One of the worst things about running a media empire from my home studio is that I don’t have an IT staff.

Last year, a generous listener sent me a donation to be used for a new machine from which to run my show. As he works with computers, he suggested I check out the Alienware line. They’re gaming computers, and are able to handle a lot of stuff going on at the same time.

Unfortunately, this computer has never worked right. Aside from the usual glitches (programs hanging up on start and non-responsiveness), my biggest problems were the audio issues.

Regular listeners probably noticed the uneven quality. Alienware tech support did a lot- they replaced the loud fans, and then replaced the video card. But nothing made a difference. They were convinced that my audio problems were software related.

I began researching audio problems in this computer and lo and behold, and I found a whole forum of messages about similar problems. Someone suggested running a program called LatencyMon (monitor?) which showed that the computer was having big problems running “real time audio.” Hello!!!

So, after the computer crashed on Labor Day Monday (another long story that I may share later or tomorrow), and I was told we’d have to reinstall Windows, I suggested running the LatencyMon test before reinstalling any of my software that they had decided was the culprit. Bingo! The same latency issues showed up. 

The tech was stumped. He said he’d need to talk with their engineer who was occupied with another issue at the time. He said he’d discuss it with him and their supervisor (who allegedly has taken over my case – that’s what calling them out on Twitter will accomplish, I guess). And now I wait…

In the meantime, my very generous listener who sent me the money to buy the unfortunately-lemonic Alienware machine sent me enough money to buy another computer.  (Meanwhile, donations are still needed in lieu of a salary. This computer fail cost me at least one voiceover job, so now it’s hitting my already empty wallet!)

Here’s the question – do I count on Alienware to fix this computer (or replace it) so I can use it for the programs that won’t run on Mac, and get a Mac specifically for the streaming, or do I get another PC?

In between sitting vigil by the computer and the phone, I’m researching computers. Feel free to post your answers in the comments. This time I won’t block you for suggesting a Mac…. as I sit here trying to get my 2009 Macbook Pro into working condition again…

Thanks for your patience. I plan on being back on the air Monday morning, even if it means going on using my phone to stream!  Today, it’s “not”.