Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And Now For My Next Trick

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.

On second thought, I think I'll leave that one to the expert... Bullwinkle.

Instead, I've ordered a new 80 GB hard drive for my computer which I'll attempt to install sometime this weekend. Perhaps on Monday, it being Labor Day and all. Seems fitting enough.

It arrived on my doorstep this past Monday (don't you just love the Internets?). I was planning to get going on it tonight - but I got home around 8:00 and I didn't want a dismantled PC strewn across my kitchen for the remainder of the week, had things gone horrifically wrong. I hear it's a piece of cake to do but I'd rather not leave things to chance with the way things are currently trudging along.

The thought here, in my ongoing quest to retrieve my missing gigabytes now residing in binary purgatory, is to get the machine up and running again. Once that's been done, add the original drive as a parallel drive, pull everything off it, and dump it onto the new one (then unceremoniously smash the old one to bits with a hurley).

Simple, eh. We'll see. It'll all depend on whether it's completely shot or just incapable of being used as the boot drive. I should be so lucky.

Either way, it should make for an interesting experiment. And for the forty bucks I spent on the new drive - it's worth the effort before having to take it to a data recovery shop. That'll be expensive, for sure.

So, that's that. I've got nothing else. Exhilirating, innit?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

File Under : You've Got to be Kidding Me

After a blissful weekend-plus of uninterrupted network connections, including an entire day (Monday) of working from home, I've been mercilessly blasted back into the world of PC hell. And this time, it's worse. Like a bad movie sequel.

I should've known things were too good to be true.

After turning on my desktop PC, I went and put some clothes away as it booted up. Only to return to find one of those frightening DOS-like screens with the giant letters showing on the monitor. All sorts of warnings and scary messages which mean nothing to those of us without a clue about the detailed inner-workings of our machines.

I'm a programmer by trade and had a Commodore 64 computer when I was 13, which must put me into some level of 'computer nerd' (which I happily embrace, thank you). But when shit like this happens, I'm lost.

Vrr, k'plink. Vrr, k'plink. Vrr, k'plink... A repetitive... taunting... horrifying... sound. Over and over again - accompanied by an ominous message to the effect of "Windows can not find a hard drive" or some nonsense.

What the ?! Thus, You've got to be kidding me.

After a few weekends of battling routers, IP addresses, TCP/IP Protocols, Subnet Masks, etc., I felt as if I had slayed the Wireless Dragon. Desktop and Laptop, both humming along, internet connections ablaze. This, after months of my desktop being all but inoperable due to network chaos. I'm a genius, no?

No, apparently. I find my desktop laying on its deathbed; burnt to a crisp, sputtering its barely audible last gasps.

The fear rushed through me as I made an assumptive connection - the introduction of the new router had been the invitation the Dragon was really waiting for. I rushed to my laptop and started it up, fearing the worst.

Alas, you're reading this so, thankfully, my laptop had been spared the wrath.

Actually, thankfully might be too passive. Luckily might have been a better choice. Luckily for the manufacturer of my new router.

If my laptop had been affected in a similar manner, I'd have absolutely lost it. I can't think of what I'd do - as customer service, these days, is more customer avoidance than actual service - but I'd have started some witch hunt or another. And that would make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

In any event, I'm trying to remain relatively calm amidst the situation. I don't use my desktop all that much but I was looking to use it tonight to transfer a bunch of music from it to my laptop. That project will certainly have to wait. I just hope there isn't a similar timebomb awaiting me here in this machine.

For now, it's back to the research board. Searching for answers, solutions, any toe-hold I can find to resuscitate the damned, hairy ape.

Of course, I welcome any words of wisdom from anyone who's experienced a similar fate and give my gratitude in advance.

Either way, I still have to ask, "You're joking, right?"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts On : Weather, Routers, Haircuts and the Eighties, & the Joys of Autumn

What a glorious day. Well, glorious might be a tad strong a word - but it's pretty good, nonetheless. And leaps and bounds above this past Wednesday. Yikes.

Here in the northeast, the early part of this week was brutal, weather-wise. Low-to-mid 90s with about 70% humidity. Days you really long for cool October weather. The A/C was on in the apartment but not cranked up to 11, as it was the previous week. No particular reason, so I guess it's my own fault.

Adding insult to heat exhaustion, my wireless router finally crapped the sheets. I was ready to rail against the inadequacies of our modern products 'these days' but I realized that it had done its duty. It must've been four years old, at least. Wireless-B technology (and those of you with wireless know how out-of-date that is). I figure I paid about $150 for the router and adapter. That works out to about 10 cents a day over that time. I'll take that.

But, in any event, I wasn't very pleased with how the evening was going. Well, aside from the delicious meal I had at my favourite Mexican joint earlier... that's always good stuff. Ain't it, lads? You know who I'm talkin' to.

So, Thursday night I stopped and picked up a new MIMO technology router. Took about a half hour to install it. Presto! Back in bidness. And with security encryption, to boot - which I could never quite figure out with my old router.

Now, I'm hooked up again... and it's a refreshing 51 degrees. Hold on! That's ridiculous. It can't be. Sorry, 54 degrees - at least that's what the Weather Channel site says. Wow, that's phenomenal.

On top of that, I stopped to get my mop chopped on my way home from work. I love getting my hair cut. I swear, one of these days I'm going to fall asleep right in the chair. It's so relaxing. I'd pay 15 bucks to go in some place and just have my head massaged for 20 minutes. Love it.

Tonight was a nice treat, too. A lovely, young, cappuccino-skinned lass was at the helm. A nice added bonus.

Not sure if it was a radio station or piped-in music but about half-way through my cut, the song "One More Night" by Phil Collins came on. I immediately pictured myself in a scene from one of those fantastically cheezy Eighties movies with the awful music and entirely improbable scenes where things get exciting, if you know what I mean. It made me laugh to myself, anyway.

As if these simple pleasures weren't enough to enjoy, tonight was the first pre-season game for the Patriots. Not that I put any stock in the games, themselves - they're basically glorified practices - but it does mean that the NFL regular season (and Autumn in New England!) is just around the corner.

There's no better place to be at any time of the year than Autumn in New England. The weather is perfect. The scenery is beautiful. The Pats and Bruins seasons begin... fantastic. And on a related front, the new television series kick in. Although, that's true for anyone, everywhere in the States but it's still something I look forward to at this time of year.

This is also, typically, the season when I pay some attention to my floundering wardrobe and pick up some new duds. Some strange connection to my youth when Mom would take me 'back-to-school' shopping. I know this because I tend to buy new pens around this time - even if I don't need them.

There it is. A small collection of non-sequitors, conveniently packaged for your consumption. Until next time, Cheers.