Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Longstanding Flaws

Due to a chain of not-so-unlikely research related events, I have been forced to do something that I really thought I'd never do. I have installed Skype in my laptop.

I'm really not a fan of telephones. Nor do I like instant messaging. If I'm going to communicate with a person, I like to do it in person or, if not in person, with time for editing. Skype is really a horrible mishmash of the phone and IM that fills my heart with dread.

Because I never imagined a circumstance that would cause me to want to digitize my vocal output and use it in any fashion on my computer, I had to purchase a headset with a microphone at the same time.

I plugged in my new (and cheap) headset into the analog jacks of my laptop's sound card and discovered, the microphone didn't work. I figured, "Weasel, you've done it again. The crap at Best Buy that's on sale isn't reduced because it works well." (I have a tenancy to fall prey to Best Buy and their discounted items that are not compatible with anything). After some checking though, I found that the headset worked fine; my microphone jack did not work. Some cleaning of the little guy, ignored for three years as the laptop traveled around the world through some of the dirtiest labs in existence, yielded no results. Finally, a Google search turned up that no one with a Dell Inspiron 700m has a working microphone jack. The sound card was designed improperly (no filter between the digital elements and the microphone jack resulting in massive noise or no signal at all).

My computer has been defective for three years and I never even noticed!

Well, I bought a more expensive (and actually, less nice) USB headset which works fine, and gave the analog headset to the Official Wife so that we can talk when I'm on another continent, something that will happen twice in the next month or so. Also, anyone who knows my full name and town can look me up. I can't promise to be online without prior email warning though... but it is free (free = $50 for the two headsets).

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