Thursday, March 31, 2005

BerthaWindows, lovely Windows, sometimes I think you're a dream, when we work out what you have to do, you can always turn the goods out, always turn the goods out, we can depend upon you.

[With apologies to Bertha. Get the theme tune here].

Oh damn, now I'm too happy to rant about Miserysoft Windows Critical Updates.

[A short while later]

Sodding Windows. Firstly the Windows Update informed me I have umpteen files to download. This being done pre-replacement-router meant that I had to download them individually as the router would conk out too quickly for all of them to get through in one go. Which the website really didn't like doing. In fairness it could have been IE having the fits, but as that's Microsoft as well, it doesn't get them out of the blame. Strangely trying to access the windows update site when using Firefox leads to a distinctly bugger-off-ish message. Why ever could that be?

So I couple of aeons later, and I've got critical updates installed, even if the site got very upset when I repeatedly said I didn't need the fix for Outlook (due to having uninstalled it years ago). The computer runs, but it seems to be having problems loading anything: there's a delay to every command, and the screen gives the impression that the entire system is about to keel over. But it doesn't (mostly).

Concerned about what causes this delay, and random acts of chuntering, I use Alt Control Delete to find out what's running. It's the usual, including the Quicktime lurkers which are always dead on arrival. Plus some odd file called Kb891711. Uh oh. Unknown file with meaningless name, plus odd computer behaviour, plus not quite good enough security which I really ought to do something about, equals awooga! awooga! awooga! Oh bugger. A furtive end task wipes it out with far too much ease. Curious...

So curious in fact that I forget about it for a couple of days. The odd behaviour persists. Maybe I just need to defrag. Which of course means nothing gets done.

So to today. The computer has a minor wobble, Firefox folds. Drat, it's not done that since getting the new version. Oh well. I click the Firefox icon, expecting the Mozilla feedback thing to pop up and merrily entertain itself. But no, instead I get the Blue Screen of Death and a fatal error 6 (since when did it number them?) at lots of noughts-35D. Pressing the Any key (between Page Up and Num Lock) clears it, but there's no Firefox, and no feedback thing. Again I summon Firefox. Again BSOD. Oh dear. I try Thunderbird, and again get the same response. I try Internet Explorer. It loads. Hurrah! It tries to connect to the internet and bluescreens at me. Very not good.

I restart the thing. Firefox works. I look up Kb891711. Apparently it's a Windows Update file, and has been causing all sorts of problems. Firefox vanishes. All replacements bluescreen. Not again. Fortunately I remember part of one of the remedies, and so have to seek out msconfig and deselect Kb891711. Now to find msconfig. As it was quite a techy board, I guess that it'll pop up if I stick it in Run (damn handy contraption that Run, allowing one to access all the old bits of Windows which one is not supposed to touch, but which are the only way of controlling some parts of Windows. Winfile is particularly useful for undoing file-type programme mismatches (you know, those nice things where it opens mp3s with Publisher). But I'm odd, as I expect a file renamed xyz.txt from xyz.htm to become xyz.txt and not, as Windows has it, xyz.txt.htm, even if it refuses to show .htm and merely has that depicted by the icon and file description. Part of me still defaults to 8.3 format file names). Run runs msconfig. The final tab has Kb891711 listed. I untick it, and click apply. Firefox still won't work.

I restart the computer. Firefox runs, Thunderbird runs, heck even IE runs. Alt Ctrl Del shows no sign of Kb891711. Huzzah!

But what was it doing? After all it's got to be in the Critical Updates for a reason, hasn't it? Returning to the website I found the remedy on, I find a lot of conflicting advice, until that is, I find a transcript of someone talking to Microsoft [reply 60]. Apparently Kb891711 is not needed on Windows 98. Yes, this is despite the Updates website insisting it is needed. Right...

So it remains unchecked, but not as yet uninstalled.

So that was fun.

[And I've just noticed the boards are for Windows ME or 95, even though half the discussion is about 98. The people who run the boards must love Google ignoring index pages and just jumping straight in].

Oh dear. What is the etiquette when one runs across one's brother on an internet message board (No, not a Windows one)? Retreat quickly and quietly, and hope he doesn't notice? Or at least that's my plan.

Possibly he's the only person who could get away with "woo etc."

He's written about me! In passing, and in a completely unlikely-to-inspire-further-questioning way.

Oddly he sounds like him and me at the same time.

Hmm, reading his posts without the surrounding messages can prove interesting. I really ought to stop being nosy about what my brother wrote several years ago. But then he just mentioned me again, so perhaps few more.

This really is an oh dear: he's like me but better. I wonder if he has a blog? It'd be very good.

Oh, and (very, very unrelated) did I randomly mention London Dan in the middle of a recent post? I was going to mention him, and stuck his name in as a reminder, and then last night realised I'd forgotten to say anything, and I'm not sure if I deleted the reminder. Hey-ho.

So London Dan: good blog, written by someone who probably isn't speaking to me after I corrected him on something. It was an up-river, down-river thing, about the Thames, and he went up to Greenwich from the Strand. Only I'm slightly sensitive about this, having had a long running argument with an American who had read in a book about someone travelling up from Hampton Court to Westminster. She seemed to think the Thames drains out through the Severn estuary. Look, if I know which way the Hudson flows, why can't she get it right for the Thames? But then I have also read (ok, read the first chapter and a half and then flung it away in disgust because it was so poor on every level) a book where someone travels down the Thames from Greenwich to Southwark. Whilst it was about mediaeval monks solving murders on the southbank (because as we know, that's all mediaeval monks ever did), it was written by someone who was born in Virginia, was currently residing in North Carolina, and had apparently never left the States.

So as a simple guide for all aspiring novelists, and the people who might read them: West up, east down (mostly). I know it's tidal and can appear to be flowing the other way, but on average east is down and out.

Anyway, go and visit Dan. Not least because he links New (sub)Urbanism and Urban Cartography, which therefore makes him interesting in my City-Comforts-reading book (and no, I haven't bought the book yet, and yes I ought to).

He's also reminded I've still got two Easter eggs to get through.



Thanks for the link :)

I think I use up and down interchangably based on where I consider myself to be based at any time. With something like the Thames I think I would use up to mean any direction away from where I live (so I could go up the Thames by going either East or West), but if I was away from where I live (say in Greenwhich or Richmond), I think I would say anything back towards where I lived was down.

When it comes to North and South, I will always use up and down respectively, but I know people who say 'down' to reference somewhere which is North of them. It all gets very confusing sometimes!
Alex said...

This is an interesting blog you have. I'm going to bookmark you and come back, because I'm actually searching for information on how to shoot and edit videos. I've found this site digital video editing [link removed] where they have a great video course on DVD's, but it's a little too expensive for me


March 15, 2006 3:12 PM
Which was very nice of Alex, wasn't it? Strange that he chose to add it to a post which is a year old, but hey, numbers confuse some people.

And what was that interesting link? A site (which makes heavy use of font emphasis) encouraging people to make millions through producing instructional DVDs and then trying to sell them a set of DVDs on how to make a DVD.

How long before we see people selling books on writing self help books, or advice networks for running pyramid schemes?


PS. Love the suggestion that it's overpriced; real gen-u-ine punter thought there.

PPS. Blogger doesn't allow [font color] or [u] tags to be used, so you'll have to imagine the full glory of the sales text.
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