In which Ruth feels like her life is falling apart

Now you may know that I am not one to exaggerate or anything like that, but for the last 48 hours my life has indeed fallen apart.  Nobody has died, that I know of.  (Well, how would you word that sentence without ending on a preposition?) Nobody has lost their job, or if I have I haven’t received the letter yet. My children are still doing what they do and the least I know about that the better. So what is the reason for my life falling apart, I hear you cry?

My computer is broken. And being the age I am, I can’t even remember back 48 hours to what caused it. Was it a print command? Did I try to do two things together too quickly? (This is not a brand new shiny computer, no, this is an XP computer and it was the new thing when I got it.) Anyway, whatever I did, it began to run very slowly and wouldn’t print. Nor could I get into whatisname where the Printers thingy is kept. So I switched it off and had a few words with it.

Yesterday I didn’t have it on until tea time when it kept asking me to report things to Microsoft which I did to no avail. So what’s the point of that then, if they’re not going to fix it? Spooler SubSystem App has encountered a problem… The print spooler service is not running… Duh? Ctrl/Alt/Delete did no good whatsoever and that’s my only remedy. (Speaking of which, I even went out and bought some Rescue Remedy which gave me a nice hit of brandy but did  nothing for the computer whatsoever. ) Then I wondered if Rita kitten had something to do with it. She does love my desk as a route to the sunny spot on the window-sill and is prone to escaping there, scattering speakers and crucifixes asunder, if Lucy Pussy is chasing her. Had she pulled out a wire? I spent the evening pulling out plugs and putting them back in again.

Today I realise that my life has fallen apart. Without the comfort of my computer I can do nothing. I cannot write sermons, I cannot send emails to groups, I cannot find files and print them off (oh why did I not print it out as soon as I wrote it?). And this is when you kick yourself for downloading DropBox and other such sharing things and then never putting anything in them.  I clutch my iPad to my chest as I rock back and forth and wish that I’d bought a keypad for it that meant I didn’t have to type with one purple pointy thing.

I’m now waiting the arrival of Ewan the £52 + VAT per hour computer man. And I’m praying. Hard.

And she’s back with a dongle

Bereft I was, dear reader, bereft. No phone or broadband for 6 days now except for my beloved Blackberry. So yes, I could read 5 entries on Facebook (mostly about people’s farms and their need for objets) and I could look up Falkirk District Council but downloading the pdf file of when my bins get emptied was a bit tricky.

The move all went well, all things considered. On Friday it took from 8am to 7pm with 6 men. That’s a lot of tea. Son #1 even helped out to speed things along. (He was not as delicate with the old boxes of treasures.)

Since then I seem to have done nothing but empty boxes, trip over boxes, move boxes, stack boxes and knock them over again, fold boxes and so on. But gradually (and with the help of a certain dear Mother K) my lovely hoose is coming together. Lucy Pussy has commandeered the spare bed as her own, first when it was standing on end and now that it is made up.

It takes a bit of getting use to. New house, new oven, new heating, new everything – except no phone or broadband. Virgin were meant to be supplying us but after at least 4 long phone calls (to an 0845 number on my mobile so guess who’s getting the bill?) our ways have parted. Their customer service has to be the worst ever. But today the lovely Nathan from Sky came and put  my dish up so now I can watch TV, should I ever get the chance to sit down and do so. In time, they too shall be supplying me with phone and broadband but in the meantime I am the proud owner of a dongle. And I can’t tell you what a relief it is to get back to the land of the living internet user where I hear it has all been happening… Mind you, with the speed of dial-up it may take me some time to catch up.

But the house is looking lovely and nearly finished. Of course we may never find the towels again, but what fun we’ll have looking. Tomorrow night we have the rehearsal for my Institution on the 8th and then I have a week to finish off, find my way around (must find the dump), sort the books in my study into subject order, and all the usual bits and bobs.

So what have I missed while I was away? It has felt like years…

Holy Water did the trick

OK, so I am trying not to panic but when I came home to find that my computer had switched itself off my blood pressure surely rose slightly.  Don’t panic, I said. Just switch it back on. I did and it closed again. I switched it on again and this time asked a friend for advice and it switched itself off and cut the phone line dead too at the same time.  ‘Leave it an hour,’ he said. ‘then sprinkle it with some of that holy water from Knock.’ And you know, it worked. So far, so good. (If we weren’t in Lent I’d give an All***uia.)

A shoe box and some string

My old computer is on its last legs. It thinks at about the same speed that I do which is not much for a computer. It certainly gives me plenty time to make coffee and have a wander while it thinks about opening a document but the time has come for it to go out to pasture.  Now comes the tricky bit because really I know nothing about computers and it is not easy to purchase one knowledgeably when you just want ‘something faster than the last one’.

My 16 year old nephew has offered to build me one from a shoe box, some string, some ram and a hard drive. He is going to do it at the weekend. Until then I shall be backing up things frantically on my pink external hard drive. I do have Outlook backed up but no idea how to import it when the time comes. Any ideas?  And I seem to remember that you can do something about My Bookmarks. I’d really hate to type them all in again.

Spaced out

YOu know how it is. You suddenly notice that your computer keyboard is looking a bit grubby. Splashes, crumbs, dirt – how did they all get there? So you switch off your computer and get to work with an anti-bacterial wipe. After you’ve done the surface of the keys you notice little bits of fluff and crumbs in between the keys so you wrap your aforementioned wipe round a letter opener and start digging. After a bit of vigorous howking one of the keys pops off and you notice a whole other bucketload of stuff underneath. The space bar was the worst.

Only, something happened in the replacing of the space bar. To begin withitdidn’tworkunlessyougaveitareallygood thump. Now it clunks alarmingly. I think it liked the cushioning of all that fluff.

Computer tales

It is all a bit quieter here at St Mark’s now that the holidays are fully under way. This has given me some time to spend with my new laptop (still blacking out occasionally despite the ministrations of the lovely lady from Dell in Delhi) and trying to speed up my desk top. Yesterday my new external hard drive arrived (pink, shockproof and 250GB) so with the help of Son #2 we put all my music on it and I transferred some files to the lap top. The synchronisation of Outlook has defeated me so I may give up on that one. But I did manage to synchronise my internet favourites with the help of Foxmarks which did a sterling job.

Today its a day for removing Norton and keeping my fingers crossed. That, and tidying the study in preparation for the boiler arrival next week. Its an exciting life we lead, us priests.

Laptop heaven

St Mark’s have very kindly bought me a laptop so that I can work away from home. It arrived this morning and the setting up is all going fine except for the fact that from time to time the screen goes black and I have to close the lid and start all over again. This is my third attempt at typing this. I think it may be just when I’m online.

And my next step is buying a mouse because this wee pad, sensitive though it is, is taking a bit of getting used to. Going to finish now while the going is good.

Another reason to spend time at the computer

OK, so I’ve joined Facebook (www.facebook.com). I’ve no idea really what it is – suspect my age is against me. But I have started a group for St Mark’s Portobello so if you’re a member, please join me. We can talk about things. Well we can talk about things any time, but if you want to save the cost of a phonecall, speak to me there. And if you are there already and want to be my friend, please do so!

Scanner search

I needed a new scanner so I went in to PC World on my day off. There were about 18 different scanners ranging in price from about £30 to £130. The little price tickets had features printed on them but I didnt understand what they meant. I stood for about 15 minutes pondering. Why is it that when you want help in a shop there is nobody offering it?

So I went in search of a nice young man (not for the first time!). I found one and said I’d like some advice on scanners. Here follows our conversation:

“Can you explain the difference in all these scanners please?”

“What do you want it for? Scanning documents or photographs?”

“Just documents please.”

“Well this would be a good one, and it has OCR.”

“What is OCR?” (Actually I knew what it was but just couldnt quite remember.)

“OCR means it can convert the text.”

“Right. That’s what I want.”

“Or you could have this one which does photos from negatives.”

“No, I just want to scan documents.”

“Or you could have one that copies, scans and is a printer and a fax.”

“No, I just will take this one that scans documents, thank you.”

“Well, we don’t have that one in stock.”

“Do you have another similar one in stock?”

“No, we just have the ones that scan photos and they start at about £100.”

“Well, why do you have all 18 out on display when you only have 2 for sale?”

“I don’t know.”

“Ok, thank you and I shall go elsewhere.”

“Right.”

And off he went.

I followed him to ask where else sold scanners and he said Office World. I drove there and they had 2 scanners – the same 2 that PC World had. I sense a conspiracy.

Came out of there and spotted Currys so I popped in and found the scanner I wanted at a cheaper price. Nobody came to help me there either but I just grabbed it and ran to the desk.

Got it home and what a treat it is! It scans up on end, it copies, it makes things into PDF files, has OCR, and emails things it has scanned. And all without a plug! How things have changed. Pity it doesn’t do photographs…