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FF Sparks (Casual)

[Tech] Curse you, Gates!

Ah, SP2. The savior of Windows. NOT.

While the SP2 install on my laptop off of CD ages ago was not uneventful -- I only just recently, weeks later, finally sorted out the conflicts between Norton Internet Security (which Windows kept trying to turn on the firewall in), Zone Alarm Pro (which I installed myself and prefer to use), and Windows Firewall (which Windows kept trying to turn on) -- it still went more or less well. Save for annoying popups requiring me to approve other firewalls, each program three times, etc., the laptop was fine.

But not so on my desktop. I never got around to installing SP2 off of the CD, and it's... well. It decided to install from auto-updates, and whined at me until I agreed. There's issue one. Then while it claimed I could still work while doing the install, VC++ refused to run because 'the system is busy.' Strike one.

When it finally finished installing and rebooted, Windows seemed fine at first. The security center found Zone Alarm Pro and McAfee VirusScan, and was happy about both. Then it flipped out. The control panel went into an endless loop, Windows Firewall turned itself on and freaked out when ZoneAlarm tried to turn on, it killed Firefox as a 'hostile program' and got the Firefox 'crash reporter' program stuck in an infinite loop, etc. My desktop is utterly unusable right now, and I figure I'll sort it out this evening. Am very frustrated, and doing my work code on the Dell laptop right now. Grmph.

*pets the Powerbook* You never do this to me, do you, baby? Give me some Apple lovin'...


My solution to this was to turn off the firewall. 'Yes, I have my own firewall. I don't care you don't find Sygate. Yes I have my own virus scan, too.' No nagging.

Now, the popup blocker annoyed me a bit until I managed to clear a couple of things, too....
Ah, SP2. My first two attempts to install SP2 on my laptop were an utter disaster. The install botched so badly that it left my system not only unusable, but entirely unrecoverable - the password store was even screwed up, so I couldn't get in via the recovery console. I had to resort to using the recovery disks.

After that, I didn't try a third time until I'd bought an external HD and a copy of Ghost, so I could backup the thing. Strangely, SP2 installed just fine the third time.

Now, I just hope the external HD has enough space to back up my desktop machine before I install SP2 on it.

Of course, both my laptop and XP desktop have no other firewalls of their own - they rely on my other firewall for most of their protection. I suppose it won't hurt to have Windows Firewall on them now, though, in case some bastard hacks my WEP key and sticks a Typhoid Mary on my wireless LAN.
Considering your employer, Mike, are you allowed to complain about SP2? ;)

Suspiciously, my three-year-old laptop choose to croak three days after installing SP2, but the symptoms persistented even while trying to re-install the operating system from the manufacturer. Re-seating the memory and the the hard drive temporarily made the problem go away for a day, but I've convinced myself that the issue with the laptop was aging hardware and not SP2.

That said, you had better believe that my heart rate was higher while installing on each machine.

It's almost entertaining the way Microsoft users are willing to torture themselves in the name of "upgrades" from Gates.

It's an entertaining tale, but also a cautionary one: there but for the grace of god go I.

(That said, I think a laptop should last a great deal longer than just three years.)
Well, let's be fair.

While my Mac has never blown up on me during an upgrade, I can think of at least two occasions where I nuked the largest site I run on my servers (Nausicaa.net) while trying to upgrade system software. One time was under Linux, the other under FreeBSD. /Any/ upgrade can burn you, if there have been sufficient changes in the interim and not every circumstance is accounted for in the upgrade scripts.

Granted with Nausicaa.net there was only a couple of hours of downtime while I ripped apart Apache or some other package and figured out what I had broken, as opposed to the 'oh dear god it's all GONE, GONE, I TELL YOU!' aspect of botched SP2 installs. :)
I had to think far back to recall a time where Mac upgrades were that disastrous. I think 7.0 counts.

But on the UNIX-side of things, I've had apps broken (Lightwave 3D was utterly broken going from IRIX 6.2 to 6.5.15; too bad, but hardly unexpected since NewTek wasn't supporting the platform anymore) and libraries broken (video conversion libs on any non-6.5.15m version of IRIX), but nothing really approaching lost data, irate users.

I'm just lucky, I guess.
Yeah, well. My opinion of IRIX is only slightly higher than my opinion of NetBSD, which I rank somewhere around the server equivalent of Windows ME. ;)
That's too bad. Should I dare ask what caused your opinion to fall so low?
In both cases, having to port software. With NetBSD, there were fundamental issues (including the fact that /printf/ works in a non-standard way in their libraries). IRIX, for their part, seemed to tweak and change system libraries so frequently that it sometimes involved doing more than one IRIX port in order to support multiple versions of the software.

And we're not even talking graphics, here; this was pure daemon stuff.

In contrast, I was doing the same porting to SunOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, BSDI and a few other things. While each had their own gotchas -- FreeBSD assuming unsigned rather than signed if you don't explicitly declare either way, for instance -- none of them gave me the headaches that NetBSD and IRIX did, and from talking on coding lists, I was far from the only one who had that experience.

I cannot respect a distribution which claims to be UNIX standard and 'easy to run standard software on' when that much pain is entailed, and when all the work of a port can be thrown out the window by a relatively minor update on a consistent basis. Hence why I have a very low opinion of both NetBSD (which, in fairness, was worse than IRIX) and IRIX.
Interesting. Do these issues occur with gcc or MIPSPro compilers (or both)? IRIX feature or maintenance streams (or both; I'm assuming 6.5.x and not 6.2-6.4, since 6.2-6.4 changed so much due to completely new hardware architectural changes inherent in O2 and Octane/Origin)?

Maybe my comment wasn't totally clear, but the 'operating system' from Toshiba for this laptop was Windows ME. That is, SP2 can not be blamed in my case if I cannot even finish re-imaging the drive with the magic CD from Toshiba without a hardware crash.

And, yes, I expected the laptop to last longer than three years, but there are palm-prints where I have rubbed all the finish off. I've taken it camping everywhere. I've carried it back and forth to work for three years. My daughter dropped it into the truck bed the week before. I've taken it overseas and subjected it to foreign voltages (which shouldn't have mattered because it has an external power supply). I have definitely given it some use.