Monday, August 17, 2009

Beam me up

Over two weeks since my last post. That’s a long time, even by my standards. I’ve been around all the time, except that it feels like I’ve been on another planet. A planet that exists in a highly contagious cyberspace, is in total darkness, and is covered in laminate flooring!

I’ll explain the flooring first. That was a DIY project to lay a laminate floor in our daughter’s bedroom. Emptying the room was a major logistical exercise to begin with – our daughter is a hoarder (takes after me, then) and scattering her belongings all over the house to reveal the floor was like a game of Tetris on a giant scale. It’s the first time we have attempted to lay laminate and, well, let’s just say it didn’t start well. Rubber mallet and expletives flying through the air, it was al going on, or, more precisely all going “Pete Tong”. However, Mrs Darce proved to be a calming influence – as usual – and so in the end it all turned out rather well – even if I do say so myself.

While this “major” project was going on our daughter’s laptop got a virus and then, a few days later, our son’s laptop presented a “black screen of death”. I count myself lucky that so far I have encountered very little trouble with our home PCs. Until now that is. It is unbelievable how much time computer problems can take to sort out. Both machines are up and running again now thankfully, although the inbuilt wireless network card in our daughter’s laptop doesn’t want to play ball anymore.

I thought, with Vista, the dreaded “blue screen of death” was a thing of the past. Well I suppose it is but I now know it has been replaced by something altogether more sinister – the “black screen of death” (BSOD for blue KSOD for black I have learnt). This KSOD appeared to have been caused by, of all things, a Windows Update – thankyou Microsoft! (And we were not alone, we knew two other people who experienced it on the same day). A KSOD leaves you with no clue as to what is going on – all you have is a black screen and a cursor that you can move around - and restores don’t work. Aaaagh. After a lot of research, and finally some inspired straw clutching, I at least managed to run Notepad of all things (from a command line – good old DOS) from where the file browser worked and I could at least copy my son’s data off. Then I had to admit defeat and do a complete system reset.

It brought to mind a haiku that I remember seeing years ago, which went something like this:

A black* screen of death?
Turn it off and start again.
Windows is like that.

(* Composed back in the days of Windows 3.1 or 95 in the original it was, of course, blue).

You’re bored now, I can tell. I can assure you I was too after a number of consecutive evenings in computer hell.

Let’s get back to the music. From computer hell to 12” heaven. And I might even talk about the music next time!

Wilbert Longmire – Black Is The Colour 1978

(A version can be found on Wilbert’s first album “Sunny Side Up”).

Note the red sticker covering up the Tappan Zee-Columbia name. I have seen this on other US imports and assume it was for contractual or branding reasons as Columbia were known as CBS in the UK?

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