Eh. So I've formatted the laptop, reinstalled windows, and now going through the whole hassle of doing every single update, installing every last software that is requireed to live a proper internet life. Someone should put all this stuff on a CD. Can label it something like, "eLife after the crash -- Getting back the basics". For one thing, I am super nervous about catching viruses while the lappy is in its current state.
But two big hassles so far. First thing is the IBM Wireless Lan card itself. It took me a damn long time just to figure out that the bloody thing doesn't support WPA - which is what I'm using on my wireless network. Quick research seems to reveal that the IBM card (and IBM is now owned by Lenovo) was made by Lucent (spun off from IBM?) which itself spun off Agere which then sold its card technology to Proxim. If that's complicated, the simple thing is this: No-one is supporting the card anymore, that means no WPA, ever! That's just downright silly.
Anyway, main beef today is with Windows, Microsoft and their Customer Service. Activation failed! Even though the Certificate of Authenticity is pasted right on the back of the laptop. It's not like a pirated copy, duh. So I had to call MS Singapore. The nice, shiny voice recognition system then made me read out a 45 digit installation ID, then told me it was invalid and read that 45 digit code back to me to verify, and then asked me to say "Customer Service" to get to a human customer representative. The system then played me some muzak, before, surprise, surprise... disconnecting me.
Okay, maybe it was a one-time thing. Try again, and essentially the same result, except that the muzak lasted longer. Wrote a stiff complaint note off to the website, and then tried again. This time I got lucky, managed to reach a living human being! (In some other country, doubtless.. Don't think anyone's working here on Sunday). And... she made me read out the 45 digit code too. So why did I key it in if you're gonna make me read it out again? Well, at least the code she gave me back was only 35 digits long and made everything okay again.
Pissed off with MS now. Maybe should consider moving to OpenOffice.org. And also, more keen to get my MacMini now, just to avoid all this nonsense.