Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tuesday: Blue Screen of Death Day

How hobbled a blogger's life can be when access to the Internetforget that! Make that access to the computer, itselfis abruptly taken away. There I was, innocently minding my own business (online, of course) when my computer was snatched away by a mandatory "update." Little did I know the "new and improved" version was going to be no version at all. I am now the proud owner of a computer which does absolutely nothing.

No problem, I told myself (actually, I'm lying here), I'll just grab my laptop and boot it up. I won't miss a beat.

Unfortunately, since my laptop is a travel computer for presentations and classes, I only use the thing about once a month. That means I haven't used it since, oh, maybe mid April.

Being the conscientious computer user that I am, I knew first steps in booting up this laptop would include running an update on my anti-virus system. That nearly induced fatal error number two: not long into the anti-virus search-and-destroy mission, suddenly another Windows update notice flashed on the screen. I think I screamed when I shut the thing off. I wasn't about to lose two computers in one day!

Perhaps I'm being melodramatic here, but you have to realize this is not the first time a Windows update has caused ongoing computer problems in our household. My daughter's new SurfacePro had its drive wiped clean, thanks to a Windows update. Kinda makes one think seriously about switching to a competitor's brand.

A lot of reading up on the issue, crammed into a single unexpected afternoon, made me realize one thing: the updates didn't necessarily mean death to every type of computeronly to those with certain chips. This was a good thing to realize, because with Windows 10 systems, there really is no way to avoid updates, as I discovered when I tried to turn that laptop back on again. Thankfully, it completed its update, did the virus sweep, and gave me back my system. So here I am, pecking away at a tiny laptop keyboard, determined to keep at my daily run of blog posts.

The day wasn't over yet, though. With my main system downremember, Blue Screen of Death is real, folksI had to find another way to access my Ancestry account. After all, how can one blog about genealogy without accessing the prime genealogical services? That, however, re-introduced another technology tantrum languishing from another tech meltdown moment, back when I discovered that the (possible?) new servers being utilized at Ancestry seemed to no longer recognize my decades-old user name because the "special character" included in that user name was no longer permitted. Mind you, that user name was assigned to me by Rootsweb, now part of the Ancestry universe. And now, suddenly, I'm violating their system?

True, after a ninety minute marathon with a very patient rep at Ancestry, I had gotten access to my subscription again, but only because I discovered that I could either access my account via my user name or by my email address. Guess which approach I took?!

But yesterday, after my computer BSOD (that's lingo for Blue Screen of Death, for those of you who have never had to problem-solve post-update maladies via Google), I needed to use another computer to access my Ancestry account. Was it merely coincidence that suddenly, Ancestry once again no longer recognized my sign in, even after requesting a new password? As they say in France, deja vu!

In the hiatus between life as we once knew it and post-apocalyptic BSOD, two items were left in limbo. One was the discovery of an overlooked email from a distant DNA cousin match from Poland who had sent me some links to a Polish website with digitized copies of marriage and death certificates pertinent to my father's family. The other was the information I had compiled to complete today's post.

Does this begin to sound like a genealogist's version of "the dog ate my homework"?

What I do hope to dotomorrow, apparentlyis share a research challenge I ran into recently. For now, I'll just dub it the case of Mary A versus Mary B. To up the ante on this quandaryand you probably guessed this would happeneach Mary ended up marrying a man by the same name: Joseph. To add just a little more excitement to the mix, each of the gentlemen had the same middle initial: C. And both were born in Ohio. And no, neither of their surnames was Smith.

With so many similar details for these two couples, you can see why I wanted to be able to access my records. Even knowing the storyfinally!I couldn't keep the individuals straight without a cheat sheet.

In the hopes that tomorrow will be another daysans computer dramawe'll pick up on the story of the two Marys then.


  1. I hate the Blue Screen of Death. Hope you get up and running with a new computer soon. :)

    1. Actually, we're hoping for second life for this computer. Too new to kiss that investment goodbye yet.

  2. Replies
    1. Mary Lee, I'm seriously leaning in that direction, as you probably could tell from the frustration. Don't want to go through this again.


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