Involuntary Pause


The Baron’s office (hat tip: Elena)

Update: Things are progressing really well. I have restored most of my custom software and tweaked it where required. So far everything is working right, and I hope to post a news feed tonight. Once I do, I’ll take this post off sticky.

The largest remaining problem is that I can receive email on my new client, but I can’t send anything. I expect the problem to be solved eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll only reply to messages when absolutely necessary, because webmail is a pain in the [fundament].

I have backups of all my old email folders, plus the address book from the mail client, but I haven’t yet figured out how to import them to the new client. That means I’m starting an address book from scratch. If you’re one of the people I regularly correspond with, please send me an email so I can get you into the address book. I won’t reply (unless there is an urgent reason to), but I’ll have the address for later use.

I’ve hit a major catastrophic computer problem, Something I knew would happen eventually, I just didn’t know when. But there was no easy way to prepare for it in advance.

All of my computers are old, but one is REALLY old. Today my old, old computer gave up the ghost. That’s the machine I call the Auxiliary Brain, with more than 26 years’ worth of custom software on it that I wrote. The automation that I use is what makes it possible do most of the advanced stuff here, including the news feed (but much else besides).

Now I have to re-establish the same capabilities on one of the newer machines. That’s a big deal, because all the custom software has to be upgraded, and not everything will work as-is — it will have to be tweaked. This will take a while.

There will be no newsfeed for a while, because that’s fully automated.

Even ordinary posting is going to be tough. So much of what I do is accomplished with one-key shortcuts in Word that execute the VBA macros. But I will post what I can.

Right now I’m struggling with the new email client. I can receive mail (POP3) but I can’t send anything. That’s a big hassle, and I’m working on it.

Stay tuned. I’ll make this post sticky, and add updates when appropriate. There may be other new posts lower down, if I can manage to do them. But most of my time for a while is going to be spent establishing my new Auxiliary Brain.

28 thoughts on “Involuntary Pause

  1. Computers giving up the ghost is never good. Been there several times. (Last time was due to a lightning strike in neighbor’s yard.)

    If you continue to have trouble with POP3 you might try to reinstall and specify IMAP – your email service should support it. It keeps the email on the server and a small portion on the client – depending on the client. It apparently works better with mobile phones than POP3 which keeps the email on the PC.

    Anyway, best of luck with all of this.

    • Thank you. Unfortunately, it’s not POP3 that’s the issue, it’s the outgoing SMTP mail. It worked in Outlook Express, but doesn’t work in Outlook. There’s some setting that I haven’t found yet that is preventing it.

      The incoming mail (POP3) works fine.

    • Alas, the problem isn’t the files themselves, it’s the software, bot the operating system and the applications. I have hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Not much has to be changed, but I have to find every place it fails and make the relevant changes.

  2. I failed to understand how will be difficult to post if you’re using WordPress.
    A 26 yo computer is dinosaur and you should have replaced it longtime ago, not waiting for this what happened.

    • The computer is not 26 years old. It has on it the accumulation of 26 years of software I’ve developed. All of which is backed up, fortunately. But under a new operating system and a later version of the MS Office applications, it doesn’t completely work without being adjusted for the newer object models.

      WordPress is fine, but WordPress doesn’t build the news feed. That’s done by an Access database that stores the data, builds the html for the news feed, and automates Word to produce the final file. It would take more hours than there are in a day to accomplish the same tasks by hand.

      Yes, I acquired and set up a newer computer several years ago, preparing for this eventuality. But migrating to it is a HUGE and complex process, not one that I wanted to undertake until I had to. Now I have to.

  3. I could here post links to news articles and just their headline, if Baron Bodissey doesn’t mind.

    • Yes, that’s fine. But stay tuned: In think I’ll be able to do a news feed tonight. I’m well along with the conversion. I’ll be able to say for sure sometime this evening.

      • Ok, I’ll wait. There’s interesting news, including positive news on the tech censorship front.

  4. You have my sympathies. If you had the old hardware, do you have the old software to reinstall? If the answer to that is yes then I recommend recreating the old computer using the virtualization software oracle virtual box. It is free. I think you have said internet speed is slow so youtube isn’t something you spend much time on but there are several videos on setting it up for older os’s like Windows 95. Things like OEM license keys can also be an impediment if that is what you have. It is possible you may have to use an older version to host an older pc os. So if you have at least a window 7 pc you should be able to do this. I have used virtual box to put a pc on a usb drives to make remote access points to customers when I traveled. Installing all varieties of VPN software on the same computer is asking for tears or foul language or nonsensical laughter. Its a roll of the dice.

    • Several years ago I had this machine built, the one I’m using now, in preparation for this eventuality. It has a newer operating system and later versions of the same software, which I’ve used enough to know that I don’t like them as much. However, everything is now mostly working the way it’s supposed to. I restored all my custom-written software and tweaked it where necessary. I think there will be a news feed tonight, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

      The annoying thing right now is that I can’t send email using my mail client. But I assume that will eventually be overcome, once I consult with the technical experts for long enough.

      • You may try adding an outbound firewall rule for port numbers 25, 587, 465, and 2525 in your windows firewall. The current configuration is likely to not be the same as the old pc unless you explicitly changed it.
        I am sure someone can say I am mistaken or imagination but I have been in situations where even if the firewall was off it didn’t work until I added the rule for my case – not for smtp. So instead of telling you to try turning your firewall off I am suggesting adding those rules. If the shotgun approach provides results you can figure out which one is used.

          • If you don’t mind sharing, what did the problem turn out to be with SMTP? I will forget all about this in time, maybe tomorrow. I am curious today.

          • It hasn’t been fixed yet, so I don’t know!

            When it is, however, I still won’t be sharing details. It’s better to leave out system-specific information.

  5. Understand completely, Involuntary upgrades suck but we sure do appreciate all that you do. If you need some pro bono help, feel free to ask. I’m very familiar with php, C#, etc and vba but understand if you are unable to. My email is correct. Good luck!

  6. Thankfully your eyes are keeping up with your brain. Keep up the awesome work, the good people of this world need you!

  7. Thanks for all the work that you do to save Western Civilization.

    Thanks also for giving us a glimpse of your work area. In some respects it reminds me of a dentist’s office at first glance- very old fashioned and cozy.

    I hope everything gets back to normal for you. I know how awful it is to have any kind of computer problem in this day and age.

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