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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Curse of Module C6, or "Revenge of the Mummies"

This is Steven Petrick posting:

Module C6 was picked as a new product a while ago, and the tombs of the Paravians (destroyed by a Sun Snake) and the Carnivons (believed exterminated by the Kzintis and Lyrans) were opened.

Work commenced, and as you probably all now know, my computer that had been happily churning away for years suddenly died.

We moved to another computer to make progress, and that computer chose that moment to also give up the ghost. Not only that, but Leanna's computer suddenly died.

Well, we sent the hard drive to be recovered, and while many files were, some files were not. Too many of them (at that juncture only Paravian SSDs had been worked on, but also the file on weapons rules) were destroyed. I have yet to return to updating the various Carnivon weapons (I have not had the stomach for it, but at least I know what I was going to do with the Disruptor-Cannon, and the hiatus gave me more time to think on the Heel-Nipper and Death-Bolt, as well as the Quantum Wave Torpedo and how it would work on fast patrol ships and fighters).

The people who worked on the hard-drive, however, did not believe we were in any rush, so they were late in getting any files back to us (we in fact had to call them and say "where are they?" to get them to finally send them).

A replacement computer arrived, and promptly demonstrated despite the promises that it could not work with the recovered files. So another computer had to be procured.

In the interim, my personal health suffered a setback (those of you have seen me have probably noted my left leg became all but useless for much of the last six or so months), and a trip to move Jean Sexton here and another to Origins, and work on other projects at a reduced capacity all had to be done.

Finally all that was behind us, but computers are operating (the first computer can recover the files and put them on thumb drives so that the second computer can open them and let me work on them). All should be well, but no.

As I was assembling the Paravian part of the SSD book, I suddenly noticed that three SSDs were "not right." Somehow those three, two not changed at all, one only half changed, had apparently not been properly saved when they were finished. I knew they had been finished because their data had been entered into the Master Ship Chart, something that cannot be done until the SSD is completed. There they were, however. So I had to redo those SSDs based on the Master Ship Chart, their ship descriptions (something else only done after the SSD is completed) and how similar ships were done.

The new computer will not synch up the internet, and so I cannot print anything. I have to copy things onto thumb drives and go to a third computer to print things. While the second computer will let me work with Pagemaker, it will not open pagemaker files from the first computer or from the recover disks, which means Leanna has to open the files on her computer (the third computer), resave them, and bring them to me so that I can work on them.

More and more work arounds.

Yesterday I was ready to print off a draft of the Paravian Master Ship Chart. When I opened the file, it was blank. I had no idea what had happened. So I opened an older back up copy, saved six days earlier, and it was also blank. I knew the data was there, I had just updated and saved changes the night before, and the older copy was safely closed and on a back up thumb drive. Both files were blank, the data appeared to be gone even though the files were 32K in size.

As I was just reaching the point (after explosively cursing and having to apologize to Jean and Simone for doing so . . . Leanna was not in the building at the time) where I was going to have to sit down and go through the SSDs to recreate the file, Mike Sparks remembered a story about older versions ExCel, and discovered that all that had happened was that the program had interpreted the last shutdown as "improper" and a glitch caused it to collapse all of the columns into one column that appeared as a kind of black line on the left of the screen. Reminded of it, Jean confirmed that she had heard of this glitch also. So that file was, not so much recovered as reset.

I keep wondering where the "Curse of Module C6" will strike next. The computer I need to do the SSDs on will still not connect to the internet or printers, and anything I do on that computer is unreadable by the other computer which can connect to the internet and the printers, forcing me to go to Leanna's computer to print my work.

I miss the days when one computer served my needs, even if there were some internet sites I could not go to (more than one time clicking on some link someone posted on our BBS crashed the old computer).

We have opened the tombs of the Paravians and Carnivons, and their curses have followed me ever since.