Bad News . . .

My wife and I worked very hard, visiting reputable businesses on their websites, to find a new OS for this computer. It turns out, there isn’t one. The one we did order almost immediately gave me an error message when I started to install it yesterday. It wasn’t compatible with the CPU of this computer.

Knowing that we bought this computer nearly 12 years ago, and that the primary reason it has remained useful for this long was because we bought a “state of the art” PC Gaming system, I was hoping we could get something else of about the same modern quality.

It turns out – the cheapest new PC that would even come close to being a “state of the art” PC gaming system will cost us about $2500 USD through Best Buy, and around $3700 USD on eBay. Since we spent our income tax return for this year, plus about $1k of our savings, getting rid of those invasive vines around the east and north sides of our home, we don’t have the resources to replace this computer with anything that would have any hope of lasting another 12 years.

I’ll keep posting as long as I can, but I have no clue when I’m going to loose access to this website.


New Uncertainty . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that some of the primary apps I’ve been running on my computer had stopped working. One in particular was BOINC – the Berkley Online Integrated Networked Computing app that allows people like me to donate computing time to scientific research by making the computing power of my computer available to the research. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years, which also means that I haven’t deliberately turned my home PC off for over 10 years.

When I tried to update the apps that had stopped working, I ran into a problem. In retrospect, it was inevitable, but I’d always hoped that I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

The problem is, I’m running Windows 7 Pro 64bit on my home computer. Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. So, I need to find an upgrade that will work on my computer and is compatible with most of the apps that I want to use. I’ve been searching vendors (part time) for the last 3 days, and I’m having trouble matching the parameters of my computer to the PC Operating Systems that are currently available.

So, the upshot is – I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to add new content to my blog. Not only has BOINC stopped working, but Skype, GOG Galaxy, Adobe Acrobat, and a few others. If you suddenly stop hearing from me for over a month, it’s probably because I can’t access my account here any longer. Never fear – I’m going to continue to look for a new OS to upgrade my computer and return to my former status quo.

Was about to go to sleep…

After a couple of days of rough weather, I’m needing some sleep.  I was about to go lay down when I decided to check my email “one last time” – and saw something from the eBay seller I ordered the laptop from.

It had a tracking number in it.

The last scan on the tracking number showed it in the Joplin, MO, FedEx office – tagged with the status “loaded onto truck for delivery” – as of this morning.  It may possibly be delivered today.

I’m staying up.

UPDATE:  As of 10:02 am, it is HERE.  I’m going to go to sleep now, so I’m thinking more clearly when I start getting it set up.

A $70 lesson . . .

Before I tell you my lesson that I learned yesterday, I need to back up and fill you in on some background data.

It started between 2 and 3 months ago.  The PS3 that we used for both playing video games and watching Netflix streaming videos started misbehaving.  Mind you, it is getting a bit old, so I wasn’t upset about that.  But, there was a mild bit of frustration in it not consistently loading the audio when I wanted to play a video game from a disc.  That was the only time I noticed a problem, and at first it didn’t happen very often, so I waited.

A couple of weeks ago, it had gotten to the point that this same problem occurred about half of the time.  That was annoying, so I decided it was time to replace the PS3.

However, I had what I thought was a bright idea.  Since the old system was working fine for Netflix – let’s use BOTH systems, and put the gaming load entirely on the new system, while continuing to use the old one for Netflix streaming.  The TV had an adequate number of cable connections available to do this, so it seemed a great idea.

Thursday I got a migraine, so wouldn’t you know the new PS3 would arrive on Friday.  I looked into how the data transfer utility on the PS3’s worked, and it looked like something I should be able to handle.  Perhaps if I hadn’t had the migraine, I would have slowed down.

First, I had to do a software update for the new PS3.  That was the first problem – I’d forgotten what the password is to access our wireless router.  Ok, I’ll just reset it.

Wrong.  I’m still not exactly sure what I did wrong (I had a management utility disc and thought I was following directions) – but I managed to kick the entire wireless router off-line.  After phone calls to 4 different IT departments, I learned that I’d have to replace the router to restore functionality.  Meanwhile – we had NO internet access at all.

Why did it take 4 phone calls to learn that?  I’m so glad you asked!  The first phone call was to the tech support line for the company that hosts our ISP.  Because our phone service is connected to the internet service, when they remotely rebooted the modem to try resynching it to the router, it cut off the phone call.

Call 3 was to the tech support line for the company that owned the manufacturer of the router when I bought it.  It was their number listed in the owner’s manual.  But they sold that subsidy 3 years ago, so they don’t offer support for those routers anymore.  They were nice about it, though, and looked up the 800# for the tech support people I did need to talk to.  That was call #4.

Call 4 was nowhere near the pleasure of call 3.  They were rude, and wouldn’t even discuss my problem until they had a database file on me, complete with personal information I don’t usually give to anyone over the phone.  When I finally got to tell them the make/model of the router, they said we’d just wasted all the time making the file (well, that wasn’t their point-of-view, but it is MINE) because it was old enough the warranty had expired.  So they could help me, if I wanted to pay them a set fee per half-hour for live tech support.  I have a personal rule – never pay for anything “by the hour” if you can get it done at a flat fee.  Pay by the hour is a trick shysters use to run up expenses while pretending to be busy.

So, I made a few local calls, and found a replacement router and had my wife swing by (she was out grocery shopping yesterday morning anyhow) and pick one up.  We were back on the internet before noon.

And the lesson I learned?  Never try to do anything that requires concentration and critical thinking skills while dealing with a migraine.  I should have been able to reset those security settings with no problem, in about 5 minutes.

Anyhow, as I type this (about 30 minutes after midnight, local time) the PS3’s are both fully updated, the trophies synched, and the data transfer is about 35% done.  The on-board time estimate to completion is another hour and a half.

Because of one person . . .

who could not respect my clear and specific copyright notice, I have taken the extreme measure of making my entire blog “Private”.  I’m sorry for any trouble or inconvenience this causes.

I have filed a DMCA complaint with Word Press, and the process of sorting this out is happening.  Until it is sorted out, I don’t think I’m going to write any new blogs.  I’m just not in the mood, and I don’t think my voice is that important that the universe will care if I write anything or not.

Busy week . . .

You might have noticed that since I posted about my computer acting up, I haven’t written so many new, original blogs.  Mostly, it’s because my computer is acting up.

After figuring out that I had a hard drive facing imminent failure, we ordered a new one.  While I was waiting for it to arrive, we had the starter go bad on our car – while my wife was out doing grocery shopping Saturday morning.  Then when the new hard drive arrived, we had to do the whole OS install, and about 2 days of “important updates” had to each be installed individually, in between trying to find the programs I normally use for A/V, firewall, pop-up blocking, and other fun things.

Last night, my wife and I sat down with a Netflix DVD, and watched the Hallmark Channel original movie “The Good Witch’s Gift” – the third in a series of excellent “family friendly” movies.  And as we were watching it, something slowly crept into my mind.

After the movie, I double checked.  Yep – my wife and I both missed it.  While she was busy grocery shopping and replacing a bad starter, our 14th Wedding Anniversary sneaked by.  I think we’re going to make it up to ourselves by going out for supper tonight.

Computer verdict . . .

Well, after running the scans, and talking to my techie guru, we have figured out what’s wrong.  The boot OS HD is going bad, and needs to be replaced.

The bad part is, I really didn’t want to spend any more money on this computer, because it’s never going to adequately deal with some of the things I wanted my desktop to do – like graphics-intensive games.  The good news is, because I was saving up to replace it, I have most of the money I need to replace this hard drive – and thanks to my techie guru having a NewEgg account we managed to catch a 120Gb SATA Solid State HD for $60 + fees.  It should be here and ready to install next week.

Which also means that, starting next week, my older (and not quite so graphics intensive) games are going to ROCK after I install them onto the Solid State HD!   *grins*

Computer update . . .

Well, it’s not my cooling fans.  It’s not the CPU or the RAM.  My techie and I were able to sort all that out in under a half hour at his shop Monday night.  He sent me home with 2 programs to do deep in-depth analysis of the hard drives.

So, I popped in the disc of the first program, and selected the boot partition of the main drive – that took about 4 hours to analyze.  Then I started the non-boot partition on the same drive – over 18 hours was the *estimate*.

It didn’t quite take that long.  At about 15 hours, it kicked out a “Division Overflow Error” message and stopped the exam.  I restarted it, and 15 hours later got the same error message.  So, I restarted the program to examine the OTHER hard drive.

Wow – I thought 18 hours was mind-boggling.  The estimate on doing the same exam on my non-boot drive was 24 1/2 DAYS.  I’m going to call him in a little while (his office opens in about a half hour) and see if he knows of something that can handle this better.  It’s insane to tie up this computer on nothing but a hard drive analysis for almost a MONTH.  Sheesh!