Blood Rock at 80,000 Words…

Blood Rock is at 80,000 words, and is complete through chapter 26 (though I have written parts of chapters 27-57, including a huge chunk at the end right around the climax). It’s getting closer … I expect the first draft to come in somewhere around 90,000 to 95,000 words.

-the Centaur

Google Knows Everything … about Windows XP SP3

Well, turns out my Windows XP SP3 problem wasn’t really a Windows XP SP3 problem at all, other than it happens to Windows XP Service Pack 3 when installed on Hewlett Packard AMD-based computers that were factory installed with an Intel-based image of Windows XP. A key Intel power management DLL isn’t present, but it is referenced by the system configuration, and when Windows XP Service Pack 3 installs, it sees that the file should be there (according to the system config) but isn’t (according to what it can see on the hard drive) so it installs it. And on the next boot … boom, Windows gets stuck in an endless cycle of reboots every time it tries loading the Intel driver on an AMD processor.

The simple solution? Boot in safe mode and delete the offending file. There are other solutions, which I found at this blog by a Microsoft expert, which I found via this eWeek article, which I found via a Google search for [ windows xp sp3 problems ]. Now, I had tried Google searches the previous night at umptynothing in the morning, but when I sat down with my I-wuv-my-Mac laptop in front of the dead computer, logged on to the home wireless network, and banged out that new query fresh, it worked, first link, first time.

So it’s true: Google Knows Everything.

-the Centaur

P.S. The previous article is my own personal opinion and does not reflect the opinions of my employers at the Search Engine That Starts With a G. Or, hell, maybe it does, but I was using that phrase even back when I worked for the Search Engine Company That Started With an E.

Have I mentioned I hate Windows XP Service Pack 3?

No? Ok. So mentioned: I hate Windows XP Service Pack 3, and the Automatic Update it rode in on.

In more detail, I just upgraded the hard drive on my wife’s computer. It took quite a bit of doing – the original two methods I used to copy the old HD to the new HD failed, even my beloved PartitionMagic, because Windows XP would not learn to boot from the new hard drive. It’s not that I haven’t done this trick a half dozen times before with laptops, including my most recent Windows XP laptop, and after immense effort I could never find out what was wrong or fix it. However, eventually I found a cheap but effective program called Disk Copy and Clean by Avanquest that did the trick, and got the drive copied last night, Windows XP booting, took the old drive out, and closed up the case.

Then like an idiot I installed all the software updates that were pending.

One of those was apparently Windows XP Service Pack 3, whose main feature is locking the computer in an endless cycle of reboots. You can boot to safe mode, which means this problem is just enough different from the other similar problems I’ve been able to find online that I doubt any of those fixes will work. I’ll try, of course, but in the end … isn’t it nice I have yesterday’s hard drive, pre-Windows-XP-SP3?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I wuv my Mac and its crappy user interface(1), because it just works.

-the Centaur
(1) No, that isn’t sarcasm … Windows has a better user interface, nyahh nyahh nyahh, all you Mac lovers — and I switched anyway, because (a) I love the Unix command line and (b) my computer has to work. Shockingly, the Mac actually functioning reliably most of the time beats the many ways in which common user interface operations are faster and easier to use on Windows. You may feel like snarking that the Mac UI would be easier if I’d used it longer, and I’ll just snark back that I’ve been using Macs since roughly 1990, and I’ve had no problems moving between the various editions of UNIX, Linux and Windows over the same time frame while the Mac has always felt like the odd man out. Ultimately, the gloss, great graphic design, and sheer reliability of the Mac OS X family outweighed any number of minor interface quirks.

Not enough hours in the day…

…to do all the things that need to be done.

I’m not sure what that phrase means, “not enough hours in the day”. I say it from time to time, but what would we do with more hours in the day? If each day was thirty-six hours, wouldn’t we just work longer, play longer, expect to get twelve hours of work done instead of eight? It seems like what we really want is a secret stash of hours in the day, twelve free hours we could stick in anywhere we needed.

I’d use my stash just after midnight, in those hours leading up to two where I seem to get so much done, then get on a roll that lasts to the wee hours in the morning. If I yield to that impulse, I don’t go to bed until near dawn – wouldn’t it be nice to work hours and hours till you’re tired, and still go to bed at midnight?

Or maybe I’d just stick them in the morning, a couple extra hours in the lull of the snooze button between eight and eight-oh-seven in the morning. But some days I have to get up earlier or later, so maybe it would be better to slip the extra hours in right on cue when you hit snooze, so when you wake up seven minutes later, you’re refreshed and ready for the day.

Or perhaps in midafternoon, right when food coma hits, and you need to recharge. For me, if I push on through I get a second wind, which lasts till seven or eight o’clock at night; wouldn’t it be nice to get the second wind, put in all those extra hours, and still leave by five?

Time travel. Must start working on time travel.
-the Centaur