried to downgrade. Then I tried the newest ones again. Then I tried downloading generic NVidia drivers, rather than card-specific ones from Asus. Everything failed.
  • Not that things weren't installing, mind you. At one point I had three different video adapters installed at the same time, named "Standard VGA Adapter", "PCI VGA Display", and "". That's right, a blank name.
  • At one other point, after installing from Asus drivers (again), I managed to get the correct card adapter (Asus V7700 GTS/Pure 6.1c)...and another adapter, for a Voodoo3. I have not even owned a Voodoo3 in four years. I have no idea how that driver got on there but I am guessing it was some form of ritualistic black magic, possibly derived from prehistoric Animist beliefs.
  • And then, when I tried the two-years-old generic driver package yet again, it worked. Why it worked that time as opposed to all others, I don't know.

This entire process took four hours of my life. Four hours I could have been surfing the web or playing Diablo II. Four hours, gone! But some good did come of it. In the process of tearing apart my room looking for the card's original driver CD (which I never found), I found a lot of junk that could reasonably be thrown away. Not the trinkets like my Slinkies...those can stay. But do I really need the original Prima strategy guide to Diablo I now that I have the Internets? I say to you: no.

26Jul05 (Monthenor): Sweet shit, I just got a static shock from the kitchen table so large I very nearly died.

27Jul05 (Monthenor): I am speechless. I thought Wikipedia was the greatest thing ever, but now I'm not so sure.