Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

The Winter of My Discontent

Sticks and Stones on the Maine coast

With all due respect and apologies to John Steinbeck (and William Shakespeare), the title of this post seems appropriate at the moment.  While I’m an unapologetic cynic, I generally don’t like to complain about anything that could be construed as “personal”.  We all have bad days or weeks or even years, I suppose, so it’s usually best to just suck it up and move on.  Nobody wants to hear about our little setbacks.  As they say (especially in this part of the country), things could always be worse.

My fellow western New Yorkers usually say that – that “things could be worse” – when the conversation turns to things like the weather.  While our weather does, indeed, suck, it could be “worse”.  Last I knew, we hadn’t had any major floods.  Or mudslides.  Or brush fires.  Or hurricanes or tornadoes.  And it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever see a major earthquake or tsunami.  So when you meet someone you know in the local grocery store and they start bitching about the cold and snow and 40 mph winds, you always respond by saying that “things could be worse”.  Actually, that’s the standard comeback for a lot of things around these parts.  Aside from the weather, it could be the cost of living or taxes or even photographic opportunities.  While all of these things do, as I said, suck, life could always be worse.  Like if the planet exploded or if Michelle Bachmann were elected president, that would be worse.

Unfortunately, sometimes it actually does get worse.  And sometimes it seems personal, like the universe is conspiring against you, and only against you.  Now, I can handle the weather (to a point, anyway).  I can even live with the fact that when it’s snowing or raining (as it is right now) and we’re having wind gusts up to 50 mph, there really is no point in going outside with a camera.  Hell, there’s no point in going out at all.  But some things I don’t handle very well. 

I don’t like it, for example, when the water heater decides to self-destruct early on a Sunday morning.  Ever try to replace a water heater on a Sunday morning?  Not fun.  How come that stuff never happens during the week?  I don’t know about you, but I really, really hate water messes.

I’m also not terribly fond of getting hit with large, unexpected bills (no, not the water heater).  That’ll ruin your day in a hurry.  Not to mention putting a large dent in your bank account.

And then, of course, there was (is) the “computer issue”.  Back last summer I decided it was time to replace my old PC (a Windows XP machine).  For a while, I thought about getting a Mac.  Almost did, in fact.  Apple certainly has a great reputation.  It was the cost that turned me off.  Besides, I’d never had a problem with Windows XP.  So I bought a new laptop running Windows 7 (64 bit).  Most of the time, it works great.  Lightroom and PS run very fast on it. 

Recently, however, I started to experience the fabled Blue Screens of Death (BSOD).  If you use Windows, you probably have had some experience with these little traumas.  They happen.  But usually they’re rare.  You might get one or two a year.  I had one with my old XP system over about a 5 year period.  On the new system, I’ve had over 30 events since October.  Many of these have been in the last month or so.  Like the messy hot water heater, not fun.  At least there’s an obvious solution to the hot water heater problem.  Not so with the BSOD’s.

I think maybe I’ve found the answer.  Hey, I’m online at the moment, right?  It appears to be an inocuous little driver (iastor.sys) that controls hard drives (internal and external).  When I completely disconnect the external drives, nothing happens (no BSOD’s).  Now all I need to do is figure out how to permanently correct it.  Online support, by the way, has not been very helpful.  Like the weather, it sucked. 

Shoulda bought the damn Mac………


5 Responses to “The Winter of My Discontent”

  1. Ken Bello

    Damn, first the water heater and now this! I don’t like water that is not where it’s supposed to be. And the BSOD can be very annoying. I’m using Win7 and my version of that driver has the file name iastorV.sys. There are three versions in different directories, all with the same date and time and all at 401kb. You should have a similar configuration. Just something to check. It’s my understanding that this is an Intel driver that many trojans and viruses like to attack because it can cripple your HD, so maybe a full system scan from a good virus/malware program might help.
    I really like the Sticks and Stones Photo. The bleached wood looks great against the dark rocks.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Ken. And thanks for the computer advice. I’d already found the file on my system (it appears in 2 places). I also have the file you mention (in 3 places in the Windows directory, as you state). Do you not also have the iastor.sys file? If not, that would be interesting. I do know that deleting one of these files can be dangerous (causing the system to not start at all). At least that’s what some of the forums say. This “problem” is, by the way, a fairly common thread in Windows 7 forums. And everyone has their own version of a cure, up to and including a clean reinstall of Windows 7. I’ve also checked the malware angle – no apparent problems. What I don’t know how to do is replace the iastor.sys file with the iastorV.sys file as the active driver. I’ve read that that is the proper one to use in a Windows 7 system. Apparently, that’s the case in yours.

  2. Math Hobson

    Here’s a truth that you already know – you shoulda bought a Mac. After all, while it can be expensive, you get what you pay for. And, while I’m at it, here’s a bit of reality – doesn’t a comparably equipped and set up quality Windows machine cost about the same as, say, an iMac?

    Re: weather – embrace it. Last Saturday I played a little outdoor hockey with grandson and then we skated 10 laps around the outdoor Olympic speed skating oval – the one on which Eric Hyden did his thing. It was 18F, windy, snowing, and absolutely wonderful.

  3. Ken Bello

    I have worked with the Macs before and the Museum department where I work is all Macs. They seem to be very well made and reliable. Mark is right when he says you get what you pay for. But what are you paying for? It’s not jut the hardware you have to buy, but new software. Adobe will give you copies of Photoshop and Lightroom in Mac format only if you have the current versions already. If not, you have to pay the upgrade price for that software. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to upgrade, but it’s an additional expense. And if you need versions of other programs, such as Office, Quicken, or whatever, it could amount to a lot of money. And given a similar equipped PC vs Mac, most people will not see a performance difference. This I can say from experience. If I can add one negative thing about the Macs it’s that they seem behind on their keyboards and mice. They’re pretty but just awful in use.

    • Paul Maxim

      You’re right about the software, Ken. It’s definitely an issue. I’d have to buy PS, Microsoft Office, and various other software titles (including a very expensive statistics package that I still sometimes use). It’s sort of analagous to switching camera types (like going from Canon to Nikon). Most of us don’t have that kind of cash laying around.

      I have found a “workaround” by the way. A bit annoying, but it works. No more crashes, anyway.


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