Squaking First Bird Returns!

I was premature with the fixing of the squaking beast last week. The problem manifested itself this week again.

To fix the beast, I settles on copying the NTUSER.DAT file from the laptop next door, as the pupil profiles are identical over all the laptops. Let’s hope it works this time.

I suppose it might have been smart if the profiles on the laptops were made to be mandatory. That would stop it occurring in the future…

Symantec Pains

The battle with SAV continued as the uninstallation of the retail version of Norton AV left a rogue plug-in left on my PC at home

It turns out that my botched upgrade of Norton meant that it left the office scanning plug-in left on my system. Any time that I tried to open a document in Word or Excel, Office threw its toys out of the pram:

Word: The file is inaccessible and cannot be opened (or something like that)

Excel: The file is unavailable (or something similar).

So it turns out that if you do happen to get this problem, then you might want to try and check the knowledge base at Symantec. You should see an article about what registry keys need to be deleted. Although, this didn’t work for me on the first attempt. Excel worked and Word barfed. However, I left the PC alone for a week and it seemed to resolve the issue itself. While switched off no less.

Squaking First Bird

A new problem from the people at RM. When loading up Talking First Word, one of the laptops barfed with save file dialog boxes constantly popping up. This would happen straight away and not stop until you’d pressed ‘cancel’ a great deal of times.

After ‘repairing’ (I’m still convinced that it does nothing) Office XP, I was still getting no joy. I removed the ntuser.dat file but that killed some of the important (to RM) user settings.

However, this was only happening on one user (Pupil) on one laptop and I’d never seen it before, so on a hunch I trawled into the user profile, Application Settings\Talking First Word. Lo and behold, there was a .tmp file sitting there. One swift click of the ‘delete’ key, and the error didn’t appear again.

I’m guessing that the temporary file had some crap in it which was throwing RM Talking First Word’s silicon toys out of it’s virtual pram.

Ping Pong Pains

A strange error occurred on a machine today after I used AdAware to remove some spyware. On reboot, the Win98 machine which had the offending spyware suddenly started barfing errors. There was no DNS resolution in IE and when trying to run winipcfg to attempt to see what was going on a dialog box would appear:

Failed to initialize winsock

Quite a serious problem now. NetOp had already been disabled to prevent too many messages appearing. After a quick Google, I came across this message board which suggested it was indeed AdAware (I’m going right off that now). I tried the appropriate LavaSoft winsock fix but it didn’t spot any problems. I tried restoring various winsock files. Running the System File Checker. Reinstalling Windows 98 over the top (which was not a happy bunny in itself – I had to reboot 3 times at various points). I removed all the network devices and rebuilt them. And it still wasn’t working!

After banging my head against the monitor (I took the idea from a kid sitting next to me), I scoured the Internet finding various half-baked ideas until I grabbed “Error Message: Unable to Initialize Windows Sockets Interface” and “How To Remove and Reinstall Dial-up Networking and TCP/IP Files“. It took bloody ages to follow the steps through, and for some reason Windows 98 was missing wsock32n.dll in the cab files (which makes me wonder why it’s not there), but after reinstalling the nic (again), along with Dial-up Networking, everything seemed to relax into a state of calm once more.

Well, as close as it will get.

Now, to get rid of that spyware…


Whew! It’s been a long week. What with driving up to Scotland, back to Sheffield and back to Ramsgate in a week. Needless to say, I am a little worn out

I went to see Peter Gabriel at the Sheffield arena on Wednesday. The show was great, but I had one word to say at the end:miserablenorthernbastards.

I’ve settled on eMNoBs for short.

Was it too much to just get in the mood for them? It could have almost spoilt my enjoyment of the show, and did to some extent

Without wittering on about how I came to this conclusion, I would point out that it’s not a fluke. I happened to obtain a pair of free PG tickets for Wembley yesterday, and bombed up there like a well known Meatloaf song.

I was sat in row ‘Q’, probably further away from the round as at Sheffield (I was on the ground there), and really picked up on the vibe of an excellent atmosphere. The applause was louder, the fans clearly enjoyed it more, and there was a great ‘feel good’ feel at the end of the show.

It’s a shame. But I think that this evokes a new challenge to those boffins who like to calculate the formula for a perfect chip.

How do you measure peoples’ miserable-quota? And more importantly…
How do we keep Emnobs out of concerts?

EIS – a pain in the eis

So the chap from EIS came into Ellington on Monday. Now around three quarters of the machines will no longer log on. The servers are all on their old IP address that were handed out by RM IfL and to cap it all off – the webmin on the vCDserver is not accessible via the browser, so it had to be pulled down from its home. ARGH!

So a simple job (it’s never simple), has suddenly become a mammoth undertaking trying to get the network back on-line in one afternoon. Russell’s miffed as he said everything was finally settling down after the upgrade to the network.

We’ve come to realise that the procedure for getting this machines going is boot from floppy disk – modify the msdos.sys file to support keys and safe mode with networking – reboot the machine – log in and access the Windows directory by double-clicking on a start menu folder and navigating to poledit – modifying the local settings to allow access to control panel – restart Windows Explorer – go to control panel – change the DNS settings – change the gateway – and check the ip address. Finally reboot the machine and check that it works.

So what’s the problem?