Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why, Vista, Why?

Complaints about Windows Vista are old news. Everyone knows how annoying it can be, how glitchy it is, how many times it will crash just to see if you're paying attention.

When I bought my laptop, I ended up with Vista.

I lucked out and happened across an article that showed me how to customize the settings in order to make Vista 1. Run faster, 2. Shut up, and 3. Not automatically update and then crash due to my having dial-up internet.

Life was good.

But over a year ago, I found a book that I kind of hated that had a link to a site I liked that then linked to a Shakespeare festival website that told me I could get a font that was exactly like the type style on the First Folio. Let's face it. That's awesome.

Not only that, I discovered that I could get a font that was Jane Austen's handwriting. And others that were Tolkien-style, taken from The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings illustrations. Made of awesome.

They also were free. So I downloaded the Shakespeare font, tried to install it, and guess what?

Windows started opening and closing again and again, faster and faster, so quickly that I could not close them in time for them to not try to open another window and another. The only solution? To take out the battery and kill power to the computer, since it wouldn't shut down.

Incidentally, I am now out of the good jellybeans. Only gross ones left. Sigh.

How am I supposed to write under these conditions?

I know what you're thinking. Virus, right? Well, you're wrong. It wasn't a virus. It was a zip file.

Yes. A plain, ordinary, densely stored zip file.

I tried some stuff, resolved to have my tech-savvy friends look at it, then moved on with my life.

Cut to yesterday, when I was at work, downloading summer reading program stuff, and found a link to the fonts from the summer reading program.

Happily, I clicked the link, then instantly downloaded and installed the new fonts. In seconds. With no Compu-Seizures. However, this was not my computer.

This told me that 1. My computer is annoying in many ways, ways that almost drown out the ways in which it is not annoying, but not quite and 2. There must be something actually wrong, missing, or broken since the work computer didn't have any kind of special program to make the unzipping happen and to keep the Compu-Seizures from happening.

I investigated. I came up empty.

When we got our fast internet, my mother discovered that the service came with what amounts to a free IT Slave. Need help using that new iPod? Your IT Slave will help you. For free. Have a virus? The IT Slave will get rid of it for you. For free. Wondering why you have a cupholder but no CD drive? Your IT Slave will explain it to you. For free. And without laughing.

I called him on his phone and he went to work. My little cursor raced across the screen, since now he had control of my computer, as if by magic--

This is when I have to cut in and explain a little something. Remote access freaks me out. Not because I think that my personal files will get stolen, but because I like to watch a show called Criminal Minds. Every Wednesday for the last five years, I have settled down in my couch and watched the BAU capture serial killers, and I've gotten a free abnormal psych lesson in the process.

On one episode, the BAU were investigating this UnSub who was killing people he thought were sinners. How did he know? Because he was an IT guy who worked over the phone from his house. He would fix the problem then instead of closing out the connection, he would leave a trojan horse in place so he could remotely activate the built-in webcam in his future-victim's computer and then watch them.

My laptop so totally has a built-in webcam. This knowledge is just freaky enough that I am wary of remote access. Just one of my little everyday paranoias.

--However, Mr. IT Man found the problem almost instantly. He discovered that the two halves-of-program/code that were trying to open the file couldn't merge together. In other words, they were not playing well with each other. So he gave me a file and installed it and now the zip files open.

This should be the end of the story. But because I am talking about my computer, it wasn't.

I tried to install the fonts. And everything worked very, very well, until I tried to use them and noticed that, even though I had stored the unzipped info in the right folder, the files had vanished the second I sent them there for some reason, probably because the universe doesn't want me to have nice things or to be happy.

So here I am at work, looking at the fancy fonts, knowing that unless Mr IT Man comes through when I call him again, I will forever be without them. It's funny, because I never thought that typing like Jane Austen wrote would make my life worth living, but somehow, it does. Without that little ray of sunshine, I don't know what my world will become.

A dark place, set in Times New Roman. That's what.

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