Saved by System Restore

I was going to blog about something else until I realised a big problem that suddenly cropped up on my laptop today. I was experiencing an erratic slow reaction from both the laptop’s in-built keyboard and the external USB keyboard I just recently bought.

Basically, when I type something short, it works just fine. But when I type continuously, after a few seconds of keys being pressed one after the other in non-stop succession, the text stops appearing on screen for a second or two before finally streaming the letters that should’ve been typed in one quick swoop. It’s as if the computer had to catch its breath for a second trying to keep up with my typing and then sprinting to catch up to where I was.

It wasn’t really such a big problem if I only wanted to type email or something similar. I don’t really need to look at the screen or the keyboard to type anyway. The main issue with this new problem was that I found it near impossible to play PC games that used the keyboard to navigate the character in-game.

Take Oblivion, for example. To move the character forward, I need to press and hold down the “W” key. With the current keyboard problem I have, what would happen was that the character would continue to run in a forward direction even after I stopped pressing “W” because the computer was still trying to play catch up with my keyboard movements. And then when the computer decides to catch up, the game beeps at me because the computer suddenly sent it a very fast continuous series of “W” presses as it tried to catch up.

The short of it was that I was stuffed unless I get the keyboard working again.

For one thing, I was certain that it wasn’t a hardware issue because the problem was occuring on both the in-built keyboard and the new USB keyboard. It had to be something I installed earlier today. I had installed a new version of the software for my laptop’s videocam and the software for my Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone. One of them must have been the culprit.

I eventually uninstalled both in an effort to fix the problem. However, that didn’t solve anything. The problem persisted even after I tried reinstalling the keyboard drivers. I was at wit’s end until I rememberd that Windows XP has a very cool featured called System Restore!

Here is a short description of what System Restore is, as taken from Wikipedia:

System Restore is a component of Microsoft’s Windows Me, Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems that allows for the rolling back of system files, registry keys, installed programs, etc., to a previous state in the event of a failure.

System Restore periodically makes a restore point from which the user can restore from at a future date. One can also be set manually but I had never made one since I had my laptop. So, when I decided to use it, I was praying that there was a recent periodical restore point I could use. Fortunately for me, a restore point was created just two days ago.

Using the most recent restore point, I performed a rollback on my system. I anxiously waited for a few minutes as Windows XP attempted to restore my machine’s state to what it was like two days ago. Eventually, it rebooted itself and asked me to log in.

I’m very pleased to say it worked amazingly well! Everything was like it was before. I can type without the computer trying to play catch up. More importantly, I can play games again! All thanks to System Restore (and by extension, Microsoft, for adding this feature in its recent OSes).

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Published in: on July 11, 2007 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

What if we were in the Simpsons?

We are big fans of Matt Groening’s The Simpsons cartoon series so we are looking forward to watching the Simpsons Movie coming out soon to cinemas. That might be a sign that the Simpsons are coming to an end (some would say “at last!”). That’s probably fine with me as long as they bring back Futurama, a funny sci-fi cartoon series also created by Matt Groening.

Back on topic, with a movie coming out, there is of course the obligatory website associated with the movie. I usually just ignore the official websites for movies but not this time. According to a podcast I listen to, you can make a Simpsons avatar on the movie website. To put it simply, you can design a version of yourself if you had appeared on the TV series.

Here are the avatars Raquel and I made:

The selection of facial features and hair was a bit limited to features found on current recurring Simpsons characters so it can’t be helped that the avatars created might end up looking like one of the characters on the show. Still, there are a lot of options to choose from to make your avatar unique (or at least different).

While waiting for the movie to come out, you can go to the movie site now and give the “Create Avatar” feature a go.

Published in: on July 10, 2007 at 6:49 am  Comments (6)  

Return to Sovereign Hill

For the Queen’s birthday long weekend back in early June, Raquel and I returned to Ballarat to see Sovereign Hill again. We’ve been there once before when we had our honeymoon here in Melbourne (and only because we still lived in Canberra back then). Anyway, Sovereign Hill is a sort of cultural theme park. It’s a recreation of a Victorian mining town of the 1800’s.

Sovereign Hill has recreated buildings from 1800’s Ballarat and even had actors going around the town posing as town folk. It makes you feel like travelling back in time to the gold rush era. It has a very similar feel to an American wild west town and I suppose it should be expected as it was basically the same time period. So, these Australian mining towns would probably have similar clothes, tools and techonology to American wild west towns from the same era.

Last time we visited Sovereign Hill, we just took a tour bus and so we only got to stay and explore the town for maybe half a day. This time, we spent the whole day there and we also watched the town’s boasted night light show.

Instead of retelling the events of the day, just go to our photo album of our trip and read the captions there:

Ballarat 2007

Published in: on July 5, 2007 at 5:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Just Burnt Out

I’m so busy at work that when I get home, I just want to watch TV or play video games. Any mindless activity would do just as long as it doesn’t involve a lot of thinking. That’s how tired I was.

As you can see, we haven’t even been updating the blog for a quite some time now. Well, I’ll be posting something that I should’ve posted a long time ago. Come back in a few minutes.

Published in: on July 5, 2007 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment