Mm-mmm! I love technology!

...or not, as the case may be. At the moment, I'm less than enamoured of, since the TC Web Site is celebrating its second anniversary in a somewhat crippled state, thanks to hardware which refuses to run Windows 95 any more. Got rid of the "Windows protection error" messages (thanks to those who offered help with that, incidentally), but now it just hangs. And before anyone asks, this all happened *before* 9/9/99. Now, the only way to access my files is through the wonders of DOS, which is...interesting -- albeit in much the same way as a dose of meningitis.

Occasionally, even this confirmed technophile yearns for simpler times: you switched a computer on, it made a "Beep" sound, and went to the prompt. Now, you can go away and cook dinner before it's ready, such is the litany of configuration, communication and contamination that is apparently required to run the behemoth known as Windows 95. At work, it's even worse, because of the networks involved: you'd think it'd learn but every time you log into my machine, it greets the rest of the LAN with the caution of a Portillo facing a press conference. To make matters worse, we've now had Office 97 imposed on us -- see the latest TC for my opinion on that piece of dinoware. Actually, since having to use it, I've found it has one or two nice features, such as the conversion to HTML feature. Expect an enhanced version i.e. colour piccies! video clips! of TC22 to be available on CD Rom before the end of the year.

That, however, will have to wait until we are now longer limping along in DOS. As it stands, I'm having to shuffle files back and forth on floppy disk, and updates to the site are being kept limited to what can easily be done this way. Work on the TC Top Fifty Films, for example, has been halted, with 42 of the 50 reviews written, since delivering them onto the Net will involve a wholesale reconstruction of the Film Blitz section, a hideous, tormented nightmare given the current state of play. I can keep plugging away at the editorials and reviews, but even Undressed to Kill is pushing the boundaries of what is possible without sending me hurtling into the abyss. And since it's not even my machine, there's a limit to what I can do to get it sorted.

Actually, I've never owned a PC in my life: the only computer which has been mine was the Atari ST used to produce TC during its "primary school" years. I've survived on a combination of work supplied boxes and those belonging to my housemate; hell, while he's happy spending his money surfing the tsunami of technology, who am I to interfere? :-) However, I suspect the perpetual upgrading may be part of the problem -- if six years of working on front-line IT support has shown me anything, it's that if you just leave things alone, they tend to work fine, and that "upgrade" is merely a synonym for "chaos" -- thus, what's going on in East Timor is an upgrade to Democracy v.1.1.

Of course, in the PC world, you'll also be obsolescent in about 18 months. And thank goodness for that: the machine supplied by work, so I can dial in and fix stuff, is being upgraded, although not because it's spec is insufficient for the job. After all, how much CPU and RAM do you need to act as a dumb terminal? But the gateway we now use requires Windows 95, which in turn requires a certain spec of machine. I'm probably looking at a replacement box which will be, oh, five or six times more powerful than the existing one. Naturally, the ability to surf the Net and run the TC site is an irrelevance. Hmmm...perhaps this tech thing's not so bad after all.


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