Thursday, March 25, 2010

THANKS, Neighborhood Douchebag!

This shit keeps piling up. First, the Neighborhood Douchebag whined last month to the County Dicks about my Tracker, trying to make it seem as though it's inoperable, abandoned, or whatever. Now, I've gotten a card and note from a City Dick about my shed, ordering me to stop working on it and giving me 15 days to get a building permit.

I understand the reasoning...but it pisses me off how much trouble one nosy asshole can cause.

Did this Douchebag dumbass complain while the Tracker was up on ramps for 2 months straight? Nope. But leave it parked under a tree and holy shit, I've got a junkyard! I guess the license plate and my occasional driving weren't enough of a clue. Satisfied the cop who showed up to nose around.

Did this imbecile complain while I was actually WORKING on the shed, back in October? Nope. I re-paneled the north side of the roof, but lost interest when it got cold. I've still got the south half of the roof to re-do before I can shingle it. Then it's getting new plywood on all four walls, a new door, maybe a bright red "FARK YOU!!" painted on the north side so the Douchebags can read it from their pool.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Hate Computers: The Recovery Continues

So far, no new hard drive deaths. It's been 15 days--and only tonight did I get WinAmp installed and the speakers plugged in. Not many MP3's to play. Office 97 got installed Saturday.

I've used "Back2Life" on a couple of older hard drives, three SD cards, an old Sony memory stick, and a 512mb thumb drive so far, netting 105,000 files and 52 gigs of stuff. A lot of it is duplicated, some of it cross-linked or corrupted. Big mess.

Some of the recovered stuff is recovered stuff from the 2006 crash...and the 2004 crash...and a 2003 crash. I've got some shitty luck when it comes to computers. Doesn't help that I've got a "beat on it till the problem goes away" mentality that gets me into shit like this. The 2006 crash is probably the only "legitimate" crash out of all of them on this and the Pentium III system. I went looking for something in a folder, found the filenames corrupted, and like an idiot tried to run "Scandisk" on it rather than grabbing stuff and dumping it to backup. *poof* All gone.

Doesn't help that I'm a lazy-ass who doesn't do backups very often.

And I say the same thing each time: "That changes NOW." Yup, I'm determined, I'm gonna get it allll organized, gonna burn everything to DVD's. I even got a shiny new 500gb USB drive yesterday and have started dumping to it. Now it's just a race, like last time, between my determination to see this project through and this computer's determination to piss me off.

That changes now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Hate Computers: My Enemy Strikes!

Remember how I said I knew my enemy was waiting for the proper moment to strike and destroy my data?

It struck hard.

On Friday afternoon, I plugged a USB hard drive in and only got the "clunk of death" from it: every farking thing on that one is gone, so now I'm two drives down.

The first drive--the main one--had all my photos, including all the pics I've taken of the X-11 from day one. Lots of fort stuff. I had most of it backed up--but only up to May of 2008.

My book got wiped out yet again--a piece of urban fantasy, had a lot of ideas for it, and this wasn't the first time it got wiped out.

The second drive had MP3's and books, including a huge amount of NASA stuff on the Apollo, Merc and Gemini missions. These two projects are mostly recoverable; I was trying to organize nearly 80 CD's worth of music and 15 CD's worth of books into single libraries, eliminating duplicates. Got to start over, now. There were also some movie-making projects and a lot of software.

The bitch of it is that I was planning on running backups of every drive to DVD's over the weekend.

The good news? Yes, there is some. I managed to rescue some old Thunderbird email folders and plug them into Thunderbird. Had a registration key for the "Back2Life" file recovery program--the same one I used the last time I had to recover from a big crash. You buy the program once and get free upgrades for life!

Since getting the upgrade installed, I've recovered 20gb worth of "My Documents" archives (all more than 2 years old, but dating back nearly 20 years), including one very pleasant surprise: a copy of a National Park Service reference book on Fort Jefferson, complete with illustrations. That alone is worth the $30 for that recovery program. book, complete, turned up like a bad penny. Part of one of the movie projects. Some recorded notes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The End.

We got The Call around 7:45 this morning.

Service and burial are set for Tuesday. He'll be in a plot close to my grandmother's (his mother-in-law) just outside Castleberry, AL.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Not expected to live through the night."

The Old Man is in a coma. His breathing was labored earlier, but I don't know what amount of consciousness there was.

I hope that if there was suffering, and awareness of same, that the end comes soon. It is an evil thing for a mind to endure--and it's the one thing I'm really afraid of.

I Hate Computers: Computing with the Enemy

Here I sit, with the freshly-reassembled and installed Sempron system I promised myself would never see another microsecond as a functional computer.

Kinda sucks, having to go back on that promise--and more so because a crappier computer forced me to decide what getting my stuff together was worth to me.

Reassembly was easy, getting first Win98 then the XP upgrade installed went painlessly, the thing's quieter for some reason, even though it's in the same setup it had before Sunday's crash.

Very anticlimactic, having the thing behave itself.

I shall be wary, for I have data--and it is waiting for the right moment to destroy it all!

Now comes the real fun, aside from reinstalling all the software: getting the dead hard drive plugged in to see how badly farked I am, given how lazy I've been about backing up stuff. I've got two external hard drives for all my download projects, but there's a painfully big amount of stuff on the dead drive. I even bought an external CD/DVD burner 2 weeks ago (with the TV card that helped cause all this crap) with the intention of backing all that stuff up.

I know what my weekend's going to be like.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I REALLY Hate Computers.

Good thing I didn't make a Frisbee out of that Sempron board. I've had the Pentium II-533 running for less than 24 hours and I am hating it.

Damnably slow (looks like putting XP on it wasn't a Good Idea). Won't connect at anything more than 44 kbaud (Sempron would give me 49.2 on the same modem). Only 2 USB ports, both positioned so that my USB 56k modem won't plug in. Won't install drivers for the same video card it was using 5 years ago. It took 45 minutes and 6 tries just to partially load the page at Last night the damn thing couldn't find Google. I'm not about to put in email, XNews, or the other online essentials. The experiment's over.

This P-II and I have been enemies from the start; it was built for me by the brother of a friend, who assured me it would be all-new and cost $500 or so (if I remember right). Are brand-new cooling fans supposed to have worn bearings? Is the computer supposed to lock up 25% of the time when the (used, three-year-old!) modem is disconnected? Why does the computer lock up when I go to certain websites, like Why does it lock up when the screen saver comes on? Why does it lock up when I try to shut it down? Why does it lock up when I start it up? Does anyone else have to completely reinstall Windows every 6 freaking MONTHS?!

I had the Blue Screen of Death on so often, it might as well have been desktop wallpaper.

I should have insisted that the prick who put it together make it right--new parts, like I said--but I went with just fixing the thing myself. It was that or take it a few hundred miles to him in Clearwater, Florida. Screw it, and him.

So...I'm pretty much reduced to reinstalling my arch nemesis, the hated Sempron board (MSI K7N2 Delta2). It did give me fewer troubles, I suppose--no way to upgrade the sound system, got to scrape Windows off and reinstall every other year, can't keep a bloody hard drive in the thing. Then there's the TV card that killed it this time around.

Maybe I'll play Frisbee with the P-II instead. Or rig it up for skeet shooting.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I hate Computers.

I had this brilliant idea. I've been wanting a DVR for a while, so I got a TV card for my 5-year old Sempron.

The same Sempron that has been a pain in my ass from footprints to hair follicles for the full 5 years.

That was the Great Computer That Would Solve My Problems, replacing a Pentium II-533 pain in the ass that I've had since 2000.

Nope. Didn't solve a damn thing, other than some sort of issue I had with $300 that needed to go from my checkbook to the store's cash register. It was a bare-bones system: case, power, motherboard, CPU, and memory. I took it home, aglow with the anticipation of 1.5GHz clock speed, 4 USB ports, and the ability to run Win-XP so I could maintain my iPod.


Drop in the hard drive, CD drive, keyboard, mouse, and an old 56k modem...install the OS...modem doesn't work. No game port! Only one serial port! Add external modem (can't plug in my Wacom drawing tablet if I'm using that)...crappy connect speeds. Took me a few weeks just to get the modem to work right.

Once I worked out all that crap, I wanted to add music software and a MIDI keyboard. Heh. I ended up with about 1/4 second between hitting a note and having it play. Crappy on-board audio system. Tried to disable that one in favor of a sound card, but the system couldn't "see" it, so I was stuck with the crappy on-board system--and no music software.

Three months later--in January of 2006--my hard drive turned itself inside out and wiped out all my stuff. A book I'd been trying to write, several fort projects, a couple thousand photos, magazine and newspaper clippings I'd scanned, all gone. I managed to recover maybe 40% of it from CD's, floppies, and a couple of ZIP disks.

This past Sunday, I got around to putting in the TV card. Heh. Crashed the system and took out the hard drive. I worked at fixing it for 4 luck. I couldn't even get a working CD drive for reinstalling Windows, let alone a working hard drive.

So here I am at 2 in the morning on Wednesday, finally back online, with the pain-in-the-ass Pentium, a 90gb hard drive and CD burner salvaged from stuff in storage, and running XP. I'd forgotten how slow the thing was. No way I'm rebuilding the Sempron, though. That one's gonna be a Frisbee.