Computers are a love/hate thing for me. I love all things digital, but I desperately need to get away from it sometimes too. So I had a nice vacation away from my computer last week. I couldn't keep myself from reading some mailing lists and hitting Slashdot once a day, but I didn't write a single line of code and didn't give my websites or work projects or anything much thought.
But now my vacation is over, and it's so easy to fall back into old habits, endlessly looking at webcomics and reading articles about Common Lisp unit testing suites and cringing at the latest drama amongst Gentoo devs and minding my message board like a crusty old beat cop making his rounds. It's the life I've chosen, and I do like it, but I do like getting away sometimes too.
I fulfilled one of my dreams last week when I finally caved and ordered a solid glass mousepad. They're pretty cheap on newegg.com, depending on the color you want. I happened to want green, and it happened to be the cheapest, so all is well. It looks very nice, and it's big and hopefully the surface won't degrade over time; I tend to eat through mousepads via a slow yet inexorable process of erosion.
Unfortunately my laser mouse doesn't work on it. However, I have learned that if I upgrade my mouse's firmware, it will magically be able to work on a solid glass mousepad. Who would've thought my mouse had updateable firmware, let alone that updating the firmware would allow it to work on new surfaces? Not I.
The bad thing is that I need freaking Windows XP to upgrade the firmware on my mouse. I don't have any computer that has XP on it and I'm afraid to try anything in a virtual machine that involves something as dangerous as fiddling with the innards of connected peripherals. So I tried to install XP on my laptop, desperate times calling for desperate measures. But of course the install failed because my XP install CD is so old (pre-SP1, received free from my college 7 years ago) that it didn't recognize most of my hardware. In fact, the XP install CD blue-screened, which set a new record for how low Windows could sink in my opinion.
So I tried slipstreaming SP2 into my install CD. But it failed because, get this, the filenames of some drivers on the CD, namely usbehci.sys, ended up in lower case rather than uppercase and the CD's install program couldn't locate them. I kid you not. Since when is anything in Windows case-sensitive? Is it running Linux? I had to burn another CD after renaming all the files into uppercase. Then the CD worked, but it couldn't find my hard drive, probably due to missing SATA drivers. At that point I gave up, and plan to take my mouse to work tomorrow to upgrade the firmware on a work machine that has XP on it.
And so the score up to this point in my life is Windows: 947, Brian: 0. Windows remains undefeated.
Thanks go out to Logitech for not letting me use Vista (or, say, LINUX) to upgrade my mouse's firmware, and of course to Microsoft, for yet another gloriously broken and frustrating computing experience.