…. NOOOOO, the BLUE wire…

a.k.a How to manage your normal tech support role when you are 4500 miles from the PC in question.



In a timezone far far away,

I got a ping on IM.

Sis B had decided that now was the time

to deal with the rampant malware infestation

and reinstall XP. She’s never done it before,

but its just a matter of salvaging documents

and stuffing the reinstall CD in, right ?

er …


She’s bored of typing. She cant do that and redo the pc. So she fires up skype voice call. Easy peasy.

Well … aside from the MINOR fact that last time i dismantled my laptop i didnt reconnect the microphone cables. And i didnt pack my headphones with the USB mic.

Soooo, the only method of communication with sister B was to TYPE REALLY LOUDLY

That was the point when the HDD decided to start having an existential crisis. Anti-Solipsism. Everything else existed that wasnt it.

11:43:11 dysplektia <IM > its ok, its ok
11:43:18 dysplektia<IM> go into bios
11:43:31 dysplektia<IM> reboot. go into blue bios screen
11:43:40 dysplektia<IM> yes
11:44:03 dysplektia<IM> okaaaaaaayyyyyy
11:44:19 dysplektia<IM> that wasnt ladylike
11:44:42 dysplektia<IM> ahhhh, yes, you have reached a ZEN like state
11:44:57 dysplektia<IM> no no
11:45:04 dysplektia<IM> point vidcam at PC so i can see
11:45:16 dysplektia<IM> yeah
11:45:20 dysplektia<IM> what?
11:45:23 dysplektia<IM> moomincam
11:45:31 dysplektia<IM> on SKYPE

no problem, huh ?

It seemed to work.

There seemed to be several points when Sis B totally forgot that i could see the contemplative look on her face as she considered tools for opening the PC Case.

  • Tweezers —- too small
  • Hammer —— Put to one side for later
  • REALLLY big screwdriver —- careful deliberation
  • Correct Screwdriver —– Oh – you dont need one. These bits just come off in your hand.

At this point I’ve been in India a week now. Like my previous trip, i’m still violently opposed to sunlight, outside, air, etc. So im sprawled on the bed with the curtains drawn, air con on, and a range of fizzy drinks – [ not the orange and mango type one, that was nasty ] – listening to my ipod, and also to Sister B singing along.

Contrary to what this post may indicate, i am totally and utterly proud of Sis B. 3 years ago, these things were the Devils work. 2 years back i got her hooked on WOW. 2 Years back she started her own WOW guild. 6 months ago she bought a custom built machine rather than an off the shelf job. 3 months ago macbook – and loves it. Shes a mother of two, and previously self confessed “no good with that stuff” type person. And now look !
11:54:44 dysplektia<IM> im so proud
11:54:51 dysplektia<IM> sniff
11:55:00 dysplektia<IM> and you spotted it …. dab dab

Sister B < Webcam >Oh, i dont appear to have a motherboard

( Of course, she is STILL learning )

11:55:28 dysplektia<IM> er, its the BIG bit
11:55:57 dysplektia<IM> im just making some popcorn
11:56:03 dysplektia<IM> let me see
11:56:34 dysplektia<IM> you coudl video this and sell it as porn to your geeks
11:56:49 dysplektia<IM> girl on pc action.

Sister B < Webcam > – ( spurious gesture actually, best not mentioned )

11:57:03 dysplektia<IM> :O Okay !
11:57:19 dysplektia<IM> that REALLY wasnt ladylike

At this point, Nephew B bounces into view. His happy lilting tones clearly audible. He questions what the hell mummy is doing ripping the PC apart. And then notices mummys laptop open and doing something.. He inspects the screen. He can read his own name.

12:03:40 dysplektia<IM> HI SAM
12:03:45 dysplektia<IM> hello
12:03:51 dysplektia<IM> yes you can
12:03:54 dysplektia<IM> this is aunty sammy

He procedes to “assist” mummy with inserting HDD from big PC into the external caddy that she has

12:04:15 dysplektia<IM> dont hit him with that, it will void the warranty

Eventually [ and im not posting that bit cause it goes on a while ] we save her files from the HDD. we come to reinstalling the HDD in the original PC.

I’m saying “we” even though i didnt lay a finger on it. I had more of a coaching role. I was very encouraging.

12:41:40 dysplektia<IM> what doesnt fit ? thats where you took it out of
12:41:41 dysplektia<IM> HDD, yess
12:41:48 dysplektia<IM> other way up
12:42:13 dysplektia<IM> no, push it in harder
12:44:23 dysplektia<IM> aha. but not like that.
12:44:29 dysplektia<IM> upside DOWN you say ?

And its back in one peice. Sata cables reconnected. XP disk in drive. and booting up without problems into XP install. YAY.

only 4 more hours to go.

Ah. F8. and a funky new type keyboard. oh dear

AFter some swearing from the camera …

13:05:11 dysplektia<IM> hit function lock button
13:05:16 dysplektia<IM> first
13:05:34 dysplektia<IM> point cam at keyboard

apparently there is no Function Lock button …. with arm waving
13:05:46 dysplektia<IM> well …. what do you WANT me to do
13:06:02 dysplektia<IM> ok, to right of function buttons
13:06:12 dysplektia<IM> is a F ina box on a key
13:06:40 dysplektia<IM> its next to the ANY key

13:07:03 dysplektia<IM> yes, but im in india

13:08:32 dysplektia<IM>yes THAT function lock button. pressitpressit

[ insert an hour of XP asking questions, and having buttons pressed – the chat log is very dull – yes, no, NONONONO , yes, yep, 42, yes… ad nauseam ]

And its done …. ๐Ÿ™‚

dot dot dot

Home again. All is good.

I mean, ok, so adam has eaten everything that could be :

  • microwaved
  • cooked using only boiling water
  • was in a packet and could be eaten cold anyway
  • or was from a careful selection of takeaway menu’s

Other than that. Things are as they should be. I mean there are more helicopter parts strewn around the house than expected. Oh, and the TOTALLY ORANGE ROOM that wasnt there when I left.

I also missed the earthquake, the sub-zero temperatures, and the plague of frog, I beleive.

And it snowed today. Which was kinda cool after the temperatures I’ve been baking at. I mean, it woulda been a little nicer if i hadnt decided to go out in a t-shirt and thin jumper to take adams bike boots to be re-zippered, but still. SNOW.

The journey home was interesting. As car journeys on the Pune-Mumbai expressway are liable to be. What with the whole “chicken” rules thing for driving and such. Facilities at Mumbai limited owing to the entire rebuilding of EVERYTHING. Still once checked in, loafing in the executive lounge is definately more fun than the whole plastic seats and screaming kiddies version.

Even with the regularly scheduled glares of death from Gimpy(tm).

A bit delayed once on the plane due to headwinds and such. But I wantched Om Shanti Om again, and i *think* i got the gist of it this time. Dola ? (i dont even know if i got that right) was the *funny* film. But I missed the end and now I’ll never know what happened.

Landing was a breeze. Or breezy. Yes. Breezy. Slight buffeting. Eventually touched down. Flight crew decided to announce then that *oopsie we didnt load all the baggage* – followed by stampeding hoardes to the belts.

Huzzah my luggage arrived, finally. And on this trip someone didnt try to wander off with it. Which was nice. Although 20kilos suddenly seems a lot heavier when required to be hoofed through london underground and up steps.

Southerners. They can set lord of the rings to music but are unable to install easily identifiable lifts in their bloody underground.

( note to self, find appendix a: new furian empire. It needs revision )

So I’m halfway round the world ….

Pune, in Maharashtra, India to be exact.
( the spaceship building on the top left is next door to the one i’m working in. It looks even funkier up close, and wicked cool at night. Apparently it leaks, but its still COOL )Have ibook will travel.

More to the point, will not travel without ibook and assurances of internet connectivity. This thing is my life. Or at least the 80gb’s of my life that can be carried round in my bag. Which turns out to be quite a lot. All hail e-books, mp3’s and t’internet.

Pre travel preparations included anti malaria tablets, jabs, booking flights, washing and ironing, checking on plight of undersea network cable damage. The usual.

Luckily everywhere has wifi connectivity. A little more sluggish than at home [ because i usually dont have to share !!!!!] , but im not too technologically impaired. Until i get to work. security is super tight on campus. Which means no camera phones, no ipods, no data storage devices. Whimper. I have to leave my babies behind each day. We’ve never spent this long apart. I think i’m getting withdrawal.

I’m out here with work, attempting to disgorge the contents of my brain to folks over here. It seems to be going well. It’s a little weird NOT working with surly antiquated ex-engineers, but I’m struggling through.

Traffic here is erm. Well the morning drive thru traffic substitutes for the several am cups of coffee I normally get through. Adreniline is replacing caffeine in my bloodstream. Its just as well I’m not driving myself. I keep my eyes shut most of the time. This does not appear to be detrimental to driving around here. I’ve decided to sleep on the way back to Mumbai airport, purely so that I’m not a gibbering wreck as I go through airport security.

Two weeks down, one week to go. If only i’d thought ahead and pre-recorded adam snoring. normally i put headphones in to sleep to drown it out. Now i’m wearing them to drown out the overwhelming silence. Its funny what you get used to ๐Ÿ™

I filled the cupboards with noodles before i left. I’m pretty sure he wont starve, I think. There are takeaway menus. He knows where the KFC is too.

I wasn’t so great the first week i was out here. A combination of heat, sunlight and anti malaria tablets. I’ve taken to not going outdoors unless necessary, and now things are ok. This also means that this is my second weekend inside the hotel with the curtains closed and the AC on. I have the internet if I want to look at pictures of where I am. google earth, wikipedia and such. That way the evil DayStar doesnt get me. I’m quite, quite happy with my laptop and assorted media files… sleep till Noon, get up have breakfast and go to work, finish work at 10:30 pm have tea, possibly a coke, play on t’tinternet till 3 am, repeat cycle. It’s all very civilised, “mornings” have been eliminated and minimal exposure to daylight is required.

I’m still looking forwards to coming home though. Fish and chips, and mashed potatoes with gravy are high on the list of things to do when i get back.

Don’t arsk about the fish and chips. spicy raw “ready brek” is NOT an appropriate coating.