Just when you thought it was safe to relax and enjoy your computer, this happens. It actually happened last night. I was putting the finishing touches on the journal entry for yesterday when suddenly a big warning sign popped up and told me I had a Trojan virus, a bad one. I had the option of removing it, healing it, or ignoring it. I chose "heal" and hoped for the best.
I can’t remember the sequence of things, but suffice to say that “healing” it didn’t work. And it set off a cascade of problems that kept me awake until 1 a.m. just trying to get the entry posted. At one point I decided to be real smart and do that famous “system restore” which has worked in the past. For those without Windows XP, a system restore means that you go back a week or so to a date when your computer worked well and you ask it to restore all of the settings from that date so you can continue, if you’re lucky, with no problems.
”System Restore” has been my salvation many times in the past. Something magical happens inside the computer and when I turn it on again, it’s like waking up from a bad dream. Only this time when I restarted the computer, I got the message that the system restore was not able to be done and that no changes had made. I tried three times, each time setting it to an earlier date, and each time it was unsuccessful.
If this had happened a year ago, I would have been in apoplexy. The fortunate thing about the various problems I’ve had over the past months is that I have gradually become organized. I know where all of my program disks are. I know where all of my serial numbers are. I have backups of important programs on the external hard drive. I could not save my journal entry from last night, but I could move all of the files off of my regular hard drive and onto the external hard drive so that when I got the problem fixed, I could just move it all back and I wouldn’t have lost anything.
I also knew that I had several options – I could always do the journal page on my laptop, which is a pain only because it means finding someplace to put it, some place to plug it in and it’s just pretty much a big pain. Also, I could do what I’ve done on vacations before (and, in fact, what I’m doing now) – I could just write the page in code and post it that way. That is a good short-term solution, but it won’t help when March 1 comes and I want to design a new look for the new month.
So I managed to get the entry posted, using various work-arounds, I wrote a note to my computer guru, and I went to sleep.
In the morning it was time to get serious. I still couldn’t get Front Page to work, I couldn’t get the system to set a System Restore Point, and I hadn’t heard from the guru. I had the program disk and could uninstall and reinstall Front Page, but I’ve screwed things up royally by plunging into things I don’t understand before, so I wanted to wait for Guru to contact me. He finally did and was decidedly not helpful. He told me that sometimes virus warnings turn out to be false (too late for that information to help, since I had already tried "healing" the virus), and he suggested I look up the virus type on Google (which took me to a site for trucks that I couldn’t see because I wasn’t a member!) I have the definite feeling that I have bored the guru to tears and he wants nothing more to do with me. It was up to me to find other solutions.
I posted information on Facebook to see what kind of feedback I would get. I also wrote to someone at DCN, my service provider, about the message that I should "contact my service provider to make sure that it has the Front Page Server extensions."
There were several suggestions that came through Facebook, including a few other web design programs I might use (one of which is "only" $300). One suggestion came from a local person, who suggested that her husband might be able to help. I sent him an e-mail to explain my plight and he answered quickly, saying he uses Front Page all the time and saying he could help me fix the problem. He’s in the middle of a project of his own right now, and I have several things coming up in the new week, so with that little carrot of hope over my head, I can do a work-around for the next few days. I can write code; I can use the laptop and I can even design the March look on the laptop. I’m still not sure that he can actually fix it, but I’m going to think positively and not worry about it until I realize it is beyond hope.
So for now...I sit and wait, trying not to think about the meeting I went to yesterday where they laughed about how one guy's computer was already 7 years old and waaay past its prime. I bought this computer in 2003, so it's 6 yrs old. I'm also trying not to think about what the guru told me the last time he was here was that "with luck" the computer might make it another year or two. Since when is six years OLD???
In the meantime, however, we have Winston.
Winston is, Ashley tells me, a Tibetan spaniel/pekinese mix. She had told me “small spaniel” when she wrote to me about him when I was in LA and of course I got Cocker in my mind. And when I saw him, I thought Pomeranian. A friend, hearing the mix of cocker and Pomeranian asked if that made him a "cocamanian," which I think is a perfect description!
He’s actually here only very temporarily. He was here overnight on Sunday and then went to his regular foster home. They had to go out of town today, so asked if I could keep him for the day, so he was only here for the day, but he was here long enough to cause big problems. The mailman came and all the dogs ran into the living room to bark. I went to get the mail and the last time I saw Winston, he was following the other dogs into the living room. When I went to close the front door after getting the mail, I saw Winston trotting down the drive way!
I was wearing slippers and had to run into the house to get shoes and by the time I got outside, there was no sign of Winston anywhere. I thought I heard him barking in one direction so I rushed off (well...as much as I can “rush”) in the direction of the barking, heart pounding, hoping no cars came down the road. I turned around at one point and there I saw Winston trotting back up the drive way, coming from the opposite direction from which I was looking for him.
So Winston is home, the computer is still not giving me Front Page but I’m finding ways around it. And tomorrow is another day.