Yesterday was not a good technology day in the House of Teu and Val.

The Players

  • Romney: The media center in our bedroom. Romney dual-boots into Romney-Vista and Romney-Linux.
  • Shetland: The audio-recording computer in the craft room.
  • Leicester: Val's WoW rig
  • Dorset: My WoW rig, largely inherited from Val's castoffs, which also functions as the only computer in the house that will talk to the printer
  • Perendale: My laptop

The Scene, Part 1
I walk into the bedroom and turn on Romney-Vista, hoping to watch a little Star Trek and knit on a blanket. Romney-Vista boots up without sound. Media Center won't start. AVRT.dll has failed entirely. Restoring the system to a two-days-earlier backup point does nothing, even though last night, this worked fine. Also, Windows Defender won't load and we've somehow lost SP1, which now refuses to install. CHKDISK fails. o_O

Romney-Linux has been having issues with DVD playback (known, fixable ones which Val will get to later that evening). I give up and read a book.

The Scene, Part 2

  • 4pm: I boot up Dorset, print something, and set Dorset back to hibernating. There is no indication from Dorset that there are any problems.

The Scene, Part 3

  • 5:45pm: I hit the "power" button to bring Dorset out of hibernate. Nothing happens.
  • 5:46pm: I power Dorset down manually and try to restart it. Dorset tells me there's some kind of CMOS error and asks if I want to continue. I blink a few times and tell it "yes". Val loads up WoW on Leicester as usual.
  • 5:47pm: Dorset fails to boot.
  • 5:48pm: I power Dorset down manually and try to restart it. Dorset boots, but bluescreens as soon as I load it up.
  • 5:49pm: I power Dorset down manually and try to restart it. At this point, I'm getting a little worried.
  • 5:51pm: As a requirement for boot-up Dorset asks us to choose one of two options using the keyboard. The keyboard is USB, and the boot process has not loaded USB at this point. Val tracks down a PS/2 keyboard in the garage so we can try again.
  • 5:53pm: Val starts working on Dorset after Dorset's third blue-screen. I use Leicester to whisper my raid leader that HOLYSHITWTFCOMPUTERERROR. Everyone shares a moment of "OSHIT".
  • 5:57pm: It starts becoming clear to me that Dorset isn't going to be booting up tonight. I switch to Perendale, which, mercifully, has WoW and LK installed, but which doesn't have the latest patch. I patch it and panic about my addons, trying to figure out which ones are absolutely necessary to go to raid. I come up with TotemTimers, Grid, GridManaBars, PitBull, Omen, ORA2, Bartender4, and BigWigs. I pray this is sufficient. I start installing addons.
  • 5:58pm: I steal the mouse and keyboard off of Shetland and plug them into Perendale. The mouse is three-button instead of five and the keyboard isn't ergonomic, but it's better than trying to play on the trackpad…
  • 6:17pm: Val continues working on Dorset while our raid goes and takes down Flame Leviathan. Go TRI!
  • 6:20pm: Patched, terrified, on a keyboard where I keep hitting "space" instead of "alt", and having to use "Y" for push-to-talk, staring at a 1280×960 screen (as opposed to my usual 1680×1050), I log into Vent and load up.
  • 6:22pm: I land in Ulduar for those last few trash pulls before Deconstructor. I get 6fps. I panic some more and try to beat my UI into some semblance of shape. BigWigs and ORA2 frames are taking up the entire screen, I have no raidframes, and my performance is abysmal. I ask my raidleader if he can find someone to replace me. Turns out I'm the fourth person to have computer failure tonight, and the raid is looking dire.
  • 6:26pm: I set every single setting to minimum (except anti-aliasing, without which I get seasick, and projected textures, without which I will die), turn off every addon I can possibly live without (this includes PitBull at this stage), and log back on. This brings me up to 15fps, sometimes as high as 30fps. This is playable. I go back to fussing with my UI.
  • 6:34pm: The raid has been filled with bodies, and my UI is playable even if it terrifies me. I have Grid back. We go smash the crap out of Deconstructor.
  • 6:42pm: Getting killed now makes me say "Oh, thank God, I can work on my raidframes." During the trash and setup for Kologarn, I successfully set up Grid and get my alert for Stone Grip working. We kick the crap out of Kologarn.
  • 6:50pm: I have a UI again. In fact, I'm starting to kind of like the new UI. It involves TotemTimers, Grid, GridManaBars, Bartender4, BigWigs, and ORA2; I have decided that MT frames are actually kind of neat. My screen is still not at native res and therefore looks scary-bad, but things are working pretty well all things considered. I can play this way.

OH MY GOD. No, really. OH MY GOD. This is not something I really wanted to deal with last night. I'm hopeful that the issues with Dorset will be fixable, but I'm grateful to say that I can play like this tonight, at the very least. I'm really grateful that my laptop is powerful enough to run WoW. Today I got Quartz running on the laptop in hopes that it won't eat up too much memory and that it'll help me with some things, and I looked really carefully around at the Blizzard UI, trying to determine what I can actually make use of. I found an option to use a modifier to cast something on my focus target, which, OMG, wow, that sounds amazing — I mucked around with some keybindings to see if I can make use of that.

In the meantime, my raid is awesome for putting up with me last night, and I am glad I did not completely go "splat" when trying to heal. It was a rough night for everyone, but I felt like our camaraderie and morale was at a surprising high for all that. It was one of those nights that reminds me how much I love my raid and makes me glad to be there. *warm fuzzies* I was especially happy with the healing squad, who was down a player (I'd say "key player", but our heal squad is so tightly-interwoven that we're all key players, and we work amazingly well together), and had one of our beloved boomkin step in for us, shaking those branches with the best of 'em. (I was so distracted with the UI issues that it took me forever to notice her, but once I did, Teu squeaked and clung to her branches.)

Oh, and I did get some folks going in on the chicken-sacrifice plan with me, from the healer squad, after Razorscale once more refused to drop our healy hammer. I don't know about anybody else, but for me, I just want to see things DROP. If something drops even once, even if I don't get it, at least I feel like someone's getting some benefit out of it (and with my healy team, I never feel like an item is wasted so long as one of us gets it; I'm just as happy for everyone else as I am for me). If we never see it drop, that's when I get bitter. I'm seriously considering getting started on the sacrificial chickens tonight, but I'm kind of exhausted from wrestling with computers all last night, and I'm not sure I can handle doing a roast before raid. Next Thursday, though, it's going to happen.

May 22nd, 2009
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