Wed, 26 Jul 2006


— SjG @ 10:36 pm

Why do they have to be so damn difficult?

I’ve been working on upgrading my grandmother’s machine from a five or six year-old eMachine PII/300 running Windows 98 to a brand new Compaq deal I got at CompUSA along with a monitor and printer. The machine is reasonably fast, and, after I uninstalled all the crap that it came with and threw on some more reasonable software, I’m nearly at the point where it works the way she can use it.

Frustration 1. Moving files from one machine to another. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use the network, as the old machine doesn’t have ethernet. New machine has no floppy. I could have uploaded all of the files via modem (probably get about 2 kB/sec), but that would have been painful. Easy, though, I’d use my USB memory key. Except that Win98 doesn’t natively support USB keys. Download the drivers… discover that they all want Win98SE, and won’t install. Grind teeth. Outcome: Success — finally had to use a USB CDR I had at home, since it at least had drivers on CD for Win98.

Frustration 2. Printer failure. The HP Deskjet 3915 just sits there flashing its light. Figure it’s a driver problem, so download 8MB of updates (over that mighty 2kB/sec connection). Still, nothing. Paper manual says that I should read documentation on CD. Documentation on CD says that I should consult the error code provided by the HP software. HP software says everything is fine. CD documentation’s best suggestion is to reboot. Windows thinks the driver is fine; HP thinks the printer is fine. The printer queue says it’s printing. Nothing ever happens. Reinstall drivers. Repeat. Outcome: still unsolved. Next step — call HP tech support. Oh, joy.

Frustration 3. Importing old mail from Netscape 4.8 to Thunderbird. Importing address book was simple — worked beautifully. But for old email, no such luck. There’s a tool “Wizard” for importing mail. But it doesn’t allow you to point it at files, it wants you to pick the profile. But it doesn’t see any profiles. I try putting the Netscape 4.8 user directories in all of the reasonable places (no, really. I tried all of them), but it never sees them. Documentation doesn’t yield any help. Try other directories. Try copying mail files directly into the appropriate directory in Thunderbird’s profile to no avail. Outcome: gave up.

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