Thursday, May 15, 2008

Adding New Parts

So I've been to my friendly neighborhood Geek-Toys-R-Us and acquired an Ethernet card and a KVM switch. I did research to make sure that these items would be compatible with all the OS's I'm going to be using. I'm leaving Windows 98 on Lazarus until all hardware is in place and ready to go.

The KVM switch is an IOGEAR MiniView Micro USB Plus (Model #GCS632U). Although Conrad is a Mac, my monitor precedes that purchase and is a VGA. The switch comes with all the appropriate cables, which is nice. It does not require batteries or any external power cords. As the name implies, the switch is USB-based and will go into Lazarus's lone USB almost-certainly-not-2.0 port. Eventually I'll probably get a USB 2.0 PCI card for Lazarus, but it's not a high priority right now, as I don't really plan on sticking in a crapload of USB devices.

As per the instructions, I made sure both machines were completely turned off before hooking up anything. After plugging the appropriate cables into the appropriate outlets, I powered up Conrad first. Everything worked perfectly except for the speakers. Then I powered up Lazarus to: 1) test the switch, and 2) see if Lazarus would recognize the peripherals in this new setup.

As mentioned previously, the switch has no buttons, so toggling between computers has to be done via "hotkeys" on the keyboard. I noticed in my research that one user had reviewed this model negatively because the manual says to toggle by tapping the Scroll Lock key twice, which does not exist on a Mac keyboard. If this user had bothered to read further, they would see that the manual gives options for Mac users. I'll concede that the method for invoking Hotkey Mode on Macs is kind of fussy and takes some getting used to. However, it is doable. I did have to go through a few different settings before finding one that I liked. Moral of the story: a spoonful of RTFM (Google it if you don't know what it means) makes the installation go down a whole lot easier.

On Lazarus, it did take some time to recognize the USB peripherals. In fact, I had to plug in a PS/2 mouse that came with him to click on the appropriate buttons, as he didn't recognize the keyboard or the mouse at first. There were no video issues with Lazarus, although sometimes toggling will mess with the settings on Conrad. However, the resolution always resets itself upon logging in, so I'm not worrying about it right now.

The speakers started working once I disconnected them from the switch, shut them off, reconnected them, and turned them back on. It never ceases to amaze me how many "technical tricks" are variations of turning something off and then turning it back on.

Next time: putting in the Ethernet card.


chas said...

One of the first things we always asked when I was in the tech support role, was "Have you rebooted recently?"

Solves a LOT of issues!

Danielle said...

Yup. I used to work in tech support myself, and that was a standard question. Funny how it's just as true now as it was then (almost 10 years ago) as it was when my dad brought home our first home computer (an Apple IIe) in the mid-80's.

You'd think by now computers would either have evolved beyond the need to do that on occasion or would be impervious to such a crude human trick. But that shows what I know. I get shown what I know a lot. ;-)