Monday, January 05, 2009

Most definitely NOT the monitor

In the ongoing fight to get my desktop system fully functional again, I feel I've pretty much eliminated monitor problems from the equation. I just finished two quick tests. I moved the monitor to my wife's machine and hooked it up via the DVI input. No problem. I then moved it back to my machine, pulled out the new graphics card, and ran the motherboard's on-board VGA output to the monitor's VGA input. No problem. In fact, I'm using that VGA hookup now, which is the first time I've been able to use the desktop for the past several days.

All signs at this point are aiming squarely at the motherboard, and specifically the PCI Express slot in which the video card sits. The rest of the board seems to be working fine, as my presence here (hopefully) indicates. While it's nice to have a fairly solid target at which to direct my next efforts, it's not the target I wanted. If it were the monitor or video card, it wouldn't be much of an issue. Get a new one, plug it in. With the video card, there would be drivers to install, but that's still a piece of cake compared to the work involved when swapping motherboards.

A new board typically means reinstalling Windows from scratch. At least that's what it used to mean. However, I just found a couple web pages that have detailed instructions on how to swap motherboards without affecting Windows. It's still more work than installing a new video card or monitor, but much less work than a full re-install. we go!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Curse on Apple lifted....for now

Wouldn't you know it....I found a solution not five minutes after that last post:

Import the photos into iPhoto. Then go back to iMovie and drag the photos in from the iPhoto library.

But seriously...that's still a few steps too many. They should "just work" (famous last words, Apple) when dragging the photos in from the Finder, no?

The day I curse Apple

That day is today.

I don't know why they did this, but in iMovie HD, all vertically-oriented photos get rotated back to horizontal orientation, and there is NO way provided in the software to rotate them back.

Sure, I could import them into a photo editor, lay them over a horizontal black background, save them out, then pull them back into iMovie....but come on. I just wanna make a stinkin' slideshow with some videos intercut here and there. What happened to the ease of use that they keep touting in all their ads?

I could've sworn that I used some vertical shots in a movie project a while ago, but for the life of me I can't remember how/if I pulled it off, and an hour (or more) of Googling has not yet led me to a solution.

That said, the evening wasn't a total waste. I did manage to develop a headache! Thanks, Apple!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Third time's a (very frustrating) charm

This is just getting more annoying all the time. My initial tests led me to think it was the monitor, but later I was able to get the monitor to work with the laptop, so I thought it had to be the video card. Now I've got a brand new video card, but I still have no image from the desktop machine, and the laptop still works just fine with it. So where does that take me next? The motherboard. Ugh...

I think I'm going to see if I can get the motherboard's on-board video to work. If so, then my guess is that it would mean that something tied to the PCI Express slot is messed up.

However, that still doesn't explain why my wife's monitor worked fine with my computer in one of my earliest tests. I think I'll try that one again as well. If that still works....well, I'll be completely stumped.

NOT the monitor!

Looks like I typed that last entry too soon. While things worked okay last night, I got absolutely no signal this morning. After more cable wiggling, more detaching and reattaching, and more under-the-desk spelunking, I decided to try plugging my Mac laptop into the monitor. Bingo! Beautiful picture...and it was via the DVI input. After all the other tests, that could only mean one thing:

I've got a dead video card.

Oh joy....

(BTW...absolutely meaningless bonus points for those who can decipher the slightly cryptic reference in this post's title. Think early 90's TV...)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Minor Monitor Mayhem

I seem to have this thing with monitors. About a year-and-a-half ago, my trusty CRT died on me in the middle of a live Q&A with my Animation Mentor class. That paved the way for the purchase of the current widescreen LCD monitor, which was humming along just fine...up until this morning.

I powered the computer on, fiddled around for a half-hour or so, then hit the sleep button on the keyboard before heading off to shower. Upon returning a little later, I hit the space bar on the keyboard to wake up the machine. The computer woke up, but the monitor didn't.

At first I thought it might just be a really long delay while the system was processing something before it would fire up the video signal. It had occasionally behaved that way in the past, but after a minute or so of no picture, I figured something else was amiss, so I started testing things. Cable wiggling got me nowhere. Borrowing my wife's monitor (identical to mine...the result of one of those "as long as you're replacing yours, would you mind getting a new one for me?" requests) and plugging it into my box gave me a good picture. That told me that the video card and cable were probably fine, but that the DVI input on my monitor was probably dead, so after work I bought the necessary accoutrements to use the SVGA input, and it doth work again. Yea, verily! Glad to know it's not a total goner. The SVGA signal doesn't look horrible, but it is a tad blurry. Still, I'll gladly sacrifice a little clarity in order to save some dough.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and wish you all the best in 2009!