Friday, January 23, 2004

this is kind of a long picaresque narrative so it will take a minute to get to the important part.

there's a user on slsk called "fingerinthenoise". this user shares some pretty good underground, unreleased material (including a large chunk of my mp3 discog & other bad taste goodies). i'm not sure if i've ever chatted with this person before (they're on my userlist but maybe i just discovered them on my own, or added them because they were downloading good material from me).

[ed. note: i've since learned the correct website is]

so last night i came across a different user with a note in their shares saying to go to for free radio. so i went to the page, but it didn't seem to do anything but bring up an animation script. since i was using mozilla i thought maybe this was a browser compatibility issue, & maybe if i tried IE there would be more content (like an actual radio stream or something).

when i opened IE it went straight to windows update, at usual. it listed 15 "critical" security fixes, so i figured i might as well install the things.

near the end of the install process the computer prompted me to find some file. silly windows 98, how am i supposed to know where your stupid file is? once it was clear that it wouldn't find the file on its own, i managed to get it to skip that file & keep going. when it rebooted (because win98 can't tie its own shoes without needing a reboot), explorer crashed & the OS didn't really load. or more simply, when i rebooted, it just didn't reboot. eventually i managed to bring up the boot menu to try safe mode, but safe mode wouldn't load either. it appeared that my win98 installation was dead.

in case you missed the irony above, i'll italicize it for you: attempting to correct so-called "critical" problems in windows caused windows to break altogether. what was formerly a working install was now broken because i had tried to "fix" it.

i'd been meaning to upgrade to winxp eventually anyway, so now that 98 was rotting away i figured it was the right time. i began my new xp install, only to eventually hit a snag similar to what had happened when i was "fixing" 98: xp said it needed files off the cd (which was in the damn drive) & prompted me to find the files. again, once it was clear i couldn't get it to acknowledge the files, i got it to skip that step... it happened a second time & i skipped that too. eventually setup completed (but not really) & it booted into xp for the first time.

then i noticed that xp was not acknowledging either of my cd drives. they just didn't show up.

after concluding that the BIOS did still recognize the drives (i could even still boot from either cd drive), i tried to "repair" my installation. once again that only made things worse. now setup would prompt me to locate the cd files as soon as it got to the graphical GUI setup stage. now i couldn't even get into the OS because setup could not complete (or even pseudo-complete, like it had previously).

i spent an hour or two trying to repair & the same thing happened every time. eventually i tried a fresh install & that sorta worked (as well as it had worked the first time): i could get into xp again, but it still wouldn't acknowledge my cd drives. i also discovered that i had no internet connection (IE wasn't even installed), no games, no volume control, & who knows what other massive chunks missing from the operating system. i was actually excited when i figured out how to play mp3s (& also when i got DataDada to work; this program is a databenders wet dream, if you can get it to function... it's rather buggy).

surprisingly, i was not very upset about any of this, except for that time in the middle when i wasn't sure i could get xp reinstalled at all.

right around bedtime, barry came up with a theory why it wasn't working. one of his computers has an asus motherboard, & when installing xp he had to load a special driver to get it to acknowledge the second IDE interface (the one both cd drives are on). i also have an asus board, probably with a similar chipset. (i think it might even be the same board.) if that is indeed the problem, in order to fix it he'll have to open the box, swap the connections for my second hard drive & one of my cd drives in order to load the driver, & then try to complete the xp installation. we'll see if that works. if not, i might have a severely crippled computer until we figure out a fix that works.

i just hope i don't have to reinstall win98, because it really does suck...