Friday, November 25, 2005

Eureka, I solved my OWN PC problem (for a change;-)

It's always a triumph when you find the source of a baffling PC problem all by yourself.

I'd noticed for a few days through the ZoneAlarm traffic icon that I was getting a lot of constant outbound traffic, ALL the time.

Uh-oh, I thought - the folks who go looking for free WiFi had started slurping my bandwidth by the megabit. I ran spyware programs - nothing. I ran Shields Up! from Steve Gibson - great lil program - and it said "hey, you are one STEALTHED PC!" Cool! So what was going on?

I have a Maxtor One-Touch external 100Gig hard drive that uses Dantz Retrospect HD backup software. That, too, was acting up - hanging and unable to show my restore points. I figured the two problems were connected somehow, but the first efforts to find stuff on either company's Website were fruitless.

Tonight, I tried squelching any nefarious WiFi users by trying the MAC filtering on my Linksys. Took some futzing - but nope, the traffic still was going hot and heavy, outbound only.

So I went back to the Maxtor Website and finally found answers to my questions - it appeared it was either .NET Framework 2.0 (an "optional" update I should have skipped - it's NOT the first time .NET Framework has given me grief over the years) or ZoneAlarm itself that was causing my grief.

I futzed with ZoneAlarm for a bit, but then uninstalled .NET Framework 2.0, which apparently restores it to 1.1 with hotfixes (since those also are in Add/Remove Programs). One reboot later, the external hard drive was just fine and I was seeing ZA in my task tray, not a solid green bar.

Basically, the Retrospect Express software uses .NET to communicate, over TCP/IP. So it got stalled on the newer version and was screaming at itself, or something like that.

I couldn't fix my own car if I had to. I leave back-breaking (oy, I've had pains there in recent weeks) jobs like a wonderful new paint job inside our home (and crown moulding!) to the pros (and pay what it's worth.) But once in a while, it's nice to solve my own tech problems, without even needing my brother Pete, the tech-wiz of the family, or my friends who were too busy to lend a hand.

I don't blame ZoneAlarm - in fact, it gave me a clue something was amiss. And Maxtor's site DID have the answer, once I really started looking for it.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks and giving

I'm sitting on my sofa, next to my brother Rick, watching an episode of "The Prisoner" I recorded off BBC America. Ah, what a great series, full of symbolism and allegory and hidden meanings.

Dinner was wonderful, as usual. My wonderful wife's a great cook.

This year has brought many challenges, and many blessings. Far be it for me to tally whether one topped the other. The coming year promises more of the same, Lord willing.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Speaking of great music...

My niece Jenn tonight turned me onto a young piano virtuoso named William Joseph. They heard him the other night when he opened for Clay Aiken at the start of his tour, in Portland. Beautiful stuff, do check it out!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Fine fall for albums

Any fall with new music from Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney can't be all bad.

But what do I know? I also loved Elton John's "Peachtree Road," out late last year, which didn't exactly set the singles chart ablaze. But I could live on those three artists' amazing music catalogs and never need another album.

Old fogey, I suppose;-)