Rabu, 30 April 2008

Ramblings about Computers

There's a comic strip I've kept nearby that is hilarious. It's only 3 panels so I can describe it to you. It's "Mutts". The heading in the first panel reads "The Mighty Sphinx sees all, knows all." and below it is a dog with an Egyptian head cover. Next is a chipmunk or some small critter asking, "Tell me, oh Mighty Sphinx, how did you find the weather in Egypt?". Sphinx replies in panel 3, "I just went outside and there it was.".

This offers many themes! I could ramble about the weather, dogs' wisdom, simplicity, seeing what's in front of us, seeking answers. But heck, it's just funny.

Life brought challenges this week. We have two PCs, a laptop and desktop. Our desktop is aging and so treated with greater care. Translate to "backed up often". Then our "provider" decided to upgrade our email service. Usually when I think of the word "provider" I associate it with care, thoughtful, giving, etc. Well, I suspect they tried. Over the course of 12 hours, an overnight job, the firm got everything far enough out of whack that it has taken an additional four days to bring the email accounts back up. And, on the desktop it appears nothing has changed.

However, we were having a problem with the desktop that was reported to me by my hubby, after he used it and after he changed the mouse batteries. No web site would stay loaded; everything flirted with him then went back to the home page. How could the email/access provider manage to do this?! It meant I (or he) could not use the desktop to check to see if the email improvements had been accomplished or not. I had even set up a gmail account and now could not check that.

Alas, the laptop came into play. Here's where it gets even more voodoo-ey. The laptop starts up and runs just fine and yesterday displays a new and apparently improved version of email. My issues with plain text and HTML must have been common issues for they no longer exist. There is a curvier look to the whole thing so it appears a graphics person worked on it to give it a more aesthetic look. Fine. I even had mail although they indicated some that was sent might not show up but not to worry it will be uploaded in time. OK. I used this new email. We oooed and ahhhed like Oprah.

Back to the desktop, two hours of phone support later and nothing has changed. I was informed my browser was corrupt. Reinstall. I knew the process but for the life of me was not sure how I was going to get to the browser download if I couldn't get the web site where it is to stay active. But, pardon me, that was my problem. I spent a couple hours fiddling with it, tried using a competing browser, uninstalled my preferred browser. Not a fix.

Then, Ed, did I mention my hubby in this? announces that he may have pushed a button down on the mouse, "See?", and it stuck. GOOD GLORY. I reached for a computer tool (the almighty modified paper clip), jabbed the stuck button gently, released it from the bondage, and voila, everything was golden again, web site wise.

The email remains a mystery for now that we could go to the account using the desktop the email appears unchanged. And the messages stored there are not the same ones that came in on the laptop. Mind you, it is a single account, the two PCs are networked together.

Somebody is playing with me. Have pity. I'm easily confused and I know what I'm doing with the computers. OK, that's a stretch. I'm not afraid to do what needs to be done and I have a fairly decent understanding of tasks, logic, do's and don'ts. The real test will come when I go back to the laptop and open up the email there to see if it has changed back to the old way. If it has then we'll know the upgrade failed. If it is "new" and the desktop is "old" I remain mystified and will be entering counseling.

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