Category Archives: Computers

add me to the long list of Vista haters

What a waste. Vista has some cool little features and comes with some software that XP should have come with many years ago. But with XP, I had not seen a BSOD in years. Now I get them multiple times a day with the “upgrade” to Vista (no, in case you need further clarification – I did not buy Vista. I bought a new computer, and it came with Vista). So I finally took y’all’s advice (yes, y’all’s is a word) and installed SP1 to get rid of the BSOD problems.

I set it to run this morning right before we left for worship. Got home, and I got this big fat lie from my computer: “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has been successfully installed.” Sure it has. If you consider the fact that my wireless no longer works (Vista, just what *is* the purpose of a computer if you can’t connect to the internet?) a success. I rolled back the driver; this did not fix the problem. Updated to Realtek’s newest driver; also did not fix the problem. Ripped my toenails right out to dull the pain of Vista – also no help.

Since I know just enough about computers to be able to successfully break them (hey, I should be on the Vista team at Microsoft!), I don’t even know how to roll back to what I had before the “successful upgrade.” Do I have to reinstall what came with the machine? Will I lose all of my files if I do? Ack, I just transferred a million bazillion files over via a half gig jump drive – not the fastest process ever. Should I just go ahead and take a cyanide capsule and be done with it?

I guess I should dig out my XP CDs. Thanks for nothing, Microsoft. Remember how I was going to buy Office 2007? If I have to go to the trouble of reinstalling XP, I might as well bring over Office 2003 while I’m at it. No sense giving Microsoft any money – they’ll just spend it on developing crap software.


Well played, Microsoft

Yeah, so Vista comes with a free trial of Office 2007. I’ll milk it for all I can, and then when my trial runs out, I’ll be buying it. I’ve already found new features that I can’t live without, and I don’t have any idea how I ever Excelled without such features.

Darn you, Microsoft!

microsoft hates microsoft

So I can’t get Microsoft Internet Explorer to work with Microsoft Windows Vista. Hahahahaha.

The un-haha part of it is that I still have a lot of work to do this weekend, and our work software only works through IE. It won’t function properly in Firefox.


UPDATE: I had to turn off my firewall and then also turn off IE’s internet protection. Basically, to use IE I have to surf naked. But at least non-Microsoft software works with Vista!

I have found a computer with battery life!

It’s amazing. When I bought the VAIO four years ago, I bought a $300 spare battery, which became useless within months. Starting day one, the battery that came with the Sony started losing its ability to work past half an hour. When I first started it up, I was already disappointed that the battery barely lasted two hours (if I didn’t run the wireless network, didn’t play music, didn’t use Quicken, and didn’t use Excel – you know, if I just looked at a blank screen) , so I switched batteries, hoping that the spare would work better. It didn’t. And everything was just downhill from there. The battery eventually settled on twenty minutes, or half an hour if I turned everything off.

And then there’s my new baby. I can sit and blog for a couple of hours while using Excel, editing photos, and surfing the net. And the battery is only just over half depleted afterward. The other night I blogged and surfed for two hours, uploaded and edited pictures at the same time… all on battery. The next day I got on the machine for a little while in the morning, and later that day, Frank took the computer (which I’d not charged overnight) into the kitchen so he could follow my Mexican Chicken Soup directions. It lasted another good hour before it finally needed to be plugged in. So yeah, I think I’ll be looking for spare laptop batteries (or battery, singular, depending on how much they cost). I mean, I could use my computer all day long on one of our soon-to-be-frequent drives to state parks, national parks, and eventually Texas. Oh, and the all-day flight from Boise to Florida would be more bearable (especially if screaming kids don’t let me sleep or read books) – I have a few good games on here. Yes, wRitErsbLock, we do want to come back eventually for another cruise and more Disney and that Harry Potter world at Universal.

Have I mentioned how much I love my computer? Gateway is teh awesome. Just like me.

blue screen while sleeping

I just now turned on my computer for the evening (we were at Bible study). When I left it this morning, I put it into hybernation, and when I opened it tonight, it just came up, which was weird since I hadn’t yet hit the power button to bring it out of hybernation. Then I got a message right away that Windows had recovered from a serious error. Details? Blue screen of death.

Now how does a computer get the blue screen of death in hybernation mode?


Have I mentioned how much I love it? Because I do.

I have pictures on my computer now (the card reader just up and decided it would start working), but I need to install my photo editing software before I can edit them. That will have to wait until tomorrow, so the conclusion of the Rowdi story will have to wait until then too. You need to see the pictures. I fear that it may be a couple of days because my software may not be compatible with Vista. If that is the case, I’ll probably just edit the pics on my old machine and jump drive them over to my new one for uploading.

Ah. I’ve been on my computer transferring files and blogging for a good hour and a half, and I still have over an hour of battery life left. So nice to have a battery that lasts longer than seventeen minutes.

first problems

Well, I can’t get the built-in card reader to recognize my xD card, and my Olympus software won’t install. I’m going to do some research, but that’s why y’all haven’t heard the conclusion of Rowdi’s ordeal yesterday (I want to post it complete with pictures). For the record, the pictures we took of her yesterday are by far the most pathetic pictures of Rowdi ever. Y’all can’t wait to see them.

I can’t wait to get them on my machine!

Having way too much fun

My new computer arrived today. While I was at work, my Monkeyface installed the extra memory, got the wireless working, and downloaded Firefox for me. What a sweet Monkeyface!

So I’ve been playing for the last couple of hours. It was even hard for me to eat my awesome tostadas (complete with awesome guacamole, yo), because I was having too much fun. I still managed to eat every morsel on my plate, don’t worry.

My initial thoughts about the computer: I love it! I’ve uninstalled a ton of junk that came with the computer, but I have no complaints about that. Knew it was coming. Got my iTunes downloaded and will soon install Quicken. One annoying thing: I uninstalled McAfee in preference of AVG and Zone Alarm, but the icons are still in my sys tray. How do I make those go away? Huh. Systray. One word or two? One, right?

So far I kinda like Vista. It’s pretty. I’m not a fan of the rounded edges on everything — all the bubbly facade makes me think I’m on a Mac. But I’m cool with this, at least for now.

I get sixty days of Office 2007, after which time I’ll either break down and buy it or install Office 2003 (or XP, I can’t remember which one I have).

Need to get all my music onto this baby, but I’m in no rush.

It is so quiet. So quiet. Not too hot. So light! Thin. And… AND! I love the keyboard. Touchpad good. Widescreen good. Power cord good. The VAIO powercord is about ten pounds, and you need a whole suitcase just for the transformer. This one has a teeny transformer, and the place where it plugs in to the computer is tight. Super tight. Let’s hope it stays that way. The CD/DVD player / writer / etc. will even label the CDs. It sounds like it writes the label right on the disc, but I’m not sure because I haven’t yet played with it. Manual and electronic volume controls. Buttons for fast-forward, etc. Four USB ports. The only thing I’m sad about is that there is no firewire port, and I forgot to check on that, and I was really hoping to be able to import videos once I got the new machine. Is there some kind of adapter I can get for that?

I’m stoked, kids. Stoked. This is good. Thanks for all your advice and help the last few days. You’re the bestest.

I have the attention of computer geniuses

As such, I want opinions. Y’all know so much about them, so I need enlightenment from you smartypantses.

Everyone seems to hate Vista. Tell me why. I want to know what I have to look forward to and also how likely it will be that I’ll be switching back to XP.

How is Vista’s security? Because XP Home security sucks, so I’ve been running Pro, and I really don’t know how much better that is than Home.

Does Vista have any improvement at all over XP? And why does everyone hate it?


I can has computah!

My power cord finally arrived today. We are finally a two-computer house again! This means much more blogging and time to actually read blogs. Yay!

I miss my computer so much!

I can’t even upload pictures for y’all, and I know exactly which ones y’all want to see. I have awesome pictures of my smashed toe, which I know you’re eagerly awaiting. I mean, I would be, too, so I understand. The toe is doing much better, btw. It doesn’t bleed at all now. I’m not going to the doctor for it, in case you’re wondering. I don’t need a tetanus shot — I dropped a wooden bookcase on the sucker. One corner of my nail will fall off eventually, but I can live with that. I’ve lost my right thumbnail twice before, so no biggie. There’s basically a circle formed by the nail and the… um, cut that makes it look like a tiny part of my toe could fall off. But it hurts less and less all the time, and I’ve been letting the alcohol and band-aids do their job.

And wow. My Christmas tree is so TEH AWESOME! I can’t remember having a Christmas tree so fat and full in a long time. Good news, though. It’s still drinking. It didn’t need water this morning, but it needed it tonight, so I know it’s still thirsty (because the cats have slept alllll day). I would love to show y’all pics, but again. The uploading thing.

Oh, and the reading room? The mountain view is so beautiful I can’t even describe it. But it makes me giddy that THIS IS WHERE I LIVE! SERIOUSLY! I LIVE HERE! I want to show y’all pictures of the magnificent sunset I witnessed from my reading chair yesterday (the reading chair is my very most favorite napping place now). And the mountains today as we drove through THE VALLEY (sorry, Tammi, WE live in THE Valley, yours can’t be anywhere as amazing, love ya)? Ahhhh! The shadows that the clouds displayed on the mountains… just awesome!

Anyway, my blasted cord isn’t here yet. Ack.

UPDATE: FedEx says I’ll get it tomorrow. Yay!


is not fun! Yesterday when I woke up, my laptop showed no outlet power. I fiddled with it like I always do, and it still showed no power. That giant transformery-looking box (I swear, Vaio laptop cords weigh more than the laptops themselves) was plugged into the part of the cord that plugs into the wall. The power strip light was on. Then Frank noticed that the LED on the transformery-looking box came on, flickered, then went out again. It’s so unlikely that it’s the LED. We plugged it into another outlet last night, and the same flicker thing happened before the light went out again. Ack. So I had to order a new laptop cord. I was expecting hundreds of dollars, since it’s a Vaio, and that’s just how Sony has been during my laptop experience with them. I actually found it online for $53! Frank was shocked at the high price, but because I’m jaded over Sony, I was shocked at the low price.

Anyway, until it arrives, we are sharing one laptop. Because y’all remember that the monitor for our desktop died, and until we replace that monitor, the desktop is just a server with no screen. Don’t worry, I still plan to blog. The itch always hits me hardest when I have to share a computer.

So what is it with Rachel Lucas and me and aggressive dogs and stupid computers? Did someone put a hex on us both?

Ay. I don’t know how long the cord will take to get here (it’s shipping FedEx ground), but if it’s not here within a week, I may have to look into laptop rental. Or I could just unpack all these boxes.

new laptop cooler!

Ok, so my previous cooler went kaput. Which is why my computer would not cool, kept spontaneously shutting off, and just went all wonky in general.

So I went to BJ’s and got this one. It was thirty bucks, but when I was checking out, I found out there is a $15 mail-in rebate. Score! If I hadn’t been in dire need, I would have ordered it; I’m glad I didn’t!

And now… I can get back to blogging. (I did complete a room this morning and go shopping for groceries, a new shredder, the cooler, and snacks for my hubby… I’ve earned some blog time.)

lost monitor

Well, we lost the monitor for our desktop computer. Ok, didn’t lose it, but it just kinda died. Frank thought about taking it apart (we think it needed power supply repair), but I was very against him electrocuting himself tinkering. I do love him and want him to stick around. So we got rid of it, and now the desktop is monitorless. We’re using it basically as a file server.

But poor Frank. You know how he found out? He went to load his video game that I bought him for his birthday onto the desktop, and the monitor was just dead. So now he has to wait until we get to wherever it is we’re moving before he can play his birthday present (I figure no buying new stuff unless it helps us sell the house). Sad.

we’re now a two laptop family again!

I haven’t had a laptop since last March when I finally gave up on the power source of my Vaio (may I just take this opportunity to reiterate in no uncertain terms that Sony sucks eggs – I will never buy another Sony product for the rest of my life unless Ericsson is tagged on the end of the name.). So 15 months later, after mucho help from _Jon, and hardware received from TxDan and NewEgg, we are back up.

This sucker smokes Frank’s laptop any day of the week. 60 gigs (w/ 7200 rpms), 512 megs, 2.8 gigahertz, P4… I always hated this computer for the clunky power cord (I swear it weighs more than the machine), the super-loud fans, the sucky battery life, and the weight (feels like I’m carrying around an extra thigh). But I always loved it for its speed, touchpad, keyboard, and storage capacity.

So yay! After the horrible day I had, I wasn’t going to bed before this baby was up and running.

It’s been a really rough day. It just went downhill after the massage and the receipt of the fitting screws for the machine… The endocrinologist debacle, the dog was behaving horribly and after crying for 2 straight hours, I was not in the mood for her crap… We couldn’t get the mounting bracket off the old harddrive and couldn’t get past the DVD drive to get to the place where certain computer screws are currently lodged in the casing… Oh, and now we have an air conditioner leak. My boxes that are still in the garage? Soggy. And who knows how much this repair will cost us.

So I needed this computer running. And now I need sleep, because my eyes are dry and closing.

poor _Jon

this post could alternately be titled, “I’m an idiot.”

_Jon is helping me fix my laptop. The hard drive is not cooperating. So in the instructions he sent me, in the very first step he refers to the “LT hard drive”. Of course, my first question to him was “what’s an LT hard drive?”

LT… LT… what in the world could LT have to do with a laptop… LT… LapTop.




TxDan is sending me new screws for my laptop! Once I can hold the harddrive in, I can actually use it and access all my pictures! Including all the cute ones of me & Frank when we were long-distance dating.

taking a break

to tell y’all how much i’ve missed Natalie Merchant.

i never owned a Natalie Merchant CD (nor paid much attention to her) until late 2003 / early 2004 when i was living in my Bedford apartment and listening to anything i ever heard on ALIAS as much as i could.

i’ve been lazy about music ever since my laptop bit the dust. all my music is loaded there, and that just makes everything so much easier. the laptop has been repaired, but i wasn’t about to send my laptop in for repairs with the hard drive, so i took it out. who knows where i put the screws. so far my search for new screws has been unsuccessful.

anyway, i found my Ophelia CD in a box yesterday and popped it in. i’ve listened to it once yesterday and twice today. i can’t wait to get my computer back on so i can have all my music back. yes, i have all the CDs, but it’s so much easier with my playlists and scrollbars. i’m getting pretty motivated now that Natalie’s sang some hippy songs for me, though.

Dear Sony,

I hate you.

Or at least strongly dislike you.

Very much.

Ok, I’ll tell you why. Less than 1.5 years ago, I bought a VAIO laptop. Spent a LOT of money on it, because it would also function as my home computer. DVD burner, 60 GB hard drive, 512 MB RAM, 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 (or something like that), blah blah blah. I didn’t buy the cheap model.

After owning the stupid thing for less than 6 months, a crack developed around the AC adapter port, and no, not from being dropped. Just from being a crappy piece of machinery. It looked like just a tiny little crack, and nothing was wrong with the computer. Other than the fact that I couldn’t run the Wi-Fi without the fan running constantly and that the battery lasted about 20 minutes unless I only ran the program “Notepad” and typed very slowly; then the battery might last 1.5 hours, if it was a good day, and if the sun set at exactly 7:47 p.m., and if the Teapot constellation could be seen in the late night sky. And if I happened to be wearing red.

Ten months after I bought the computer, the little crack started causing problems. Now I had to fiddle with the AC adapter if I wanted to charge the battery (though why I bothered is a mystery). I knew I should get the machine into the shop, so I took it to Circuit City, where I purchased the machine, and guess what. It was close to Christmas (yep, still under warranty, that computer was), and they would have to send the machine to Sony. Ok, go ahead. Well, the service center shuts down for inventory right about now, so we can’t even send it in until the 18th and you’ll get it back around New Year’s Day.

Tough luck, as I was packing up to move to Florida and just couldn’t let them have it for an entire month.

So then by the time I was all settled in here in sunny Florida, where the battery life isn’t any better and the fan still ran constantly, my warranty was up. No problem. I figured it’s just one teeny little part and can’t be that expensive. When things settle down, I’ll be glad to jump through whatever hoops need to be jumped through to send off my computer and get it fixed.

After trying a few times with your worthless website, which first off told me that my fancy schmancy super charged expensive laptop was no longer supported (mind you, this is only 1.5 years after I bought it), I dug around and found a phone number to call and talk to a live person.

Except not. I called and tried first to talk to your worthless voice response system, which reaaaaalllly has a hard time with 3-word street names. So whatever you do, never live on Treading Trodden Trail, especially if you expect that you’ll ever need to talk to Sony’s virtual idiot. You know it’s bad when the virtual idiot tells you for the third time, “I’m sorry. I do not understand your street name,” and you reply with, “that’s because you’re an idiot.” One of the first things I learned from Virtual Dufus is that if I want to talk to a real live person, it will cost me $19.95. And that in order to get me through to a real live person, VD is going to need my credit card billing information. I guess it does pay to live on Treading Trodden Trail after all, because I got to talk to Skippy the Wonderkid for free.

By this point in the grand scheme of rotten laptops, it’s very hard to even get this machine to stay charged/connected to power for long enough to open up Notepad and type “SarahK + Sony = Hate 4Ever! XOXOXO”. Much less back up the entire system. Remember that point for later, because it’s important in my world.

Skippy the Wonderkid, who reads his pre-printed Sony material to me word for word in robotic voice, tells me that Sony has a pricing structure for all non-warranty repairs. For minor parts replacements, that will be $249 + 16.60 shipping, which is a total of $295.60, ma’am. I, of course, have quickly done the math in my head (because I’m an auditor, that’s why), and I tell Wonderkid that the math doesn’t work out. “That’s only $265.60,” I say and then think, holy cow, did he say that minor parts replacements cost almost $300? While Skippy has me on hold so he can punch the numbers into his calculator before agreeing with my audit math, I start wondering how much a brand new Dell would cost.

Skippy returns and tells me that if I have a major repair, it will cost $14,000 plus tax. And if it’s just something tiny, it’s $104 plus parts. Okie dokie. Now Wonderkid already knows why I’m calling, as I’ve explained it to him in detail. So after he tells me the entire pricing structure so I can rejoice in the great deal I’m getting by having just a minor parts replacement, he says that my repair falls in category #1. Yay for me! I’m having a hard time containing my joy and thankfulness to Sony.

So I tell Skippy that I’m going to discuss this with Frank and why don’t you give me all the instructions for sending in my computer and if I decide to do it, I’ll do it. Skippy tells me that I have to include a list of accessories that I’m sending in the box with the machine. Hmm, Skippy, I’m not even sending you the whole machine. I’m going to take out the harddrive and keep that here, so why would I send you any accessories. (I say this nicer of course.) But then Wonderrobot tells me that I have to send the harddrive and I should back up my files first. The technicians will need that so they can comment on how lovely it is while they work on a part that isn’t connected at all to the harddrive. Okay, no thanks, I’ll send it without the harddrive. Skippy finally says ok, send it without it, and they’ll fix the computer if they can, but really you should just back up the computer first. “I can’t get the computer to stay on long enough to back up the files, and I’m really not a fan of the idea of sending you my only copy of everything.”

The rest of the conversation was more of the same, except I laughed when Skippy read my tracking number to me. “W as in whiskey…” I giggled. I guess Sony has driven him to such things, and I can see why.

Anyway, Sony, I hate you, and I’m not going to pay you $12,247 to fix my computer. Dude, I’m gettin’ a Dell.

Tough love,

they have to make it complicated

so yesterday i was out at my client’s office, and i tried to install my field printer so i could print at the client’s office. of course, none of the installed drivers on my machine was the driver needed for this printer. so i tried all the HP DeskJet numbers close to this one, 3 different drivers i tried, but all was for naught. i could not get the printer to work.

last night i downloaded the driver for the field printer onto my thumbnail drive so i’d be able to finally use the printer. and when i booted up this morning and started to install the printer, i looked at the printer and thought, “hmm. yesterday when i tried to install the printer, i don’t remember ever turning the printer on. or seeing this power indicator light come on.”

i wonder if that had anything to do with it not working. occasionally i’m a moron.

on inkjet printers

none of them actually outputS your documents face down, so you always have to reverse their order after you’ve printed them. why don’t these smirt computer programs automatically set the print options to print back to front when you’re printing on an inkjet? hmm?

how ’bout it, science?

UPDATE: lest ye continue with this theory that i’m a computer newbie, i do know that the programs generally have settings to print in reverse order; however, i should have placed emphasis on “automatically”. i don’t want to have to remember to go in and change my printer settings to print in reverse order; i always remember too late. :)

and BeeBee has been first on every post today! it’s because she’s playing hooky with Big Guy. :D

about jump drives

my jump drive is one of the best purchases i ever made.
in my whole life.

it’s a SanDisk cruzer mini 128MB drive, and i heart it.

bad public relations

hatless in hattiesburg had a bad day recently. see why.

lotsa stuff

ok, i feel like i haven’t blogged in AGES (have y’all missed me? i’ve missed you!). sure, there was that boring little speech i made, but that was written at my mom’s house and then transferred to Typepad in a superfast visit to a Kinko’s hot spot (have i ever mentioned that i LOVE T-Mobile?), so all i had time to do was post it and answer one or two comments…

anyway, this has been a busy week, and i’m exhausted. i’ve pinpointed the ONE reason i’m so tired… no afternoon naps!! can you believe it?? when i left the job at the end of March, one of the first ever habits i instituted was the mid-afternoon nap, and i haven’t had a nap since like Saturday, and i only had that one because i felt, at the time, as if my head were in a vise (2nd worse headache i can ever remember having, thanks Texas weather)… anyway, i’m seeeeepy. since it’s 2:15 a.m., one would think that i would go to bed, but nope. i’m a moron sometimes.

random bits i’ve been collecting…
Read more »


so i had a great little post about tonight’s ep. of american idol all ready to go, and, unbeknownst to me, i had accidentally turned off my modem when i was moving my space heater around (it’s cold here!). and once you get the “page not found” error message from typepad, “back” doesn’t revive your brutally murdered post!