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Pinch and a Punch

Morning everyone! Pinches and Punches for the First Day of the Monthses and all of that.

Vickie and I have been naughty little stress-monkeys this week. I've been stressing for a while about giving a PC to Dan, as I wanted to do it both in a timely fashion and within budget. My upgrade didn't go as smoothly as intended; the Radeon 9700 drivers kept arguing with my system and crashing it for some unknown reason (I noticed the latest Catalyst drivers insisted it was a 9700 PRO, giving me the impression that this was a faulty card). After doing a reformat-clean install in the first place, I did another one, and still the bastard kept crashing. I took the card back to where I bought it, and after a little arguing (as the mounting metal on the card had a screw-head mark on it from where I'd fastened it to the machine as one is supposed to; they argued that they couldn't re-sell the card, and I wanted to know why they couldn't simply retun it to their vendor as possibly faulty, whch they insisted they just couldn't do), they agreed to give me a credit toward another video card. I ordered a PRO, forking out an extra $100 to cover the price difference (under the reasonong that if the latest drivers were inisiting the Radeon 9700 was a PRO, then a PRO would work fine), and still it kept crashing.

In the end, I did yet another reformat-clean install, and did not install the AGP drivers that came with the new motherboard. I also made sure to disable a setting under the ATi Control Panel software for something called "fast writes"; several sources in the video card community reckon that fast writes are the source of many similar crashing problems. I still don't know what they are, let alone why they crash PCs, but the PRO has not acted up once since the latest rebuild, and I'm not about to switch fast writes back on or install the AGP drivers to test the theory. Freelancer is running more smoothly than my GeForce3 at higher resolutions, and I'm not about to go monkeying around with that.

On top of all that, I have another one of those senior management meetings with the client next week, and I've been having to re-work some of our data to make it more presentable. This has meant I've had to ignore my e-mail and service request queues alone, all while there are several semi-urgent to urgent issues there that need sorting out. That client meeting is just a few days before Con*Descending, which I've still not done any further work for - well, actually, that's not true; Vickie has a couple of books on Spirits and the Spirit World and Unusual Powers, which, although they've not given me any solid ideas, have been an interesting read and have got my mind working.

Vickie has had a rather painful week at work. The computer systems are in need of maintenance, and the company who supplied and who ought to be servicing them have asked the users to keep paper logs of the problems. On Wednesday night, Vickie came home very stressed out, because the computer was taking two-and-a-half minutes to perform simple database operations while she was trying to deal with clients. She even asked me whether I knew whether my firm was interested in taking it over! (In jest, of course; she knows my firm handles big corporate clients.) She then asked whether I knew anyone else who could do the job, and I suggested a firm that Dad got me doing some work experience with back in '96/7. They're still in business, although they've moved from Chatswood to St Leonards, and Vickie's left a note for the boss about them.

So if Vickie and I aren't our usual cheerful selves for the next little while, please extend your sympathies and/or take it easy on us, okay?

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