25 August 2011

Surviving the BSoD

Windows [XP] crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
~haiku by Peter Rothman

I am having computer issues.

On Monday evening I came home to see this:

Not a happy camper.

I asked Rocket and the Tiny Dancer who was on the computer when it happened. Rocket fessed up that he was. What was he doing? He says he was just playing a game. (But since that time, Tiny Dancer has pinpointed that he was, indeed, watching some sort of crazy videos a la YouTube or some such thing, likely something of which his mother would not approve. I still haven't brought that out of him, but Rocket doesn't know that I can trace the history, assuming there is still a history there.) They both swear that they were not downloading anything.

My computer has been sluggish for sometime. This is not the first BSoD (Note: did you know that the BSoD, Blue Screen of Death, or bluescreen has its own Wikipedia entry? You know you have arrived when there is a Wikipedia entry about you!)

Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
~haiku by Margaret Segall
So I rebooted the computer. Now you have to understand that I have issues with my Norton anti-virus. Have I mentioned this before? When I upgraded to the newest version, I bought two years worth. I paid extra for the extra tech help (that I coincidentally never used before it timed out) to get it installed right. The update is set to run at midnight. The old version would just do its thing and not require me to do anything with it, like click an Okay button or look at some meaningless dashboard. Now I have to click all these buttons to make it work and it is INFURIATING! And round about March we installed a new printer and had to get out the printer driver CDs. Since that time, right before the Norton will run each night at 12 bells, the computer starts looking for the damned Dell CDs. I have to keep clicking cancel to get rid of those messages so that the Norton will then run. I have tried to fix these problems to no avail. I am not the most tech savvy, I know just enough to be dangerous. And my friend and colleague, the IT Guy, knows all about this and says that he can fix it. But he is damned near as busy as I am so this has been going on for months on end.

I even contacted Norton customer service a few months ago about the automatic updates that I want to be truly automatic or threatened that I was ready to walk away from Norton and find a new security friend. Someone named "Kevin," who is more likely in India than in Indiana, never truly answered my questions, gave me a lot of tech jargon insterspersed with ingratiating niceties, and then decided to add another year to my subscription! So now I have a subscription to Norton that seems as if it will never end. Grrrr.

So after the Norton update at the crack of midnight on Tuesday, I decided that it was time to fully shut the 'puter all the way down. I know. I should do that every day anyway for updates and such. But I don't. And when I woke up on Tuesday, this is what I saw:

Okay. So I exaggerate. That is not exactly what I saw, but I cannot take a screen shot to show you and this is what it felt like. Basically, it appears that my computer has tanked. I have IT Guy willing to come and take a look and see if it is salvageable, but I am not all that hopeful, even though I am a glass is half full sort of gal. (On the bright side, this might be the kick in the tookus that I need to invest in a laptop. ;-)

Ah... this is going to be a very long and expensive month I fear.

I work late, late at night. And that is typically when I blog, surf the 'net, order supplies, correspond to emails, and update my Etsy shop. So without the use of a computer I feel very stuck. You would think that I could use that time to clean the studio, organize my receipts, put away all the beads I bought from Bead & Button (they are STILL in the little baggies!), make more pendants or work on custom orders... but I find myself really stuck by this. I guess I don't realize how connected I am to that computer on the other side of the room.

I am trying to get into a new rhythm but it is hard. And I miss being connected to all of you as well as putting on a Hulu video or listening to Pandora in the studio. I feel a bit lost and driftless right now.

So. The reason I mention all these troubles is not to solicit advice, but rather to let you know why I have been strangely silent here and also not as present with visiting all of you. I will still be able to check in and you might even see a post or two from me in the meantime, but they may be slim pickings. Bear with me as I battle all things Microsoft and pray that I am the victor.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
~ haiku by Suzie Wagner

Your turn...
What would you do if you had to truly be unplugged?
How should I cope with this forced hiatus? Break out the wine? Invest in fancy chocolates? Take more bubble baths? Throw it out and start over?
Do tell! I could use a little comic relief right about now! ;-)


Erin S said...

OK, I'm sorry to hear about your sucky computer issues, but I truly, TRULY enjoyed those haikus.

Unknown said...

I am sorry to hear about your computer problems!

As to what I do when that happens? I am a spoiled brat about it, but my hubby is a comp tech. So I whine, and whine until he fixes it. If that doesn't work, I borrow his :) or go to hobby lobby.

Nissa said...

It is a conspiracy. Companies make sucky computers, bad anti virus software, viruses to overcome the bad anti virus, all so that when your computer crashes it's cheaper to buy a new comp than fix it.
As you can tell I'm also having computer issues. I want to throw mine out the window.
BTW, I LOVED the haikus!

Jo said...

Oh I can definitely sympathise! I eventually bought a new laptop in the spring after nearly a year of trying everything I could to get the old one working properly. The only reason the old one didn't get thrown out of the window was the window was closed and would have been too expensive to mend! I love Nissa's theory!

What would I do without the computer? Spend more time making jewellery, especially hammering to relieve the stress caused by the computer, and knitting when it was too late at night to hammer without disturbing the neighbours!

Davinia said...

Touch wood, I've been trouble free since I bought my laptop but the odd times when the internet has been down I've felt very disconnected from the world and slightly anxious. We depend on computers for so many things now so I feel your pain.
Hope it all gets sorted out for you very soon Erin.
What would I do if it stopped working? Probably curl up into a little ball and sob.

Alice said...

I have to admit that technology and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it only when it works properly, but I hate it when it breaks because I'm technically challenged and don't know what to do.

I've always been the last to jump on something new (no iphones, ipads, ipods, or whatever the newest gadgets are these days).

But boy howdy when the computer malfunctions I'm at a total loss. Everything I do is on there (well I'm exagerating now) and I feel like a ship lost at sea.

I hope you get this all straightened out before you take an axe to it.

Judy said...

Yikes, no computer, this sounds familiar....My hard drive died a few months ago and I had to go buy a new computer, I hated to shell out the money but what the heck was I going to do with a computer??? My sympathies are with you Erin, I hope you get it all straightened out.

SummersStudio said...

Oddly enough, when we were more than a week without internet service when we moved, I really enjoyed the shut down. On the other hand it was a temporary situation and I wouldn't want to do it long term. But the break was great in so many ways. We also did not have television during this time. Acutally, we still do not have television and I am still enjoying that break.

It is good to know where you are because the I've missed you. I do hope that you get this solved soon. BTW, love the haiku. I think I've related to every last one of them at some time or another.

Good luck!

Rebecca said...

Totally break out the wine Erin! Hate computer problem, such an absolute pain. I left microsoft for mac 4 years back and I must say, I wouldn't go back....no real issue here since the switch, touch wood. I say, bead more with the computer down!

Alice Howe said...

I feel your pain. I've learned that I backup my critical files once a month, and business files every other day. They are on a separate hard drive. My machine crashed Friday night. I spent 4 hours Friday and 3 hours Saturday reinstalling the entire system. It's not totally done, but enought to get by. Lesson learned - backup those files.

Good luck

Christine Altmiller said...

Wine is ALWAYS the answer!

Beverly Herman said...

Erin I once had Dell and Microsoft software. P.S. and Norton protection. I can't tell you how many times I threatened to toss the thing in the swimming pool. I am now surround by apples. I love my mac and apps for all my I' gadgets. My MS ( Microsoft) headaches are gone! Can't wait to meet you in Sept at Heather's retreat.

THEAjewellery (lesley Watt) said...

Oh I feel for you Erin! I was unplugged for just 24 hour last week because the power cable on my Mac blew up and I couldn't locate one locally without paying an arm and a leg. I felt so out of touch, even though I have amsmart phone to get e mails I can't do anything substantial in micro screens. I resorted to my usual therapy and did a massive beads and findings sort out. Completely overhauled my storage system, sorted my lampwork so that the autumn/winter stuff was most accessible, organised silk. leathers etc...you know how it goes. I think it helps me de-stress because I have absolute control over it unlike anything remotely techie. Hope you're sorted soon.

JeannieK said...

Oh Honey I feel your frustration. I got the blue screen of death on my computer about a month ago. Thankfully my husband, who was an IT tech in another life, fixed it. It was the first time I ever heard the term. I did not know what was going on. I was afraid to tell him at first, but I had to. So I did and he says, "oh, it's the blue screen of death." WHAT? He walks over to the computer, clicks a few clicks, types in something and bingo bango, FIXED! "What the Heck!"

In your down time, I say you drive over here to Minnesota and hang out with me.

Gale Wrigley said...

Being disconnected is the pits. Period. Computers are a normal part of my day. Being without a computer would be like being without electricity - doable but danged inconvenient. Computers are also a bit like cars - you're going to have to replace them every few years.

Norton is one of the reasons I switched to Macs. (Unsolicited advice to follow) Now I am I-everything with no virus software needed. No drivers needed either. New printer? Plug it in the USB port and it's there - nothing else needed to "recognize" the device. There's more than hype behind the Apple products; they rock.

Cece said...

Three words of advice: get a Mac! Love mine <3

shari said...

I'll tell you the same thing I told Brandi... get a Mac! I got mine about five years ago. Still have the same one. Never looked back. The beauty is, when I did have an issue recently, I took it to the Genius Bar, and they fixed it. No charge. Same day.


xox Happy Friday!!

Heather Powers said...

If buying a new computer is stretching the budget too far, you might try a used one. You can find them for under $200 (with the basic software) and chances are it will be more up to date than the one you are using now. I have never bought a new computer. I feel your pain, I go a little crazy without one for even 24 hours.

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Create, create, create! Not having a computer to check/send e-mails, read/post blogs will allow more time to create some new treasures! Also, I would definitely sip the wine and indulge in chocolates! Another option is organizing the studio (if that task is needed). I totally understand your frustration as that has happened to me. I fortunately have an in house computer geek (my husband). So he usually saves the day for me! Do you have an iPad or similar tablet? I highly recommend one as you can travel with them and be able to check e-mail and blogs etc.

Mary K. McGraw said...

I know how you feel. My computer and I seem joined at the hip. I have not found a fix from computer withdrawal, but I know staying busy always helps, especially when you get lost in creativity. Good luck with the computer.

Sally Anderson said...

Oh, I hate the blue screen. Been there and done all that. I solved the problem totally. Just one word: Apple.

Cristina Norcross said...

Hi Erin,

Ugh, computer issues. I am so sorry! i can relate about feeling disconnect literally and figurativey when the computer is down. We poets long to share our words I wanted to say how much I loved this line: "I am not the most tech savvy, I know just enough to be dangerous."

I am an avid Apple user. We have 3 Apple laptops in the house and now an iPad. I love them all and apart from the wireless going down sometimes, we've had NO trouble. As a creative person, you would love Apple. I'm assuming you have a PC.

Take care. Break out the bubbly while taking a bubble bath and listen to some peaceful tunes while thinking up your next creation. Peace, Cristina. Bookndz@yahoo.com

Silver Parrot said...

iPad, baby, iPad ;-)

No, I'm just kidding. I've had the same type of frustrating Norton issues on my desktop that you're having so I finally did away with them completely on the advice of my computer tech guru. Replaced with AVG and am MUCH happier.

I think Norton's customer service is much like the "Peggy" character in those credit card ads - have you seen those? They are hilarious.

Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, while I haven't been having computer problems, I have now been 3 days without air conditioning in 90+ degree heat.


Off the Beadin' Path said...

So frustrating! We depend on these techie toys and when they don't work it gets ugly! I'm adding another Mac vote, no more Norton! The Mac like you have at the Gallery probably costs only slightly more than a laptop. A blog post goes much faster and easier on a "big" one, but laptops are portable. And since I'm giving FReE advice, you get great service and normal, friendly people at the Mac store in Minocqua. It's worth the trip! He sat down with us for 2 hours, no charge. They fix any little problems when we stop in. Just saying....And then you can go for Gelato!!!! Family road trip, I have it all planned.
Have a better day!

Anonymous said...

Over the years I have learned to fix the most common problems with the computer. It is just too much of a hassle to find someone to fix it for you.

Have had problems with Norton in the past. Immediately threw it out and replaced it with McAfee. Just do the math: the cost of replacing it probably outweigh the cost of a new computer, lost sales, lost time etc.

And never ever ever let kids work on a computer that you use for work. It is a critical instrument for running your business. You cannot go without.

Other than that, life without being online is so much easier...

- Pepita

Aquariart said...

We rescued what we could off the Dell and bought a Mac. I don't even need virus protection now. Seriously it is a better product just because of that. I have been where you are and it really SKS!! Never again. Hang in there and consider not purchasing another PC. ever again. My theory is they create their own viruses to make more money. Another plus, You get an english speaking amercian when you call Apple Support and they will spend as much time as you need for free!

Barbara said...

Well, we're just two peas in a pod this weekend, aren't we? I, too, got BSoD this weekend (except for mine is black)...What I thought was fortunate was that I was able to back everything up before I wiped it and started over...except the back up didn't work...Everything gone. Photos...everything.

At first I was really upset, now I'm looking forward to the clean slate...albeit a lot of work to complete...sigh....

I second KJ's suggestion of AVG...I dumped norton when my subscription ran out and got AVG and have been very pleased...

I LOVE color! said...

Oh don't you just hate it when that happens? We had to replace ours earlier this year. My husband was just moving the off switch on the wireing on the floor. When he went to turn it back on it crashed. My nephew built us another one. As you say everyday may not be a good day bot everyday has good in it. Be Blessed to be a blessing

Shai Williams said...

I have to admit that I just don't do unplugged. If I am unable to get a computer back up and running, then I am rushing out to get another one. Yeah I am such the computer addict.

Brandi Hussey said...

If anyone can understand your plight, I can. I freaking hate the Blue Screen of Death. If I didn't have to turn in my old laptop to get this new one, I would have pummeled it with a sledgehammer for only showing me that stupid blue screen.

Crossing my fingers that it's getting sorted out for you!!

P.S. Fun fact - I hate not being able to check my email. This problem would be easily solved if I was willing to pay for the internet on my phone, so I would never miss an email. But alas, I'm too cheap to do that (also, those screens are super small and my eyesight's bad). Definitely feeling your pain, Miss Erin!!


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