Saturday, 29 October 2011

My Love / Hate Affair With Computers, Part 195

Quote of the day: William Shakespeare -- O, woe is me, To have seen what i have seen, see what i see!

So, after all of the hassle of two weeks ago, on Wednesday morning my e-mail client, Thunderbird, decided to stop working.  I could no longer send or receive e-mail.

I awoke at my usual time (which is 4.30 a.m., kids:   i lead a monkish life).  I checked my overnight messages and all was well -- the usual 30+ offers of Cialis -- but at around 5 a.m. all went a-gley ("a-gley" being the Scotch word for "kerflooey"), when i tried to write a message.  Nuffink happened. (Apart from an error message, "connection to SMTP server failed, check your connections and try again" or something like that.)

Huh?  I tried to send again.  Same error message.  So i clicked on "get mail."  Same error message.  What the hell happened to Thunderbird between 4.30 and 5.00 on Wednesday morning?

On Wednesday evening, when i returned from my job at Justin Bieber's favourite restaurant (he loves my cooking) i spent half an hour or so playing with settings, until i was able to receive, at last!  30 + offers for Cialis, and cheaper than the last 30, woo hoo!  But i was still unable to send (mope, grope).

On Thursday morning, frustrated as bejaysus, i effed around, Googled like a maniac and haphazardly played with my settings and ... eureka.

Seems that on Wednesday morning Thunderbird updated itself and reset everything.  All  (all?) i had to do was revert to all of my previous settings and everything was hunky-dory.

I hate that, i hate it, when something on my computer changes without my knowledge or permission.  It happened yesterday, too, now that i think about it.  When i returned home from The Little Shop Of Horrors, i booted up and ... my wallpaper had disappeared.  I use Manet's "At The Folies Bergere," one of my favourite paintings.  Oh, look, there it is there:


What i had instead was a boring blue screen (not the dreaded BCOD, i hasten to add!).

Stoopd compooters!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Adventures Of A Linux Newbie, Part 2

Oh, dearie me.

I got my desktop PC back from the shop on Tuesday, and it's so nice to have it again, after two weeks or more of struggling to learn Linux on my laptop.

I'd noticed, after two weeks on the laptop, a significant slowdown in its speed.  What would you do in Windoze? Defrag, run a registry cleaner and delete the temp files, right?  Uh, uh, not with Linux.

First of all, it doesn't store its files in a fragmented way, so defragging would be unnecessary.  Secondly, it doesn't use a registry.  But i found a way to remove the temp files.

So much in Linux requires the use of the Terminal (the equivalent of running Command Prompts in Windoze).  To clear temp files i had to open the terminal and enter "sudo apt-get clean" (without quotes).  Hey, it worked well, but i had to Google for that information, as none of my Linux help menus seem to work....  ("Sudo" stands for "super user," i.e., adminstrator, and something else.  In my case it's probably "d'oh!")

Ah, well, it's been a learning experience, this Linux lark, and i really believe that when one stops learning, one may as well lay down and die.  I shall persevere with it.  But it's so nice to have the desktop back, large screen monitor, and a keyboard i can use (i was friggin useless on the laptop's touchpad, fortunately i had a spare USB mouse lying around...)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Ofra Haza Part 2

I wrote about Ofra Haza (Yemeni singer) a week or so ago.

She died from AIDS, tragically young, and (as my anonymous correspondent tells me) not because she was infected by her manager.  That must be an urban legend or somefing, it's what i had been lead to believe.  Wrong again!

I've been listening to her music a lot this past week or so.  Her music speaks to me.

Try this:

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Adventures Of A Linux Newbie

Happy Garbanzo Bean Day, everyone!

Well, apparently it is, at least according to Pearls Before Swine:

So much for frivolity.

Although i've been  throughly enjoying learning about Linux via the forced usage of my Linux laptop since my Windows desktop went belly-up last week (and i honestly do believe that when you stop learning you may as well curl up and die), there's still so much i can't do.  

I've downloaded .zip files and even though i have unrar (the Linux unzipper) i can't figure out how to extract them, just to use one example.

But i think that what is frustrating me more than anything, is the way the system changes itself without my knowledge.

For example, my default language is English (obviously)  but sometimes, and for no apparent reason, this changes itself to Multilingual.  A phrase like "i don't understand," becomes (in Multilingual) Èi donèt understandÈ

This happens with odd regularity.

And another thing. This morning, i couldn't get the laptop's keyboard to work.

I couldnèt, i mean, couldn't, recall spilling my beer into it or anything, so i investigated my keyboard settings.

Evidently there's a setting with which only accepts keystrokes if the key is held down for a few seconds. I didn't default to this, i didn't know it existed until today.  Linux has a mind of its own.....

So do i, of course.

I'm taking 8 days holidays, starting October 18th. I was originally calling it "medical leave" (because  some of the people i work with make me sick), but i've now changed that, to "psychiatric leave" (because it's all driving me doolally).

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Stoopid Compooters!

My desktop computer is now comatose (i'm writing this on my laptop). It's not a hard drive failure, but instead, a power supply problem. It's not the power cord -- i've tried three different ones -- the machine is simply getting no juice. Now, i really hate to have to open up the case and mess about in the innards. I'm no good at it, for one thing. Back in the days of Windows 95 and 56k internal modems, i needed to replace a modem and shorted out two before i successfully, er, succeeded.

Plus i looked in my old PC repair textbook and the section on power supply and it all went whooooosh! way over my head.

So, until i can afford to take the desktop into the shop (next week) i'm now forced to do everything on the laptop, which has presented another set of prebloms.  Problems too.

As my regular reader will know, i bought the laptop in February, with the express intention of formatting the hard drive to remove everything Microsofty, and installing Linux. (I have an installation CD from Ubuntu.)

Linux appealed to my inner geek and i thought it would be fun to learn about.

Unfortunately, one thing and another, you know how it goes, i never really applied myself to learning this totally foreign operating system.  But now that i'm dependent upon it i feel like someone who is being taught to swim by being flung into the deep end.  I'm floundering.

For example, it took me four days (four!) to figure out how to listen to my online radio station (  For another, i download Linux software and then don't know how to run it.  For a third, i've downloaded zipped files that won't unzip (even though i have an un-zipper).

I'd like to rip some music to the laptop.  The Linux audio extracting program is called Soundjuicer.  Can i get it to work? No.  And clicking on Soundjuicer Help opens up ... nothing.

On the bright side, though, at least i now have a decent radio station to listen to as i give myself eyestrain peering at the laptop's comparatively small screen....