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What a scorcher! - The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
paranoidandroid
paranoidandroid
What a scorcher!
Normally you have to love the Sun's headlines, but I feel let down this morning. 101° That was it. I'm not sure why there was no F, I guess it was to stop confusion in the average sun reader, or perhaps because the writer didn't know which was which.

It was hot this weekend, the hottest day ever recorded in Britain - and those records started in 1875. That's a long arsed time! It was too hot to do anything.

Now I know there is a bit of a backlash to the people complaining that it's too hot. "You complain when it's hot, then you complain when it's cold, and you complain when it's wet, etc etc..." Well just so you know I don't complain when it's cold, or wet, or snowing, or anything else. See someone else does that. The other backlash are the residents of other hot places, like Texas who quote that it's hotter where they are and that's just average. This really gets my goat. If I wanted nasty hot weather then I'd go live in Texas, but I don't. I live in a country which is normally mild. We are not geared up to cope with heat like this. That's why our transport system is almost crippled, and I have to spend an extra 20 minutes in a non air conditioned train coming into work in the mornings. That's why our houses don't have air conditioning, or most of our pubs and reserants, and if they do they are so packed with people that it's rendered ineffective.
</rant>

Friday night we stayed in and I subjected Misty to some of my old vinyl singles. I am the proud owner of 3 Smurf singles. It really can't get better worse than that.

There were at least a few songs that Misty either recognised or liked. At least I think there was.

Saturday started off quite well. It was cool, and that was good. Unfortunately it didn't stay cool for very long. I had promised G.M. that I'd help fix his PC, so about midday, after a nice cool shower I set off for "Nam". The first big surprise was the hole that used to be the Pipers. I'm not sure what happened, but where that massive pub used to be is now a bomb site. Could be that the local authority finally got tired of the drunken yobs, or it could be that the locals blew the place up - it's just that kind of place!

I haven't seen G.M. in a year or so. Nothing much has changed, with the exception of his room getting smaller. His PC was in a bad way, even Explorer was generating random errors and occasionally refused to load. Nothing to do except reinstall windows. I started by destroying the previous version (does anyone remember deltree?) and that took half an hour! Then we got the recovery disks out and preyed to the demons of Micro$oft that they would work.

Amazingly enough - they did! About half an hour later we had a pristine copy of Me (spit) loaded. It prompted me for it's serial number. Now G.M. is a conscientious chap, and he keeps everything, so after raking through the box of PC stuff and coming up with a blank, we were both a little put out. The "manual" that came with the PC said there would be a "SOA" label stuck to the back of the booklet, or the back of the PC. I tool a look at the back of the PC (banging my head on a low shelf for good measure) and not seeing a damn thing.

We called tech support. We called customer support. We called the pope. NO-ONE was answering their phones. It would seem that MESH staff only work Monday to Friday, probably just 9 - 5 for maximum convenience... to themselves of course!

I phoned a friend. Actually I called two, because the first one just put me straight to voicemail, but bizarrely enough they were both in the same car at the time so I got to speak to both of them. They said they'd be able to give me a OEM serial for Me when they got back home. The waiting game started.

During the wait we looked for the damn serial that MESH should have sent us. I took the case apart to see if they'd stuck it on the inside for good measure. G.M. found it on the back. I can only blame the bang on the head for missing it.

ISP set-up was next on the list. G.M. uses NTL (like I do) so I thought this would be a breeze, but of course it wasn't. The PID was nowhere to be found. It supposedly was in a letter that had been sent just before the engineer had arrived. This was over a year ago, and there was no trace of said letter. Luckily a call to NTL's support number found someone at the other end and the PID was found. the fun didn't stop there though. After entering a dozen or so questions were confronted with error:0 press fix to continue Unfortunately pressing fix just gave us the same error, and informed us to press fix again. We read through the instructions again, and I realised that the USB cable had been plugged into the PC from the start. and that's not good. After deleting a few unrecognised devices, we reinstalled, and plugged the box in at the right time. Success! Just Netscape and Dr. Norton to go then.

Both Netscape and Dr Norton (virus protection and firewall) went in like a dream. Then in the 11th hour, just when everything seemed to be right, G.M. suggests installing the new display drivers. Now it was display drivers that had caused the problem in the first place. A new game had not worked, and the solution had seemed to be new display drivers. unfortunately these had completely buggered up, windows no longer recognised the graphics card and G.M. had to live in 640x480 and 16 colours. This had eventually been solved by installing drivers sent to him by MESH. These were the drivers he wanted installed again. After all, he still wants to play the new game right?

We hit the first obstacle when we're asked which graphics card he has. As this is a pre built machine, and he has never opened it, we don't actually know which card. We open up the display settings and are reliably informed that it's A. In fact it is not A, but in fact D. So when the machine reboots, Me (spit) tells us that it doesn't recognise the graphics card, and sticks us in 640x480 mode with just 16 colours.

We were back where it all began. G.M. started to cuss like a sailor, and I was feeling pretty pissed off myself. I sod around with the display settings trying to get 800x600, but when it reboots it's still not recognising the card. I reboot again, only this time I notice the bios message from the graphics card. It appears on the screen for about half a second then disappears while the MB bios goes through it's checks. The graphics card bios includes the name of the card I need to install the correct drivers.

Now begins the epic battle of me v Me in getting the right drivers to be used. I wonder how it is that the OS which upon booting up tells me that the graphics drivers are bugger then only lets me choose the same damn drivers when reinstalling them from the CD. I hate Me. Eventually, after finding the manually select drivers option, (why does every new version of WinDoze hide it's options in a new place?) I install the proper drivers. The PC boots, the crowd holds its collective breath, the logo appears, it's looking good, no error messages and then BAM a screen full of icons in 32 bit colours. The crowd goes wild

I finally get home about 7, bringing with me supper for Misty and I. We put on a DVD and Misty falls asleep after about 5 minutes, and I doze throughout. It's just too damn hot.

We have plans for Sunday morning. Misty is to go to Tescos while I iron. Unfortunately our plans are destroyed because my sister isn't feeling well (or perhaps just slept in too late, and can't be arsed) and so Misty would need to get a cab back from Tescos, and that's about a fiver. We can get our shopping delivered for less (if we wait till Wednesday). So Misty orders our shopping online, and I iron my shirts for the week. After a couple of hours the living room gets too hot, and Misty demands I stop ironing. No really - she did. I guess it's more to do with my bogarting of the fan than any other reason though! (Just kidding with you dear...)

We do nothing for the rest of the day. I sit in the office and slowly cook, whilst Misty sits in the front room and slowly bastes. I shower for about the 4th time of the weekend, and we visit Mum and Dad. It's a little cooler in their front room, and I get Dad to make me a cup of tea. It's nice to be treated like a guest finally!

Mum's not cooking so they order out. Misty and I had planned to BBQ, but with the arrival of a storm and a heavy downpour, we decide to order out as well. I eat about 2 lbs or so of "meat" in a Mixed kebab. I still feel bloated now! We get home late and after a couple games of Rebound I hit the sack.

Current Mood: cool at last

3 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
teya_uk From: teya_uk Date: August 11th, 2003 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It is almost worth coming into work just for the air con ... I'm nicely chilled right now :o)
lemur_erectus From: lemur_erectus Date: August 12th, 2003 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

really?

excuse my ignorance, but I found your journal through a random search and was surprised to read that most places do not have air conditioning there. Also, how did the heat affect public transportation?
I live in NYC where, lucky us, we get 98-degree summers and 2 feet of snow in the winter (ok, not every winter, but this last one was a doozy). Never been to England, obviously. The subway stations are miserable either way, though the trains are air-conditioned to the point of being absolutely freezing.
Ok. thanks.
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: August 13th, 2003 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: really?

I would estimate, based on the number of bars and resurants that I visit regularly, that less than 5% of all establishments here have real air con. The places you can rely on to have it are usually American chains like McD's. When a bar does have AC it's usually keen to advertise the fact, which also goes to prove it's a bit of a rareity.

Until recently (a couple years) most cars sold here would not have had AC as an option, and when they did it was only on the top ranges, and it was expensive. This is improving and a lot of mid range cars now come with AC as a "free" extra.

I am seriously considering AC for my house, but I'd probably be the only one in my street, maybe even my whole block, because it's just not thought to be hot enough here to justify the expense.

Our rail system was badly affected by the rails getting so hot they buckled. There were speed restrictions on all over-land trains. Our underground rail system has no air con, and relies on movement for ventilation. Due to the speed restrictions there are time when the trains are stopped in the tunnels for 10-15 minutes at a time - and the heat is unreal. The knock on effect is more people then turn to methods of transport involving the roads - and that in turn causes more traffic chaos.

I have visited your fine city recently... (about the end of May) and although it wasn't particularly hot then I found the air conditioned subway a welcome break from our stuffy underground system!

And welcome to my LJ - I hope your stay has been a pleasant one! :)
3 comments or Leave a comment