October 7th, 2007


WTF Is Going On?

Entropy At Work

Way back in the dark ages, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and used MS-DOS and humans thought that 640KB of memory was pretty cool, SF and computer writer Jerry Pournelle used to write in the pages of Byte magazine that laser printers seemed to have a crisis detection circuit. The more important the job, the more important the deadline, the less likely the pages would come out of the printer correctly. "Computers can smell fear," a friend of mine used to say. "Or hurry."

Well, today it all seemed to hit the fan, at least for a while.

Batter's Up!

Mrs. Dr. Phil started out on her Sony VAIO S270P laptop, where she's been tired up of trying to update the NPR podcasts for her iPod Nano and the machine reboots all the time. I've always thought it was a conflict between NAV trying to update and iTunes as to who gets to use the Internet. Anyway, disgusted this, she finally decided to update iTunes to 7.4 today. And iTunes said it was going to take 1 to 2.5 hours to download the update. Huh? Eventually she realized that iTunes was still running in the background and trying to download her list of podcasts at the same time. Killed that job and the install went fine in fifteen minutes. And, I shouldn't even mention this, the downloads that followed didn't involve any reboots.

Stee-rike One!

Meanwhile, I fired up my Sony VAIO S270P laptop and since it was Sunday, I ran NAV LiveUpdate as per usual. The update failed with an error code LU1844. It said click here for Symantec to explain what was going on. I did, it fired up the default browser -- and Symantec told me it didn't know what this error code was and that I should install and run AutoFix to troubleshoot. Okay. Uh, and would you please use Internet Explorer instead of this Netscape shit? Of course it didn't actually say that, but come on -- if you wanted to run IE, why didn't you launch IE?

So now we're in IE and the download is done and I'm supposed to select RUN -- but even before I'm done downloading, the browser window is already reporting that We encountered a problem -- We can't run our programs unless you have Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista, IE 5.5+, ActiveX and JavaScript enabled, and 32MB of disk space. Um, XP Pro SP2, IE greater than 5.5, ActiveX and JavaScript enabled, many GB of free space -- so what's yer problem?

Not going to find out now, I just used up my thirty minute window before we had to go out.

Stee-rike TWO!

I hop into the 1996 S-10 Blazer, stick the key in and... absolutely nothing. Completely dead. No lights, no nothin'. Huh. Ran fine 24 hours previously. Hop out and into the 1994 S-10 Blazer... and off we go.

A Hit!

Off to today's entertainment -- GVSU's Shakespeare Festival and the closing performance of their Shakespeare play Cymbeline. This is not a play we were too familiar with. And even the Wikipedia entry is mainly about the authorship, when first performed, whether it's a tragedy or a tragicomedy, etc. Early King in Britain, lots of lies and deceits, fake death potions, dressing as other people, testing the virtues and loyalties of others -- and a couple of real cads -- plus a beheading and pardons for everyone else. This was set in Civil War era dress in Kansas near the Missouri border. Worked really well.

The notes said they had someone in who is an expert in staging fight scenes and the big battle was quite well done, lots of people on the stage, guns going off, a cannon shot, confusion, the fog of war, heroic deeds left and right.

Next Batter!

Came home, fired up the laptop, reran LiveUpdate, it ran just fine no problems. Geesh.

Of course, three minutes AFTER LiveUpdate ran, it only then decided it wanted to demand a reboot. Can't these damned things figure out that they're going to request a rebate BEFORE you start doing your work on your own damned machine?

Entropy -- can't live with it, can't live without it.

Dr. Phil
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