fivemack: (Default)
Under appropriate circumstances, it is possible to feel stress in your shoulders.

I am wondering at what point it makes sense to curse very loudly, purchase a generic Windows-running PC from WoC, and send this perfectly respectable computer, with six years of service behind it, to Cambridge Computer Recycling where it will be examined, declared too weird for resale (it has Rambus memory and a 478-pin-to-423-pin adaptor hosting a 2.3GHz Pentium 4 - you may not remember that they made 2.3GHz Pentium 4s; AGP graphics, PATA hard discs, and a floppy drive with a label 'tested OK 23/9/1997' on it), and thrown away as good for nothing.

You would naively suppose that installing Windows XP onto a computer which has in the past run Windows XP, and which until you started the installation was happily running SuSE 10.1, would not be a hard job. I've spent six hours at it so far, I've removed, twiddled, checked jumpers and reinserted all the hardware on the system, but whatever I do, and whichever of the hard discs I have around I use, the best case is that Windows Setup spends half an hour formatting the disc before declaring that the disc cannot be formatted and stopping. The normal case is that it fails to recognise the existence of either CD-ROM drive. No smoke has come out, yet, which is better than the computer I bought at the start of this year.

I suspect it's something to do with masters and slaves on IDE channels. Or, I suppose, it's conceivable that both hard discs are broken. I sit. I sip cocoa, I plan an early night. Unfortunately, my current reading is the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever, which is not as purely calming as something with more cuddly pandas and fewer self-destructive depressed lepers would be.

Update: As always, I spoke too soon; having run out of things to try, the final thing I tried actually worked. The machine runs Windows XP, connects to the wireless network (note: ensure you have typed in MAC addresses correctly when adding to the allow-from-only-these list), plays DVDs (thanks to VLC), and is in fact a reasonable form of the birthday present that I'd tried to give to my youngest brother back in July. My shoulders feel less spiky already, and it's only, umm, four hours since I started this time, and I only wasted a couple of hours back in August.

Downloading security update KB873339 (1 of 86) - and it was a WinXP SP2 install disc!
fivemack: (Default)
Kittens.

They're very fluffy.

They gambol in a tranquil fashion.

They will relax my brain.

Which is in sore need of being relaxed, since today I was collected at 10am by a Man with a Van to collect all my possessions from Cheltenham. We got in the van, and proceeded down to just before Royston. At which point a car from VOSA pulled in in front of us with a 'FOLLOW ME' sign flashing, and led us into a layby (http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=535375&y=242250&z=3&sv=535375,242250&st=4&ar=Y), whereupon a VOSAn declared that the van was leaking diesel to the extent that it was unfit to travel on Her Majesty's highway.

This was apparently due to loose nuts on the fuel-lines; Andy the driver had no suitable spanner, but fortunately this was a layby into which many commercial vehicles had been pulled (generally on account of inadequate tires), and some of them had spanners in the boot. After half an hour, I phoned home and asked Dad to collect me; twenty minutes after that Andy claimed to have fixed the van, ten minutes after *that* Dad appeared, and I said that I wanted to continue to Cheltenham with Andy in the hope of getting this all over and done with. Twenty minutes after that, documentation stating that the van was only so broken as to be unfit to travel on HM's highway from next Tuesday appeared.

Unfortunately, while tightening the fuel lines with a variety of spanners of not quite the right size, Andy had managed to break the brake line, and the now-brakeless van was once again declared unroadworthy.

I walked into Royston, caught the train back to Cambridge, had a sandwich at an expensive station cafe, and caught a taxi into work. It was at least a healthier way of wasting a half-day of holiday than the traditional one of waiting for a man not to deliver a television.

Trying again Friday. Hoping my bad karma for the week has been used up. Contemplating the Buddha of Tranquillity.

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