The Center of the Tootsie Roll Pop

Some of you know I've been fighting with my computers (again). Ultimately I gave up on fixing the Windows box - something is wrong with the motherboard. Specifically it would freeze up sometimes and then when I rebooted it would not even POST. I'd fiddle with the components a bit and it would boot, but not recognize the DVD drive. Oddly once that happened it would see the hard drives but claim they weren't bootable. I'd wiggle the drive cables a bit, reboot and it would all work. Until the next reboot where it would repeat.

I did reinstall Windows XP before giving up, which was fun. Then I had to go to Fry's (yuck). I didn't buy anything special - just an Athlon 3000+, an Abit mobo and some new RAM. Kept the drives and cards - the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro is still just fine and a new video card would have cost more than the rest of the system. That also meant I couldn't go PCI-Express . . . but hey!

Here's the kicker - I installed Windows XP (my disc has SP1 on it). Guess how many reboots it takes from there to get everything patched. Go ahead, just guess. XP rebooted twice during the initial install. Then I went to Windows Update to get the patches. I had to reboot six times to get all of the patches. So that's 8 for a new XP install. The video driver required one reboot. Then I installed the Soundblaster drivers - which needed a reboot. Creative Labs has it's own auto-update site, which is easier than figuring out which patches I need. But that needs Flash which required a reboot (WTF? It's a goddamn BROWSER PLUGIN!) I had to reboot twice more before all the Creative stuff was patched.

All told I rebooted eleven times in order to patch just the OS and the bare minimum drivers. And I haven't even checked for a mobo upgrade yet. There's probably a BIOS flash and maybe an update for the NForce 2 chipset (I'm using the built-in Gigabit networking interface, but not the onboard sound card.) Hey Microsoft - when people say your OS is terrible - this is what we're talking about. I mean c'mon.

My absolute favorite patching set was Microsoft .NET. During one of the patches it wanted to install it and I said yes (I know I have some apps coming up that need .NET). Next boot it wanted to install the 1.1 version of .NET. Fine. Next boot it wanted to appy the security patch to .NET v1.1. Again - WTF? Why not just install fucking 1.1 WITH the patch?