Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Lost My Internet Access - Thanks, McAfee

Yesterday, I lost my access to the Internet on my main computer running Windows 7.

The tiny network logo in the bottom of the screen had an even tinier yellow warning triangle on it.  A little fiddling with Windows'  "Network and Sharing Center" and the Microsoft diagnostic tools concluded that my computer Cannot Access DNS Server.

OK.  Reboot.  Boot the router.  Boot the DSL modem.  No go.

Upstairs to the kitchen computer.  Everything is cool.  Try the iPad - cool there too!  Only the hardwired computer has a problem.  Blew an hour or more looking for a wiring problem.

It took me a while to find this post on the Tech Support Guy site.  And this post at A Technical Journey.  Yes indeed, McAfee caused this problem with a an update back in mid-August.

I, of course, don't install software updates until they have been out for a while so that the vendors can fix this kind of bug.  I made the mistake of letting McAfee update itself two days ago, then rebooted yesterday to sever my Internet link!  Wouldn't you think they might just delete updates that cause this?

As I have stated many times, I have had to fix far more problems caused by Antivirus software than by virus and malware.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oprah and I

We really are two nations, divided!  I realized it this week when I noted all the praise for Oprah Winfrey's remarks in her commencement speech at Spelman College in Atlanta on May 20.  Her remarks included this:

"Always be excellent. People notice. You go to Taco Bell and someone gives you extra napkins and sauce. That’s right, even at Taco Bell, excellence is noticed."
Of course, that just happens to be one of my pet peeves when visiting a Taco Bell.  I usually make a very specific order of "... and one hot sauce."  I then look at those extra sauce packets and napkins that I don't want and think, "what a waste - giving away the store's profits."  Funny how Oprah and I notice the same thing but think quite differently about it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Sears Craftsman Self-propelled Mower Won't Propel Itself!

My Sears Craftsman lawnmower had been losing its "oomph" as a self-propelled device during the past year.  One round with it this spring and I knew it was time for some repairs.  I started by looking into the drive mechanism located under the large plastic cover on the front of the mower.

I had expected to find a slipping belt, worn pinch-roller or other item possibly needing adjustment.  Instead, everything under the hood looked OK.  It was just that the wheels seemed to not engage with the drive mechanism.  I pulled off a front "driving wheel" and took a look.  This picture shows a new wheel on the left and my worn one on the right


And here is a closer look at the worn teeth: 

The gear teeth on the plastic wheel were worn down in some places on one side and totally worn off on the other.  Here is the driving gear that chops up the plastic:

O.K.  whose bright idea was it to make the driven wheels out of plastic?  I can just imagine the discussion between some mechanical engineer and a cost accountant, "Sure it will work for a while, but then ..."

Obviously the engineer lost that argument.

I drove over to the local Sears Repair and Parts location.  (Eden Prairie Center if you live in the Twin Cities area.)  With a wheel in-hand, I told the clerk that I needed two replacements.  Here's the best part:  I didn't even have to show them the part number!  "It's one of our most common replacement parts," said the other clerk as she rang them up.

Well, duh!