Monday, November 22, 2004

adventures in ram

It's been way too long since I posted. I mailed off Confessions of a Lingerie Addict with fingers crossed that it's a decent ms. My editor will tell me if it's not, I guess! Now I'm 32K words into Murder in High Places.

I decided to try a voice recognition software so I could write all these books and save my hands. So I plunked down money for Dragon Naturally Speaking 8. It arrived, and I realized that my old computer didn't have enough RAM to run it.

Easy, I just pop open my cover and add some more RAM. Right?

Never go to a computer superstore to shop for upgrades to your computer. They tell you they have no idea what you need (even though I had the exact make and model of my computer and the size and kind of slot I needed to fill). No, they say, "you can't upgrade that" and point you in the direction of the new computer systerm for $1500.

Pla-leeze. So I went back home through city traffic and cranked up the Internet. Sure enough, I found a nice geekie site where I plugged in what I needed, and they told presicely me what to order. That was on a Saturday. On Tuesday, my brand new RAM chip showed up at my front door. (For $92 total, including tax and shipping, which is a heck of a lot less than $1500, no?)

Happily, I ripped off the top of my computer and plugged in my chip in my 2nd DIMM slot, then booted up. Hmm. Didn't register that I had a new chip. I opened up again, swapped out the old 128K chip for the new one, and booted again. This time, the computer found the new chip and configured the system.

So, my puzzlement is, why wouldn't the computer read the number 2 DIMM slot? Any ideas? I had a 128K chip in slot number 1, and I put 256K in slot number 2. Now I have those reveresed, but the computer still reads only slot 1, and not the combined RAM of the two chips. Do I have to have, for example, two 256Ks to make 512? (In other words, it doesn't like 256+128)?

I run just fine with the 256, but I'd like to pump it all the way to 512 (which is as much as this old thing will handle).

Anyway, after those adventures, I installed Dragon, and she runs fine. Because I only have 256 RAM, I can't open any other programs with it running, but since I only need to dictate text, that's fine. I'm finding the software amazingly accurate. It understands Piccadilly, Lucius Grenville, Captain Lacey, Covent Garden Theatre, and other useful Regency London locales for my mysteries. (Admittedly it typed "UNI" for "you and I" once. I guess that's the way I speak).

So, trying to save time (!), it took me nearly a week to get my computer the way I wanted it. But although I don't think I'm saving time, per se (I still produce 5-6 pages an hour, whether dictating or typing), I'm not exhausted at the end of the day, and my hands and wrists already feel so much better.

Next time I need a new computer, I think I'll build my own. Much more fun and I can tailor it to exactly what I want. I write books and play the occassional game of Spider, so my needs are basic. :-)

Now to crank out more Murder in High Places.



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