Defective User Error

A Poor Excuse…

I considered this a few times.

Greetings, everyone.

I’ve been having a touch of difficulty trying to get today’s article together. My old computer has been getting cranky for a while, showing the signs of the slow heat death that all electronic devices suffer at some point. It occasionally decides not to boot up for the first five or six attempts, then relents and starts up. Maybe all of the USB ports will function, maybe a couple won’t, this time. The final straw was the hard drive starting to make sounds like a card stuck into bicycle spokes, intermittently. That’s always a sure sign of impending death or a reversion to childhood. So, I decided to replace the thrice-damned thing before it spattered its remains across my desk.

To make a very long story short, I bought a tower unit from Best Buy that was on sale, and it was close enough to the one I was thinking of building to suffice and would be considerably cheaper.  All was just peaches until I tried installing a clone copy of my old drive on a new partition and making a dual booting system. It didn’t go well. ‘Complete Cock-up in Spades’ is an understatement. Somewhere along the line, the partition table got weirdly corrupted and I had a brand new, non-bootable PC, that also wouldn’t allow me to install an OS on any of the things it thought were partitions. Wonderful. That’s a new personal best from an old pro. After about 20 hours of hard work, cursing and throwing things, I got it working with the OS I wanted and my files and programs in place and functioning, such as they are. And I was mightily sick and tired of mucking about with computers for a while.

However, I needed to write an article and the clock was ticking. I started going over my notes, and my eyes instantly glazed over. This wasn’t going to work, at least not until my poor, abused brain had a chance to decompress a bit.

So, I watched anime for a few hours, fed, watered and herded the cats, went out in the shop and shuffled things around, made a tolerable bowl on the lathe, came back in and watched the D-Day landings yet again, and was finally able to get a few hours of sleep. Not a very good sleep, but I was at least horizontal with my eyes closed.

The next ‘day’, I went to start work on my impending article, and I noticed that I still had the stock keyboard hooked up. I like the old IBM Selectric-style keyboards that Unicomp now makes, so I went to hook up my old keyboard, and I remembered that the new PCs no longer have PS2 style keyboard ports, everything is USB. So, whipping out a PS2 to USB adapter, I plugged in my keyboard, and it doesn’t work, doesn’t even fooking beep. Sigh. At least the PC didn’t burst into flames. So, I order a new USB Unicomp keyboard, and suffer with the $10 piece of crap that came with the PC until it arrives. And everything is just fooking ducky.

Now I’m sitting here, bitching at the world on a crappy keyboard and my article is still not getting written because my brain will not function beyond wondering what will go wrong next. I see that they’re building Vipers on TV right now. I hate Vipers. They’re ugly and they’re Chrysler. This can’t be a good sign.

The Brits have a lovely saying for times like this: “Bugger this for a lark.”

Do you guys have runs of wonderful luck like this, or am I the only one so blessed?

Anyway, I’ll get a real article written in a day or two with any luck. That’s just how it is today.

  • The Professor

    I used to keep old computers around, until I finally got it through my head that if I replaced a machine because it wouldn't do the job, it wouldn't magically be able to do it later. Actually, there are three more working computers here at the compound, but it's less work to fix a brain-dead one than pry a working from my family's fingers. And safer.

  • pj134

    … I'm not talking to you because of the Viper comment. The Viper was the last truly balls out American sports car and therefore we are no longer speaking…

    • The Professor

      Hmph. Your loss, pilgrim. Vipers wouldn't be so bad if they weren't so damned ugly and made by Chrysler, that;s all.
      I also think that the Citroen DS looks like the spawn of Satan and a Pontiac Aztec that someone tried to kill with a shovel, but I don't hate the people who like them. I might pity them….

      • Alff

        Perhaps its for the best that you spend most of your time on this side of the fence, Doc.

        As my father-in-law said, and my driveway attests, Chrysler makes "damn fine vehicles".

        • The Professor

          Chrysler makes "damn fine vehicles".

          If you were to add "used to" to that sentence, I might agree with you.
          Eh, if people were all the same, life would be boring.

          • Alff

            I hope he said it tongue in cheek. At the time he was referring to his Aspen and Volare.

            I do have two Chrysler products, a minivan and a pickup. Their minivans are as good (or bad) as any other and we found we actually prefer it to the Japanese equivalents. At the time of purchase, the pickup's cab was the largest of the big three, a consideration for our slightly larger than average family. That said, I have been more than satisfied with both. You wouldn't catch me with most of their passenger cars, however.

          • Well, thanks for inserting "most of" as a qualifier.

          • Alff

            Yours would be an exception to the rule, under a great-grandfather clause.

          • The Professor

            Yes, your old Plymouth is an exception. A lovely old car.

          • ptschett

            I concur.

          • The Professor

            I like the old Powerwagons, those were some pretty good trucks back in their day. I've never owned a van, so I can only spout baseless gossip about them. Their cars, I've owned.

      • pj134

        While your insulting my favorite cars, do you have anything for a Delta Evoluzione or Lotus Exige?

        • The Professor

          Well, let's see. First off, what is a Delta Evoluzione..[googlegooglegoogle]..Ah, it's a Lancia. While I've never owned or been in one, I've always rather liked the Lancias, mostly from their Group B and WRC racing and the spiffy Martini livery. If I was ever to own an Italian car, I would think seriously about a Lancia, given that I had enough spare cash to keep it running.
          As for Lotus…they're British. I've owned a British car (an MG Midget), and it was fun and all that, but you have to take care of them like they're an old senile Auntie that wears a diaper and bursts into flames occasionally. You've got to be up for it. The Lotus cars are all very pretty, and I'm sure that they're a kick to drive, but I just don't have the patience for trying to keep one from falling to bits anymore.
          You see? I don't dislike everything automotive. I've just been around the damned infernal things too long.

          • pj134

            The Delta was the Group B car. Also, Toyota powered Loti are not entirely related to midgets of old.

          • Group B? In that case, you misspelled "Metro 6R4" in your first sentence.

            I'm rather fond of the MG Midgets of old, too:

            <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4823176069_074c5cafe6.jpg&quot; width="300">

          • The Professor

            Oh my, that is a cute little thing. I'm glad it belongs to someone else.

  • name_too_long

    That's what my luck is like normally.

  • Alff

    It's clear you have heard a lifetime of excuses why the homework is late.

    • The Professor

      You have no idea…..

      • I believe I have some idea.

        One of my personal favorites:

        "You said it was due on Tuesday and I know today is Tuesday but I didn't think you meant it because all the other assignments have been due on Tuesday instead. Right?"

        I had to admit that yes, they had been.

  • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    "I got it working with the OS I wanted"

    Oh man please PLEASE tell us it's DESQview! Anyway my money is on the USB HID to PS/2 ioport emulation being crap in your BIOS for why you are stuck with the $10 keyboard. Actually that raises a neat question, what's the keyboards we use around here? I use a Sun Type 6 with the Control key where God intended. A bit squishy, but not bad by modern standards, and I was forced to it because of USB.

    Also in my mind's eye I see Dearthair running GEOS.

    • The Professor

      I'm sorry, but no Desqview. I'm much more mundane (Windows 7 Professional), I'm afraid. I just try not to throw too many brand names around in my posts. I always feel dirty afterwards.
      You're probably right about the BIOS and the PS/2 emulation. Bugger all I can do about it though.
      A lot of our cherished peripherals have gone by the wayside due to USB. Mostly, I think it's a good thing, but I'm still really picky about keyboards. I never have had the chance to play with and Sun hardware. I spent a lot of my early years in DEC/VAX land.

    • pj134

      I want to get a Das Keyboard the next time I actually buy a keyboard. I might have a working Model M somewhere in my basement though…

    • TurboBrick

      I like my post-Lenovo buyout IBM keyboard because it finally has the goddamn Windows key. Key action is smooth but not too soft and it has a small goofy tray for a pen or something. I had to put my old clicky IBM keyboard away because the noise started to get on my nerves. I really hate the new low-profile keyboards, especially the ones that come with Apples.

      GEOS with a mouse or a joystick?

    • craigsu

      My preferred keyboard for a desktop is my original Microsoft Natural keyboard, a souvenir from my days at Microsoft, purchased from the company store. Like the Professor's it's also PS/2 so hopefully I'll be able to continue using it when I have to upgrade systems.

  • chrystlubitshi

    oh…. what do you know, wiggled the cable… and it fired right up…..

  • tiberiusẅisë

    Wait, nothing burst into flames, there were no letters from your ex's lawyer and you didn't have to clean up your own blood and you're calling it a bad day?

    • The Professor

      I'm not saying that I haven't had worse days, but it was a bad day for setting up a new PC. And there was blood, just not much of it. I don't have much.

  • P161911

    This kind of thing usually happens to me with cars. I try to fix something for a week or so myself, it just keeps getting worse. I end up under a greasy car at midnight during the week with it 40 degrees and raining or taking it to a garage and getting a thank you letter from Visa.

    Damn cracked BMW thermostat housings!

    • The Professor

      My sympathies. I've never worked on a BMW (a conscious choice) but I've had to deal with the human wreckage that resulted from it. It's a sad, sad thing to see.

  • OA5599

    "My old computer has been getting cranky for a while"

    I have no idea why, but for some reason, I was reminded of this image.

    <img src="http://www.indiaonrent.com/forwards/o/owners-who-look-like-their-dogs/res/2miqw7.jpg"&gt;

    • The Professor

      Yes, yes, hohohohoho. Dick.

      • Oh, it's not that bad. I'm pretty sure OA5599 was imagining you in the left column.

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