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Adventures in personal computing

I'm home waiting for the cable guy (very tall, ropy build)* because last week my Internet connection was having issues that it no longer seems to be having. Wednesday night I had a very intermittent connection, and Thursday night was the same. However, Thursday morning everything worked, and it has worked fine since Friday morning. My theory is, I had a flock of starlings roosting on my cable line on Wednesday and Thursday nights, but by Friday it was so cold they went elsewhere. It's about as logical as anything else.

Actually, on Thursday evening while I was watching TV, I noticed that the prehistoric program grid I have from my cable provider (which is the same firm as my Internet provider) had blank squares in it. That only happens when there's some sort of outage. I inquired about an outage when I called tech support on Thursday night (get great service at midnight, seriously) but they didn't own up to anything. But in my experience, cable providers don't admit to an outage unless a hurricane has just gone through an area, anyway.

So this could be an interesting conversation with the cable guy. "Um, well, it didn't work, but that was three days ago. Wish we could replicate that." Yeah.

In yet more puzzling computer-related news, I've downloaded the same Windows update five business days in a row now. I'm beginning to suspect there's something wrong, but I'm not sure what... cuz I'm not an IT guy and I shouldn't have to be to run a freakin' computer, but that was my rant last week so I won't go there again. I guess I'll have to troubleshoot that when I get home from work tonight. At least I have a reason to come home tonight, eh?

* That's a joke, son.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
The only way to "fix" windows update is to nuke windows and install something else. I think it's more concerned now with making sure you aren't running a "pirate copy" of the OS than with keeping you up to date.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
It's jolly offensive, actually. Makes me actively want to install a pirated copy if it would just get rid of the "hey, we're installing another few megs' worth of Genuine Advantage Super Happytool" nonsense.

Instead I'm buying an OSless computer and putting Linux Mint on it, so yar boo Windows.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
Here in the US, they're making it really difficult to buy a computer without OS installed, too. Apparently Microsoft is still forcing vendors to not do that in order to get the ability to distribute Windows on their products.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
I've been recommended a builder in the UK that turns out to sell machines with or without OS, which is cool. It may be similar in the US: a case of finding a smallish vendor that assembles them for you. (Of course, one can always buy the bits and put them together if one has steady paws, but I haven't.)

Dell has an open source series - I think in the US too - which is encouraging.

If nothing else, my father is a MSDN member and always has spare licences, so it'd be ludicrous for me to pay for any Microsoft product. So, I won't. :)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Dell had and open source series, but it has shrunken considerably and still doesn't seem to offer a machine with a blank HD. Instead they will sell you their choice of an open source system, preinstalled.

Three years ago I did buy a Dell machine with no OS. It took a lot of arguing to get it, they kept trying to convince me that I wanted RedHat preinstalled (NO! a thousand times no.) Now when you go to their website, that option seems to have completely disappeared.

I've been told that their contract with Microsoft requires them to agree not to sell machines without an OS. So they now sell machines with Ubuntu or RedHat preinstalled, but not without any OS.

If you don't want Ubuntu or RedHat, too bad. They charge about the same for the preinstalled Linux as for preinstalled Windows, too. When I bought my machine, it was almost $300 cheaper than the Windows equivalent.

Building your own machine from boards does, of course, give you the option. It also makes warranty support of the hardware very difficult.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, sucky. I had heard you had to pay over the odds for the privilege, compared with the cost of a Windows licence, but it sounds like that option's gone downhill rather than improved. That's a shame.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Not only a shame, I think it's a violation of the settlement terms of Microsoft's deal with the US Dept. of Justice in that antitrust lawsuit. Now it's going to have to be challenged all over again.

IBM itself was blasted by the government years ago for refusing to unbundle the OS from the hardware back when it was doing that with mainframes. The precedent seems perfectly clear. IBM was forced to sell the OS without the hardware and the hardware without an OS if the customer so chose. At the time, IBM was worried about "plug-compatible" competitors like Amdahl and Fujitsu, whose customers wanted to buy the cheaper iron and then install the genuine IBM operating system.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
It does sound clear cut. But I guess we're not Microsoft's lawyers.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
To "nuke Windows and install something else" seems impractical, given the decade and a half of Windows experience, software that works well, and desire to maintain compatibility with work, home, and friends' computers that I have. Besides, computers themselves are not my main interest; making computers do cool things is. I'd much rather use a computer than tweak it. Granted, I'll have to do some work on my Wintel machine, as I've admitted already, but it's more appealing than starting with zero and trying to figure out what piece of *nix goes where.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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