News of the Weird–Compgeeky Version

Well, not so much “news” as just a weird lil collection of personal compgeeky events. You have been warned.

ISP sent someone by to check my service outages/slowdowns. I offered to hand the guy a script, since he was new to the area (the regular tech who lives in the area was also in the neighborhood and I visited with him earlier). He gave me a “Huh-what?!?” kind of look. I then explained to him exactly what he would find with his test equipment. What he would find the current state of my connection to be–if it hadn’t already taken one of its sporadic nosedives–and what he would tell me when he was finished.

He gave me another look, then proceeded to directly verify everything I had already told him. He even did as others have done and escalated the situation to his supervisor and was told what I already knew he would be told.

“We’re working on it.”

Yeh. Since July.

I’ll just hand the script to the next guy. *heh*

Now, if that weren’t weird enough (it sure was for the poor tech. He seemed to wonder if perhaps I were psychic or something. *heh*), how about the little issue I had the other day patching MS XML 4.0 (needed because I–reluctantly–installed M$Office 2003). M$ Updates couldn’t see that I needed it, although Belarc Advisor and Secunia PSI both flagged the version that came with the software–and the version that was in place after ALL M$ Update patches to M$Office had been applied–as needing a specific patch. So, I tracked down the file that was necessary to effect the patch and downloaded it.

It refused to install. Bogged down unpacking the compressed install file.

*feh* M$.

Used 7Zip to unpack the thing and it installed just fine. Why the M$ exe couldn’t unpack–completely bogged–makes no sense, but having 7Zip around sure proves handy. (BTW, I never use Windows 7’s built-in compressed file viewer. Too inelegant and missing too many features. YMMV)

And then Thunderbird refused to start. Now, I run Thunderbird Portable off a flash drive. All my archived email in one handy folder, easy to back up by simply dragging the folder from the flash drive to an external hard drive. Can carry it around with me and access my email–with full archives–from any computer with USB ports enabled, which includes our local library.


But after a reboot (following the M$ XML 4.0 install, but that likely had no connection), invoking thunderbird.exe wouldn’t start the app.


Oh, me oh, my. What to do?

Simple. Reinstall the lil Thunderbird Portable app. The installation routine is very well-mannered and retained all my mail archives and customizations.

Then there was that strange little graphic artifact that appeared in the smack dab middle of my Win7 desktop the other day. Nothing I did seemed to affect it. All running processes were known to me. Multi-scans of the computer by installed and web services found no issues. Yet the artifact remained… until I rebooted. Computer was operating normally throughout. Logs on the router firewall noted no unusual traffic during the time it was present. Just a lil green box that went away on reboot. Sort of reminded me of,

Yesterday upon the stair
I saw a man who was not there
I saw him there again today
Oh my, I wish he’d go away

Gotta love Windows. *heh*

9 Replies to “News of the Weird–Compgeeky Version”

  1. How apt, AG. *heh* But of course, that’s one of the really appealing things about most Linux desktop distros: ease of updates… and ease of repair. (Just booting to an earlier kernel when things go south is an option most offer nowadays from an easy-peasy boot menu. With Windows? Man! It’s still a pain to restore an unbootable Win install to a working condition. Gotta love it though, since it brings in calls. *heh*) And yes, I have noticed over the years the tendency to find most compgeeky weirdness in Win comps.

    I’ve not yet updated the latest Mint, running in VM, to 9.10. Actually waiting on the Minty-green guys to get the RC unkinked. Other Linux comps here at twc central don’t run versions of Ubuntu, so that’s not an issue elsewhere on site. Of course, I still have a bootable 486 that runs Win 3.11 on top of PCDOS, but that’s just cos. Cos? Cos I stripped the old 286 running Win 3.1 on top of Novell DOS down to components many years ago, and I wanted to keep at least one DOS computer around just cos. *heh* (Earlier comps sadly didn’t survive even to the degree that the 286 did. Trash-80, I hardly knew ye, for ex.)

    BTW, running T-Bird from a flash drive means that any compy here at twc central–including any running a Linux desktop or PCBSD, cos I always put WINE on ’em–can use the same email client, Thunderbird, and share the same email archive, preferences, settings, etc. Well, except for the old 486 which doesn’t even have USB.

  2. I wish I’d kept an old Windows 3.11 running on DOS computer around… I have some old games that I wanted to go back and play a while back, and they won’t run on Windows XP or later – because DOS isn’t there.

    1. FreeDOS. Or just find an old compy and install a copy of DOS you have hanging around somewhere. Heck, I ran across some old disks for Novell DOS (the box might still even have the old Novell networking stacks) and the last PC-DOS the other day. They might still be good… And I’m sure I have a copy of one of the MS-DOS 5 (OK) or 6 (slightly “OK-er”) disks (yeh, on one 3.5″ floppy? *sheesh*) I might even have an old PC-DOS 3.3 or MS-DOS 4 disk somewhere, but I’d DEFINITELY skip the DOS 4. A crappy DOS if there ever was one. *heh*

      I’ve not been able to get the old 486 networked with a modern network. Have an old ISA 10mb card and Win 3.11 for Workgroups installed, but talking on the network or accessing internet (with an old copy of Opera or with Netscape Navigator or Internet Exploder 3 (3?)) just ain’t a-happening. *sigh* IF I still had dialup, I could at least access the internet, as I used to from that machine, but why would I want to?

      I have used LILO to load a command line copy of Linux (an early SUSE, IIRC, but coulda been Red Hat) on the 486 in the dim dark past, but I never did much with it. Anywho, it still works with the KROZ games. πŸ™‚

      I did write a lot of music on that machine. Notsomuch since then.

  3. It was my second computer. I sold my Timex Sinclair 1000 to buy it along with some birthday cash. Toys R Us if I recall… funny eh?

    Hours typing in Basic programs out of magazines, and saving them to casette tapes. I still have the tapes and magazines too. (-;

    I’ll have to drag that out this winter and goof around for awhile. Maybe I’ll blog about it. Post some YouTube videos even.

    1. I still have some programs and data on cassette tape, myself… and nothing to read ’em on. For an early Trash-80, though. Had another with 2–count em 2!!!–360KB FDDs. Wow, could that thing do Visicalc or what? πŸ˜‰

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