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Adventures With Windows 3.11
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Nothing knocks me back like some good old fashioned computer woes. Especially when they are coupled, as they almost always are, with a large, important project which should have been done yesterday.

You might wonder if computer woes should be described as "old fashioned"? Perhaps not. When they involve Windows 3.11 they might better be described as "ancient" or even "eldritch" in the Lovecraftian sense.

All computer glitches fill me with Lovecraftian dread and horror. I know there is something terribly wrong but I can't say what. On more than one occasion Mary's computer has appeared to be dead, but as it turned out, was only sleeping.

Yes, Mary has the distinction of being the last person on earth to be using Windows 3.11. Or at least so I assume. I found a tech site that keeps track of visitors' operating systems and out of 37,000 only one was running Windows 3.11. Mary was probably looking for tips on how to keep the machine going.

Where are we going to find another Baghdad battery for it?

Last Saturday I made the mistake of trying to do an "upgrade" for her by installing a better Netscape 4X era browser. Unfortunately I forgot that while she has been using an historic Netscape browser, she has getting online with the dialer from a defective old Internet Explorer.

Her hard drive is littered with the electronic bones of extinct browsers. There is even the Winweb our Rochester ISP gave us when we first ventured online. It didn't work worth a damn even then. All I could ever see was a page saying "Yahoo!" and I recall thinking, what kind of crap is this? Yahoo? What's that supposed to signify? This is what I'm paying $25 a month for? Yahoo?

It turned out I had inadvertently removed the dialer. I guess I must have set it up but that was a long time ago in another country. Before figuring it out, I spent a lot of time sorting through all the dead software, futilely looking for signs of life. We also several calls to out ISP. They helpfully explained to us, just as they had seven years ago, that we must be deluded, Mary could not be online using Windows 3.11. They didn't support Windows 3.11. It was impossible.

When the problem was finally isolated there followed much undeleting of files, and cursing, and renaming of files, and cursing, and rewriting of .ini files and cursing. I have been hoarse for a week.

Finally, a day and a half after disaster struck, Mary dialed in and email began to pour through the phone lines again. A miracle!

I suppose the old computer should be replaced but the chipped flint case is kind of attractive.

I was going to write about all this last night but a bumblebee got into the kitchen.

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