NEW DEVICE OFFERS PLENTY OF NOTHING

NEW DEVICE OFFERS PLENTY OF NOTHING

I eagerly opened the box, my heart beating faster as I cut through the miles of packaging tape in anticipation of what was to come. After all, I had been waiting for more than a year to become one of the elite.

My mouth watered and my palms began to sweat as I installed the new DVD-RAM drive into my computer.Now for those of you not as addicted to geek toys as I am, this drive will allow me to record up to five gigabytes of data onto a DVD compact disk. That's not as much as the software or movie industry can (17.5 gigabytes), but it's a lot better than the measly 640-to-700 megabytes you can store on a standard CD.

All that was left for me to do was to install WriteDVD from Software Architects Inc. - a fairly simple task.

That done, with my hand shaking in anticipation, I rebooted my computer. Then lights flashed, drives whirred and - nothing! Not even a beep or burp from the new drive.

Undaunted, I removed it from the computer, moved around a few jumpers to change the drive's settings and - again, nothing.

Now, here I must explain that this is a SCSI (small computer system interface) device. These devices were put on earth to drive sane men mad and turn all of our computer experts into babbling lunatics.

So I called in my resident lunatic, an offspring who is considered in most circles to be somewhat of a computer expert.

He tinkered and switched a few more jumpers and it worked. But another problem was waiting in the wings.

Life was beautiful for a few more days until the dreaded blue screen of death began to appear whenever I booted up my computer.

After a quick consultation, my resident techie determined that there was a SCSI-device termination conflict between the drive and other SCSI devices I was using.

We fiddled some more, rebooted the computer and were back to square one - nothing. And my computer was still crashing.

Well, I finally solved the problem. It was simple; I just pulled the drive and reinstalled my old CD writer.

The new drive is now sitting on the shelf, with other discarded hardware - banished to the ''I tried it and failed'' pile.

Why am I telling you all this? Simple. These drives will soon be appearing at your local computer store with a heavy price tag: probably $550 to $600. This is a bit too much to pay for days of aggravation.

Hopefully, as time goes by, the technology will improve. But for now, unless you can get the the store techies to install it, do yourself a favor. Let it sit on the shelf to be purchased by some unsuspecting computerphile who has access to a case of Excedrin.