beatrice_otter: SG-1--Walter in his seat, sparks flying. (Walter)
Months and months ago, I got a new laptop. Well, new to me, because I wanted to keep with Windows 7 (I use Win 10 at work and HATE it, it's better than 8 but that's not saying much). Anyway, it was a used laptop, but it was inspected and certified, and it has been running just perfectly.

EXCEPT that Firefox kept freezing and crashing. All other programs were perfectly fine, it was just firefox. I did some troubleshooting, refreshed firefox, deleted and reinstalled, all that jazz. Nothing worked. So, today I backed up my firefox profile using MozBackup (which has always worked perfectly for me before). Then I uninstalled firefox and deleted the profile and then deleted the firefox folder in my program files folder. Like, EVERYTHING COMPLETELY GONE. NO EXCEPTIONS. So that whatever the problem is, it couldn't possibly come over, right?

Then I reinstalled Firefox, completely clean new installation. Then I tried to use MozBackup.

It didn't work. The backup I made today was "not a valid backup file."

Fortunately, the backup I made two weeks ago DID work, so while I've lost some tabs that were open and a few passwords to websites that I just started using, most of my stuff should be there.

If this didn't work--if I did all this and firefox STILL FREEZES PERIODICALLY, I will be so pissed.

ETA: nevermind, fixed the problem by running MozBackup again and this time, instead of taking the 4/23 backup that it came up with, browsed for and clicked on it from where I saved it in the first place.  Don't know why it made a difference, but it did!

beatrice_otter: SG-1--Walter in his seat, sparks flying. (Walter)
Ever since I got my new (to me) laptop, Firefox has been really buggy.  Crashing regularly freezing up SO OFTEN, really slow.  It was the only program experiencing problems, so it had to be Firefox and not the laptop.  So I refreshed Firefox last night (that thing you can do where it keeps your bookmarks, passwords, add-ons, and history, but sets everything else back to factory settings.  So far, it seems to be good.  Here's hoping it fixed the problem.
beatrice_otter: Radek Zelenka--sometimes what you need is a scruffy man with a flashlight (Scruffy man with flashlight)
My personal laptop is old and has problems.  Not with the actual computer part of it; with the power and big cracks in the case.  As in, big chips of plastic case come off every so often, and while the power cord itself works fine the place it plugs into only works intermittently.  If you can find the exact right place, and not jiggle the laptop or the cord at all and hold the whole thing perfectly still, it charges fine.  But it's really annoying.

So I was going to replace it.  It's Windows 7, and I use Windows 8 and10 at work.  They're both faster, but 7 is SO MUCH EASIER to use on a laptop.  (8 and 10 assume that a tablet is your primary way to use the OS, or at least a touchscreen laptop.)  So I wanted to keep it, since it's still being updated.  I bought a refurbished Windows 7 laptop online, tried it out, it worked fine.  I was getting ready to load all my programs and transfer my files (a huge bother), when a techie friend said "hey, it's so much easier and quicker to clone it, why don't you do that instead?"

Okay, great.  Fine.  I read some articles online so I know what I'm doing, download a cloning software and clone my old hard drive onto my new one ... and it won't boot up.  Try it again, same thing.  Now, at this point, I would like to just go back to how I started and manually transfer programs and files, but I don't think that's possible because it's been formatted a couple of times--doesn't that wipe out the OS?  So I download another cloning software and try that one.  Same problem, except now at least I can get it to run System Repair.  Which says there's a problem I can't fix.  But the System Image Recovery options are also available now, and I go there.  Yes, I can use the backup of the original laptop I made before trying to clone anything (I am no fool).  But!  In order to do that, I need a system repair disk or a Windows installation disc, neither of which I have.  It will make one for me, all I have to do is put in a blank disc! ... which I don't have.  Nothing in town is open on Sundays, and I'm not driving an hour to the nearest city where I know there will be a store open that would sell blank cds, it can wait until Monday.  At least my original laptop is okay.
beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Archandroid)
The Moral Economy of Tech, by Maciej Ceglowski
The feeling of competence, control and delight in discovering a clever twist that solves a difficult problem is what makes being a computer programmer sometimes enjoyable.

But as anyone who's worked with tech people knows, this intellectual background can also lead to arrogance. People who excel at software design become convinced that they have a unique ability to understand any kind of system at all, from first principles, without prior training, thanks to their superior powers of analysis. Success in the artificially constructed world of software design promotes a dangerous confidence.

Today we are embarked on a great project to make computers a part of everyday life. As Marc Andreessen memorably frames it, "software is eating the world". And those of us writing the software expect to be greeted as liberators.

Our intentions are simple and clear. First we will instrument, then we will analyze, then we will optimize. And you will thank us.

But the real world is a stubborn place.
An interesting piece on technology, arrogance, politics, and the modern surveillance state.
beatrice_otter: Are you challenging my ingenuity? (Ingenuity)
While I was in college, I ripped all my CDs to my computer and, using Windows Media Player, put them into playlists.  I like these playlists.  I have kept them curated and organized and constantly expanding for the last decade and a half.  Every music I have acquired since then has been added to these playlists.  Whatever devices I use to listen to music must be compatible with these playlists.  Up until now this was easy, because all I had to do was sync my mp3 player, and it worked.  (Yes, I still use my separate, dedicated mp3 player.  Yes, it's another device to carry.  But it has a very long battery life, so by using it I'm not draining my cellphone battery, which doesn't last as long.)  And when I finally got around to syncing my playlists to my phone, it just worked there too, in the default music app that was preloaded, unhelpfully called "Music," which I have not been able to find on the app store.

So I thought that syncing my playlists to my new tablet, it, too, would be no problem.  Ahahahaha.  No.  I have tried syncing multiple times.  I have tried many different apps.  I converted all my playlists from the default WMP format to the more-common m3u format.  I have tried both copying and pasting the files, and using Windows Media Player's sync feature.  But no matter what I try, the playlists either a) don't read the playlists, only the songs and albums, b) read the playlists, but can only seem to play one or two of them, or c) reads the playlists, can play one or two, and says it's playing the rest even when there is no sound coming out of the device.  I've checked forums, googled, nothing.

In the grand scheme of things this is not a huge deal, as I have both my mp3 player and my phone with all my music on them.  But it is FRUSTRATING.

For reference, in case it helps: the phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5, and the tablet is a Lenovo Tab A-10, and both are Android devices.  I have tried many players and can't remember them all, but I know I have tried both Google's Play Music and the other Music app that was preloaded on the device.

(By the way googling for apps with good playlist ability is useless, because what the reviewers gush about is the ability of the app to make playlists for you.  Which, okay, fine, if you trust the computer to make the right matches, no problem.  But there is no way the computer would be able to do anything half as good--for my personal tastes--as what I already have.  For example, one of my playlists is called "Folksy."  It contains some twangy country, some rockabilly old rock, some folk songs, some Gospel hymns, and a few other odds and ends including Rosemary Clooney's recording of This Ole House.  Now, a computer algorithm might get the rest of those ... but would it also pull in the Rosemary Clooney without also pulling in the rest of her songs which would be totally unsuitable for the "folksy" playlist?  I think not.)

beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
I am SO GLAD that Night on Fic Mountain has a week between the "fic due" deadline and the "fics live" date.  Because I think I'll be able to get this fic "finished" and posted by four this afternoon my time (the deadline), but it is SO INCREDIBLY ROUGH you have no idea.  Like, when I started I had no clear idea what the fic was going to be, and it changed several times as I was writing but I didn't have time to go back and fix things to smooth it over, and even now I am changing the ending from what I was building up for and so there's gonna have to be serious editing to go through and make it all make sense (switching the character in the main finale means she, uh, has to appear before the last scene so she's not completely coming out of left field, since she hasn't even been MENTIONED in the fic as written so far ....)

Yeah.  Not good.

On the other hand, my email provider went wonky and I missed a whole weekend worth of emails. I'm getting things now, but the backlog hasn't shown up.  For emails sent directly to me, that's no big deal, because people will resend them.  But I subscribe to a lot of fics on AO3, so I usually get between three and five fic update notices each day from AO3, and those DON'T go in your inbox, and you can't sort your subscription list by date updated, so that's anywhere between nine and fifteen fics that I'll be confused by the next time they update.  (I just hope none of them finished, because I wouldn't know.  Blergh.)  I have requested the ability to sort subscriptions by date updated, but who knows if they'll ever do it.

beatrice_otter: WWII soldier holding a mug with the caption "How about a nice cup of RESEARCH?" (Research)
So, I have several different emails for different purposes, and I am very adamant that The Streams Do Not Cross.  Partly this is due to a confluence of fannish/personal/professional issues, and partly it's because I am anal about such things.  Two I access via webmail, and one I use Thunderbird for.  I would like to switch one of the webmail ones to an email client such as Thunderbird that would download the messages and store them on my harddrive.  BUT I don't want to use Thunderbird, because I don't want the streams to cross.  (Unless there's a way to use Thunderbird with two completely separate accounts where they don't connect at all?  I know how to set up Thunderbird with multiple email accounts to the same inbox, sorted into folders, but not to have two completely separate inboxes, and anyway, two programs would probably be easier for me mentally to manage than both on the same one.)

So!  I need recs.  Free-or-cheap email app for PCs, not Thunderbird, what do you recommend?  Do I just switch back to Outlook?  (Which, I could do, the learning curve would be small, but at the same time ... it seems like such a retrograde maneuver.)
beatrice_otter: Poirot: Little Grey Cells (Little Grey Cells)
We've all been annoyed by the DDoS attacks on LJ the last few weeks, right?  Well, part of what makes such attacks devastating is that the attackers infect a lot of computers of unsuspecting third parties with viruses to do the attacking for them.  So, if you've got a virus there's a good chance your computer could be used in an attack such as this one and you wouldn't even know it.  Another excellent reason to keep your virus protection software up-to-date and properly used.  If you can't afford to buy it, AVG has a great free version.

Wall of Shame: LJ has posted a map with all the IP addresses they're getting attacked by.  Check and see if you're on it ... and if you are?  Disinfect your computer!

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
OMG, you guys, this is so funny.  It's a medieval help desk, and this is for anyone who's ever worked technical support.  (It's in Norwegian, but the subtitles are in English.)



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