The Post-install Blues

29 Jul

When I worked as a systems engineer, there were a lot of times where I’d be called on to install software and I found it to be fun and a pain in the ass, mostly because I don’t think I ever really trusted software that supposedly installs itself and without problems.  Of course, I cut my teeth on those first generation monsters, you know, the ones that took up whole rooms just for one computer and installing software meant having to create all of the directories, writing batch files, all that ancient stuff.

I just updated one of our six computers to Windows 7 and, jeez, I feel like I’m back at work again, installing software then monitoring the computer for any issues, software conflicts not already listed – those little things you normally don’t worry about until they don’t work, like my JRiver Media Center software.  For some odd reason, it went tits up going from being on a Vista machine to a Win 7  machine and I don’t recall this being a problem.  My antivirus software, which was misbehaving in ways its makers never saw coming, decided that it, too, was going to act even weirder.

This is the third machine converted to Windows 7 and it seems to be taking the machine’s outdated Pentium 4 processor to task as it settles in; the other two just hum along like it’s nobody’s business with their AMD 64 and Intel Dual Core processors.  Still, I’m happy with the upgrade, was kinda pissed at how long it took – it reminded me of the old days of installing Windows and feeding the diskette drive all those damned diskettes.  Then there are all the updates; the Alert Center has been pitching a bitch about stuff I don’t want to be bothered with right now and I’m still testing programs to make sure they still function and, no, the Windows Compatibility program didn’t flag any of them except iTunes and that’s fine; I don’t use iTunes on this computer.

Had to reinstall the antivirus software, then go through the hassle of reconfiguring the firewall portion in advanced mode; I just don’t trust automatic “novice” modes because I like knowing what might be talking to my computers… and I so dislike doing that – all the IP addresses start to look the same after a while.  But, I got it done because some habits just don’t go away; I was damned good at what I did when I got paid for it and I’m still damned good – I have to be since computers and software just want to keep doing things to baffle the daylights out of me.

Unlike when I was working, I only have two  users I have to deal with:  Linda and my mother.  Linda’s learning computer science by proxy – my revenge for having to learn criminal justice stuff when she was in school; she’d glaze my eyes over with legal stuff, I return the favor and explain how data’s written to hard drives to her – in detail.  My mom, well, she’s always coming up with computer problems I’ve never heard of before and explaining them takes a bit of work; try explaining how wireless works in simple terms to someone with no real understanding of things technical.  Mom’s pretty sharp, though, and only saves the really insane stuff for me to figure out.

I learned not to like trying to diagnose computer problems over the phone and with people who have no idea what they’re trying to tell me… and who won’t understand what I’m about to tell them in order to fix it.  It’s like trying to do brain surgery while being totally sensory deprived, if you can imagine that.  Trying to track down potential network problems gives me headaches, especially when I had to have a picture of our entire corporate network in my head and see how all the servers were linked together.  It does get easier when you only have six computers networked but it’s a pain trying to figure out why the computers have dropped off the Internet when nothing appears to be wrong…

So much for being retired, huh?

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Posted by on 29 July 2010 in Life, Living and Loving


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