Saturday, February 18, 2012

...And We're Back Online

There was screaming. There was weeping. There was cursing. There was begging. But at long last, I have my main system back up and running.

We had some other errands this morning, so while we were out and about, we hit Best Buy and picked up a video card. It was less than a c-note, which made me happy. Alas, happy wasn't meant to last. As soon as we got home, I pulled the old video card and plugged in the new one. Still no joy. I tried HDMI. I tried VGA. Still nothing. So I did what I should have done in the first place. I pulled the new card out, uncapped the motherboard's on-board VGA and ran with that. Ha! Everything was major screwed up, but at least I could finally see what was going on.

The video card going out had thrown the system into some sort of major meltdown mode. It took several reboots to install all the updates for Windows, Security Essentials and whatever else thought it needed an update. Once everything was nice and stable, I powered down and reinstalled the new video card, plugged in the HDMI cable and Light! The display was weird, but at least I had one. I ran the driver install, rebooted and ran the monitor calibration. It was like nothing ever happened.

Except my 2011 tax software was gone. It was physically on the disk, but Windows didn't know anything about it. All that disk activity when I couldn't see what was happening must have been Windows doing a rollback. No big, just rerun the installation program, right? Heh. Like anything on a PC is ever that easy. It installed, but wouldn't run. It wouldn't uninstall because it thought it was running. But it wasn't. Reboot. It still wouldn't uninstall because it was running. But it wasn't. OK, time for drastic measures. Wipe out all traces of the software from the C: drive and go after the registry with fire and sword using regedit. Cross fingers. Reboot. Install. All is well.

So a hundred bucks and four hours later, I'm back where I was on Wednesday evening. It's so great having these labor saving devices that make our life easy.

Speaking of things that should be easy but aren't, one of our errands today was to begin the process of leaving our too-big-to-fail bank. We started using Chase when we were moving around the country so we wouldn't have to keep opening and closing bank accounts every time we moved. But recently, every monthly statement comes with a bunch of legalese regarding monthly fees. Now it's bad enough that banks no longer pay any meaningful interest (Chase paid us $.04 in 2011), but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay the bank to use my money for their profit. So with each change, we would burrow through the mouse-print to make sure we wouldn't get tagged. We haven't yet, but the rules were getting more and more complex and obscure, and there is only one reason a bank does that. The last straw was the monthly statement for The Tax Geek; they were raising the minimum balance on business accounts from $5,000 to $25,000. Or possibly $7,500. Both numbers were given as the new minimum average daily balance in different bullet points, and rather than scour through the 3-point type to figure it out, we decided Chase couldn't charge us a monthly fee if we didn't have any accounts with them. I found a local credit union with a branch right by Debbie's work, so that's where we will be doing our banking from now on.

Bu-bye JP Morgan Chase.

And to wrap things up, an interview with John Michael Greer, author of The Archdruid Report:

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