Sunday, 3 July 2011

A Miserable Four Weeks

Having cleared up a malware that became effective just four weeks ago, taking three days to do it with a friend, the result was a set of files and folders left switched to hidden and read only. I globally made them visible and read-write, but there was a sense of things being slower and damaged. A decision was made to reinstall the operating system and all else from scratch, with the expectation that this would speed things up. The previous time I reinstalled everything went smoothly and the computer became fast again; this time my friend had to find drivers to connect to the Local Area Network broadband signal, and a Service Pack 2 installation wouldn't allow a Service Pack 3, though the ones that downloaded and slowed everything down did work. The effort to reinstall, and the fright of losing so much data that I'd edited (especially hymns for the church) caused me to buy an external hard drive. So the computer was painfully slow this time from the off, which can only be put down to changes since the Windows XP was once sufficiently up to date. However, the solution has been simply to bump up the active memory, and able to do so I jumped it from 0.7 gb to 2.7 gb, says a little monitor, though this has been called one third and one half by people.

I like logical layouts in my computer, which is why I don't have Start folders (shortcuts) as given by installers, but arrange them into 'Managers' - e.g. Writing Manager, Picture Manager, Multimedia Manager, Controls Manager - and the shortcuts get distributed accordingly. Content is in My and Shared Documents under which are Music, Pictures, Writing (which Microsoft confuses with Documents)... Things have become so complicated. I have Program Files in the smaller D drive and the larger C drive, and data in mainly C, a little in D and much in the external G as rescued from the malware threat. I've dropped the C, D and G shortcuts on to the bottom taskbar so that I have cascading menus on the right hand side for data as well as the Start button programs etc. access on the left hand side for programs. I've further divided C, like D (where the Operating System sits), but not G, into folders for me and folders 'shared'.

Incidentally, prior to reinstallation D was C and C was D, and the operating system was on D then, thus the bigger hard drive, as C was a smaller hard drive from a previous computer. So I have been a bit confused lately, having put the Operating System on to the smaller drive, which the reinstall renamed. Add to this G. Let's not forget drives like the SD card too and then flash drives.

Thus it wasn't the best idea to make the CD for today's church service at gone midnight Saturday night, pulling in hymns from the G drive folders, forgetting to check that HL 009 Golden Wheat needed to be the choir version and not an early example of messing about with sources that carried the tune, long before the music composing software was installed (and reinstalled recently - along with so much else that needed reinstalling and putting as I use it, with plug ins and preferences). Thus one of the tunes today on playing turned out to be a dud, but Bugeilio'r Gwenith Gwyn (I'm trying to remember the Welsh here) was a known tune and people sang it without the music.

I only knew the hymns choice on Thursday with an instruction that other music was important but leave it to me (grrr!). I bought the memory upgrade on Friday. The instruction just made finding and selection a drawn out job. Why I kept the dud tune I don't know (it has gone now), but there we are, and it was from the early days of trying to expand what we could use in the hymn book.

Plus, today, people complained about the Bunessan piano piece I had for Morning has Broken, HL 280 Bunessan piano, but the problem there is people are forgetting that we don't have an organist or piano player. The music sounds fantastic from all corners and it plays on cue, but it still remains rigid and a substitute. If it has a pause in it at once point, you cannot sing on and have the player adjust to the singers. Sometimes I feel like I have to go out from behind the curtain and direct the singing. There is no choir back-up piece for Morning Has Broken, and given the good source I don't see why I should music-compose the tune into existence just to deal with a means of singing that can be learnt through use (and I used it in my service, months back, and I directed it successfully then).

Indeed I have a very good idea about my response, and it is the usual story: if you don't like it, and you want better, and you have a computer, then the software is available; it can be learnt by anyone, and you do it. When you complain: ask what it was like beforehand, and what the solution has been, and what is involved practically.

I have asked for back-up in terms of operating the mixing and double CD machines on Sunday. One other person can do that, who isn't there every Sunday (poverty allows me to be present on all Sundays because I never go anywhere). I have also said there needs to be somebody else who can: source the music, edit the hymns to the correct number of verses faultlessly via the wave form, and all sharing the same peak level, keep these hymns, get contact with service takers and put the hymns and music in order and burn the CDs each and every week, and have a printed list that is cast iron correct derived from the burn list. That's why looking at it this morning in the church I thought, 'Why doesn't 'HL 009 Golden Wheat' say 'choir' after it? Well, because it was the wrong one.

Should I go under a bus any time soon, the necessity for such operatives of the equipment will become pressing and perhaps there will be fewer complaints.

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