The trip to Leeds went really well - despite being very hot and humid, even before we decided to enter the night-club built into the arches under a railway station. The last week has been spent sorting out stuff on the new replacement hard drive, chopping up hundreds of samples (and I do mean hundreds, how I've amassed so much is a mystery), and... trying to sort my parent's PC.
I'm going to have a rant now because I'm fed up with PC stuff. I've obviously reached that point where I've been working with Macs for too long and now get far too caught up in the "why do I have to do it this way?" feeling with Windows XP; particularly where it goes spectacularly wrong.
My parent's PC is refusing to start up, citing a "Bad Pool Caller." Looking up the term on the Microsoft web-site (and I'm guessing it doesn't relate to someone who initiates a prank telephone communication with a swimming complex) I was able to find out roughly what the problem was, but in order to fully translate it I had to work with hexadecimal numbers. Now, my feelings on this are that if I have to know hex to solve a problem, then the programmers haven't finished their job yet. Moreover, whilst I know have an idea what the problem is (a problem with the pool header) I'm none the wiser about how to actually solve the thing.
This is the point where I would turn to Microsoft's support sections of their web-site, but to access that I need to have the activation code for the software; that's not the product key (printed in the packaging of our perfectly legal XP discs) but the 25 alphanumeric characters which were read out to me over the phone by an automated system 3 years ago when we installed XP. Of course, I typed it straight into the computer rather than bothering with that paper stuff. "No problem," the Microsoft web-site seems to say, "just right click on 'My Computer' and go to properties..." only I can't because the computer won't start up. Not even in safe mode.
With the mac I can boot from the operating system OS, and then sort problems using the diagnostic tools on there. I don't have to know hexadecimal and I don't have to identify why exactly there is a pool inside my computer to figure out what has gone wrong. More importantly, I can copy off any important files.
Coming next: "let's get someone else to sort the computer" and, I have to put my music projects to one side for a bit because of some blessed paid special ops work for Big Finish. Nothing like some sci-fi sound design to focus your mind when it's too damn hot outside.