The Dinosaur’s Long Tail – Part 2

Welcome back to the saga of old computer equipment in today’s world.  This time was a dive into Windows crash world and locked up Internet Explorer.  Thank Gates for an operating system beneath a GUI.  I used the Holy-3 key combo (Cntrl-Alt-Delete) many times to start the task manager to operate the PC.

What caused this anomaly was my stupid click on the wrong download button.  I was trying to install an application to capture the window activities to demonstrate software I had created, like in this video.  I had tried to capture my Morningstar application using a Microsoft provided tool but what I got appeared like the image below.

Morningstar capture

It should have looked like this:

Morningstart good image

If you couldn’t tell, the image immediately above has a higher resolution color gradation across its background, not blocks of solid colors.  Anyway, in my attempt to find a FREE solution, I accidentally clicked on a download link that included other browser plug-ins that I had no interest in using.  By the time I realized what a stupid mistake I had made, the application had already started installing itself.  I Holy-3 commanded Windows and stopped the process before it finished.  That was the beginning of my XP nightmare: Internet Explorer (IE) locked up or crashed every time I tried to start it (fortunately Firefox continued to work), all short-cut links were broken, the Quick Launch bar was gone, Microsoft Office apps had compatibility warning windows when starting, and after rebooting it took about 5 minutes before the desktop and icons appeared.  That’s why the Holy-3 were my saving grace.

Using Firefox launched from the command prompt to search the web for solutions, many suggested I uninstalling the Service Packs, at least back to 2, which I did.  That didn’t work.  So at the suggestion of different forums, I uninstalled .Net, IE 7 & 8, then used Norton Symantec Cleansweep to clean the registry, tried a few registry edits, but nothing worked.  It took about a week to realize I needed to restart from the beginning.

My friend Les Stone was kind to let me borrow a copy of his XP Pro install disc to reinstall, and upgrade from my Home version.  The licensing logic in this was that my other IBM Netvista server was Pro.  Since the hardware no longer works, I’ve removed the drive and use it for its old data.  That included my online web site I hosted here at the house.

After researching and recording the OEM hardware information using KeyFinder, I started the install and used the keys provided on the disc envelope.  Then after a few hours, it rebooted and everything worked satisfactorily, even IE 6 and Office 2000.  This was the beginning of the final restoration that only yesterday completed with the install of Sony Vegas, .Net, and using Remote Desktop Control (RDC).

Once XP Pro was running successfully, I was able to run my original Amazon Expedition 2001 CD.  Because in 2001 when I created the Amazon Expedition website on my home server, I used Microsoft FrontPage to create the pages.  Much to my chagrin today, none of the animated buttons worked on my macbook pro, only in IE on XP.

So, I installed RDC and remotely controlled the CD playback from my laptop in the living room, over WiFi into our office, to view and copy the web page contents running in IE, and finally pasting the copy into my WordPress page.  I have to thank Kyle Prince for his dabbling with this technology to watch Nathan Frankowski edit the movie Renee remotely at Universal Studios.  It is amazing technology that worked from the first install and configuration.

But what really amazed me is the ability to install Vegas remotely.  That was the last application that needed to be restored because it would shut down after starting and reporting that .Net was not installed.  Because I used Vegas to edit the video my nephew shot in Venezuela, when not played back in Windows, there was a watermark in the upper right corner of the screen, like illustrated below.

WMV Watermark frame

Not that it was all that important and because the video was a hack on my nephew’s still camera, in low resolution, but because I could fix it and have the time.  So, I reinstalled Sony Vegas, converted the 4 short clips to avi, then color enhanced and rendered the video for the web using Final Cut Pro.  These clips are a part of my essay about our interesting adventure in Venezuela.

Once I got the first clip to playback correctly and enhanced, I completed the same process for all of the clips.  Below is what it looked like on my laptop.

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 11.59.04 AMIn the center of the screen and towards the bottom is Vegas running in a Windows window on my apple macbook pro.  You can see the time bar toward the middle top of that window.  Then above and behind the Windows window, you can see another time bar pop-up window for Final Cut Pro rendering the Devil Dance video.

This is proof to me that our old technology is still functioning over a decade after it’s product lifecycle.  I have to thank the Microsoft team for building and maintaining an operating system that survives today’s maladies and tools that integrate the old with the new.  And I thank today’s technology achievements that make platforms to share this information and travel journeys with global audiences.  And finally, I thank Al Gore for inventing the internet.  Thank you for reading this.