Computer Guy – Again

Many of you may not recall my post about my ongoing battles with our home automation applicances (f-ing computers).  Before you move on you might want to check it out here.

So the ongoing drama is that my Daughter Unit The Second has managed to solve her issues on the laptop we sent her.  Turns out it was HP’s fault for sending out a bad update.  For the record, I’d figured that out myself before the computer nerd in CA fixed it, but there are some things I can’t do at a range of 1200 miles.  Personally, I count that as a WIN because if the laptop was here, I’d have fixed it.

The latest victory I’ve managed to rack up is over our office machine situation in general.  The thing is this: we have a Dell, which is a desktop (yeah they do still make them) we bought in 2001.  Believe it or not, it still worked up until three months ago.  At that time, it needed a restart for an XP update.  Running the restart process yielded nothing – no restart.  So punching the actual power button, I got an ungodly screeching that to my somewhat-trained ear sounded like the read-write head diving into the system hard drive surface.  Awesome.  Truly… f-ing… awesome.

Now of course nothing I do involving computers ever works out to be simple.  Call it karma for past misdeeds, perhaps blind stupidity, or perhaps over-reliance in my own ability or unfounded self-confidence.  Not that any of that is relevant, because for the past three months a replacement system managed to kick my sorry ass completely.  Up one office wall and down the other.

The bright idea I had was to use the old Vaio, which has a defunct LCD.  It can display for about ten minutes and then go black.  I got a cheap flat panel and was – I thought – in business.  The only problem here, you ask?  I’d put a Linux system on it to play with in my 40 seconds of spare time each day.  Overall, Linux is a good, sound OS to use with lots of free shit.  Downside was, it wouldn’t support our printer when printing from the other laptops in the house over the wireless, and totally sucked at acting as a network printer server.  Complete system mismatch.  So the task at hand was to reimage the system under something with Windows.  Much easier said than done, but some action was required or I’d be answering the question, “Can I print yet?” with the wrong answer until… well until I got off my ass and de-f’d it.

I’ll avoid the gritty, heart-wrenching, ass-twisting details of the drama.  This was more than a mere digital battle – it was a campaign if not a war. Suffice it to say that overwriting Linux can be problematic because it partitions the system drive … differently.  So can attempting to use a laptop screen good for ten minutes of use when the install takes an hour to complete.  To be honest, after these three months or so I can only say that the digital gods took laughing pity on my sorry ass and kindly allowed my seemingly-futile efforts to go forward after close to 20 attempts. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, I’m persistent. Like mildew. We are now digging Windows 7 in our office.  I hesitate to categorize this as a win, draw or loss.  I accomplished what I set out to do, but in retrospect the victory seems somewhat pyrrhic (look that shit up!).

End result?  I call it a WIN, but a qualified win. I can answer, “Yes, dear,” now, but somehow the printer software won’t load. I am guessing some esoteric software issue. The good news is: “Houston, we have printing.” The qualifier is, “Scanning? Uhm…” I figure in a few more months I’ll lick this issue and get another blog out of it.

I love being me sometimes.

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33 Responses to “Computer Guy – Again”

  1. Linux is the one who always carried his blanket with him, right?

    G’head and groan. I earned it.

  2. The Elite of Just Alright Says:

    My computer scares me sometime. Yesterday, when I shut it down, it flashed me a message saying “Shutting down–Sad :(” and I was like Whoaa, Wtf?

  3. I understood maybe three words of this post, that’s how clueless I am about computers. In fact, my computer crashes so often that I set my password as the first name of the guy who fixes it for me. Somehow it always locks up on “Busty Asian Beauty” porn sites, for reasons that the three teenage boys who live in my house know nothing about.

    But at least I know what a Pyrric Victory is (For once I didn’t have to look something on your blog up!)

  4. Yes, I seem to have issues with my computer too, although it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m screwing around on it when I’m drinking whiskey… I tend to hit extra buttons then.

  5. John Erickson Says:

    Two things. You need a spare hard drive, rescued from a dead computer or bought from a resale store. Load it with a solid copy of your operating system (Windows, Linux, FORTRAN, whatever blows your digital skirt up) and lock it inside a static-proof envelope in a cool, dry place. And you need a gimmick that allows you to hook that hard drive into your serial or USB port. (I can find the details if you want.) It’s basically a frame with the cords. You plug your “backup” hard drive into it, and it allows you to boot your computer and load a good operating system. They’re not too pricey, around $50 if I remember right, from Amazon.
    And never, NEVER ask for nude pics of me. I don’t want to wind up in the Hague for “crimes against humanity”. 😉

    • I get it, and I back my shit up, but the ‘mistake’ was going from one OS to another, so there were mismatching partitions, boot data, and other wacky shit.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Then you do something that I am strongly considering here – get two hard drives for INSIDE the unit, one with the boot and OS, the other with your data. That way when the boot drive fails for whatever reason (including stupid user tricks 😉 ), your data is intact.
        If the repair guy who is currently trying to recover the laptop’s drive succeeds, that’s the next project for this Frankenstein desktop – right after the sound card!

      • John Erickson Says:

        Dude, I mean absolutely no offence by this, but I’m more willing to believe we’ll never have a December high temp below 80 degrees. Remember, all computers are fitted with a crisis detector, and will increase their failures EXPONENTIALLY when they detect you’re having a crisis!
        There’s only one way to guarantee computer operation – a sledgehammer. Remember, “no function” is a subset of computer operation. 😉

  6. Credits for children…

    […]Computer Guy – Again « BrainRants[…]…

  7. computer repair…

    […]Computer Guy – Again « BrainRants[…]…

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