March 11, 2003
"Y'know, I learned something today..."
While on a visit to Akron to help my mother and stepfather with their broadband connection, I found out that their machine needed more memory (it only had 64 megs). So, we drove out to CompUSA (no time to order online; they weren't going to install RAM themselves) and bought a 256MB PC133 DIMM.
I made two mistakes there: One, I thought their computer was new enough to handle a 256-meg DIMM. I was wrong -- each slot can only hold 128MB according to Gateway's specs. Second, I thought that any RAM of the right type would slow itself down to match the system bus's speed (in this case 100MHz compared to the DIMM's 133). Older DIMMs would do that, newer ones apparently don't.
On the second trip to CompUSA to return the 256-meg DIMM I talked to one of their people and got the mistake sorted out. Mom and Jim's computer is now humming along happily with 320MB of RAM (the 64 it came with plus a pair of 128s). There's a lot less paging going on now, and the thing's noticeably faster on a lot of things.
(As an aside, the memory problem didn't have anything to do with the broadband connection. They "upgraded" to AOL 8.0 at about the same time, and AOL's apparently been taking coding lessons from Microsoft -- each release is more bloated than the previous one.
(As an aside to the aside, the interface gets progressively worse each time, too. I thought there was no way for the UI to become more ass-ugly after 7.0. I was wrong... now it's in pastels.))