Want to know how my week went? Sure you do. I know you’ve had worse weeks. I certainly have. But it’s worth writing about, to me anyway. It has to do with wrestling. And with the machine you’re using right now to read this. Both at once, in fact.
You may recall that last week I posted a flashback to a bygone NFL season and got comments about how good it was to keep your stuff around. “Yep!”, sez I. Mere hours later, with me needing info from the box, the second failed Windows update in a row put the nail in the coffin and down went my poor friend of 5 years (I suspect it’s a couple of years older than that). Wouldn’t stay up long enough for me to do anything to try to fix it. I knew right off, perceptive character that I am, that I was in trouble.
I could make a long story short, but why do that when I’m trying to write one? My old pal is a Vista machine. Now why would I still be using Vista, you ask? Simple: (1) I’m lazy (also the primary reason I hadn’t backed anything up in ages) and (2) I happen to be retired from a field not that far removed, and cringe at the thought of turning my beast over to some geek who’ll probably fix things just well enough to proclaim success and then charge me too much. Ok, I’m cheap too. But there’s the overhanging threat of being charged for nothing but someone’s time in the likely event that success isn’t on the horizon. Been there, done that. Besides, I can do it better myself. Did I mention I’m stubborn?
Now that all my good points have been covered, back to the story. It had clearly become a struggle to get data files off the machine. Apps (like the precious-and-paid-for one I use to program a summer vehicle’s chip) were probably toast. Things looked bleak. Then I found out I could get the thing to stay up indefinitely, though only in ‘safe’ mode. The system configuration menus beckoned. This was almost starting to be fun. I tried a few combinations of startup programs and services shut off. No dice in normal mode. But somehow I got ‘safe mode with networking’ going. Ah hah. Already in a complete state of paranoia about internet contamination, I relaxed enough to recall that my router has this cable going into it for a reason. Out it came. Somehow, though my 8.1 desktop in the garage had no idea how to get onto my beast’s file system anymore, the beast had no trouble seeing Mr. 8.1. How nice. I managed to send several gig of files to the new machine, hopefully free of (or screened for) bothersome trojans etc. Only took an hour or two. So, Mission One accomplished. I think.
Then there was the dreaded leftover problem I’d been putting off for a few years or so, that of getting a new machine. How hard can that be? I had a pretty good idea, part of the reason I never did it, but my decision had been made for me.
Didn’t cost much. Took it home. Figured I’d start it up, survive some tense moments while McAfee downloaded itself for free (since I have a 3-machine contract) and start the arduous process of turning the blank pad into a useful replacement beast. I was getting real sick of web-based email.
Sooo, I fired it up figuring my problems would start when it was up and happy. Wishful thinking. Immediately it wanted web access and refused to continue without it. So on it went. Then Microsoft wanted me to register. I don’t care to have an account with these characters. I already gave them my money, if indirectly. But lo, try getting anything from them (and I don’t mean pricey apps for teenagers) without one. So, I tried. I got as far as entering my name and the first half of my email id. Turns out there’s someone else with my name (not unusual for Tom Jones perhaps, but unusual for me) registered, and with the same email id. Despite the fact that he’s on hotmail, the idiot sign-in wouldn’t let me enter my service provider, already assuming I was either a crook or the same guy in a fit of amnesia. And I tried several more times later on, getting blown off with the (I’m sure dishonest) message of being ‘unable to connect to the service.’ Gad, how I hate Microsoft. My old company’s slogan insisted they hired the ‘top 10%’. I had begun for the first time to believe it.
So on I went sans an account I didn’t really want anyway. It was time for my antivirus. Suddenly up pops McAfee asking me if I’m ready to load up. “That was easy”, sez I. So I say sure. It downloads. It updates. Takes about an hour, halfway through which I realize that these slobs haven’t auto-discovered my router with a new machine on it but instead are foisting another package on me for a 30-day trial. So I uninstall it, go to the website where it tries by subterfuge and indirection to con me into buying the same crap over again, and finally somehow get it to download what I already own. Or part of it. Or something. At least they managed to download that part of the software that declares I’m protected, so I can feel all fuzzy. If that’s good. Spiders are fuzzy. I wonder how they feel?
Now it was time for that email tool. I read about the app I already had on 8.1. Never encountered it on my desktop because (1) I didn’t want email on it, and (2) I couldn’t register with Microsoft for reasons too stupid to enumerate again. What I read made me not want it anyway. Instead I did a search hunt for a nice simple little email client. And, like an idiot, I tried downloading Live Mail. I made a mistake configuring it for my POP account. Wasn’t sure about one parameter, but figured I’d try it and just change it until it worked. Reasonable assumption. Not to Microsoft, who insist you register it before you can reprogram it. Which is impossible to do unless you have a Microsoft account. Which is impossible to get.
Back to uninstall. This time I tried Thunderbird. After a painful several trips onto the web to find a zillion others complaining about how slow it was, I found the answer buried deep within one thread. I ‘compacted’ it (not what you’d think, as they explained). Ta da. Desktop email!
At the moment, my faithful old beast is sitting in the garage office next to the desktop awaiting my return to kill or cure, and resting comfortably for the first time in at least 5 years, 99.9% of which time it’s been powered up. No sleeping. No hibernating. No nothing guaranteed to screw things up. Just running. It’s like an incandescent light bulb. Works longer that way. As soon as I’ve gotten through the joy of having my primitive cyberworld back and caught up on everything I was supposed to be doing this past week, it may get some attention.
And that’s that. Sports? What sports? Been a while since I had time to check. Somebody told me Mazeroski beat the Yanks with a homer. Yeah, right.