Saturday, August 3, 2013

Computer Woes: Everything Back to Normal?

Okay, tip number one: if you have a job deadline, and you need a complete overhaul to your (brand new) computer before you can do it, do not have too much to drink at dinner before you get started. Tip number two: do not continue to drink while you're working!

Yes, there was some revelry at dinner (and cards) with friends we hadn't seen in a month. And yes I really needed to get this work done when I got home. Why cocktails at home too then? Because the work I was doing was so freakin' mind-numbingly frustrating. Still a bad idea, because I can't adequately remember the details of the work I was doing to know if I got it 100% right! What I did manage, even operating at 25% brain capacity:

- Refresh of Windows 8, allegedly without disturbing my files, but wiping out installed applications
- Reinstall of sign software (the most important thing on my computer, for my home office)
- Reinstall of CorelDraw Graphics Suite (the next most important thing)
- Reinstall of AOL 9.7 (because it's just how I work, all right?)

But things still weren't ready to go, because the computer would not recognize my USB dongle for the graphics program. And, the external cloud hard drive was inaccessible. So, since my deadline loomed for a work project, I logged in on The Other Half's computer (my old computer), where I'd wisely kept everything intact under my user identity. It's the very first time I've found the separate computer user accounts even remotely worth the effort. But, I found, the move from one room to the other (literally only one room away) was just too much for the iomega/Lenovo cloud drive, which refused access! OHMYGOD! It's supposed to be accessible from anywhere in the world (so long as you send an evite and download their cumbersome software on the receiving computer). No dice.

SIGN MAKERS: If you're trying to install an older version of Gerber Omega Composer (like my 2.6.1), ignore warnings that it isn't compatible, and when it says it can't find the dongle? Try unplugging it and replugging it, and try again. If that doesn't work, try reinstalling the Sentinel driver, and--same deal--unplug and replug as necessary. I've done this three times now, twice on this computer and once on my mom's to test the program. Once you are successful, it seems to "stick," and remembers where the dongle is. Or, pony up the $1000 for an upgrade to the new version. Though I'm not sure Gerber has certified its compatibility either.

So--moderately hung over--I had to solve that problem, achieved by going around the Lenovo software, and directly through the network via Windows Explorer. Mapped the cloud drive, and all is right with the world, or at least in The Other Half's office, and I got my work done. Afterwards, I had little interest in working on computers any more, but really kind of had to. I don't need a deadline in front of me again, without being ready. So, back to my office, and. . .

- I re-setup Windows 8.1, because Microsoft didn't offer me a choice. Once you've got it, you've apparently got it for good. This is okay though, because faced with 8 after having 8.1 is weird.
- I got the computer to recognize the sign software (Gerber Composer 2.6.1, and older version that does work with Windows 8 if you futz around with it), with the dongle
- I had the exact same issue with the cloud drive as on my old computer, so once again did an end-run via Windows Explorer, and map the drive that way (screw you, Lenovo!)
- I reimported all of my personal settings for the graphics software, for Internet Explorer, set up my computer to be my computer, something I'd done only two weeks before
- I'm now rebuilding my documents, music and other files, which went away. Though I know I refreshed using the option that allegedly doesn't damage your files, I sure can't find 'em, not even with Windows fancy new search tool

Here's where I'd like to ask a general question of my readers about music stored on a PC. From one PC to the next, I've built my music library, cobbled from here and there, copying the whole thing to the next newer PC. Along the way, I eventually ripped all of my CDs to the computer, and of course downloaded a bunch of music through Amazon, and through the library.

On every computer, at any given time, I'd notice that songs would disappear. She's So Unusual by Cyndi Lauper may be missing track 1 (track 1 always seems the most susceptible), 3, 4 and 9. If I have multiple albums by the same artist, it would always seem that at least some of them would be missing tracks. And the collection seems to get more Swiss-cheesy over time. Does anyone know why this happens? I can't be the only one it happens to.

And that has been my life the last week or so. I've destroyed my brain cells (and I don't mean just with alcohol!), ignored other facets of life, and been fairly unpleasant to be around. All while sticking to my Atkins Diet and exercise program! And I still have some work to do. But I have to say, I'm very nearly to a place where I'm happy with my PC purchase, and closer to actually liking Windows 8.1.

Funny thing, though. The initial thing that lead to all of these problems--trying to fix my AOL mail to properly display headers--still doesn't display headers. And since they briefly worked with the refresh of Windows 8, but not after the refresh of 8.1? I think we've found the culprit.

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