Yes, i’m back! Thank goodness – it’s been a rather trying and frustrating few days, but now most of the technical problems appear sorted and i’m getting back up to speed gradually.
Funny how tech issues can lead to us to philosophical questions… not so much the old standby’s of ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping?’, and those of the ‘if a tree falls in a wood, and there’s no-0ne around…’ variety; nor the catch 22 style Kobayashi Maru scenario, and not even the enigmatic super-computer destroying ‘Why?’, of The Prisoner fame, (‘Why not?’, i say). No, my philosophical questions are a little more prosaic, but no less unanswerable:
‘How do you restore a hard disk when Windows also succeeds in frying your back up?’;
‘How do you do a repair installation when your system partition is inaccessible?’;
‘How do you re-install Windows when the installation program keeps crashing?’
Perhaps i should start a life of asceticism, take up holy orders, and spend the rest of my days contemplating these questions and the many others like them that i’ve found myself asking over the last few days – since it seems to be what fate has ordained for me!
If nothing else, i suppose you could say that this cloud has a silver-ish lining. There are things i’ve learned about disk partitions, the MS .Net framework and the arcane and mystical lore of recovery science, as well as rediscovering a love – i use that word in the vaguest sense – of MSDOS and the command prompt. As for damage, it could have been a whole lot worse – i’ve probably lost around a month’s work… unfortunately it was a busy month, and there’s a few projects that have had the digital stuffing knocked out of them, which will set me back quite a while… but c’est la vie, i suppose.
Even in the midst of chaos, however, it’s possible to find some constants that don’t change, and these can occasionally be the least expected candidates. Throughout my whole ordeal, i’ve not once lost my capacity to log in to sl – (except, of course for those dark hours when my PC was, to all intents and purposes, just a black metal box of dysfunctional electronic components with nothing even remotely resembling an operating system, let alone any higher technical functions). Although i’ve mostly resisted the temptation to avail myself of the opportunity and have had some rather more pressing things to deal with, sl – and more specifically, Firestorm – never once let me down.
The sheer impossibility of this can perhaps best be appreciated when i explain to you that almost my entire arsenal of other applications stubbornly and comprehensively refused to function in any way, once things got really bad – CS6 simply shrugged its shoulders and fired off a battery of error messages; MS Office 2013 (only installed the week previously), turned up it’s heels and succumbed to digital death; not one of a multitude of flavours of browser would connect to the net, if they even started in the first place. Even the most basic functions of Windoze had left the building… explorer, control panel, command prompt: dead, all dead – despite which, Firestorm would cheerfully fire up and work perfectly, notwithstanding the fact that my local profiles now resided on an inaccessible disk. Quite remarkable!
Basic service – of a sort – eventually resumed, although still with no proper internet, and even then Firestorm remained imperturbered, running without problem from a hastily cobbled-together backup copy of the programme folders as a completely freestanding application… no logical cache, no user settings and completely unreferenced in the Windows registry – had i not experienced it first hand, i’d have said it was impossible! Whatever it is they use to code Firestorm must be the digital equivalent of flight recorders: able to withstand a catastrophic failure and still function perfectly when rescued from the surrounding wreckage. It was so impressive, i was toying with the idea of doing away with any other applications altogether – who needs graphics software, an office suite, email and an internet browser when sl offers all-round, albeit limited, functionality even when everything around it is falling apart?
i jest, of course, but in trying times, you tend to clutch at any straws offered to you – for someone as reliant on a single piece of technology as myself, that could never really be any sort of an option. The innocuous black box sat under my desk fulfils all the functions of business associate, communications centre, television and cinema, jukebox, knowledge base, library and playground. If there’s one thing i really have learned over these past, and very long, few days it’s that the old adage about putting all your eggs in one basket still very much holds true, (and – on that point – if i have to watch yet another interminably upending eggtimer icon ever again, i think i really will scream!) – however, for convenience, cost and lifestyle, i’m afraid that’s not likely to change, and considering this is the only occasion i’ve had a technical failure that i can really classify as ‘disastrous’ in the course of many years, i think that’s a risk i’m prepared to live with.
Anyway, onwards and upwards – it’ll take a while for things to get back to normal: there’s still a fair bit of tweaking, restoring and generally getting things back to normal to be undertaken and always the nagging fear that whatever caused my meltdown in the first place might rear it’s ugly head once more – let’s hope it’s fixed, though.
However, despite everything, i’m back! And it really does feel good.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on, it’s time to go.
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb