Sunday, June 07, 2015

logic prevails -- sorta

When I wrote last month in electronigeddon that "I seem to have developed an electronic virus," I was composing with my tongue planted firmly in my wobbly jowl.  It turns out I may have been a better prophet than I was at being witty.

Last week, I watched Name of the Rose, one of my favorite movies.  Coincidentally, based on one of my favorite Umberto Eco novels -- of the same name. 

The story is filled with nuances and subtleties.  Attention must be paid.  The polyglot accents made that very difficult.  Sean Connery's was one of the easiest to understand.

I found myself turning up the volume to understand actors, and then immediately turning it down to avoid disturbing my neighbors with my extremely late night movie-watching habit.

The next night, I slipped Presumed Innocent (the film version of Scott Turow's beautifully-written first novel) into my new DVD player.  Nothing.  No audio.  No video.

I was perplexed.  My current movie room setup is not complex in the least.  My DVD player plugs into my sound bar.  My sound bar plugs into my television. 

That is how the components have been set up since I bought the separate pieces.  And I have never had a problem.

I did a quick troubleshooting step by plugging the HDMI cable from the DVD player directly into the television.  I had audio.  But, even with the volume turned up to 100 on the television, I could not hear Harrison Ford waxing eloquent on his job as a prosecutor.

That was enough for that night.  I decided that facing the full troubleshooting in the morning would be my best tactic.

I am not very handy when it comes to fixing things.  I come about that honestly.  My Dad was not one of those guys who could pick up a screw driver and solve pesky electrical wiring problems.  That was why my uncle Frank spent a good deal of time at my parents' house -- and mine, as well, when I finally bought one.

For that reason, I did not immediately start my next day by confronting the electronic beasts.  I finally steeled myself, though.  Uncle Frank was not going o show up to get everything working again.

I may not be handy, but I am logical.  And one thing I learned in the Air Force in dealing with aircraft, is that logic can solve most problems.  Well, other than those involving relationships with people.

One known variable had occurred between having an operating and not having an operating system.  The woman who cleans my house had been here.  Everything looked as it should, but there was always the possibility that something changed in the process of cleaning.

We have also been experiencing some thunderstorms.  Perhaps, something in the air had affected one of the components.

The easiest thing to do was to pretend I had just taken each of my purchases out of their respective boxes.  I turned off the surge protector and the voltage regular, and unplugged them.  I unplugged the television, the DVD player and the sound bar.  I then disconnected the two HDMI cables. 

One by one, I restored the connections.  The surge protector was working.  The voltage regulator was working.

The first component added was the television.  I opened Netflix (I have no cable or broadcast connection) to see if I had video and audio.  Perfect.

I decided the sound bar should be next.  Sofia Vergara's voice switched from the television to the rich sound of the sound bar.  At least, I now knew the sound bar was operating.

That, of course, left the DVD player.  Certainly it could not have failed after playing only one movie.  It is brand new.  Recently arrived from the Puerto Vallarta Costco.

To follow my troubleshooting, I should have tried connecting directly to the television to see if the player had problems.  I didn't.

Instead, I hooked it to the sound bar.  If it worked, my system was restored.  If it didn't, I would be forced to backtrack.  I suspect Uncle Frank would have chosen the other option.

But it worked.  Eric Stonestreet's face was replaced with Harrison Ford's.  My system was working again.

Not being handy in this area, I was quite proud of myself.  Until I realized I had been putting together audio and video systems for almost 40 years.

Even so, I was quite proud of my accomplishment.  And I know Uncle Frank would have given me high marks -- for logic, persistence, and being successful.

Of course, I still have no idea what caused the problem.  My working hypothesis is that our thunderstorms were, at least, a material contributing cause.

The important thing is the system is up and running.  That means I can have my personal movie night whenever I choose.  Company movie night will soon follow.

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