Technological Frustrations (2)

…continued at long last…

Before I am unable to proceed (yet again*), perhaps I should wrap up my now long-ago post on Janetʼs laptop and our (still incomplete) effort to upgrade and continue her virus protection.

Although I had a thirty-day trial actually working (having, I was almost absolutely positive, not succeeded in downloading the current app before the five-download limit was imposed by TrendMicro), I was pretty sure that this application wasnʼt accepting her overly extensive activation code not (in this case, at least) because the goons at TrendMicro were so conveniently incompetent as to acquire my fifty dollars without writing the activation portion of their software correctly but because (as I vaguely recalled) the downloaded installation package I had belatedly discovered wasnʼt new at all but rather one I had downloaded months in the past and never installed.

So how could I get around TrendMicroʼs determinedly profiteering limitation on downloads from their website (a particularly stupid restriction if the package still needed activation to fully work**)?

I had received a confirmation e-mail on the software purchase in my msn account***, so reading it, I decided to click the link for the download (on my iMac) and, accessing the download site, tried the download again. And it worked, downloading the complete .exe file to my Mac desktop. I promptly copied the file to a flash drive that I thought was still configured for Windows, started up Janetʼs laptop, plugged in the flash drive and copied the program to her desktop (or whatever Windows calls that level).

Unfortunately, upon double-clicking the installation package, it informed me that it wouldnʼt work unless we made use of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (about which I had not heard, believing Microsoft to have abandoned XP years ago). However, some extensive searching procured a disk image of just that service pack**** to download and burn to CD.

Now comes the good part — actually bad, very very bad. Installing the Service Pack 3 failed (twice). And on the second failure and forced restart, her computer no longer restarted. At all.

Her laptop was dead, useless — a worthless, nonfunctioning lump of metals and plastic (exactly what HP and Microsoft wanted such antiques — six years old — to be considered). Unless I could figure out how to make use of the back-up/restoration partition (drive D, I think I had learned at one point) HP had created originally on her computer. But I had no idea what to press during startup to activate that restoration.

So her computer sat worthless for a week or so while I pondered (and basically also just forgot about the problem, admittedly, taking the low and easy road to personal satisfaction by ignoring what was wrong in our lives) and diddled away at other things (on my lovely, brushed aluminum, June 2009-vintage, 27-inch iMac).

Entering our “office“ in the morning, I might contemplate the inert laptop briefly, frustrated that I had no idea was key-combos might accomplish what during the startup process (and too lazy/forgetful to investigate that problem online). Did we have a restoration/installation CD for XP (as I had purchased a couple years back to upgrade the iMac to Appleʼs Snow Leopard)?

Finally, I roused myself from my habitual (and habituated) inertia to search out the collection of mini-manuals and materials, including software CDs, we had originally received along with the laptop. And eventually I discovered a little CD-sized piece of paper informing me that we didnʼt need an installation CD because we had the restoration back-up on the computer itself, even mentioning the appropriate key combo to use to access the back-up.

So I did as the miniature sheet instructed, re-installing the saved version of her operating system, and it worked. Kind of. Suddenly her computer was back almost completely to its original state (that of six years ago). That position left me needing to simply install the service packs (1, 2 and 3) again to attempt finally the TrendMicro anti-virus package. As it turned out, just service pack 2 before 3, and I discovered Microsoft did indeed have a site to download the service pack installation packages without resort to burning CDs.

Service pack 2 worked just as it had before, meaning successfully. But I am currently hovering in hesitation about attempting that service pack 3 without backing up her drive (as it exists now in its somewhat more modernized state, rather than attempting to start essentially from scratch once again should/when the service pack 3 installation again fail and trash the entire Windows system) to an external drive. I have the drive I would like to use, but currently itʼs loaded to reinstall Snow Leopard for my Mac, if necessary (which has been necessary at least twice already in the last two years).

Time to buy another (our fourth) back-up drive, I supposed.

And thatʼs when I made the foolish mistake of upgrading the iMac to Mountain Lion…

* There have been serious disasters and troubles preventing the promised continuation of this misadventure (and keeping me offline and discomputered for days at a time, not just this past week), resolved, maybe, just today.

** Why not post unlimited downloads of the trial software to attract customers? Most (if not all) other software suppliers do that…

*** Why my e-mail account, rather than My Belovedʼs? Long story, involving the important aspect of which one of us takes a real interest in maintaining (even using our home computers).

**** I had a feeling that particular package wasnʼt the one I wanted, but it was absolutely all I could find (Windows auto-updates having never really worked on her computer from the beginning). Later in the misadventure, I found, as told above, a downloadable package which we will use just as soon as, for safetyʼs sake I back up her entire computer to the currently available external drive (but needing to be reconfigured, again, for Windows use), an activity I may just begin right now…

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

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.