aMMusing 3.0!

Most of you probably thought that I fell off the face of the Earth — or at least the Web — with that last post from September 16 remaining there as my last musing. Now that you’re back (and I’m back), you can see that the look of aMMusing has changed.

Which Came First? The Chicken or the Egg?
No, don’t bother answering that existential question. I’m throwing it there simply because it somehow encapsulates the reason for my disappearance. After September 16, I did get quite busy — too busy to blog much. But about 10 days later, when I decided I needed to post something new, I couldn’t get to the sign-in page of my installation of WordPress. In the end, a whole federal election has gone by and I haven’t offered my usual commentary on those vile Conservatives!

I looked around the Web to figure out how I could fix it, but quickly I had to come to the conclusion that it was hopeless because I was using version 1.5 of WP, which is up to 2.6 today. Indeed, it was back in March 2005 that I moved from Moveable Type and adopted a whole new look for aMMusing, and frankly (and typical for me), I haven’t changed much “under the hood” since then.

So, I had no choice. I had to upgrade. But the backend of WP changed considerably in three-and-a-half years. I certainly didn’t want to lose my postings since December 2002, so I studied the code carefully to figure out how each posts gets stored in the MySQL database and developed a PHP script to facilitate the transfer. (By the way, I *HATE* how each tiny edit adds the whole post over in the database. That just needlessly increases the size of the database.) As you can imagine, with about 1,170 entries over the years, the transfer process was slow and tedious and required that I fix all the internal links among posts, although I stopped short of getting rid of likerot to outbound articles.

This exercise made me think about how I should take advantage of the switch to do another retrospective as in April 2005. But, with work and Spanish classes as only a few of my on-going commitments, time is at a premium. Still, I think a retrospective of the last three-and-a-half years would be fun.

Now, though, I have to run to attend Thanksgiving dinner at Cleopatrick‘s parents up in Lanaudière. But welcome to aMMusing 3.0!

While I’m Being Cranky, …

Since I’m in a sufficiently pissed off mood right now, here’s another quick rant: Windows Vista totally SUCKS. That’s the OS that came with this laptop I’m using, but I don’t care: at the first opportunity, I’m going to find a version of XP for it. Vista is bloated and slow and doesn’t significantly improve XP. I don’t care that any kind of support of XP by Microsoft ends in June; I’ve not found a single compelling reason to stick to Vista. So, since there’s nothing major installed or saved on this laptop, I’m getting the whole thing reformatted down to XP. And I’m sure that will make operating this laptop a much happier experience.

Finally Cracking

When I heard Esposo’s sad, sad voice on the voice-mail — two messages left via Skype Out to the home landline — my heart just melted. Except for a regular Skype call from a café last Saturday — and even that free connection was unstable — it’s been over two weeks we haven’t spoken. I missed all of his other Skype Out calls — once because my landline was dead, once because I couldn’t run across the apartment face enough before voice mail picked up, and then again last night. But as much as I like the new apartment, I feel disconnected there right now and can’t stand being unable to turn to the computer for anything. Who would have thought that by 2008, a computer that is not ‘Net-connected would be next to useless.

I came back from the broom closet work today to find that the DSL light is still flashing in glorious futility and no technician from Bell called to make an appointment to visit. Last night I was told it could take 24 to 72 hours, and sitting there on the sofa, I thought, “They might call Monday, to make an appointment for the next day, and arrive to determine that something highly unusual (although probably usual for Bell) is going on with the line and, no, they can’t fix it today but in 48 hours” …which would take us to next Friday. So, I called to nudge things along, only to find that, indeed, the status of service starting was changed from 2 April to 14 April, and no sign of an appointment coming soon. The gentleman at the end of the line suggested I call first thing in the morning in the hope of catching a cancellation tomorrow.

But, earlier as I came home, I had found the perfect piece of mail in my box: a pamphlet from Videotron. So, I called the number and asked it my question. “If you answer ‘yes’ to my first question, we’ll keep talking, and if you answer ‘no,’ I’ll stick to the devil I know,” I started. “I’m sick of the comedy of errors from Bell, and all I want is high-speed Internet. So, yes or no: could you have it installed tomorrow.” The lady at the end of the line didn’t miss a beat. “Give me your address, I’ll look it up and I’ll give you a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no.'”

She came back with a “yes.” Between 7:30 and noon tomorrow. And the first month will be free.

I went with it. Placed an order and a deposit, and set the alarm in case they really arrive at 7:30. It’s more expensive than Bell and Bell was going to give the first two months free, but as my mother would say, “Un ‘le voici’ vaut plus que deux ‘tu l’auras'” (“One ‘there you are’ is worth more than two ‘you’ll have it'”). Then, I called back Bell technical to cancel whatever technician might be coming this century or next, and while I’ll wait for Videotron tomorrow, I’ll be calling Bell to cancel the Internet service. I’m prepared for an argument, but where they did not deliver the goods in what anyone would consider a timely manner, any Internet-related fees or deposits I paid them I expect back. As for Videotron, I didn’t look into cable TV or cell phone just yet; being connected to the ‘Net from home tomorrow is my ONLY priority right now.

A part of me regrets not having called Videotron earlier, but then, by the time I called, I had the perfect sob story and it gave someone else the opportunity to tell Ma Bell to go piss up a rope.


Today I discovered that all Business Depot outlets smell the same. I know that’s a terribly odd observation, but I came to that conclusion minutes after entering the third outlet today.

Indeed, I brought back the dud Toshiba first thing this afternoon. It was pronounced a dud by a technician, so I find some comfort in that: I’m not an idiot. Then we arranged a hold on another Toshiba at the downtown outlet but, once there, I found out I could only get the blasted thing tomorrow. Knowing that there were three units sitting at yet another outlet across the harbour, I asked to the people at the second outlet to reserve one of those at the third so that I could go get it immediately, which I did. I insisted, and got, that Toshiba for the initial price.

So, it just over two weeks, I’ve technically bought four laptops. This one works well and I can connect adequately to an unsecured network — adequately enough to download the most recent Windows updates. I’m going to finish configuring this little puppy and that’ll be good enough for now. Later I’ll give more thought to what to do about my network and current wireless router.

Unrelated… A while back, one of my (real life and) Facebook friends had the funniest and most accurate status update: “[Friend’s name] thinks IE is a great browser to download Firefox.” I’m smirking right now because that’s precisely what I’m doing on the new Toshiba. That as well as Skype, which has become an indispensible application for maintaining that Mexico — Canada connection…