Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Which Mr. Neighbor Makes Himself Useful

Remember the post in which I complained about controlling hardware experts (my, those people DO sound serious) coming over and rearranging one’s entire computer system?

My buddy Mr. Neighbor, formerly a CS major at Carnegie Mellon, now one of the hiring leads for a division at Amazon that is growing so quickly that they’re having to double up on desks (read: Mobile Devices) has, as you might guess, a few opinions on technology. He happened over a few nights ago, sniffing around for tequila to make up for the dinner date that we had already had planned but that I canceled on (obviously, at the last possible minute, it’s a wonder why anyone still speaks to me) and while he was drinking his apology tequila, I showed off the AV system.

“Hmmm,” he said, taking a quick look at the front, but then immediately pulling everything slightly out from the wall and checking out the connections. (The hardware equivalent of first kicking the tires and then popping the hood.) “I see you’re missing a few speakers,” were his first, ill-chosen, words. My hair stood on end.

“I am not MISSING a speaker!” I said, rather too loudly. “Are you saying I somehow need more speakers than what I already have?”

He looked up, surprised. “Well, you have seven channels here,” he said. “I mean, seriously. You could have surround sound PLUS two extra speakers.”

“I know,” I said, feathers settling. “But we wanted the towers. We liked the sound better, and we don’t watch a lot of movies.”

“And you don’t have anything with a slot hooked up to your screen, I notice,” he said, “making it difficult to watch movies anyway.”

“Well, physical ones, anyway. Thanks to your suggestion, we have a Roku box, so we can stream. But the towers are fine for that. We thought about getting a Blu-ray or a PSP, though, just for that reason. For the slot issue.”

“You could hook up your computer, since it’s right here,” he said, peering behind the receiver again. “That is, if you hadn’t made such a mess of hooking up your devices already.”

He was in luck; I was already feeling contrite. “Is there a way I can do it better?”

“Well, sure. This receiver can receive pictures, as well as sound. You could shoot everything here, and then have only one input shooting OUT to the TV. But you’d need more HDMI cables.”

“Oh, I have extras,” I said loftily. “I have a fear of running short of cables and I always buy extra.” (NOT always true, sadly. Roommate and I were stuck without INNERNET for a day after our second rearrange because Bread Winner—that would be me—hadn’t thought ahead about coax. But back to the story.)

“Well, some other time we can rearrange…”

“Um, why not now?”

“Because we’ve been drinking tequila?”

I just looked at him. He shrugged.

“Ooookay, I guess we’ll rearrange things right now.”

We rearranged, and it was good.

And now I have a new problem: my old tower doesn’t have an HDMI input, which means I spent some time standing in front of the “Cables” aisle at Office Depot this morning, trying to remember what kind of inputs I DID have on the back of my tower. VGA, yes, but that was being used. DVI? Well, I guess I’ll just buy it and find out.

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