Archive for April 15th, 2009

Where does my brain stop and my computer begin?

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: Games, Health, HowTo, Musings |


If you’ve read this blog for any length of time (thank you!) you will have seen me discuss “computer issues” (I refuse to call them “problems”; each situation is a learning experience, right?)

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I had a thing or two to say to this gentleman, yesterday…but it was, really, my fault. I sort of accidentally installed Internet Explorer 8 at the same time as I installed a new version of America Online. Now, for my own personal browsing, and quite a bit of my work, and this blog, I happily use Mozilla Firefox which bathes me in goodwill and browsing bliss. But, a couple of client’s email lists are maintained on AOL, and thus I need to have their rather boated program on my machine. There are actually some nice features on AOL—I know various people have various feelings about it.

But, in order to run, AOL requires the mind control and world domination browsing software known as Microsoft Internet Explorer.  As I was installing the latest version of AOL, 9.5, (which, let’s face it, I really didn’t need yet, but oh well), up popped a little box asking me if I wanted to “upgrade” my Internet Explorer at the same time. Silly me! I read “upgrade” as “update” and thought (actually didn’t think much about it) that there were a few little tweaks and fixes available for my current version. Gosh knows IE can use a few tweaks. So I checked “YES”.

Folks, do not do this (unless you’re much more tech-savvy than I am; which nearly everyone is; and you’ll tell me that my subsequent…issues, have nothing to do with this; however you’ll still need to explain why, coincidentally, they started right after this install). Choose one or the other; not both! You can always go back and “upgrade” anything you need to later.

Along with my shiny new IE8, I also got a new toolbar. What is it with these toolbars? Almost every piece of software gives me the “opportunity” to obtain a toolbar upon installation. Most programs, if I do a “custom” install, which I almost always do, give me the option of not adding yet another bar to the already crowded top of my screen. I’ve turned down AOL, Yahoo, Google, and a couple of others. In IE8, there is no option not to install, surprise, MSN toolbar. There’s a little note in the “user agreement” (you know the one where you have to click on “I accept”, even though, admit it, you HAVE NOT READ IT, and about 17 paragraphs in it says you may not actually USE the software for anything useful?) which says that I must UNINSTALL the toolbar AFTER the main install should I not wish to have it.

I wouldn’t mind these toolbars if they offered some actual tools. I could use a nice miter saw, a self-adjusting wrench, and a new pair of needle-nose pliers. But no, these toolbars generally (with some admittedly useful exceptions) offer me the opportunity to get to sites I don’t want to visit 1.5 seconds faster than if I just typed the name into my searchbar.

Uh, OK, where was I…oh, yeah, so I installed all this stuff, and later proceeded to do one of my jobs. I had a rather simple task: write a weekly update email for a client, and send it out to their mailing list of about 900 people. Easy-peasy. It took me six hours! AOL kept closing itself, I couldn’t get to it through Explorer (“the software has encountered an error and must shut down. Our boss says we have to apologize for the inconvenience, but we don’t really want to because, let’s face it, it’s kinda common, and why apologize for normalcy, you know?, but anyway we’re sorry.”) I’d just get ready to send out a batch, and bye-bye browser.

Finally, at 4:02 am, US Pacific time, which we are, at the moment (Did you know that most of Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time?) it was done. This newsletter was already a day late because of my personal computer—alright, I’ll admit it—problems, and I didn’t want to go to bed until my task was accomplished. Fortunately for me, a lot of my working hours are flexible, and I got to sleep in until 9:35, at which time a large unpleasant quail decided to perch near my window, and sing her morning song to me. But that’s another post.

So, I turned the computer on, and typed this all up, as a way of explaining why I haven’t been online much, at least for personal fun and blogging and commenting in the past couple of days.

I’m just so subliminally wired now though, as you are too (I can tell, because you’re reading a blog! online!), that having ones ubiquitous machines stop working well is almost as injurious as smashing ones toes! My brain hurts. (That’s a line from Monty Python; brains don’t really hurt.)

The last thing I did before I finally went to bed is uninstall IE8. And install it again. Wish me luck!—oh, that didn’t work. I’m going to try to post this before it crashes again…arguhnh!!!   blorp.

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