Monday, October 11th, 2004
10:46 pm - My World and Welcome to It...  
Annoying, expensive weekend. Took the truck in for a tune up, an oil change, and to have them investigate the annoying metal on metal squeally noise the left front wheel has been making. I was pretty sure it had something to do with the brakes, since it went away when I applied them. Anyway, $400 later I have new front brakes. Feh.

That took up most of Saturday morning, and I spent the rest of the day installing the new hard drive and other upgrades I got for my computer. The new hard drive was to be the new boot drive, so it also meant setting up Win 98 and all my applications again. Took the rest of Saturday to do it all, but I had it working. Well, mostly. Somewhere along the installation process, one of the programs wasn't working properly. Started rooting around in the system, and everything looked like it was properly set up. The file was in the right place. The registry key was correct. The system was just ignoring it.

Now, it had been working on the old hard drive, and I'd set up the new hard drive on the same system using the same drivers. The only difference with the new install was that I'd installed all the critical security patches that Microsoft insisted that I needed. I figured one of the patches had to have broken the program. So which one (or more) was it of the eighteen patches that Microsoft said I really, really needed?

So, Sunday morning I scrubbed the system down, set up Win 98, the chipset drivers, and the program again, and then starting doing updates one at a time. It turned out to be the fourth one I tried. Was there another? Scrubbed it down again, reinstalled, and then tried the rest of the patches. They all behaved themselves. Now, did I really need the one that was breaking my system? I decided I really didn't. Unlike a lot of Microsoft's customers, I have a firewall and updated virus protection, I don't use a Microsoft e-mail program, and I don't open attachments, so I feel pretty safe.

Anyhow, I started from scratch, completely reinstalled the system again, and installed all the updates but one. Installed the browsers, e-mail, anti-virus, and such. I still have a bunch of applications and games to reinstall, but I can do those as I need them. The machine is working well.

One thing that helped was a suggestion Alex gave me when we were talking about it the other night. Everything I need is still on the original 60 GB, so he told me to pick up one of those USB external hard drive enclosures. Setting it up was easy peasy. Snap it open. push the drive onto the connectors and screw it down, snap the top back on, and plug it in. Another 60 GB of storage. The transfer rate isn't as good as if it were internal, but it's good enough for what I need. Great idea.

Today it was lovely out, but the only time I spent outside was mowing the lawn. That was tough on my back. The stabby pain hasn't come back, but it is still very stiff.

In other news, I have a new neighbor. Or maybe neighbors. It's been kind of weird. Earlier this year, my neighbors on one side put their house up for sale, but then took it off the market and stayed put. I have no idea why. Then a couple of months ago, I noticed a little "for rent" sign on the phone pole at the corner which listed the house on the other side of me. It dawned on me at that point that I hadn't seen much of my neighbors lately. The daughter was at the house, home from college for the summer, but I hadn't seen the parents in a while. Apparently they'd moved. The daughter eventually went back to college, and the house had been empty for about a month. This past week, a realtor's "For Lease" appeared on the front lawn, and Saturday there was a new car in the driveway. Today a bunch of sturdy young men were hauling stuff into the house from their pickup trucks. The trucks are gone, so I have no idea who is actually living there yet.