Wednesday, August 09, 2006

IMG_1270What's it say about my life that coming home and installing a DVD rewriter, using that to clear disk space and then upgrading both Windows and Office seems like, if not fun, then at least more pleasurable than the alternatives?

And what's it say about me that the front and side of my very dusty computer are still missing?

I still can't believe how disconcertingly easy it was to stick the drive in. Someone could have told me; I've been putting it off for years.

Of course, having put a second DVD drive in now makes the old one sulk (ok, it could be the endless Not-98 problems which afflict half the programmes), which made me just a little worried when one of the new DVDs which came with it (er, by which I mean that while I was spending money with Amazon I might as well...*) became horribly pixellated, and the soundtrack was riven with glottalstops and pops, which made the language only decipherable by subtitles, although a script littered with words like 'jejune' and 'pullulating' scarcely helped.

So how did I fix this? By giving up on the assorted specific DVD frontends and using Real Player instead. It feels like cheating somehow. And it has a dreadful interface. Yet it plays without edit.

So what else has irked, other than beatbopping players? Clicking "Install XP" and then remembering all the features of XP which I don't like about it. This whole dynamic taskbar thing for example. Nothing is ever where you left it, as the windows cluster and rearrange to suit some inner Windows logic. It's like living with a toddler, who thinks it's fun to move things.

The inability of Alt Ctrl Del to actually do anything. To me (and my previous version of Windows) it means stop pretty much everything. To Windows XP it means bring up a menu while letting everything carry on, thus allowing the menu to be overwhelmed by the same problems as are already slaying the system.

The immense wonder that is Windows informing that the entirely of drive C: is system files and thus should not be touched. So where am I supposed to save things? Oh, in My Documents (guess who never trusted that in 98, sticking to conventions I'd used in 3.1, hence folders like the underused C:\_Work. And where do I keep my music? In C:\_Misc\Music of course, although now it's mostly on E:\). And where is My Documents? On the Desktop. Which is where? On the Desktop. What you mean; there's a weird cloud of ether just next to my hard disk which I can save stuff on? So why can't I just save everything in the ether? That way I don't need to buy a hard disk. Gosh, those people at Microsoft are really clever.

And I know all this is just a few years late, but I thought I should probably join that late nineties while I could still do it [relatively] cheaply and legally (more fool me for doing it legally, but I wanted to have someone other than me I could blame when it goes wrong). Even if I did end up buying a version that tried to turn my computer into an SQL server. Which as there's problems in something PHP-based that I'm responsible for, yet have been ignoring for near enough six months...

I must say, it does inspire confidence that the first, and thus most important, feature Windows advertises as it installs itself is something ending "and appealing colors [sic]".

The magnificent ability of Windows to self-replicate is nearly as inspiring. Not only do most menus now feature items Name and Name (1), but some even include Name (2). Plus Windows has driven itself mad by repeating loading autohide bars, and thus flings out sulking insults for every repetition.

Sorry this probably sounds a bit narky, but having Windows play music at me in the middle of night until I woke isn't fun. Neither is the way that irritating startup resource conflict has come back with a vengeance (usually it disappears after a proper crash). And leaving the side off when installing overnight onto a very noisy harddisk probably wasn't a good idea. Should I be concerned that my video card apparently is not compatible? Except the graphics card still works, and the display still seems to work, so I don't actually know what's not working, other than this thing with the yellow warning icon. It's quite bad that Windows can make me this ill-informed and - nonchalant is the wrong word - beyond caring.

Maybe I should actually remember to eat at some point.

* I swear there's a DVD cartel. The day Amazon prices go up, prices do, as do those every other cheap online retailer, and the High Street ones (HMV and Virgin both removed the DVD I was dallying about from the Sale section, with the HMV price doubling, and Virgin matching Amazon's £5 increase. Fortunately I managed to find one still Sale stickered copy wrongly filed in an overlooked HMV off Covent Garden [with stairs and everything: how novel], along with a full priced version so I could check it was only the sticker which made the difference). But as I just realised I paid about the same for 663 minutes of DVD as I did for my earliest DVDs, it probably is a better deal than I think it is. Still shouldn't have spent the money though.

Anyway, have you guessed what the dejejune DVD is yet? I bought a couple more as well; one is as civil as an orange and the other... hasn't arrived yet because it's via Amazon Jersey (ignoring that Jersey's nearer here than the Inverclyde return address on the other package), and the only quote I can think of gives it away instantly. Actually I think one four letter word could. But it's the most recent of any of my DVDs and was in cinemas not that long ago, and thus at £7, it's more expensive than it'll be in the future (how frustrating is it to wander round seeing once expensive films I already own for £3.99?), but then I very nearly bought it the moment it hit DVD.

But enough of films and spending money. In case you hadn't noticed yet, there's some more stuff on Flickr (as there has been for over a week), and some of it I quite like. It includes pictures of Deptford Lifting Bridge, whose name I learnt from another visit to the RA's Summer Exhibition (if you still haven't gone, go. It finishes on the 20th. If you're in London and would like to go for free, email to negotiate), where I noticed yet more. And going after dark definitely changes the mood and effectiveness of the some of the works.

Looking up DLB, and it turns out the art's not so recent. Number 197 in the Large Weston Room, although at £180 plus 30% RA commission it'll be cheaper to buy online. And while in that room, keep an eye out for the high-mounted version of New York, which isn't quite New York. Other thumbnail dents in the margin include my brother's birthday card Colour Sudoku and a tree as envisaged by Marks Barfield and XCO2 [The Beacon].

And I still haven't managed to go round it all (although taking someone knew each time does mean the first rooms get seen a lot, and the Weston Rooms are an exhibition on their own).

While I'm and-another-thing-ing, there's a few blogs I've been meaning to sidebar (and few I ought weed out of the sidebar, but I'm not good with ditching people).
- The superb, if highly infrequent (damn these people who have better things to do with their lives), Do Buddhists Watch Telly?, which usually takes an enlighteningly aesthetic approach.
- Another somewhere in the realm of the erudite blog, this time with comprehensible derivatives (although I must actually read and learn them all), by Matt Walky Talky. The observant might note that both these linger on the sidebars of several others, so there is an air of tautology to it, but most of the decent blogs are found through following the recommendations of other decent bloggers, said he in best non-decent my-sentence-doth-runneth-over style (with one too many -ths?).
- The decidedly curious blog of the Flickring not-our-man-in-Hanover, because he's not in Hanover, and we've already got one and a half German correspondents. Anyway, MQ's Views, illustrate (albeit a bit erratically) yet another variant of manner of life. He also deserves praise for one the most distracting titles of late: Safely arrived in Ouagadougou. He hadn't.

And those were nowhere near effusive enough, yet I'm tired and waning, and trying to remember if I installed various things.

Love or what you will.


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