Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dude, Where's My Word Processor?

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

I experienced an odd thing the other night. Microsoft Word wouldn’t load. I could open Word files in Word, but I couldn’t start it normally. The icon was gone from the recently loaded Programs menu, and while the Programs menu still showed it in the Microsoft Office folder, it wasn’t showing the icon there either. And it wouldn’t load, but I think I mentioned that.

I went online and started to look for solutions. Nathan probably could have solved it in a matter of minutes, but I do like to try to solve it myself before I bug him. Maybe if he was at work at the time, he could have just pretended that I was in the hospital. This is Chris from X-Ratedology. I’m having some issues with my computer. Yes, it runs Windows XP. Oh, so that’s my entire problem? Ok, thanks.

The thing is that with an overabundance of information online, I guess many problems can be solved by going online, and typing in a search for the problem you’re having. This isn’t your daddy’s insistence on doing it himself without help from the experts. Not that my dad exhibited those behaviours. He was pretty good about getting help when he didn’t know how to fix something or about asking directions when he didn’t know where he was.

I guess we all like puzzles. Maybe it’s why we buy things like Sudoku toys, why we play video games, and maybe even why I set out to help a total moron with his finances with the belief that I could teach him a few things about budgeting his money to have better use from it. Sometimes, trying to solve those problems with something that is out of our grasp (the reason why I’ll only work on my own car if I don’t have to troubleshoot the problem myself) or while we’re driving around using up gas (the reason why I love gas stations, phones, and GPS).

Computer stuff is a little bit different. I seem to do ok with it as long as the solution is to be found online somewhere. In this particular case, the solution was pretty easy. I spent a lot of time working on it, but I was doing a lot of routine maintenance at first, hoping that it would fix the problem in the process.

The most recent change that I made to the computer that was in anyway significant was that I loaded a game called “The Movies” onto my laptop. I’ve had this game for a long while, and it was given to me as a gift because it was on clearance for $5. It’s a sim game that could have just as easily been called “Movie Studio Tycoon.” What the draw was supposed to be with the game is that it allowed you to make movies using the game. It’s very limited as the game is set up, but if you’re willing to invest in microphones and such, you can make a decent computer generated short. The problem is that the game itself isn’t very good, and the community for using it to make movies isn’t very extensive.

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in using it as a movie maker. I figure I can just do that in real life. I wanted to see if the game got any better as you played it. When I first played it, I played it for a couple of days and then got bored with it. This time around with it, I’m still not very impressed. I think the problem with the game is that you’re supposed to be managing a movie studio, but you’re really trying to make the actors happy. This would be fine, except that making them happy isn’t as clearly defined as it is in The Sims. Further, you don’t really have money problems in the game. Roller Coaster Tycoon was always a little more interesting to me, because you really had to pay attention to money management. Some rides didn’t do well. Some promotions didn’t help.

The relevant point here is that while I was playing the game, I placed a building down, and when I tried to use that building, it blue screened my laptop. Ok, fine. I just won’t use that building then. The problem is that my laptop blue screened later too, and I want to remember that it was while I was using Word, but that might be my brain superimposing my later troubles with Word over that incident.

I ran all the regular maintenance on the computer. Updates, Error Check, Disk Cleanup. I forgot to Defrag, and then I searched the trouble I was having. I’m amazed at how often bad interaction with anti-virus software comes up in these troubleshooting guides. I thought those programs were supposed to help. But if they were the culprit in this case, I will never know. I used the repair feature for Microsoft Office in Add/Remove Programs, and it solved the problem easily.

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