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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Fixing the PlayStation 2

Saturday
May 1, 2002

First, the good news. I managed to fix my PlayStation 2. See, for months now the thing has been giving me problems with certain games not loading very easily, if at all. It's given me the dreaded "disc read error" message, which is a common problem with many PS2's. Luckily, it turns out the fix is easy.

I wrote in my March 23, 2002 commentary about how I planned on confronting Sony about fixing my PS2 at their cost. But the more I looked into it, the more difficult it seemed. Despite the disc read error being a widespread problem, Sony in my personal opinion is doing a horrendous thing in trying their best to not take responsibility for their product's defect. Dealing with the layers of customer service there would mean facing rounds of stonewalling, and even then if I finally got them to okay the repairs, it'd mean having to pay to ship it there and then being without my PS2 for five weeks. No thanks. If I had mailed it off when I wrote that column, I might still not have it back yet.

So today, I finally sacked up and decided to try fixing it myself. Thanks to a very informative Disc Read Error FAQ on the gamefaqs.com site, I learned exactly what I needed to do. I had to buy some rubbing alcohol and a jewelry-sized (meaning small) Phillips head screwdriver, but that cost only a few bucks combined. Carefully following the instructions, I opened the PS2 case and cleaned the lens. Amazing that a little dust could cause so much trouble for a $300 machine. I popped in Madden 2002, a notorious poor loader, and it started like a charm. Then I tried out the worst loader of the bunch, Legends of Wrestling. To put this in perspective, when I purchased LoW in January, it wouldn't load THE FIRST TIME I ever tried playing it. Not good. It was a sporadic load at best after that. But I tried today... and it was smooth sailing. Very nice. So, knock on wood, problem looks to be solved.

Now the bad news. Tomorrow I have to have an MRI done on my head. Back in late 2000-early 2001 in Huntington, I suffered from a series of horrible headaches. Headaches so bad that I had to call in to work. Headaches so bad that I'd have gladly worked a double shift for free if it meant the pain would go away. Painful times, for sure.

In February 2001, I had an MRI done... and it revealed no problems. And shortly after that the headaches stopped. I moved to Tampa, and hoped maybe it was just an allergy thing.

Wishful thinking. Last week, the headaches returned with a vengence. Headaches so bad that they woke me up out of sleep. Not good.

Yesterday was the killer though. Four straight hours of agonizing pain. That was after just one hour of sleep. Enough was enough, so I went to the doctor this morning. I mean, it's not normal for an otherwise healthy 24 year old man to have headaches so bad that they wake him from a deep sleep. He hooked me up with some pain medicine (fellas, Tylenol won't cut it on this one) and set me up for another MRI on my head for tomorrow.

So that's the story here. Two more work days and another weekend arrives. Scott's bringing over Triple Play 2002 on Friday, and we're gonna shore up the rental car plans for California. I can now say that the big trip is next month! That's right, next month...


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