22 April 2009

Compaq laptop: wireless off and on

I'm giving that nerdy title to this blog post because I'm hoping somebody might find it while doing a Google search and help me figure out what is going on. The built-in wireless adapter in a Compaq notebook computer that I bought in November 2007 suddenly stopped working in Nov. 2008.

The Broadcom wireless adapter just vanished from the computer's hardware list in the Windows Device Manager. There was no way to install new drivers for it because Windows didn't even "know" any more that the adapter was there.

Wisteria in flower at the neighbors' place

Then suddenly one day last week, it came back. There's a light on the front of the laptop that indicates whether or not the wireless adapter is turned on. Orange is off, and blue is on. It was orange for five months. Suddenly it was blue again. And it worked fine.

It worked fine for maybe 4 hours. When I restarted the machine, it turned orange again. I wanted to give up on it. Now this morning I started the computer and the light came on blue again. How can I get it to stay blue?

View of the Renaudière hamlet from the vineyard

The only thing I can figure out is that in November I also started using a Pinnacle Dazzle DVC100 video capture card on that computer. The capture card is a USB device. I am using it to capture movies off old VHS video tapes and the odd show or movie directly from the television. Or maybe the adapter's intermittent behavior is simply a bad connection inside the computer.

* * * *

In 2009 we are going to get tons of apples from this big tree.

* * * *

Regarding horse manure: Thanks to Evelyn, Linda H., and Victoria for the comments yesterday. I wondered who would comment on a topic with that kind of title. Evelyn's father was a dedicated gardner until very late in life, so I wasn't surprised to see E.'s comment. I got the work done yesterday and successfully hosed and scraped all the mud off my boots.

Linda, yes, the SuperU supermarket has a gardening section and sells potting soil, fertilizers, and composted horse manure. Victoria, when you finish that patio, can we bring you over here to build one for us? Actually, the soil here is kind of like concrete, so just setting some bricks or stones in it might be sufficient, without much digging.

Flowers on an ornament orange,
with a black and red bug

All this beautiful weather we are having this week facilitates such tasks. Yesterday I was able to till up not one but 2½ garden plots. I'm sore this morning, but that's to be expected. In the afternoon, when I was out walking Callie, I saw our neighbor (the mayor's husband) out running his roto-tiller in their vegetable garden plot. Our other neighbor, Bernard, was out riding around on his mower. It's in the air right now.

A walnut tree with tassels

I'm glad the bags of horse manure have a mode d'emploi printed on them. I followed the instructions on the package. It said to spread one kilogram of composted manure per square meter of surface area in the garden. It was a 20 kg bag and I have a 16 sq. meter plot, so I splurged and used the whole bag on it.

Well, it was nearly nothing — it was kind like powder sugar on a cake. There was just the slightest scattering of compost over the top of the soil. Left to my own devices, I would have applied three or four bags. That must be some strong stuff. But it has no smell at all. Callie paid it no notice.

Four, four, four garden plots tilled — ha ha ha ha ha!

It's getting harder and harder to resist planting things in the garden, with this warm, sunny weather. I think I might get started today or tomorrow. We'll hold back on the plants that are sensitive to cold — tomatoes, eggplant, peppers — but get going on a few others. We are going to plant sweet corn this year for the first time. Wonder what our neighbors will think of corn on the cob roasted on the barbecue grill?


  1. Good morning Ken,

    Many years ago, in So.California, I planted a small (6x12 ft.) garden with corn...about 20 stalks.

    My Iowa-native neighbor had a good laugh when I told him that I anticipated several bushels of corn.

    I'd be lucky to get 2 dozen ears, he said. I decided that corn took up too much garden space for such small reward.

    Internet Is Amazing #651; google "ears of corn per stalk".

    Happy Farming,

  2. Ken

    May be you can find the solution on this forum:

    It's been a while I have been working with Windows - change to Mac

  3. Bill in NH, if we can get a dozen ears of corn that will be a dozen more than we will have all year, since sweet corn is not sold in the markets or supermarkets here in Saint-Aignan. It'll be fun trying to get that many.

    The Beaver, thanks, I'll try that site. For now, the wireless is working again, after an outage that lasted months.

  4. Your bug is the beetle (tsk from the non-American taxonomist here!) Trichodes alvearius, in French Clarion des abeilles. It doesn't have an English name. They are common and eat bees, but I don't think are a problem for the apiarists.

  5. Ken, sorry I can't help you with the computer problem.
    This spring is so wonderful. Nature is going crazy. Keep planting things.

  6. Ken, on a rainy day when you have nothing to do, check out the Los Angeles Times's archives of June 12, 2008. "How to start a no-dig garden". It is very interesting and it might make your life easier. Also when I used to subscribed years ago to "Organic gardening" (yes I was one of few in Burbank growing grapes and beautiful vegetables -even corn- and fruit trees), I eventually elevated my plots. It was much easier for planting, weeding and the organic matter would stay put, making the soil better and better every year. But whatever you try, it is wonderful therapy and such a miracle to see plants growing from tiny little seeds.
    For my son's wireless laptop, we installed Netgear. It works great.
    I don't know much about computer.

  7. Susan, when you said, "Your bug is a..." I was thinking that you were saying that Ken's Compaq problem was a "bug" of some kind, and I thought it was pretty cool that it had a name! heh heh :)

    Love the gardening posts! I'm excited for you that the Compaq is suddenly working... who EVER knows what causes these crazy glitches.


  8. Here's another starting point:

    Hope this helps.


  9. Ken, your wireless problem is proably a feature not a bug, so be comforted by the knowledge that there is no solution!

    On the manure, what you do with it depends on what you are growing. Leeks like a good thick spreading at the bottom of the trench under them, whilst for runner beans you need to dig a load in well before you plant them and I expect the french beans will be the same. I've not used the bagged up stuff but your description doesn't sound like enough - try to get some "live" stuff from a local riding stables - they often give it away.

    Don't hold back on your planting - a lot of stuff is ground frost resistant. Back here in the UK where its generally a few degrees cooler at the best of times our potatoes, garlic, broad beans and peas are already in the garden and I'll be putting the spinach in this weekend. You can always protect them with some straw.

  10. Your computer is obviously human. It just went off you for a while and now you're friends again.

  11. Ken
    Are we talking Vista or XP on your laptop? If Vista, I give up! If XP, a few thoughts:
    1. you should be able to take Windows back to a restore point just before the problem started, and then carefully re-install anything you've added since (make sure you've got good backups before you start, of course)
    2. I can't understand why you can't see the Broadcom wireless device in the DM, but my guess is it's hiding under an unexpected name. You should be able to identify the driver from the Compaq support site for your model.
    3. I had a problem on my Dell recently where Windows wireless manager was fighting the Intel wireless manager. How they both got enabled, I don't know. It's worth checking that you don't have a similar situation.
    Good luck,

  12. I have a Compaq laptop that I bought in 2007 and it has an ongoing media device problem. The montherboard has been replaced twice, both times at Compaq's expense.
    The first indication of a problem was losing Wi-Fi capability.
    If the problem continues you might want to see if they can help you. Even if it isn't under warranty anymore, if it is the same model as mine, they've given an unlimited, extended warranty to this model because of the problems.

    Love the red door and purple wisteria photo!

  13. http://www.laptopmartonline.info/story.php?title=%A0living-the-life-in-saint-aignan-compaq-laptop

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?