COMPUTER MESS, 2021 December-2022 January - February!


Folks have asked about my computer travails, so here are my notes to myself to remind me to keep better prepared and to confess that I am a spiritual runt and that I can be brought low very easily by the devil's tricks. Excuse my religious metaphors.

I am way behind on emails and other routines, but I'm staging a comeback. And I think I am better prepared for my next computer aggravation (not genuine trouble: I'm not sick, my house didn't burn down, and there is food in the fridge), here's an outline of my mess, so I don't forget and maybe can learn to go forward:

* My XP 32-bit desktop computer (for the record and the gods to note, I loved  XP, naturally no longer supported by Microsoft) unexpectedly gave up the ghost, but most of my data was backed up. Knowing XP's demise, like my own death, to be inevitable, I had been using a WIN10 computer for ZOOM and migrating work over to it (including the revision of Thanks for Noticing), but stuff related to the CRES website (creating and revising pages and FTP'ing them to the remote), my printers, scanner, etc) were inaccessible. Because the backup failed to copy "local" emails to me at vern@cres.org, they are gone, and the "remote" emails were inaccessible. My wedding data ran on a DOS program I created and while it was backed up, it could not run on WIN10-64 bit. The financial accounting data was preserved, but it will be inaccessible until I can figure out how to find a program to read it on the WIN10-64 bit computer.

* I had to decide on, download, and learn new programs such as FTP, web file creation, email, and a 32-bit DOS emulation program that would run in 64-bit DOS. Plus the damn stuff about passwords, pass codes, etc. I am so grateful for the help of a "geek" a friend of mine recommended, finding programs I could use on the newer desktop and easing me into them as I learned how to use them.

* I was starting to feel a recovery and restoration when the WIN10 computer expired. Do I believe in resurrection? Since the computer would not even turn on, I figured the ghost must be hiding and the problem was either a fuse (which I'm too stupid to find) or the power supply has failed. I carried the computer in my praying hands to my repair shop two blocks away the next day when it was scheduled to open, but it was closed! and I feared the proprietor was on vacation. As I started to return home, before I completely drowned, wallowing in despair, the owner walked toward me from his parking spot about half a block from his shop. When we got to his working bench, he said, Yes, it was probably the power supply. How long for him to get the part, I asked. With "supply chain" problems, maybe two weeks. I left the shop with the kind hope I was working to discipline.

* A few hours later he called and said he had found a power supply and the computer was ready for pickup.

* Unreasonable joy washed over and refreshed me. CRES was back in business. However -- when I got home and turned it on, the screen was grossly distorted (1366768) and difficult to work with. (I manage best with my monitor set at 1920x1080.) Nonetheless, I made some progress with some emails and other urgent matters. Then I decided to adjust the sizing. I discovered I my only choice would make it worse. Aaggh. I finally figured out that the WiFi (or whatever) from the tiny WIN10 laptop I used during some of this trouble for email, which display size was so small that I switched it to 150%, had governed the just-repaired computer. Congratulating myself on my detective skill, I next tried to fix the desktop by shutting down the laptop and restarting the main computer. (Of course laptops are made to "sleep" rather than shut off, so I had to figure out how to manage what should be an obvious procedure -- turn the damn thing off.)
     When I restarted the desktop computer, I got a dimly lit black screen. I restarted it again. Same result. And again. I went to bed nursing my acquaintance now too familiar, despair. In the morning, I tried again. Utter black screen. One more time. Blue screen . . . one of those damn Windows updates. (Windows 10 updates are number 3796 on my list of seven million things I hate about Windows 10.) After going through this process several times, the computer (and my life) was back. I hoped.

* I had determined never to get caught again without a back-up computer, with the programs I need installed and ready.  It finally arrived. I cleared a space for it and was ready for a blessing ceremony as I turned on the power when I discovered it had a HDMI monitor connection and I use a VGA. I called the company -- and after some words, including my pointing out to them that (1) the computer case has a clearly-marked spot for such a connection and the connection was missing and (2) their extensive list of specifications did not mention an HDMI connection, they agreed to send me an adapter.
     We'll see when it arrives.

In the meantime, I'll learn more of the ins-and-outs of some of the new programs. Filezilla is easy, but KompoZer is far more sophisticated than I need, and this makes doing simple things hard. I have a bit more to do with dBase III Plus now running with vDOS. And situating the all the backup files from the backup drive to the Desktop will take a while. Meanwhile I need to answer two weeks of emails, including acknowledging donations, very large and very small. If I can find my receipt forms.

And I remember Paul said: Pray without ceasing.

At the outset of these problems two weeks ago, a friend told me I did not have trouble; I had aggravations. Yes, as I mentioned at the outset of these notes, I do not have trouble, though I have fretted and lost sleep. I am not in deep mourning for a relative or friend; I am not on the streets like some I see here in Westport even in the snow; I am able to connect with others via Zoom and the phone and attend church virtually; my health is stable; I am not having to fight in a war zone or dealing with trauma from being taken hostage; my house is not floating away in a flood; my blessings are endless. One of which is that: this mess happened as the year was ending and demands on me were fewer, I was able to retrieve enough stuff for my early January wedding, and folks have other things to think about and may not be too upset with my delays in responding.
     BUT I have learned anew how spiritually immature I am, to be so upset by what does not ultimately matter. Yes, the computer is a very important way of maintaining connections with others through emails, Zoom, and the CRES website, but it is not a physical assembly of friends and CRES is an adventure of many, not a mere website.
     Still, the fact that I have been so distraught indicates my unBuddhist lack of mindfulness, my spiritual inadequacy, and my over-identification with the computer as if it were a severed arm or crushed eye. Let me better learn Chapter 7 of the Rule of Benedict. And let me pray for others.

--

. . . Here it is February. I am still in the process of aligning my folders (document tree) on the new working computer from the back-up drive, and beginning to answer postponed emails from over month ago. Since I have day-to-day obligations, it is hard to find uninterrupted time to work on this.

I do have another session scheduled with the computer technician to help me with some remaining problems.