May 17, 2008

Technical Difficulties

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote part of a post about SXSW and added pictures and video, and then I went back and wrote even more detail about a particular showcase, complete with nifty links to YouTube clips from the movies I was reminded of. Unbeknownst to me, Blogger was having a problem with posting video and photos, and when I hit the "submit button," it didn't post all my text, and it hadn't done any interim saves of the new writing. I could have resubmitted the photos and video, since those were on my hard drive, but the text, which I usually write in Word so as to have a saved copy, did not survive. And Blogger doesn't seem to have any direct customer service email; rather, they encourage you to post to the Google/Blogger online forum and try to get your answer that way.

The very next day, I had a catastrophic OS failure with multiple .dll errors, and my computer was no longer able to boot Windows XP. I had a long round of trying all sorts of things to replace the corrupted .dlls, but it's not as simple as just dragging them into your System folder. They have to be "installed," although you can "install" fonts by just dragging them or unzipping them to the Fonts folder. And Dell doesn't see fit to include the OS discs with your computer, so I had to get the customer service phone number from a friend (couldn't look it up on my computer, don'tchaknow), and have them mail me the discs.

They arrived a day early, along with the hope that the repair mode would fix the problem. No, after hours of trying every permutation and combination of approaches, it appeared that I would indeed have to completely reinstall Windows. I was worried about the documents on my C drive being overwritten, so I had to somehow copy my files off to an external hard drive before the reinstall. I bought a chassis that I could use to connect my HD to another computer, and then imposed upon my brother and used his computer to back up my files. After the big external HD failure last fall, I didn't want to again be faced with reconstituting my iTunes library and files from my iPod.

Once that was done, I put in the CD and went through the tedious process of reinstalling Windows and then all of my programs. The "transfer files and settings" wizard did not seem to work. At all. So now I have duplicate user accounts in the "Documents and Settings" folder. Joy. Thanks, Bill. There was some more complex stuff I wanted advice on, so I called a professional to oversee port opening and other configuration details. It seems to be running well now, although I still haven't gotten all the programs reinstalled.

And then on Wednesday this week, we had a massive hailstorm here in Austin, with the biggest hailstones I've ever seen. I took lots of photos, but since it almost immediately knocked out power, including my cable modem, I couldn't exactly live-blog the hailstorm, however much I might have wanted to. I saved a few of the biggest ones in the freezer--they were four inches long, and some were cracked in half like geodes, so you could see the internal structure--a solid-packed opaque center, surrounded by an aggregation of smaller stones. Of course, since the power stayed off for a day and a half, my hailstone samples didn't survive. Boo. But I will post photos soon. I think that was one for the record books.

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