Increasingly I am not surprised when some little problem ends up taking hours to resolve. In this particular case, my fellow geek who had installed our home video system was just as frustrated as I was. He needed to be in at least four other places since he had just spent a week being trained on more electronic gadgets which also probably will require lots of extra effort to get working properly.
Our home system is sometimes controlled by a Logitech Harmony remote. The Harmony is supposed to rule the roost but it doesn't until the Sony quiets down. After our big flat panel Sony stops saturating our living room with IR, the Harmony usually works. That usually takes ten minutes which is a little irritating but according to the Sony folks, just something we have to live with these days.
My fellow geek, Mitch, dropped by after I had our cable box replaced with one which had a DVD-R and a HDMI interface. The hope was the HDMI cable would improve the picture quality of the non-HD television channels. Mitch managed to get the HDMI cable installed without a lot of problems. It did help the picture quality on all channels.
After we got the television back on the wall, the only job remaining was to reprogram the Harmony Remote. Mitch had forgotten his Powerbook which we used to program the Harmony the previous time. We had tried unsuccessfully to use my MacBook the last time so I whipped out my PB G4. We logged on to the Logitech site without a problem and downloaded the software. After some more downloads and updates, we got to the point where we saw a message "no skin available." The result of the strange message was that we couldn't see what was happening with the controller. Since I was using Firefox and Mitch had used Safari the last time, we switched to Safari and went through the same process. We did manage to get the setting done properly on the web, yet we ran into the same problems with Safari that we had with Firefox. We had no luck updating the Harmony remote.
We then went up to my upstairs office and went through the same process with my Dell desktop. We went straight to IE 7 this time and it seemed to be working until it blocked a pop-up and then hung We eventually got it working on IE after restarting IE. Finally were able to see the controller being updated and verify when it was finished. The process took two hours. It should have been two minutes.
Technology does not need to be this hard.