Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...get outta yer truck, gulp down yer coffee and do the "computer safety dance"!

STALLED ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY: It's great having a little laptop computer. Once I got past the paranoia involved when I realized this little thing cost more than a year's wages for a worker who makes shoes in a Chinese Nike Plant, I realized the freedom this little gizmo provides. I can take the computer out into the kitchen, watch the parakeets, check e-mails and do all the other online stuff I need to do. Well, not what I "need" to do, because I survived for years without a computer, but stuff I like to do, that I need a computer for. Anyway...

When I signed on last nite (it's now 3am!), there were little red "X's" in the two little 'wireless icons' in my bottom toolbar. No internet access! AAAAAACK!!! My laptop, all of a sudden, wouldn't receive wireless signals! And so I put on my dancing shoes and did that little doe-see-doe called "The computer safety dance". First, I called Verizon online "tech" support. After an hour of inserting discs, hitting this key, going here and going there, the Verizon person asked me if I had a USB port. To which I immediately said, "huh?" So he told me what it was, and (miracles do happen!) I still had the USB cord that came with my laptop computer. And I was able to plug into the modem and go online! It still wouldn't pick up a wireless signal, but at least I was "operational". The Verizon person told me he'd done all he could do for me, and that I needed to call Hewlett-Packard (manufacturers of my sinister little laptop, pictured above), and that THEY could help me out with my "wireless problem". (Until then, I had no idea I could patch in to my modem with a cord...I'm just kinda stumbling around in the dark, aren't I?)

Well, okay, so I ended up doing the "Computer Safety Dance", part two...I called H-P, got hold of a tech support person there, who once again had me go here and go there, click this, click that, do this, do that, and do some other thing, and after another hour with HIM, I got to the point where I once again could go wireless. I asked him, "what caused this", and he said, that perhaps some kind of virus or whatever got into my computer and corrupted my wireless-internet-receiving card, and that I needed a good firewall. I told him, "I've got Windows Firewall already in my computer", and he said that wasn't enough to fight off all the kinds of nasty, corrupting internet-beasts that can devour your computer. He said, "Norton Antivirus is good"...well, two months of "Norton" came installed in this laptop, as part of an "introductory" deal, after which I woulda had to pay to keep "Norton" in my computer...

Well, I thot back to January of this year when I'd put the "ZoneAlarm" firewall, which I'd paid for then, into my now-long-deceased desktop computer, and so I asked the H-P tekkie, "will ZoneAlarm protect me as well as Norton would?", to which he answered, "yes". 'Yes' is a nice, friendly, warm word, isn't it? Sure sounds good to these tired old ears. All I had to do was switch my existing ZoneAlarm account, which originally was in my dead Desktop computer, over to this laptop. So began "computer safety dance, part three"...I called ZoneAlarm tech support, and spoke to a guy there, who said he'd e-mail me the instructions on how to transfer ZoneAlarm into my new computer (my aforementioned laptop). Easy enough, right? So I began installing ZoneAlarm, when up popped a big warning, saying I had a "conflicting program" in my computer, and I had to get rid of that before I could put ZoneAlarm in. Yep, that conflicting program was the aforementioned "Norton" program.

So began "The computer safety dance, part four"...I went into 'add/remove programs' and hit the 'uninstall Norton' function...well, Norton took up so much space in my computer that it took ANOTHER 45 MINUTES to uninstall it! Finally, I was ready to install ZoneAlarm (remember ZoneAlarm?) And after installing that, I had to enable the ZoneAlarm program to check for viruses, in hundreds of thousands of files, which took another 45 minutes. Call that, "The computer safety dance, volume four, part two"...basically, I first tried to go online at 7:30PM, and in-between talking to tech-support people, downloading, uploading, sideloading and toploading this and that into my computer, I didn't have the thing ready to go on the Internet until MIDNIGHT...that's right...basically, my computer underwent a 4-AND-A-HALF-HOUR PIT STOP! By then, I'd worn gaping holes in my dancin' shooz. But at last I was able to answer e-mails, go on Ebay and do all of the unnecessary but highly critical things that all of us computer addicts do every day. And, then, I realized, "hey, wait, I could BLOG about this, couldn't I?" Which it is why it's 3:15AM as I'm typing this. (And I'm now proofreading it at 4am.)

THIS NEXT TOPIC REALLY DOES "DRIVE" ME CRAZY...I was reading the online edition of the "Spokesman-Review" noozpaper the other day; that way I can see what's happening where I USED to live, and I came across an article about a lady who was driving on the highway and she was being tailgated by a Dodge Ram pickup...they both came down the same exit ramp, to a stop sign, and then she got out and began SHOOTING the pickup truck! Something I've wanted to do to tailgaters FOREVER, but murder is still illegal, you see. No, she didn't kill anyone, but she got one heck of a king-sized ticket, and she's going to court, while the tailgater in the Dodge Ram went home to thank his lucky stars he was still alive.

And all of that brought to mind the days when I used to drive cab, and the amount of times I'd see someone in a Dodge Ram pickup trying to drive up into my TRUNK. What is it with people and big vehicles? Maybe, being so high up in the stratosphere, they can 't see the car below them? You know, the car they're about to run over? Let's thank God that Sherman Tanks are illegal for street use, or we'd have an awful lot of flat, squashed cars at red-lights that take forever to change at rush hour. This was all triggered by events that happened today, when I looked in my rear-view mirror, whilst DOING THE SPEED LIMIT, and, yep, there was a "Damn RAM" driving about two inches behind I looked around, saw no cops sitting anywhere around the area, and I gunned it outta there. I think people who drive these oversized monster trucks need to know that their vehicles create quite an intimidating presence for motorists like me, who drive, you know, decently-sized vehicles THAT DON'T WEIGH 20,000 LBS. Or 20,000 TONS.

FINALLY, LET'S HOPE HIS MUSIC IS BETTER THAN THE COFFEE: Paul McCartney, the world's richest musician (well, at least until after Heather gets done with him in divorce court), is the FIRST ARTIST to be signed to the brand-spankin'-new STARBUCKS' record label. Yep, they still call 'em 'record labels' in an age where the CD is in danger of dying out...the label has some stupid name, like the "hear music" label, or the "mocha-that-tastes-like-it-was-strained-thru-dirty-socks" label, or whatever...

Paul's new album (yeah, they still call 'em albums, too), will be issued on the Starbuck's label. If it is a full-length album, perhaps it will be the "McCartney grande". If a CD-Single is released from that album, you can perhaps ask the Starbuck's yuppie coffee-slave for the "McCartney breve". You know, it's bad enough that Starbuck's tries to legislate morality by putting the company's dippy philosophies on its coffee cups...they're also trying to subvert our language. Whenever I go to a Starbucks (which is almost never), I order a LARGE coffee, not a "grande". Invariably, the Starbuck's coffee moron will ask me, "oh, did you mean a GRANDE?" And I just nod my head. I don't want have to answer such an obviously dumb question.

You know, another thot just hit me as I was typing the above paragraph: Back in the '90s, McCartney recorded an album called "Flowers In The Dirt". (No truth to the rumor that Starbucks' will change the title to "Flowers in the coffee grounds")...on that album, was a song he'd written with Elvis Costello (I have no idea why everyone thinks Costello is so great; to me, he's worse than Bruce Springsteen), called "My Brave Face." Starbuck's version of that tune? Why, of course, "My BREVE face". Ha, ha, ha. Personally, I think Starbuck's coffee should be tested for battery acid, 'cos that's what their coffee TASTES like. And since there isn't a Starbucks' within a hundred miles of where I now live, I'll have to find another way to pilfer "Macca's" new album. Record. CD. Whatever! (Hey, man, wanna burn me a CD?)


With my luck, I'll probably get tailgated for miles by someone trying to drive his Dodge Ram pickup OVER my car, while on his way to get his computer serviced, and as he's driving, he'll be gulping down a cup of Starbuck's coffee-concentrate...when that happens, I'll probably just give up, turn in my drivers' license, and ride cabs and Greyhound buses the rest of my days.


Blogger Phil said...

You need me to burn you a CD? I'm good at that, ya know. ;)

2:00 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hey, Phil, your CD's are very good. I've played 2 of the 4 you've sent me...and the music 'taint bad either. If you get the Macca CD, feel free...only remember, you gotta mail it to Oregon now...ROCK ON...

2:13 AM  

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