home comments edit

The next-door neighbor’s sprinkler system either needs some serious adjusting or he has a broken pipe because every time his sprinkler runs he floods out like a quarter of my back yard. I’m talking standing water an inch or two deep style, here.

Of course, the guy’s never home so he doesn’t notice.

I went over there this weekend to mention it to him but, as usual, he wasn’t home. I left a note and decided to hope for the best.

Later that day he must have come home because he left a note for us on our door. He confirmed that he’s not home too much, but he said he’d get it fixed in a couple of days.

So, now I wait. I’m glad it was reasonably amicable and I’m hoping to keep it that way. I’ll give him a week and see if it hasn’t been fixed by then. In the meantime, maybe I should get some swamp grass to plant along the fence line.

personal, home, windows comments edit

Well, I’ve got Windows up, I’ve got Office installed (and updating), I’ve got my antivirus software in place, and everything seems to be generally functioning. A few more apps, a little more customization, and I’m back in business.

If anything, this has taught me something: I’m going to store my user data on a different partition (or physical disk - even better!) than the OS. If it goes tits up on me again, at least I won’t lose my data.

personal, home, windows comments edit

I ran into this ridiculous chicken-and-egg scenario while trying to repair my Windows installation.

See, the problem I was having was that the DVD-ROM drives (plural - two different drives) would not read any media. I decided, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, that it was time to run the Windows repair. (I could do system restore until I’m blue in the face; I don’t know when the problem started, so I don’t know how far back I should go, or even if I still have a good restore point. Bah.)

Now, here’s the real killer on the Windows repair: If the problem you’re having is with some sort of registry entry or driver thing, it doesn’t fix it. That is, it doesn’t undo registry entries for you or repair files it didn’t put there in the first place. Normally I’d say that’s fine, but the problem seems to be that some driver(s) that some other program put in there are not communicating nicely with the Windows drivers. That means the registry needs to have entries related to the bad driver(s) removed.

It doesn’t do that.

Instead, it goes about making you think you can repair the install, and when it finally reboots it comes back and says “The file asms on Windows XP Professional CD-ROM is needed.”

That translates to: “I can’t talk to your CD-ROM.”

The Microsoft article on this says that in order to fix it (basically) you either have to edit the registry or you need to install Windows on a different partition, boot from that, and get your data off the disk.

I have issue with this. I can’t edit the registry because it won’t let me get to a spot in the installation where it allows for that. It boots up, goes straight to setup - do not stop at GO, do not collect $200 - and pops up the error. Safe mode doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Command prompt doesn’t work - it thinks it’s in setup. Recovery console doesn’t work - you can’t edit the registry from there. I don’t have any other partitions to install Windows to, so that’s out.

Basically, I’m screwed.

So I reformatted using the built-in IBM restore function that puts all of the hardware back to factory settings.

Except that they forgot to put in the Intel INF stuff and it gets confused when it loads up and sees all the devices I have (God forbid it just detect and install them all) so it pretty much hosed stuff right from the get-go.

I tried installing a clean version of Windows except I think the version I got from the IBM factory was a volume license version - the sticker on the side of the machine (with the license and serial number and all that) has a Windows XP Pro key… but my Windows XP Pro disc tells me it’s not valid (which is bullshit, otherwise why did I pay for it?).

So I’ve unplugged all of the unnecessary devices (didn’t remove internal stuff) and I’m back to trying the IBM restore route. I’m in the process of downloading all of the drivers they forgot so I can burn them to a disc on my work laptop and get them over to my home machine.

Assuming the DVD drives finally decide to work, that is.

This is exactly what I wanted to be doing this weekend. Reinstalling Windows. Because I don’t get enough of this sort of tedium elsewhere in my life.

home comments edit

I don’t get on the computer at home too often. If I have to work from home (or do some quick development), I usually fire up my work laptop and do what needs to be done. I primarily use my home computer as a word processor, data storage, and sometimes gaming machine.

Fired up the ol’ home PC today so I could watch some videos on this CD-ROM I got bundled with a toy I bought. (The videos show different things the toy can do.)

My DVD drives don’t work. Neither of them. You put the CD in and it registers that it’s a CD in the drive but it thinks the disc is blank.


I have since uninstalled any software I have that might do freaky stuff to the drive - anything Roxio, iTunes, etc. - and that didn’t fix it. My next step is to run a repair on Windows.

Of course, to run a repair on Windows you need a Windows CD, which my computer didn’t come with. Luckily I have an MSDN subscription through work so I can get the ISO for a Windows disc… but I can’t burn the damn thing because my drives aren’t working.

Now I’m on the work laptop, getting the ISO so I can burn it, and then I’ll see if it’s a Windows driver issue or a hardware issue (I’ll try to boot off the disc and see how it goes).

You know what would be cool? If I wasn’t the only one in my household - let alone my family - who knew how to fix this stuff. It would be nice to be able to rely on someone else to help me out rather than always being the place where the buck stops.

I’m a high-stress individual. I stress out about everything. Little stuff, big stuff, stuff I have no control over, stuff I have control over, my stuff, your stuff, his stuff, her stuff… I stress about everything.

I don’t know if this is a function of my ultra-type-A personality, my distinct need for a vacation, or what, but it is certainly the case.

As usual, things are just not letting up for me.

I just bought this house I’m living in - my first house - and I’m still coming to terms with the additional financial burden it places on me as well as the general issues of home ownership. (Note to you “condo” people out there - this has nothing to do with the yard work and everything to do with the things that anyone deals with when not renting: taxes, mortgages, indoor maintenance, home improvement, etc.) It’s taking some time to adjust.

With that goes this bathroom situation. For the life of me, I can’t get a drywall contractor to call me back or be available. The ones who call back are booked for the next two months; the ones who aren’t booked are unreliable. Having no closure on this thing is killing me. I can do minor handiwork around the place, but when it comes to something larger like retexturing a wall, I’m not quite ready for it. So the bathroom sits in this near-unusable state of limbo, waiting for completion. I need it finished.

At work, I’m getting a crash course in being a manager. Over the course of the last week I’ve gotten two contractors in that generally report to me (technically they report to the project manager, but I’m the one assigning tasks and following up on them). I’ve never really had to deal with that aspect of development, and making sure they have enough to do, answer their questions, keep track of the project, and develop on the project (all the while interviewing other contractors for additional positions) is not something I was prepared for. I guess we all evolve to that point eventually, I just wasn’t prepared, you know?

Not only that, but I’m coming on a time where I have a career decision to make. I’ve pretty much topped out where I can go in the IT organization so I have to decide: Do I stay where I’m at and enjoy the various perks that go with being in IT (among those being a nice big cube - like double the size of other cubes, a good boss who’s also a great friend, and a reasonable amount of autonomy on projects) or do I do a somewhat-lateral shift over into the product development group where there will be more of a chance to grow (both professionally and financially)? I’m thinking I’ll be making the move, but pondering on that is a stressful thing, like getting a whole new job.

This morning on the way to work my “check engine” light came on. This happened a back in May, too (though in the server move I lost that blog entry). The first time, it was the oxygen sensor. Who knows what it is this time? They can’t get my car in until Tuesday, which, it being Friday now, is three days of waiting and “driving moderately” until I can get there. The dealer, of course, is on the other side of town (which means possibly two hours away, maybe more, in the morning), so I get to look forward to that come Tuesday. Not to mention the last time it was in, a whole bunch of other service (new brakes, etc.) had to be done, too, so it was an unexpected bill of several hundred dollars - right after moving into the new house. I can only anticipate what it’s going to be this time.

I won’t even get into the other moderate financial speedbumps (usually in the form of unexpected bills - things like having to purchase a washer and dryer when we moved in because we didn’t think about the fact we didn’t own those appliances) we’ve run into as of late. When it rains, it certainly pours.

So here I am, getting ready to phone screen another job applicant (which stresses me out because not only do I hate the phone, I hate talking to people I don’t know over the phone). That’s where it sits.

I suppose I had better get on with stressing about how to avoid cardiac arrest by this time next year.