Doodle Bug (minikin) wrote,
Doodle Bug

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A Tale of Two Shopping Trips

I was going to use lj cuts to clean this up, but it's just not written in an organized fashion. There's a bunch of computer geeking in this entry.

Flar's laptop is a goner. Okay, technically, it work just fine, but the CD burner stopped working. He uses that to transfer files back and forth between his desk and laptop, so it's a vital component.

The laptop's five years old, so it makes sense to replace it.

He picked out a nifty one that Best Buy and CompUSA both had in their ad today. CompUSA was offering a free bundle of goodies with theirs; Best Buy was $100 cheaper. CompUSA has salespeople. We went there first.

Oh wait, you're reading this, thinking the two trips are the two stores.


We've also been watching as our 8-port has been dying off, and many of our wires have been critter-munched. (Mice see active ethernet as a yummy hot meal. ;)

So rather than merely buy a new port, and get around to yet again running new wires, we've been planning to go wireless. Well, and yeah, Wolf and Sydb went wireless and Flar's a professional telecommunications consultant, so I think there was a competive thing going on there. I'm just along for the ride.

I did some research this morning, and found a $25 driver that works with scads of Windows-compatible PCMCIA cards, so I don't have to plunk down $100 for an old Airport.

So the two shopping trips were really for a laptop and for wireless networking. It just happens they overlapped.

We stopped first at CompUSA. Flar compared the HP 5270 with a comparable Toshiba model, and finally decided on the HP. His current laptop, which has lasted through falling multople times, is an HP. It had nothing to do with the pretty purple lights, although the salesman pointed out the utility of being able to turn off the touchpad during long keyboarding sessions.

Then he turned his attention to networking. Flar wanted to get an 402.11a-b access point, an a card for himself, and b cards for Critter and I. CompUSA didn't have access points. Flar decided he wanted to see what Best Buy had.

Laptop shopping trip appears to be going well: Flar has decided on a model, and is willing to buy at either store.

Network shopping appears to be rocky; what's on the shelf doesn't exactly match what Flar had in mind.

I'd remembered getting Best Buy coupons in the mail, so we trooped back home first. (CompUSA and Best Buy are in shopping centers across Nicholasville Road from each other.) The coupons had expired, and they didn't seem to cover networking or laptops, anyway.

After filling Flar's car (only one empty tank in pouring down rain per month, please), we went to Best Buy. Where we noticed that the D-Link that Flar wanted to get was a model that wasn't supported by the driver I'd found for the Mac. And he wanted to get all the same brand stuff. We couldn't find any access points. Basically, the trip was zilch.

Laptop shopping trip: beginning to be slightly inconvenienced by tramping around after networking stuff.

Networking shopping trip: getting to be onorous -- almost got dumped in favor of net shopping, but we persevere.

So we returned to CompUSA to buy the HP there. On the way across the street, I talked Flar into 11b for all of us. We don't currently have any 2.4G traffic in the house, so we're not likely to have problems there, and the speed issue is not likely to be noticeable. Having decided on .11b, there were choices. It turns out that there were nifty rebates associated with the netgear stuff, so that if we bought a new router/4-port switch, we'd get the first wireless card free, and then the other wireless cards were $20 off.

Network Shopping Trip: looking up

While the salesman went off to get the laptop and put together the freebies, we applied for the CompUSA card to get the nifty 18 month without interest deal. And were approved with no problem.

And then the salesman got back. No laptops in back, even though the inventory system says (in two places) that there are two left. Sigh. There was a big scratch on the floor model, so Flar wouldn't take it without a discount, which they weren't giving. Seems that when they're down selling this model, they'll ship the scratched one back to HP for full value, and HP will sell it as refurbished.

So we checked out with the networking stuff, and a set of speakers for Flar to bring the total past the 18 month threshold on the card.

Networking shopping: done

Laptop shopping: limping

We trooped back to Best Buy, and waited around for a salesman. When one finally showed up, we found out they were out of stock. But Best Buy offers rain-checks. So we left with a slip of paper.

Laptop shopping: Very Discouraged

On the way home, I called Wolf for the Louisville CompUSA number, but the computerized product availability program pointed me to Lexington Green, even though I entered Wolf's zipcode. And I got dumped into voicemail eight times before giving up on trying for a real person. So the likelihood is that Louisville actually knows that they're out of stock, unlike Lexington. :)

At home, Flar searched on the net, while I made grilled cheese and soup for dinner. No availability on CompUSA online either, so I'm not sure what he's going to do about his laptop.

After dinner, after I got logged in to start working on the Erosul site -- I was only as far as verifying my laptop files against the site, Flar got out the Netgear boxes. We shut down all the computers, then he swapped out the Linksys router for the new Netgear router/switch.

I started my laptop back up, and still using the wired connection, Flar and I configured the router. He carefully wrote down everything we didn't need to enter later, and didn't write down the key generated by our pass phrase. Hee hee.

After we got the router set up, he started opening wireless card boxes. One of the boxes was a USB card -- my bad.

Networking shopping trip: to be continued -- I have to trade in the USB box for a PCIMCIA box.

Flar wasn't too upset, seeing as how he can't use it in his current laptop.

Flar doled out one card to Critter, and one to me. He and Critter worked on setting up one card, while I worked on the other.

I downloaded MacSense Aerocard driver. It downloads for free, then prompts for purchase after it's been configured. Ran the install sucessfully, popped the Netgear card into the slot, and restarted. The control strip Aeroport module showed the network when it came up, so I called up the setting panel. Turns out I needed that 26 hex-digit key that was generated when we set up the router.

So I connected to the router again, and copied down the 26 digits (for Critter -- for me, I cut and paste).

Critter ended up on the network before I did, 'cause Mac OS 8.6 prefers to restart when swapping around TCP/IP connections, and Macs take as long as PCs to start up, these days.

Anyhow, now I'm a truly mobile lady, and carry my laptop about the house with me and still be internet connected. Woo hoo!

Now I've really gotta get down to working on Erosul stuff.

Funny, when I was going over the changes with Flar, I noticed he'd completely left out the concept of pointing to the ebay auctions. Sigh. That's why I thought I was making changes.

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