Thursday, April 07, 2005

Electric days

So I thought I'd got everything back to normal on my back-from-the-dead laptop. All the software that I'd needed had been replaced.

Then I started getting this series of error messages every time I started the machine. A serious error has occurred, it told me sternly, and asked if I wanted to report it to Microsoft. After a couple of these, the crash analysis report told me that something on my computer was in conflict with the S3 graphics driver.

A quick internet search revealed that this was a known problem with the OpenOffice word processor I'd just installed. I'd never had problems running OpenOffice 1.1.3 with Windows 98, but maybe OpenOffice 1.1.4 and Windows XP didn't get on.

So I un-installed OpenOffice (though I've always rather liked its clean look) and installed 602PC Suite, which was originally developed in the Czech republic as a free option to Microsoft Word.

We'll see if I do any better with that one.

I can always go back to Rough Draft - it's a very simple word-processor, but I've never had a moment of trouble with it.

Thursday afternoon spent a few hours at the office. It was the usual procession of minor problems and tasks. We spent a lot of time working on the minutiae of the weekly bulletin -- putting in a comma here, taking out an extra line there, re-writing one line six times. All the precise details. You probably know the sort of thing.

In spite of all that, we had the job completed at 4:59 which is unusual.

Drank too much coffee, as usual. I always say that modern offices run on two things: caffeine and electricity. And speaking of that, they're re-wiring the building this week, meaning that it looks a bit like a building site at times.

They installed new lights in the church library, which is a bit distracting. From my desk in the office I can look across the hall and see the library bathed in an almost supernaturally bright light. It's as though they've put in an enormous skylight and it's a really really sunny day.

Later this week they're going to put in new power outlets in my office, but it won't be easy. They discovered there's no crawlspace under the office floor, so they'll have to run the cables through the ceiling and down the chimney!

I was interested to hear that we will have two different types of power point. The red ones are for computers and electronics, the white ones are for ordinary things like fans, heaters, radios etc. After the trouble we had with our laptops at home this month, I'm all in favour of any possible precautions.

Julie not that pleased to find that the gas pipeline people are working on her part of the street again. She came out of her front door the other day to see a bulldozer and a pile of gravel as high as her shoulder.

"How much longer are they going to be working here?" she muttered. Every time she thinks they're going, they find something else to do.

She thought for a moment there might be a silver lining. One of the men working in the street asked her whether she'd like to sell some of her chickens. Certainly she would.

But then he had a look at them close up and had reservations. "I was really looking for single combs. Are all of yours double combs?"

As a layman, I had no idea people were so finicky. But apparently poultry buffs can be as fussy as any other hobbyist.

Remarkable weather this month. A few days ago we were sweltering in hot north-westerly winds. With hardly any time to get used to the change, last night plunged to a brisk 5°C [about 41°F].

My sister's Rex cat was particularly unimpressed. She usually gets up early and sits in the sun in the kitchen window. This morning she was back and forth all morning, keeping Julie awake as she burrowed under the covers every few minutes.

At least Paco is content to curl up on my bed and snooze until I get up. Like many cats, he sees no reason to go out into the kitchen until somebody is present to feed him.

I've had a look at ABC-TV's new 6:30pm line-up and there's not a whole lot that catches my interest. The most entertaining to my mind is Collectors and not just because it's filmed here in Hobart at the Tasmanian Museum.

It's full of stories about rabid collectors which make the average person think "Well, I'm quite normal compared to him."

Sample hint for attending garage sales: if it's already daylight, you're running late!

Brings back pleasant memories of the old series For Love Or Money.

Programmes of interest on the BBC radio website this week:
  • And June Whitfield
  • Hancock's Half Hour
  • Just A Minute
  • Navy Lark
  • Big Band Special
  • Brian Kay's Light Programme
  • The Music Goes Round.

Lots of music and comedy.

Speaking of British humour, I've been looking at some recent issues of the venerable D.C. Thomson weekly comic The Dandy. A few months ago they revamped this title, which is second in popularity only to the iconic Beano. Glossy paper, new style covers, new comic strips.

The problem with this sort of change is always the same -- can you attract new readers without alienating the old ones? Some of the old strips are still running. It will be interesting to see how the title progresses this year.

The Beano on the other hand seems not to have changed. I suspect that D.C. Thomson are watching the success of their first upgrade before they start making changes to their flagship title.

Called in at Cafe 73 in Moonah and was surprised to see a poster for Thylacon in their window. Full marks to the committee for getting some publicity in the suburbs instead of just whacking up a poster or two in the local bookstores.

No comments: