Tuesday, March 24, 2009

driving mr. doozy

Well, I thought I was going to have a post for today about how clever I have been in my recent computer purchases.

The plan had Valhalla written all over it. I would buy a high-quality small notebook for use in Mexico. I wanted something small to pack around when I travel, but powerful enough to act as a desktop alternative.

Because I have always had trouble typing on small notebook keyboards, I decided to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse, and to schlep my 22 inch flat screen monitor to Mexico. When it is all combined together, it would be almost like a desktop setup.

And being Air Force-trained, I knew the best place to test the setup was in the safety of my own library. Unfortunately, I have limited space to hook up to the internet cable.

So, I disassembled my desktop, and put together the various pieces of my electrical Alexander Calder. It all came together -- with only two small problems.

One. My laptop does not have an ethernet connection -- and I do not have a wireless router. Therefore, no internet to test on the new system. But, everything else worked -- except for --

Two. When I hooked up my large monitor to my laptop, the monitor very politely informed me that no signal was available. Why? I have no idea. I will try to get an answer from my brother the computer guru -- as soon as he gets out of bed from his shoulder surgery.

So, I went the evening without the internet. No blogging. No email. No comments. I now think I know what it is like to go cold turkey when fighting an addiction.

Rather than lose contact with this electronic Mad Hatter tea party, I broke down my traveling circus and erected my old reliable desktop. Upon start up, it informed me that it had a damaged hard drive.

Good grief! Now I am breaking the heart of my computer by leaving it behind.


Larry in Mazatlan said...


You really need to do something about the lack of wireless on your new laptop. Down here wireless is readily available, whereas a hard-wired ethernet connection is not.


Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- It is the other way round. My laptop has wireless, but no ethernet card. My house does not have a wireless router. I have always been tied to the cable. This is one point where I will be better off in Mexico than I am in my house.

Ken said...

Steve, You should have a function key on the laptop to switch it from the laptop screen to the monitor. (where is Calypso when you need him?)

Anonymous said...

Many laptops toggle between internal and external monitor by holding down the Fn key and pressing one of the Function keys. Your manual will tell which one. The key may have an icon on it, too.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

The Microsoft wireless keyboard is a HUGE thing with twice as many keys as any other. The last one I saw had a key just for switching monitors.


Babs said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, the "F" keys (above the numbers) likely have some kind of icon with a monitor on them. Hold your function key (likely found near the "alt" or "ctrl" keys), and then press the appropriate "F" key and you should be able to toggle between laptop screen only, external screen only, or both. Once you arrive at the choice you want, let go of all keys.

As for wireless routers, they can be had these days at Wal*Mart for about $40. Money well-spent in my opinion. Your wired router is obsolete, as I learned when a friend recently tried to give me a couple. She said the charities didn't want them.

Amazing how addictive the internet is, isn't it?

Happy blogging,

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where our own wireless network is the crankiest part of the whole setup.
P.S. IMMEDIATELY back up your desktop hard drive. If you're lucky, you can still transfer everything from it to another hard drive. If not, a professional likely can. Good Luck!

Steve Cotton said...

Ken -- Found it. It worked. I had tried it earlier, but I neded to toggle one more time.

Anonymous -- Right you are.

Larry -- As does mine -- if I would simply pay attention.

Babs -- You are always helpful -- merely by being part of the community.

Kim -- Now that I have everything in place, a router will not be required. The telmex setup in the house, I understand, is wireless -- and running.