See? This really shouldn’t be so hard! Just plug in all the computer accessories and go! Plug and play, right? Well, when we brought home our new computer, we were jazzed by the promised six USB, then less jazzed as we realized that four of those were in the back of the CPU, and three of which were basically earmarked for the printer, keyboard, and mouse, respectively. And while it’s nice we don’t have to use the color-coded proprietary connectors anymore, it’s maddening when you realize your favorite optical mouse (with glowing color lights) won’t work with your new computer. Nor will your photo printer. Nor will your ergonomic keyboard.

And so begins the search for converters, adapters, and, later, drivers. Mouse was easy. I can use the boring standard mouse the computer came with. I could order a converter cable for printer and the keyboard, I think. I tried, at least. When the box came in the mail, I pressed Mr. Apron into service on one of the mornings he goes into work late. I returned home to see an opened box, with two converters sitting in it, impotent and inert. Neither worked, he informed me. The keyboard one was the opposite of what we needed (It would have connected a new USB keyboard to an old CPU), and the printer cable had the wrong number of pins. Turns out he just didn’t know to take out the old printer cable; he was trying to connect the new cable to the old cable. So the physical connection was easy, at least.

Then I tried to print. Guess what printer is not supported by Windows 7? The HP Photosmart P1000! They have drivers listed for literally hundreds of printers, but not this one! I went online to try to download a driver, and was informed by the Microsoft site, when I typed in HP Photosmart P1000, that that printer s is not supported “at this time.” Whatever drivers our OS came with are all we should “need”. No downloading necessary. Great for everyone else. Not for me. I went into the dork forums and typed in “HP Photosmart P1000 + Windows7 + driver”. Others were able to synch it up by fooling the computer into thinking it was a 970 or a 930. It took me a couple of tries, installing and uninstalling, but I figured it out! Fuck Microsoft and their “not at this time”. I gots me a bootleg driver, and a P-1000 masquerading as a 970C.

The keyboard was the last piece to be restored to its former glory. I love my ergonomic keyboard. I actually asked for it as a birthday gift in college, and I actually received what I wanted (if you’ve read my prior birthday gift posts, you’ll marvel at how amazing this is). My typing position has been admired by coworkers, roommates, and chat roulette stalkers. I need to have a comfortable chair, my feet touching the ground (no easy feat at 5’0“), and a happy keyboard. The keyboard that came with our new computer was pretty. It’s sleek, black so it matches our speakers, monitor, and mouse, and has a tiny footprint compared with the old ergo. But, as with most things that are complimentary (see: my first digital camera, a 2.0 MP Kodak “EasyShare” which came “free” with our last computer), it sucks. The keys aren’t “sticky” the way they get after years in a male college student’s dorm room, but they seemed reluctant to yield, like a nice Jewish girl away at a youth group retreat. The action was clunky, and I was always hitting the caps lock key. I could not find A. I think they made it smaller than all the rest of the keys just to torment women who happen to like having long nails. Clearly a keyboard meant for boys and nail-biters.

After feeling guilty about not blogging, and reaching my breaking point (it was interfering with my normal routines, after all), I nagged Mr. Apron to please get the right convertor/adapter. Do you believe what he said? He told me to do it myself! What kind of liberated woman who chooses to wield a power drill and a sewing machine wants to go schlepping all over the internet/suburbs for an adapter? However, while he was at rehearsal one night, I did just that. I tried RadioShack. I know they’ve shifted their focus lately to cell phones, but I thought one could still walk in there and tell them, “I need to connect this to this” and they’d magically know what to do. Trying to sound intelligent, I used the name of the old connector and the new connector (I am a liberated woman, after all), and marched up to the eager saleslady.

Me: “Hello, I need an adaptor to connect a PS/2 keyboard to a USB”

Saleslady: “A PS/2 keyboard? You mean for midi?”

 Me: “Umm, no. It’s an old keyboard and a new computer.”

Saleslady, clueless, but faking it: “Okay,” and she leads me to a wall of wires and such, “a music keyboard?”

Me, growing exasperated and conviced she is clueless and faking it: “No. A PS/2 keyboard, for typing. To USB.”

Saleslady, pulling at straws: “Okay, so do you have a Playstation 2 or a mini?”

Holding up my fingers to provide visual support, I made a circle and translated back to girl tech talk with helpful pauses and rising intonation. “My old keyboard? For my computer. Has a connector like this: You know? The circle one? My new computer only has USB ports.” Then she tried to sell me a $20 mouse that would have the adapter included as part of the kit, but couldn’t find any, and anyway I’m sure it would be the wrong way, designed to fit a new (USB) mouse to an old computer with PS/2 jacks. Yes, PS/2. Never again will I make the mistake of trying to call a computer part by its rightful terminology when it (in hindsight) so obviously sounds like a video game system. I haven’t played a video game since Super Nintendo, and even then I never truly advanced to any proficiency on any games except on the original Nintendo anyway. Fail. They sent me to the computer store down the strip named, appropriately, “Computers”. I arrived at 7:15pm to a store that closed at 6pm. Fail.

Dejected, I went home and ordered the fucking adapter from Amazon for $.99 plus shipping. Amazon used the right terminology and I didn’t even get any offers for PlayStation in my Googling.  It came today. I hooked it up. I am blogging with fervor and outrage. All is right with the world.

Advertisements