March 2nd, 2009


When good programmes go bad...

I came to the computer freshish from a night's semi-sleep - I spend a lot of the night awake and worrying - and decided to try one last thing. My computer was, after a system restore to the point immediately after the soft reinstall, running very very slowly and glitchily, but at least running with icons and start menu that I could actually access. Clearly doing a system restore - even one that could only go back a few hours - had got rid of accumulated programme crashes.

I noticed that ZoneAlarm, my firewall, was occasionally flashing up a message saying that it was trying to install part of itself and giving me the option of cancelling - while disappearing too quickly to do so. I managed to get up Windows Change/Install Programmes and removed ZoneAlarm from my system altogether; instantly everything else stopped hanging. I then downloaded and reinstalled ZoneAlarm, which is now running normally, as is everything else.

What have I learned from this? That no programme is wholly my friend and that trial and error and a constant process of eliminating possibilities are the way to go when there are computer problems. Is this the beginning of wisdom? We shall see.

My thanks to everyone who has been helpful.

Facing Fear

This morning there was a strange scrabbling noise from the chimney breast and I was very worried that it might be rats, creatures I can wait a long time to experience after the unpleasantness of having mice a few years ago. It did occur to me that it might be a bird - it seemed to make more noise rather than less if I banged the wall. Environmental Health said they could not get anyone round until Thursday, which would be too late for any bird to survive - and it also occurred to me 1. that a dead bird in the blocked off chimney would be really unpleasant and 2. that I was going to have to move all the books that are stacked in front of said chimney anyway. So I pulled the piles down to sort and tidy later - something that needed doing anyway - and I prised the metal sheeting open and held it there for a while. A small unhappy bird hopped out past my hand and fluttered round the room a bit in a tiredly panicked way until I gently shooed it towards an open window. It banged into the glass a bit, but eventually got the message and flew away.

I realize, sadly, that all I know is that it was too big to be a sparrow and too small and brown (with speckles) to be a crow or a rook. I like to think that it was a songbird of some sort...