Friday, March 09, 2007

CATS, CATS, MORE CATS We are cat fanciers here. I fell in love with cats when I was very young and practiced walking silently as they do. I thought then, and still do today, that cats' movements are poetry.
My folks felt that a boy should have a dog. So they got one for me. Without thinking, they got a puppy. Now, if there is anything more clumsy than an eight week old puppy I cannot imagine what it might be. I could not believe how the graceful Cat would tolerate this clumsy ball of fur. I had visions of Cat eating it in front of me. So the cat adopt the pup. Susie (dog's name) became cat's ward. (Yes, with my tremendous ability at naming things, I had named him Cat.) Cat took over Susie's training. He had no patience with Susan going potty in the house. He would come and stare at me until I got up and took her for a walk. And Cat supervised the walks, too. He went along and when Susan did her business, I swear Cat would look approvingly at her. It was a snap to house train Susie. Cat also taught Susan that his food belonged to him, not her. Susan learned very early in life that fooling with the razors Cat had on her feet was not a wise thing to do.
They slept together and as the pup grew up he would have a fitful time if Cat was not available to cuddle against him. And they loved chasing around the house. Mom was not keen about this and wanted them both outside. She did not share my sense of humor and enjoyment in watching them run through the house and over her best furniture. (Mothers are strange sometimes, to a nine year old.) But they had no problem chasing outdoors. And although Cat tried so very hard to teach Susie how to leap four times her own height, Susie was a failure at this. The best she could muster was twice her own shoulder height. I'm sure Cat felt he failed miserably in this lesson, but he never suggested Susie was a failure. He'd simply leap down and the chase would be on again. With all this chasing going on, Mother told me that one of the neighbors was concerned that Susie was trying to kill Cat. She explained they were only playing, but I don't know if he believed her or not. I do know he would often watch them at play and eventually walk away shaking his head because we wouldn't stop the dog from chasing the cat.

When Microsoft first announced the Longhorn operating system was to be created more than six years ago, I thought it a fabulous idea. I had recently switched from Win 98 to XP and the constant, seeming endless updates were driving me crazy. And the promises of a more secure, safer OS were my idea of a company that cared about the average home user. After all, Bill had gotten his start here in Albuquerque. He was hometown folks to me.
After a year, MS announced that it was "coming along" beautifully. I accepted that. It is not, I am sure, easy to write all the volumes of coding and instruction sheets in a program so vast and complicated. (There is no way I would ever know how to write a two line code and get it to work. I do not pretend to be a mathemetician. I rely on the geniuses among us to do that.)Pretty soon SP1 showed up for my OS. I failed to depended on Fred Langa to let me know when it would bug free enough to down load. Bad mistake. It wound up with me having to get a nerd to reload XP. The same guy who put it on my computer originally. He made me write down all the steps, this time. Complete with SP1. Another year or so and MS announced Longhorn was coming along swimmingly. About the same time SP2 came along.
I waited this time, and sure enough the Langalist said it was okay to download, just follow their instructions. It worked great. Took forever, as I remember vaguely. So what? My system was working well. Then came an announcement that Longhorn was dead and it would be referred to as Vista. I never did find out why the name changed. Just between us, I couldn't have cared less if they had called it the "Left Handed Assortment." Just "giterdone." Sometime later, MS downloaded (without my permission) their "Genuine Advantage" tool. Who cared? Probably just another goody from them. I should have cared, I guess. About a month later while looking for updates for XP I had a screen pop up that said something to the effect that I was using an illegal copy of it. Mentally snarling, I got on the phone to my nerd. "Don't worry about that," he said, "It's just a Microsoft screw up. I'll be over next week and fix it. No problem." Cool, I thought.
Next week came and went. I finally remembered to call him when a second visit to the Microsoft update site gave me the same message. The phone rang, a female voice said something about the number I called was no longer in service. Crap, I thought. Now I'll have to get dressed and go over to the shop. So I did. Looking in the window I saw there was nothing on the counters and benches where all the computers, monitors, etc., etc., had been. No sign telling me where or when they had moved. So I called the realty company who managed the strip mall. A very nice gentleman there told me they had moved without notice (still owing a sizable amount of rent) and he had absolutely no idea where they had gone.
I was without the ability to update my program, my computer and personal information was at risk (I love surfing) and I had to do something. Wild Thing (she still has Win 98, legally, on her Dell) and I talked it over. The next day I went to a long time, recognized, legitimate store and bought a legit copy of XP SP2. It works beautifully. So does IE 7. The nerd put my computer together right, just saved a few bucks (yes, I paid for it) by downloading an illegal copy onto the computer he put together for me. Obviously, I'm not the only one he did this for (to?) judging by the haste with which they moved out of town.
BTW, Genuine Advantage has no trouble with this $300 package. But Vista? Well, I was still all hot and bothered to get a copy, so I started researching it on the web. Langalist suggested waiting. I did. Then I read the first review published (in Cnet) of a number of articles that have been saying the same things: It's overpriced. I'd have to buy another gig of memory and a fancier graphics board. And hope my mother board can use them. The editor also stated that for all the advantages for the home user, Microsoft could have put these goodies on XP with an update.
The big fancy edition, designed for business use, the one with all the eye candy, costs about $400. Considering that Wild Thing needs a new computer (Vista ready, no doubt) and the two packages will run $800, and we live on a fixed income, XP will do both of us for as long as we can protect ourselves with it.