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megpie71

September 2017

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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, August 5th, 2017 11:33 am
Short one this week. My main computer, Orac, is making hideous grinding noises each time I try to start him this morning (I suspect he needs to have his innards cleaned of any dust - a job I'd do myself if it weren't for the fact we don't have a fine enough Phillips head screwdriver in the house to be able to shift the screws of his casing). So I've put in requests with various tech groups to get the job done, and I'm waiting on one of them to get into contact with me. Which may, I suspect, not happen until Monday. (Minor update: Orac will be picked up by the nice person found through Nearby Nerds at around 12 - 12.30 today, and should be fixed up by Sunday. All to the good).

In the meantime I'm using my university notebook, Elfadunk. While Elfadunk is ideal for the things I purchased her for (taking notes, downloading university readings, being portable from home to uni and back again) she is less than ideal as a full-time machine. For one thing, she's only got a 32GB hard drive, which is mostly occupied at present with holding Windows 10 and MS Office, and can't handle much more than than that. While I can fit a semester's worth of notes and readings on her for two units, after the end of semester I have to clear things off to fit the next semester's batch of stuff on there.

So at present I'm letting Elfadunk fill in for Orac as much as she can (she is NOT a gaming machine in the least) while I wait for the nice young man who's going to fix up Orac to arrive.
megpie71: Cloud Strife says "Meep" (Excuse me sir)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 02:47 pm
Well, I have Orac back, with an OS reinstalled on him and all.

Problem is, while I asked for Windows 7 Home, what I got instead was Windows 10. Hoo-fscking-ray. So now I'm in the middle of reinstalling everything (at least I managed to get my Firefox bookmarks salvaged) and getting all my programs re-sorted and such. Have to re-download an email client (no, I don't want to be trying to use Outlook, thanks very much) as well as setting that up again.

All of this is complicated by the fact I've been suffering from the latest upper respiratory bastardry to be going through - it kicked in with a sore throat on Tuesday; I spent Wednesday being the snotmonster from forty thousand fathoms (or something close to it - going through an entire box of tissues in a single day is something of a nuisance); yesterday was spent in bed being feverish alternated with periods of attempting to cough up a lung; and today I've got the best bits of all three, plus sneezing. If you get a chance to pass on this thing, I'd strongly suggest doing so!

But at least I have Orac back, and I can download stuff and get things working and all the rest. It's better than nothing, even if I am going to probably spend the next few weeks re-installing things and doing the "download, install, restart, lather, rinse, repeat" polka. I'm looking forward to the fun of trying to get Steam to behave, since the re-install didn't wipe the existing partition with some of my Steam games in it, but did wipe out a lot of the others. So that's going to be more fun and games... quite literally. Plus, of course, I have my stuff that I'm supposed to be doing for uni (but which I've been disregarding due to lack of mental resource spoons - for some reason my brain does not wish to brain today).
megpie71: Slave computer, captioned "My most humble apologies, master" (computer troubles)
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 11:06 am
(aka I love it when my life goes right... which may be why this happens so very rarely).

My main laptop, fondly nicknamed Orac, has decided today it has aspirations toward being a boat anchor. It starts booting Windows 7, gets as far as loading avgidsha.sys, and then just stops dead. I am currently writing this on my backup machine, Elfadunk, which is the little laptop which I bought for uni purposes - it's barely got the grunt to handle Chrome as a browser, and definitely isn't up to the sort of load I usually put on a main machine.

A bit of googling determines this is a known error (damnit) and the wretched thing is a problem with the intersection between AVG antivirus and Windows 7 (and higher, it appears). Given I've been using AVG for years without issue, I'm just a tad irritated. Steve's busy attempting to fix Orac now using a couple of fixes found via the interwebs, and we'll see whether we can get Orac to actually boot and work properly. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to head out and clean out my bank account attempting to find myself another PC which will be a reasonable substitute.

Needless to say I'm just a little irritable about the whole mess. If nothing else, I'm going to have to try to re-create my entire bookmarks folder from Firefox via memory and guesswork (as well as trying to remember things like my actual ID for my.gov.au so I can report my employment income tomorrow... why do these things always happen at the most inconvenient time?). I swear, I get Orac booting again, and the first thing I'm going to be doing is transferring my bookmarks to a separate spreadsheet of their own, taking an HTML copy of the Firefox bookmarks file and stowing it on the terabyte drive, and keeping regular backups of same!

Grump!

(Updates as they occur. At present, we've managed to get Orac to "startup repair" mode, and we'll see whether this allows him to actually boot).

Update 11.54am: Steve's going to try making up a repair/reinstall disk to see whether we can get Orac to behave. Whatever happens, I'm going to be trying to find a different antivirus program. Any suggestions for free/cheap reputable antivirus gratefully accepted.

Update 1.22pm: Repair or reinstall disc failed. Called out Geek Mobile to get a backup, nuke and repave done on the OS. It's apparently going to cost me about $200, which seems a bit steep, but is about half the price of even the most basic new computer (well, aside from another Elfadunk equivalent). I have never been so glad I got into the awkward habit of keeping my files and documents stored on the terabyte backup drive, because at least I'm not going to lose any documents from this. Plus, of course, I keep the original download & install files for most of the software stored on the backup drive as well, so I can get the majority of my software reinstalled fairly easily. Still. Curse, swear, mumble.
megpie71: AC Cloud Strife looking toward camera in Sleeping Forest (WTF)
Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 08:35 am
We were in luck on Thursday, and managed to get hold of a repairman who came out and fixed all the various problems with our machine. Now, said machine is about 15 years old (I know we got it while we were living in Canbrrra, and brought it back with us when we moved back here) so I wasn't surprised that some of the problems turned out to be purely about age and wear.

So, the reason the machine was spraying water all over the floor was the water valve for the drum had a perished diaphragm. One replacement later, and I have a laundry floor which stays dry (although it still needs cleaning). The reason the drum wasn't turning was that the brushes on the motor which turned it had worn down to about 1/3 their original length. Replaced them, and the motor works fine. The other thing he fixed was the dodgy powder dispenser drawer, which had stopped working months ago. Turns out that one was because we'd inadvertently left one of the transit spacers for the machine (which are supposed to stop the drum from moving about too much while it's in transit for moves) in place after the last move, and that had been banging up against the edge of the tray, and snapped off a crucial little plastic dooverlacky that triggered the machine to recognise the powder drawer was shut or some such. So he replaced that with a bit of putty, and after we waited about 24 hours for it to cure properly (or in other words, no washing on Friday, what a pity, oh my) the whole thing appears to be working just fine.

So we're in a position to get another few years of use out of our fifteen year old machine, and we'll use that to save up a bit more money toward the cost of a new one.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (thunk)
Thursday, December 31st, 2015 08:31 am
My partner wound up with an unexpected windfall. He spoke about it too often where our appliances could hear him. The washing machine has now sprung a leak somewhere in its innards.

Which I wouldn't mind so much, except there's two and a half loads of washing left to go, and neither of them are large enough that I'd be willing to trust them to a laundromat machine. I can't call my mother and ask to use her machine, because hers just sprang a leak earlier this week, while I suspect my partner would have Views about me asking his mother whether it would be okay for us to run them through her machine (of the "oh gods, anything but that" variety).

Either way, the earliest we're going to be able to get the wretched thing repaired is some time next year...

(I told him he was talking about that windfall too loudly and too often!).
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (Head!Tardis)
Thursday, October 1st, 2015 04:30 pm
The bits of Twitter I follow have been exploding in about twenty-seven different directions regarding "Peeple for People".

This article pretty much sums up what it's all about:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/09/30/everyone-you-know-will-be-able-to-rate-you-on-the-terrifying-yelp-for-people-whether-you-want-them-to-or-not/

"Yelp for People" is pretty much the elevator pitch version of the idea. According to their FAQs, they largely envision it being used by folks to be all positive and caring and nice about people they know (in the same way Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are at present). Which, I think, says it all.

Essentially, this is how it would work - someone wants to 'review' you, and so long as they fulfil the conditions, they can do so. What kinds of conditions? They have to be over twenty-one, and have a Facebook account. They need to know your name, the city you live in, and your phone number (or know a phone number they can say is yours). Then they can create a profile for you, if you don't already have one, and publish 'reviews' of you. If someone posts a negative review of you, that review will get texted to your phone number (or to the phone number Peeple has for you) and the onus is on you to respond to that reviewer within forty-eight hours and see whether you can "change a negative to a positive".

(Those of you who are busy attempting to beat yourselves unconscious by head!desk-ing, I sympathise.)

What possible problems could there be? Well, let's start with the idea that *there are more checks on, and privacy for, the person who is leaving the rating* than there are for *the person who is being rated*. From the way I understand things, if I had an iPhone, a Facebook account which said I was over twenty-one, and a plausible mobile phone number, I could conceivably create a Peeple profile for Santa Claus. (I'd love to see whether one of the "thousands" of beta testers they're bragging of actually does this, by the bye. Bonus points if the profile is created by the Easter Bunny). Let's continue with this: once you have had a profile created for you on Peeple, you can't get it deleted - they're thinking about adding this feature in future. They don't have a privacy policy up as yet (that's coming once they release the app). Once your profile is authenticated, app users are able to see both positive and negative reviews for you, and you have no way of removing that profile.

Even getting off the internet altogether won't protect you from these negative reviews.

(Meanwhile, the people behind the app started the day with a locked Twitter account - which they've since unlocked to a degree; have taken steps toward getting a parody account mocking them on Twitter deleted; and are said to be deleting non-positive comments on their Facebook accounts. Nice for some, clearly.)

The system as it is described at present is wide open to abuse by stalkers, abusers, online hate mobs or just people who are feeling malicious on a particular day. It's all the worst possible social aspects of high school, pulled onto the internet and made international.

You can read their version of the story here:

http://forthepeeple.com/#story
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 04:47 pm
... and it appears my ISP loves fsckin' me, too.

Our (phone and) internet connection went out on Thursday afternoon (around 12 noon to 1pm). Given our nyetwork at home tends to be somewhat picky about matters of temperature, and also given Thursday was a fairly sultry and humid day, I figured the most likely problem was that one out of the modem or the router had decided to throw up their little hands in horror at the heat, and collapse. It's happened before, and Himself keeps them in a cupboard without much air circulation in the hottest room in the house (his bedroom). So I opened the cupboard, and being unable to reach the silly things (they're up on a shelf) I decided to wait for Himself to get home.

Once he got home, he did a few diagnostics, determined the problem wasn't with the router or the modem, and also determined (by the highly technical expedient of picking up the phone) that we didn't have a dial tone. So, pick up the phone and call up our ISP.

We're using iinet in WA. Just so's people know.

Saga below the fold ) we now have temporary internets.

And himself is no longer twitching and shaking... as much. The connection is via Orac, so he has to figure out a way of getting Orac and his PC to talk to one another (and share the internet connection nicely).  But that's minor stuff.

I have no fewer than four copies of the iinet technical support customer satisfaction survey in my inbox (I'm tempted to forward them on to Himself so he can have the joy of replying to them). 

Oh, and I've worked out an update for that lovely quote by Susan Ertz: "Millions long for immortality who don't know how to cope with an internet outage."

megpie71: a phone, ringing. (anyone home?)
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 08:47 pm
Just a quick update: I'm moving house tomorrow, and we may not have internet at the new place for another 2 - 3 weeks after that (why it might take 2 - 3 weeks to update some switches and hubs is beyond me; presumably the network admin at the ISP is a busy bunny and can't spare the Copious Free Time to add new users). So, if you don't hear from me, that's why.
megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (confirmed)
Friday, June 29th, 2012 06:13 pm
I can see I'm going to need to clear things out a bit more often.

I've just done a bit of a sort through of my various "PC media" storage boxes. What I discovered would probably be invaluable to any electronic archivist, or archaeologist of late 1990s PC miscellanea. The total included:

* Two plastic bags worth of PC magazine discs[1], dating back at least 10 years or so.
* Various install CDs for outdated versions of Linux
* Two Australian phonediscs (phonebook on disc), probably from the late 1990s.
* Various MS software designed for Windows 3.11 (Encarta 95, MS Ancient Lands, and the tragically misnamed MS Works).
* Game CDs for games which came with my first personal PC (bought back in 1995 - these are games which were designed to run on Windows 3.11) as well as games purchased subsequently. Some of them are compilation CDs of multiple games from back in the bad old days of 5.25" floppy disks - thousands of games on the one CD because they were designed to fit into Kb of memory, not Mb.
* Manuals for most of these game CDs.
* Driver CDs for hardware which is now obsolete (or at least no longer in my posession).
* Demos of games which never made it to mass market (or if they did, bombed badly).

As I say, a digital archaeologist, electronic archivist, or computing historian may be able to make some use of these. I'm going to see which of the games I can get to run on the current PC, which ones the antivirus rejects as malware (for some reason, AVG doesn't like certain bits of the Sims 2, and it also pings up Settlers IV as malware as well), which ones aren't worth the disk space (probably most of them) and which ones still interest me after all these years.

The rest... well, the rest I'll probably bin. If there are any archaeologists, archivists, or historians who are interested in this stuff, do let me know.

Footnotes below fold )
megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (confirmed)
Saturday, May 5th, 2012 12:57 pm
Oh internet, great font of knowledge, aid me in my search for enlightenment on this subject: I wish to be able to organise and back up my bookmarks in Firefox, and also use them as a map to interesting little corners of the 'net (where "interesting" is defined as "deemed interesting by me, rather than by a social network").

Trigger: Losing 6 - 8 years worth of bookmarks in one hit due to a computer meltdown on Wednesday night. I'm busy re-creating them as I go, but I want to be able to organise them too.

What I'm using at present: At the moment, I'm using the all-in-one sidebar in Firefox, which tends to sit open to my bookmarks (a feature of Internet Explorer's that I liked and adopted). I have some bookmarks sitting loose, but the majority of them are in folders. The folders at present are all loose in the top level of the bookmarks hierarchy, but I know me, and I know eventually they will be nested. Probably anything up to six layers deep in some cases. (Finding individual bookmarks started getting slightly trying at that point, but by then it was too late to do anything about it.)

I'm also starting to use the "tags" feature of Firefox bookmarks, because I think they'll wind up helpful as a searching aid. (I have the tag searching add-on downloaded and waiting on a restart to get going).

What I Want:

* I'd like to be able to limit certain tags to a certain folder, rather than having all the tags in the wider cloud. For example, I have a folder called "Fanfiction" - I'd like to be able to have tags for specific authors, characters, fandoms and so on limited to that particular folder, rather than having to wade through them to tag something which isn't fanfiction related.
* I'd like to be able to back all of this up on a regular basis to my 1TB expansion drive, rather than having it on my computer's hard disk drive (since this is what killed my last lot of bookmarks). At present, my plans for this involve mumbling through Firefox's settings to find out where it stores this data, and manually making a copy once a month or thereabouts (ditto with my email archives - guess what else I lost in the crash), but I'd love to know whether there's something I could use to automate the process.

What I Don't Want:

* Offline backups accessed over the internet. Call me picky, but I really don't trust cloud computing at this stage - there's too many ways for my data to go walkabout.
* Having to keep at least one tab of my browser constantly reserved for bookmarks - I have the sidebar because I like being able to see them all, right there, when I want to go looking.
* Anything which tempts my tendency to fiddle with things to the detriment of actually doing anything useful (such as Pearltrees - seriously, I took one look at the description of that particular plugin, and knew it would eat not only one day but dozens of them).
* Anything which requires me to be constantly signing in somewhere else in order to access my bookmarks.
* Anything which requires a duplication of effort (i.e. I create the bookmark in Firefox, and then I have to create it again somewhere else). I want to click once to create a new bookmark (and ideally speaking, I'd love to have the option to tag things as part of the bookmarking process, rather than having to go back and alter the bookmark's properties to add them).

So, if anyone can help - either by letting me know whether this sort of thing already exists; letting me know I'm asking for the moon and a pony (or in other words, "not happening; can't happen!" stuff); offering possibilities for places to look for information, either as direct links or search terms; or failing all that, commiseration will be appreciated too.
megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
Friday, May 4th, 2012 09:45 am
I want my "My recent Documents" menu back. It was right there on the start menu in WinXP, so I could be working on a document hidden about six layers deep in the directory structure, and go straight back to it. No need to create shortcuts on the desktop, no need to have multiple copies for ease of access - just click on a link in a menu, and back I went to the document I was working on yesterday (provided, of course, that I hadn't done something daft like clearing out the menus).

Windows 7 doesn't appear to have that. So in order to get back to the stuff I'm working on, I have to chase them through the directory system every single fscking time. Instead of just having the "My Documents" folder sitting open to the top level so I can look just about anywhere in my rather convoluted hierarchy of things and bits and pieces, I have to damn well be paging back and forward and round about in circles. It's irritating.

I want my "My Recent Documents" menu option back. Very much.

I'd also like to be able to have the icons on the desktop a little smaller, since they're currently bloody huge. 7 icons to the short side of the screen? Really, Microsoft? This is with things at their smallest resolution, too. Not fun. I don't WANT my desktop covered over with cutesy little pictures of shortcuts to every single damn thing. Seriously, each of those shortcuts is approximately 4 times the size of the XP version; on a screen with better technology than the previous laptop, and with a much better graphics card, why am I suddenly looking at the Large Print edition of Windows?

Actually, comes to that, with a better processor, a better graphics card, and a whole heap of newer hardware, why am I suddenly looking a drastically less screen real estate in the first flippin' place? I want to be able to read PDF files, thanks, without having to print the fsckers out at great expense. This means I don't want to have to be constantly scrolling back and forth and hither and yon in order to view the top and the bottom of each column. Seriously, things keep up at this rate, I'm going to be buying another monitor just so I can have it in portrait orientation to read documents on.

I want Windows XP back. Windows 7 sucks.