In which our intrepid hero experiences IT issues.

It started the night before last, when Mim K/W brought the laptop down to the lounge room to browse the Net as we watched TV—a normal enough occurence. Fortunately (or un-), a piece of software which I’d installed with Google Pack picked up a few bits of spyware/adware/malware which had somehow slipped past the firewall. Around 112 of them.

It produced a popup stating this as Mim browsed, followed by a shrill siren noise. Unsurprisingly, Mim freaked. I quickly got the situation under control and all was well.

Yesterday morning, as I prepared for a day’s writing, the Net link went down. I quickly ascertained that the PPP server wasn’t authenticating, which meant it was a problem at the other end. Exactly the same problem that happens every month or two, when our ISP screws up our billing.

It was my turn to freak out, but thankfully Mim managed to sort it out: the ISP said we were still in credit, so it was probably Windows’ fault. By this stage, I’d determined that—for once—this wasn’t the case.

Three quarters of an hour later, it came back on, and I was enjoying blisteringly fast dialup speeds on our 8000K/second DSL link. I’ve sort of come to expect this level of bandwidth at certain times of the day.

A couple of hours later, I was browsing away, looking for graphics for Chaddma’s Legacy, when the dreaded BSOD reared its ugly head. Aside from munching several pages of Chaddma and crippling Norton’s ability to scan instant messengers (which I don’t use anyway), not much went awry.

Then, last night, Mim brought the laptop downstairs again. All was well until she brought it back upstairs—when it spontaneously shutdown. And when it came back up, it would hang part way through the startup for Windows.

It worked okay in Safe Mode, though, and I worked out that some sort of collision between Norton’s, the spyware checker and a Wikipedia lookup widget was the root cause. Of course, Norton’s wouldn’t uninstall in Safe Mode, and Windows wouldn’t start up if it wasn’t.

Thankfuly, when I uninstalled the Wikipedia thingy and disabled most of the spyware checker’s features, Norton’s decided that it was unencumbered enough to try and repair itself.

After the most gruellingly long startup I have ever experienced in my life—at around 5am this morning—it finally seemed to work. Everything was back to normal—aside from the missing pages of Chaddma’s Legacy. Grrr.

I have to admit, I look fondly on the days when, if your tools stopped working, all you had to do was bang them for a couple of minutes with another rock. I could use a holiday, somewhere where IT issues wouldn’t bug me—how much are return tickets to the Upper Palaeolithic?

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