Saturday, 15 July 2017

Unexpected Windows wobbles

Late last night, we walked around the port and ended up again at 'Artsenal', where a 'Poetry Jam' was taking place. A succession of men and women of various ages came out of the audience, and spoke their own works, accompanied by two guitarists improvising a background accompaniment. It was pleasant to listen to, even if our understanding of the Spanish was limited. A gathering of this kind onm a hot summer evening, despite its contemporary setting, has a truly timeless dimension to it. This event could have occurred in any era over the past three thousand years. Wonderful.

Malaga was shrouded in sea mist with a topping of low cloud when we woke up this morning, so we made the effort to get out as soon as possible and climb up to the Gibralfaro Fortress before the sun appeared in full strength. Plenty of others were out with the same objective in mind. We toured the ramparts, and had a beer at the cafeteria before walking back down. In the largest open coutyard, a stage with sound system had been erected and couple of hundred black plastic chairs laid out, ready for a performance, probably this evening, although there was no information readily to hand to tell what this might be. 

It made me wonder if a lot more publicity, particular for nice performances here is done on line. If a ticked event was already fully booked, there'd be less need to advertise in a traditional way. This would also explain why little information in the form of posters about events is displayed in La Malagueta barrio about event in in the Plaza de Toros. Certainly any time I have sought information about the next event most likely to deliver us a reduced night's sleep, I've been directed to the ticketing website for bullring events, and more of a hunt is required to find a website delivering a full season's event diary. No information delivery system can avoid making assumptions about how best to serve its clientele, and that can lead to variations in difficulty when it comes to finding out what you need to know, when crossing boundaries of language and culture. Intriguing thought.

On our return from Gibralfaro, we walked to Mercadona to do our weekend shopping, then cooked lunch, and had a siesta. When I came to use the office computer to get my sermon printed off, it failed to start and went into repair mode. It stayed in repair mode for several hours, during which I went with Clare to the beach for her daily swim. The system seemed frozen in time, so I switched it off, a hard reset using the power button and re-started it, with the same result. I did the same again, pressing F8 at boot, to supply the various trouble shooting and repair menus. Same result each time, it was stuck somewhere in loading the Windows environment files, a repair job I could do nothing about without have possession of a Windows 7 system disk.

Having forgotten to make a copy to USB stick of my Sunday sermon, the original was inaccessible. So, I hunted down my digital toolkit, which currently includes a bootable copy of Ubuntu Studio on a Memory Stick. The PC booted this with ease. It was reassuring, as it meant the problem was not a hardware failure, but just a Windows 7 missing file. Then I was able copy the sermon file across to another flash drive, for transfer to my Chromebook. From there I could shift the file to my tablet, and read it from there tomorrow. The Bluetooth link on the Nexus 7 and Toshiba Chromebook both staid they were working, but refused to handshake properly after performing protocols correctly. If two Google devices have this kind of hassle, how useful is Bluetooth at any time. I emailed the file to myself, and got it to display satisfactorily, just before supper.

Later, I switched on the Windows 7 laptop again, and when it displayed the 'Repair' menu, I opted to go straight to normal Windows boot routine - much to  my surprise it worked normally. This meant I could print off my sermon after all, and take the machine through clean up and de-fragmentation routines, just in case.

Maybe the initialisation part of the boot routine threw up an error message calling up the 'Repair' menu because of some minute impact on the machine of heat and/or humidity. Maybe it's running too hot for its own good. It certainly gave me five hours of bother I could have done without on a Saturday. Amazing, nevertheless, how well the live boot version of Ubuntu Studio worked, to give me hope. Where it failed was in attaching the wi-fi module to the system, making it impossible to search for and download and install the Linux HPLIP driver package which so often delivers just what you need for a printer to work properly with no messing about. Ah well, nice try.

Glad that I had my little box of tricks with me to rescue the sermon file, even if, in the end, Windows 7 got around to working the way it was intended to.

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