Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Here We Go Again, Grrr...

Quotation of the day: Ken Olson (president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977) ~ There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.

Gosh, it's been a while. I've just had a week off and i was hoping to get this blog updated but it was not to be. The week has been chaotic
-- computer problems, two days in Toronto followed by a case of the flu (or something) from which i've only just recovered.

It actually all began a couple of months ago, when my laptop died on me. The little fluorescent lights or whatever they are (little gremlins carrying
torches maybe) that are attached to the back of the screen burnt out, whether due to a power surge or to the fact that Cate sleeps on it, who
knows. So i'd boot it up, it would appear to start normally but the screen would go dark after a minute or so. Useless.

But i felt no urgency about having it repaired. I really don't use the laptop that much. Basically, only when the desktop PC is on the fritz....

It's called "Sod's Law." Three weeks ago, the desktop failed.

Or, should i say, Windows failed. I would start up the computer, the Windows splash screen would appear, but then, Windows would stop loading and the machine would go into an endless cycle of restarts. At first, i thought maybe the BIOS chip had failed; i mucked around with the setup for a while, restoring defaults etc. (not really knowing what the hell i was doing) but nothing made any difference.

But -- and aye here's the rub -- it was not a hard-drive failure. I was able to boot the machine using my Linux installation disc. Using this method, i could look at Windows files, edit text, look at pictures (all that
Russian porn, woo hoo!) and so on. As i was between paycheques and had the Toronto trip and its concomitant expenses coming up, i had to
postpone the repair and as it was running (after a fashion) anyway, i was only badly inconvenienced (as opposed to desperately

Toronto was great, Toronto was super. I went to see Oysterband for the 3rd time in four years and i'll be writing about that later (if i remember to). I returned on Wednesday evening, on Thursday morning i felt as sick as a dog. (Cate loves that expression.) I had collywobbles to the max (and i love the term "collywobbles" as a synonym for "lower digestive tract disorders.") I dragged my sorry self and my laptop on down to the shop on Friday afternoon but, it was a long weekend here, nothing could be done until at least Tuesday. Grrr, i hate long weekends, they disrupt everything.

(I took the laptop in first, before the desktop, because at least the desktop was usable. Otherwise i would have been without a working computer entirely, and obviously that would have been an untenable situation!) (I might have actually had to clean my apartment or something equally silly.)

So, this past Saturday, i took the desktop in and retrieved the laptop (upon which i am now writing this). $140 for a new screen, which i thought was fairly reasonable.

Now, as you may know, i run Linux on my laptop.
It's an operating system that i've never really become comfortable with. To do a lot of things requires opening the terminal and running
commands -- like DOS in Windows -- but i can't remember most of the terminal commands most of the time, so in general i can't do much in

That aside, Linux has "Update Manager" (equivalent to Windows Update) and on Saturday, in a fit of geeky madness, i ran update
manager. Oh, dear, it was a mistake.

It took two hours (!) to d/l the updates, during which time the laptop slowed to a crawl and was virtually useless, but fair's fair, i don't use the laptop often as i said, and i hadn't updated in a while. But then i clicked on "install updates."

The progress bar indicated "13 hours remaining," and once again the laptop slowed to a crawl and was virtually useless.

One of the very few things i ask out of life is a computer that works. It looks like it is not to be.

When i went to bed, the progress bar
indicated "one hour, seventeen minutes remaining." And that's where i left it when i crept into the arms of Morpheus. When i awoke, 6 / 7
hours later, the progress bar indicated ... one hour, seventeen minutes remaining. Yes indeedy, woo hoo, etc., everything was frozen.
Frozen solid, i couldn't do a damned thing.

So i had to re-install Linux. It only took most of the day.

On Sunday i was as sick as a parrot, and didn't do much. Watched a movie, "A Prayer For The Dying." It was all right. Some very good actors
(Mickey Rourke, Liam Neeson, Bob Hoskins) making the best of some fairly mediocre material.

Monday, i called Troy (at www.onsitetechnology.ca) and he had determined that Windows was corrupt and would have to be re-installed. He could back up all of my files, all that Asian porn and stuff (or was it Russian porn?) but all of my program files would be lost. Right. A nightmare task of re-downloading and re-configuring, but what choice had i?

So i picked up the computer on Thursday. Troy demonstrated that it was working well – he even downloaded my default browser for me. I got it home, fired it up and ... no Internet connection.

It worked superbly at the shop. I plugged my network cable in to my Linux laptop and the connection is fine. I booted my Windows PC with my Linux installation disc and ... the connection is fine. So, er, wtf?

And that's the problem that has been consuming me for about a week. I've been Googling like crazy, but all to no avail.

So that's where i am now. Troy is getting married this weekend so he's not going to be available for a bit, and my grey hair is rapidly turning white ....

Update: after a morning of really intense Googling, i found and ran this:

@Echo on
attrib -h -s -r hosts
echo localhost>HOSTS
attrib +r +h +s hosts
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
ipconfig /flushdns
netsh winsock reset all
netsh int ip reset all
shutdown -r -t 1
del %0

It worked! I am back!

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