I am sitting here quite self-satisfied as I have managed to triumph twice in the eternal battle between men and machine yesterday!! It all started when M finally got sick of her 7 year old computer and decided to get a new one. Since I was too lazy to build her one we decided to go the easy route and get her a Dell E310, useless for gaming but quite adequate for internet surfing. The machine came quite without mishap and M was happy with it. Now M is actually quite computer savvy compared to her peers. In addition to checking her yahoo email, she can surf the web, download music, text chat in Chinese, do video chats and even get drivers for her accessories if I was not there. She is viewed with awe in her office as the tech guru. Though I am pretty sure she doesn't do it out of tech fervor, but rather to be able to not hear me say "What is wrong NOW??" in an extremely humiliating and condescending tone as I am known to do ;)
Anyway, the computer was quite usable until recently when M discovered the wonder of karaoke on the net. There are these massive chinese websites where you can download popular accompaniments, record your karaoke and then upload to it so other people can hear them. So to facilitate this interest, I got her a free audio recorder software and showed her how to record over the mic. This is when I realized that the Dell's onboard sound card isn't full duplex! This means you can't really play music and record it at the same time. You can only record whatever the mic pick up. I just assumed it was a limitation of the soundcard and told M to turn up the speaker REALLY LOUD so the mic can pick up her voice and the music coming out of the speakers (yes it is stupid! lol). It makes for sucky recordings but M accepted it and proceeded to record many quite lovely songs with sucky mixing.
But it is human nature to never be satisfied, after M listened to her beautiful voice accompanied by the sucky quality accompaniments, she started hinting that she wanted to record in more than 96 bps so to get better sound quality. After several hints, I decided that the best solution would be to get her an Soundblaster Audigy card which would solve both the full duplex issue and the quality issue since the mixing would be so much better. but as soon as I installed it , I realized that the mic didn't work anymore AND the front headphone port no longer worked either!! *shake fist in anger*. After hours of research, I realized that the Soundblaster Audigy only support mics with 2000 impedance. WHO has requirements like this!!?? not only that but it is incompatible with dell's motherboard which means no front headphone port. Well that was a bust, and then M totally dealt a horrible blow to my ego by mentioning how everytime I try to improve her computer I just breaks it, alluding to the fact that earlier I gave her a wireless optical mouse that broke the screensaver. This unbearable insult to my geek status increased my resolve to solve this once and for all!! (cue thunder and lightning). So after researching problems with soundblaster for a while, I saw something on the forums about my Dell onboard audio card which is a SigmaTel. I noticed many people on the forum having the same full duplex issue that I did and I suddenly read something incredible: that the SigmaTel actually DOES support full duplex but Dell, in all its evil glory nerfed it as an agreement with RIAA who is concerned about people recording internet radio songs!!! Have you heard of anything so absurd!! is RIAA out of its mind??!! What a stupid agreement in that can be easily circumvented with a $10 real sound card!.
SO after another couple hours of research, I realized only the Dell drivers were nerfed due to this absurd legal agreement and after I tried 6 or 7 SigmaTel drivers (XP system restore rocks!!) I finally found a LG notebook driver that unlocked the SigmaTel's full potential! Now it has stereo mix, input monitor among other goodies which allows M to do a complete internal recording. no more really loud speakers.
Dell+RIAA evil partnership: 0 !!!
And even better as a bonus, I was able to figure out the mouse screensaver issue which I have always suspected as a driver issue since I remember fixing this before. But it didn't work for M's computer for some reason and it was always a pain to search for it on the internet because if you search for "screensaver disabled" you never get anything relevant. However, I was possessed to try this search string " computer cannot recognize wireless Intellipoint". And THAT gave me a forum post that gave me the answer. Apparently the Dell machines has DVD drives that runs PowerDVD, which is incompatible with Microsoft Intellipoint Mouse which is incompatible with XP screensavers!!! It is amazing they shipped computers like this!!. So after getting to the end of the long thread, the holy light was shone on the Microsoft "HID non-user input update!!" And everything was resolved to a satisfying end. so again
Dell+MS evil partnership: 0
and I was rightfully restored in M's eye as her favorite tech guru, the way it should be.... *satisfied sigh*