Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis was everything they are saying, a personal memory from your blogger

The news of Harold Ramis' passing popped up on my iPhone.
I was floored.

I interviewed him yesterday;  "yesterday" was 16 years ago.

He was 53, I was 46.  Not much distance in age, but in terms of the film world, the distance couldn't have been wider.  After making some television programs, I had finally got around to writing a screenplay.  To learn something about the trade, started writing features for an industry trade magazine.

His net worth was stupendous, he was still working on major projects, but for some reason he still deigned to spend several hours with me on a project that had meaning to me, couldn't have had to him.

I recall his mentioning a bit of a falling out he had had with Bill Murray and I could see that it concerned him; it's nice now to read in the tributes to him that they made amends before his passing.

Harold Ramis left a lot of art and comedy and influence behind him, but 69 is too young to go.  Writing a book last year about Obscure Composers, I came across a line in Zemlinsky's "Lyric Symphony," from Rabindranath Tagore:  "let it not be death but completeness."

In terms of his kindness, generosity, and humanity to those close to him, and those he had just met, and all the deserved plaudits pouring in for him, it surely seems to be so.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Survey: Millions have more credit card debt than savings

Survey: Millions have more credit card debt than savings -

Windows 8 and 8.1 malfunctioning level "a disaster"; "Abandon hope all ye who enter here"; A daunting 18-step process that ends in failure

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Update:
Today Dell tech support team member Ripudaman took the initiative and called me with a prospective fix.  He had located a Microsoft Community Forum that addressed my very error message no. and issue.

Briefly:  it did not work.  He is sending Windows 8 recovery CDs, and promised to call me Friday to follow up.  He went the extra step and showed me how to delete partitions -- the key to solving my problem, he feels.


Update:  I am not alone:


Two days ago, Firefox failed to update automatically from v26 to v27.  That concerned me.  I had been having trouble with Windows 8.1.  For some days, mysteriously, it had failed to install programs and drivers.  Because these were not essential, I let it go, concentrating instead on urgent work.

Now, with Firefox ailing, I had to concentrate on fixing Windows.  Dell tech support had earlier told me to "refresh Windows," when I was backed-up and ready to go, but as I said, I had put it off.  Now, it appeared, the hour had truly come.

Turns out the simple refresh and upgrade process, is neither simple nor effective;  instead, it is a 18-step process, long and frustrating each step of the way, not as much fun as a root canal or colonoscopy, that ultimately ends in failure.  Here's my log:

  1. Even though "Windows refresh" spares your data files, Dell said "back up first" so I did, I took a deep breath and I "refreshed."
  2. Did no good.  Windows 8 would not upgrade to 8.1.  I thought I'd be stuck in 8, and it was Sunday with no Dell support, so I thought I'd just install my programs anyway, and hopefully get an easy fix to go to 8.1 next day.  I installed about 10 programs, and then Windows quit on me.  No matter the program or the driver, "Windows cannot access specified file.....etc etc etc."
  3. Back to Dell support Monday 10a., fresh-faced, fed, watered, optimistic.  (What a fool.)
  4. After Dell located and sent correct instructions on how to proceed (first instruction was wrong), Dell said "reset", and they would call back.  Reset is a rollback to the factory setting, the system is the same as you got the day you cracked the box.  So, again, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and "reset."
  5. Windows 8 could not upgrade to 8.1  Come to find out it required 79 updates before 8.1 would appear in the "store" and it could upgrade to 8.1.
  6. I dutifully downloaded and installed 79 updates ---- or so I thought.
  7. 2 updates failed.  Apparently one or both are incredibly important.  Why?
  8. Yet again, Windows 8 would not upgrade to 8.1.
  9. Back on "live chat" with Dell.  4 hours of tech live chat, including extensive periods of remote control of my PC, failed to located the problem.
  10. During this time, Dell tech support employed Control Panel "Windows Update" where Windows found another yet update to dl and install.  We tried again to upgrade from 8 to 8.1, no go.
  11. By remote control, Dell updated BIOS from A10 to A11.   We tried again to upgrade from 8 to 8.1, no go.
  12. By remote control, Dell performed a firmware update.    We tried again to upgrade from 8 to 8.1, no go.
  13. By remote control, Dell located and employed a "special update" KB2871389.    We tried again to upgrade from 8 to 8.1, no go.
  14. By remote control, Dell then ran Dell "Click 2 Fix."   We tried again to upgrade from 8 to 8.1, no go.
  15. By remote control, at my suggestion, Dell finally checked all hardware, all tests rated "pass."  My Dell beast is unhealthy it turned out, Windows 8 and 8.1, very, very sick.
  16. Each and every step above failed to clear the way for the 8.1 install.
  17. My extremely persistent tech rep asked for a time out for 5 minutes to "consult his resources."
  18. When he came back, he said I was being escalated to "Dell engineering," and told I would be called back in "2 to 3 days."
  19. I'm waiting.

As I priced out various packages of Windows 7 (Dell refused to supply me since I "purchased Windows 8 with my computer", at the end of the day, someone told me their Mac laptop "just runs and runs, no problems."  I was struck with Mac envy.