Monday, June 13, 2011

Saving Time

While it wasn’t a major problem, hardly worth mentioning actually, it bugged me. It had to do with the time it took to move a photo file from the memory card to the computer, roughly 12 megapixels per picture. Counting one thousand one, one thousand two, I got clear to five before the task was complete, for one stinkin’ photo mind you.

I don’t want to hear it. Please, do not tell me how five seconds is incredibly fast to move that amount of data from A to B. Not the point. Truth is, it should be faster, much faster. In fact it should transfer all those ones and zeros about five times that fast. I’ve seen it. We have the technology. It doesn’t matter that I’m retired, have time on my hands, and nothing better to do than watch a bar graph travel from left to right across the screen all day. It’s too slow damn it, unacceptably so.

To Google I go and within minutes find a new card reader, the internal kind, for the ridiculously low price of $13. Reviews were favorable. Had to have it. Days go by and UPS rings my doorbell.

It was small, only 3 ½ inches wide, with multiple slots for various cards. There was only one cord with a plug coming out the back end. I call my computer guru, number one son.

“Anything I should know before installing this baby?” I ask.

“Piece of cake,” he says. “Just plug it in where the old one came out of.”

Let the record show that my entire career in America’s work force was as an electronics technician. I analyzed problems, evaluated, tested, and replaced parts down to component level. Bad transistor? No big deal. Integrated circuit faulty? Give me 30 minutes. Swapping out a card reader? Huh. How tough could it be?

I removed the side panel from the computer and took a look. There were no screws to unscrew, no bolts to back off, just some silly sliding piece of plastic that said “lock” with an arrow on it. I moved the plastic and pushed on the reader from the front. Uh, oh. A maze of wires and plugs and circuit boards were blocking the path for removal. I call the guru.

“You have to take it out through the front of the computer. But first, take off the front screen. To do that, you’ll need to loosen the DVD drive and slide it out of the way. Then grab the screen by the bottom. It pops right off. I got to go.”

I stare at the phone. What the hell happened to “piece of cake?”

The DVD drive did not slide out of the way, the cover did not pop right off, and I swear the old card reader was welded to the frame. Soon the floor was littered with screw drivers, flashlights, a wrench, and a pry bar. Profanities filled the air causing the cat to wake up and puke on the carpet. You can’t make this stuff up people.

An hour passes, maybe more, but little by little, I gain ground. The old unit is removed, the new one slipped in. Naturally it was incompatible with the plastic slide thingy to lock it in but a couple screws fixed that. Plugs were plugged, wires were wired. It was time to throw the switch.

And LO. There was no fire, no smoke, no circuit breakers popping. A small green LED glowed from the front of the new panel, a good sign. I pushed a memory card with 37 photos in the slot and OMG. It worked. Photos flew across the screen, too fast to count. No more one thousand one, this was zippidy doo dah baby.

So let’s do the math. Instead of taking 5 minutes to download a typical card, it now takes only one! That gives me four extra minutes to do……

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