Saturday, February 18, 2006

Technical Difficulties


It's official: I really do hate computers! Usually I can handle things as they come along, and then there are times it goes totally over my head. Today, being cold and dreary and rainy and my mood less than energetic, I hung out on the web, started doing some paperwork, but we all know how I hate that, so it didn't take too much to distract me off that chore. Anyway, I got to visiting on Instant Messaging with an Internet friend of mine who I've met through photography interests. He and his wife are up in Alberta, Canada -- anyway, he was telling me about a site Photoshop TV where you can download a whole series of episodes, 1 through 17 of video lessons on Photoshop. We were both downloading them, visiting, comparing out baud rates, etc. Even with Road Runner, it still took sometime to get them all downloaded.

Well, to make an all-afternoon story at least sort of short, after I got all 17 downloaded, Real Player will only play the audio portions of 1 and 4-12. It will play audio and video 13-17 properly. All of these are MP4 format; so what prevents the video from working on some of them? He said his Quick Time was playing them just fine, though maybe he had trouble with #2 and #3. My 2 and 3 didn't play at all. They're formatted M4V. I renamed #2 to from .M4V to .MP4 and that allowed me to at least hear the audio, but doing the same thing to #3 didn't work at all. How's that for consistency!

I know -- this is beginning to sound like jibberish. Sorry, but it's frustrating.

Not desiring to be beaten by this, I tried to upgrade Real Player from Version 10 to 10.5 or whatever. Then it wanted me to register the new version and I didn't remember my password. So, I asked them to send it, which they did; and it directed me to a page wanting the last four digits of my credit card which I don't pay for Real - I use the free version. So, that was no help. I tried to find their customer support, and evidently they don't have any if you're not a paying customer. I swear - there is a conspiracy out there to drive us all slap-dab crazy!

From doing a search about M4V and MP4, I'm under the impression these formats have to do with iPods -- which is Apple, which is Quick Time, which my friend was successfully playing these videos with but mine was giving me an error message -8971. I tried to upgrade Quick Time - thinking I'm missing a codec or something, but I have the most recent version. I tried to query their site as to what a -8971 error message meant but there was no results for that search string. *$@#*)#!

Now, if all that wasn't enough to frustrate even a saint, I've been having an ongoing incidence for some time now with my computer. Most of the time I can go to my Internet Explorer Address Bar type in whatever I'm looking for, and either the home page would come up or a choice of results. But more and more frequently I'll type in my word (example "mp4") and instead of getting results of that search, I get this: http:///?%20mp4 Something or "somebody" is inserting the ?@20 - whatever that code means -- and the results is "The Page Cannot be Displayed." I have tried several times restoring to an earlier date, and the search feature will work again briefly, but then soon it will be back to inserting the ?@20 again! What's up with that! I can't stand it! Granted, there is a bit of stubborness on my part. I have the Google Search Bar and it works perfectly fine. But I don't like something going in and changing things on my computer and having to change my habits to get around it.

If I were more computer saavy than I am, maybe I could figure these things out. But there's just nobody to ask; so I'm stuck, totally disgusted with the whole thing. I would have been better off posting to my Quicken account, paying bills, balancing my checkbook, logging expense records -- but no, I thought I would do something "enjoyable" instead! Silly me!

I can't believe it's already after 9:30 p.m. The computer has gotten all it's getting out of me today. Now it's the TV's turn. (sigh)

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