Technological Frustration (1)

Although I noted cheerfully yesterday that my one-time problems with the Livescribe Echo smartpen (and its attendant notebooks and installable apps) had been rather readily resolved*, technology has recently raised the ugly side of its basilisk/harpy countenance in our lives in Our Town.

I simply do not know why I elected to use this particular image in connection to this post, particularly as I went to extensive pains not to mention the virus-protection software company in question…

About a month ago, evidently on or just before September 4, I realized that my lovely brideʼs Windows (HP) laptop had expired its virus protection**. So I connected to the appropriate website, forked out nearly fifty bucks for another yearʼs protection and downloaded the software package to which I was directed.

The first of many (increasingly severe) problems almost immediately raised its life-chilling glare. The download failed. Repeatedly. And then the website informed me that I had exceeded the established number of allowed downloads (five). What kind of nonsensical regulation imposed what kind kind of pinhead corporate penny-pincher imposed that obviously moronic limitation? I had tried five times and five times the download failed to finish. And now the criminal ghouls who pass themselves off as “free enterprise” in this demented nation tell me my window of opportunity has slammed shut on my shattered knuckles, wafting my half-century of cash into the nether winds of the cyberverse?

“Like hell,” I vowed, envisioning eviscerating Their corpulent and putrescent carcasses as feed for rabid, hydrocephalic vermin while the wicked perpetrators of my futile situation remained conscious and screaming in ever-escalating agony. However, the vile schemers had provided no evident course for feedback or communication with the vomitous corporate entity which was attempting to abscond with my digi-currency, so all I could do was fume and mutter. And turn off her computer, frustrated.

The next day — a Sunday, I believe — however, when I turned the machine back on, I observed an icon on the desktop for the program I had been attempting to download. Had I somehow, miraculously, succeeded without my awareness of such a moral (if not actual) victory? I didnʼt know… although a hint of a rumor of a lost memory suggested that perhaps I had downloaded the program (to which the former program we had used to use had upgraded over the past year) sometime in the late winter or early spring…

Regardless, I double-clicked the icon and promptly began the (always too extensive) installation procedure. And the program less-than-more promptly installed itself.

But when I attempted to provide our license key, the program refused my fifty-dollar complex code of numbers and letters broken into inconveniently convenient four- and five-symbol groupings. Refused and repeatedly refused to accept the carefully copied and carefully typed hieroglyphic cipher (which I did type correctly each tormented time). Instead the program informed me that it was on “trial mode” and would expire October 4.

That date, however, was a whole month, thirty huge days, in the future. Surely, I could resolve the problem, on my own or via e-mail in that duration.

Couldnʼt I?***

* that is, once the tech supporters at Livescribe focused on the correct problem; rather like doctors, tech support personnel are only as capable as our descriptions of our complaints (and their experience with similar problems) permit their diagnoses and prescriptions to be —something that blockheads (probably including me) complaining about both sorts of diagnosticians need to realize…

** (We donʼt start up her laptop very often, mostly just to delete the hundreds of junk e-mails she once let herself in for from various corporations. Janet is no fan of enduring technology or the digital universe when she doesnʼt have to: meaning at home away from work, where she is figuratively — at least I hope itʼs not literal — enslaved and enchained to her terminal.)

*** More to come, perhaps tomorrow, assuredly Monday (after all, on Sunday, my Lovely One, who despises whatever minuscule amount of time I allot to my digital devices, must have whatever of my utter devotion she requires). See you soon…

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

Sunday : Fun Day

extraordinarily up-close and ineptly impersonal: Windows XP Media Center Edition identifying itself on Janetʼs laptop

Weʼre cleaning up Janetʼs laptop today.

We have several reasons. First, the cursed thing runs like lead, with any mouse click requiring several geological æons to stir a response from within the sluggish code-bowels of WindowsXP Media Center Edition and the torpid silicon synapses of her HP Pavilion dv8301nr; and The Lovely One has harped at me (for a few years now) to get rid of several programs that I installed when that machine was our only online access at home (QuicKeys and Now Up-to-Date and Contact seem particularly worthless to her, along with the eBay toolbar daemon). Second, our special Qwest MSN software became worthlessly out of date nearly a year ago when that MSN service died. Third, she has two virus-protection packages that seem to conflict with each other in the latest updates — one of those is not very recent at all (because I allowed one package to expire this past summer), so itʼs time the Webroot software disappeared. (Fourth, the Apple updater hasnʼt worked successfully on her computer for more than a year, meaning that her version of iTunes is way out of date. But then, someone stole her old iPod at the Y anyway, and she has never even gotten the new one I bought her for her birthday a year ago out of the box.)*

I am attempting about a half-dozen uninstalls right now, and itʼs only taken about two hours… And one of the Webroot programs wonʼt uninstall, apparently, until I “close all open aspects,” which is really stupid, as I canʼt find any open Webroot applications. Isnʼt that what an uninstaller is supposed to do? Quit the program you are attempting to uninstall and delete all the various parts of the program?***

Itʼs Windows… so who knows?

“Just keep trying, Wakdjunkaga. Just keep trying…”

My Belovedʼs HP laptop on her actual (not virtual) desktop

Anyway, personally I am hoping to have her machine working in a sleek and spiffy way it hasnʼt known since five years ago, so that Livescribe can do something funky to my smartpen to permit it to register itself (it works fine, itʼs just not officially registered**). However, “Toby” of Tier 3 Technical Support tells me via e-mail that if I hook up the pen on a Windows computer, the problem can be fixed (I guess the Echo smartpen isnʼt quite as multi-platform compatible as Livescribe would like to advertise).

Anyway, with a little luck (and a lot of time) maybe She-Who-Must… will be able to get herself online on her own again (and here at home not just at work).

With Valentineʼs Day just around the corner, metaphorically, weʼre spending such richly romantic time together…

* Fifth, I would like to clone her computer as the Windows partition to run via VMWare Fusion here on my iMac (which would greatly simplify the connect-the-smartpen-through-Windows-to-fix-the-registration-issue/problem for me).

** Wouldnʼt you think they could just register it by hand at the company? They have all my information…

*** That is how it works in Apple-reality here on my Mac.

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.