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Emsisoft, Camera, Cleaning, Some Catching Up, Including Donating Old Books

Was told Tuesday evening that an update to the delayed branch of Emsisoft Anti-Malware should come the next day, if not even that night, so I first made really sure it won’t update automatically and yesterday I made a backup before allowing it to do so. However, there were nothing but definitions updates, and the situation continued today as well, the reply I got stating that yet another issue was discovered and the forced update was delayed a bit more. And since it still wasn’t available when I started writing this post, I’m thinking I once again won’t let it update for the rest of the day, because even if it’ll otherwise work fine, which I’m in no way sure it will, it’ll require a reboot, this being the first update of the delayed branch since before the driver update that caused quite a number of problems, including a conflict with Comodo Firewall that locked computers where both were installed, which would obviously include mine.
But while I’m on the topic of Emsisoft, I’ll also mention here that I got permanently banned from their forums early on the morning of June 13, supposedly for “abusive behavior”. Interestingly, that ban came over a day after my last post, but shortly after I voted down the post in which the guy who ended up banning me stated that he was closing that topic because the discussion was not only off topic but also not constructive. Had been told by the support guy I keep exchanging messages with to check there to see when issues will be solved, and since I was looking I started posting as well, the situation obviously getting rather tense due to me asking for the things I keep asking for, a program that lets the user decide everything, and in case of Emsisoft in particular no forced program updates, plus ensuring compatibility with other security solutions that offer what they made a point of deciding to exclude from their software, such as firewall and HIPS, and also sandboxing, which as far as I know they never offered. So I was definitely frustrated due to talking to walls and getting talked down to, but actually thought I was unexpectedly nice under the circumstances, though I guess anyone can have a look at my posts and determine for themselves how “abusive” they were.
Got back to exchanging e-mails with that support guy after that, and at first he seemed quite annoyed as well, actually replying quite harshly, which surprised me. Didn’t reply again for a while, since it wasn’t really necessary and was obviously not desired, but after I did so again, asking about this update to the delayed branch, we seem to be having quite friendly chats again, the parts actually having to do with the product taking up a small and decreasing part of the messages. And he did again say he agrees with me about the kind of features that would be desirable, although in a separate “system monitoring” software, which he doesn’t think is available on the market anymore, and wouldn’t have a problem with letting users know that a program update exists and allowing them to install it if and when they choose, separately from definitions updates, or with not checking whether something is running in full screen, and even sent the suggestions multiple times to developers, but the clear decision was made that users will not be given that choice and he considers that extremely unlikely to change. As for ensuring compatibility with products that offer features that Emsisoft doesn’t, he said it’d certainly be nice, but “security companies just don’t work together like that”.
So I just have to hope that they’ll at least fix all issues before releasing an update to the delayed branch, the problem with Comodo Firewall hardly being the only one introduced after that update. But even if only talking about that issue, I’ll definitely keep using Comodo Firewall and, after spending the whole of 2015 testing various security products to look for the best one to pair it with, I didn’t find any that I was less unhappy with, and if even Emsisoft went in the same direction as all the others since then, I doubt any of said others, already starting from a worse position, went in the opposite one. So, on top of the immediate problem caused by a conflict, and even if they’d refund me for the remaining time left on my license if I’ll be unable to use it due to such an issue, I wouldn’t have anything better, or more exactly anything less bad, to switch to.

Since I mentioned June 13, made a backup then as well, before installing Windows updates, and when I directly copied the old command for backing up on the USB stick in the command prompt window, since for some reason I’m yet to make a script for backing up on the external HDD, the command ran directly, not giving me a chance to modify the destination, which resulted in much of the Mac version of the external HDD’s software getting deleted, as its software is on the first, small, partition, and it took me a few seconds to react and stop the script. Not that I’d want to use that software, and I’d obviously have no use for the Mac version either way, so I didn’t have it backed up either and had nothing to do but delete all of it after that. Still have the Windows version, of course, and that’s backed up as well, so no real loss, but a reminder that I may actually lose something important if I’m not careful… And that I really should make that script…

Moving on, this week’s run was yesterday, and the time was 48:20, with sector times of 4:15, 5:02, 5:52, 4:29, 5:04, 5:59, 4:43, 5:09, 5:59 and 1:48, making for lap times of 15:09, 15:32 and 15:51. That time for the first sector of the first lap was just barely 4:15, actually being 4:15.99, but I’ll list it as I always do. And I guess it’s just thanks to that fast start that I managed to stay under 48:30 in the end, as I had to push to manage it even so, and my stomach hurt a fair bit at night, probably due to the effort. It was rather hot in the sun, and I actually felt the clothes heating up on me as I was walking to the park, but otherwise the conditions were all right, though I guess the fact that I forgot to drink anything before leaving had something to do with the reason why I struggled a bit.

While I was running, dad took the new camera back to the store I ordered it from, since I noticed something wrong with it. It had arrived Monday morning and I also went to pick up a memory card for it from another store that day, so I could start testing it on the way back and then continued to do so in my room, taking some pictures out the window as it was getting dark and then some inside after dark, since what I’m mainly interested in is how it handles low light. Was unhappy with the results of those tests either way, the lack of manual control for the shutter speed making it unlikely that I’ll consider it a replacement for the old one, but as I was comparing pictures taken with both cameras I noticed a few white pixels in one spot, and when I started searching for them in the other pictures taken I saw that they had been there since the beginning, though that area had to be dark for them to become obvious. Worse, in some pictures I also saw a point of blue, which is likely to also appear in all of them, only being much harder to notice. There may be even more such areas, just that I didn’t happen to spot them, only focusing on confirming that problem before sending a service request, along with several pictures to show just what I was talking about, highlighting even when the issue was very obvious.
Since I also purchased the extended warranty, they’d have paid for the camera to be picked up from here and delivered to them, but I decided against doing so, and then also against going there myself, instead asking dad to take it when he’ll go out, and since he didn’t have time Tuesday, he did so yesterday. And he said they tried to say that there may be something on the lens at first, and supposedly weren’t finding the pictures I had sent, but after they did and had a look they just took it, since I had sent it exactly as I received it, in its box and with everything there, and said a new one will be delivered next week. The new invoice states a slightly higher price, since I had used a voucher received for posting a review for something else on that site and the extended warranty also seemed to be listed as being a tiny bit more expensive for some reason, but they figured out why that difference existed and said we obviously won’t need to pay it, since it’s a replacement for a faulty product that we already paid for. Just hope the new one will actually be good… And that dad will actually use it, since when he saw it he said he won’t want to take it because he’s afraid he’ll break it, even if this is pretty much the sort of camera he kept saying he wanted and the old one still works, so I won’t need to figure out how to make do with it as well.

Since I mentioned Monday, my computer froze that day, needing a hard reset, which was obviously worrying. Was checking what information Emsisoft Anti-Malware displays in a prompt, removing the rule telling it to allow Quest for Infamy, and while everything went fine then, after creating the rule again, closing the game and then immediately trying to start it again, to make sure the rule worked properly, nothing seemed to happen. However, I saw Quest for Infamy on the taskbar, so I clicked it, meaning to stop myself from doing so when the thumbnail that showed up when the mouse got there just displayed a small white bar but being unable to react in time, my finger already being about to press the button. And as soon as I clicked, the screen went black and the computer wouldn’t respond anymore. Probably a result of me trying to start the game again before it had properly shut down, but it has caused such a freeze before, though that was when I tried to run it in full screen and with different driver settings.

Speaking of the computer, I keep worrying about how much playing Ember is wearing out my HDD, since it’s constantly reading from it and at a pretty high rate, going up to a few MB/s. That’s apparently normal, considering the engine it’s using, but definitely worrying. Though I guess even more worrying was that I kept thinking I smelled heated components or even smoke while playing, though it was probably either from outside or from cooking, or from my mother smoking, since she was here for a while again. Happens a bit too often for that explanation, but maybe that’s also because I keep thinking of it and perhaps just imagine it, as I monitored temperatures while playing and there was nothing unusual there. What was unusual was how much the speed of my CPU dropped, on the other hand, seeing it reported as going even as low as 1.1 GHz, so a third of what it should be. That’s possibly due to the integrated graphics requiring all the power they can get and the fact that I disabled that BIOS setting allowing for additional power to be sent to the integrated graphics when needed, so perhaps power is taken away from the CPU under such circumstances, so the package as a whole won’t use more, even though I also disabled the settings allowing the CPU speed to be reduced for any reason other than high temperature, which, again, certainly didn’t seem to be the case.

Back to yesterday, I finally cleaned my room, after who knows how long. In fact yesterday I vacuumed, after having dusted the day before, but at least I vacuumed properly, taking the stuff still left in my room out and bringing it back, arranging it better as well, after I was done. Also, since I had also just made that backup and felt more at ease about risking some other malfunction that would cause my computer to turn off when I’ll unplug it from one place in order to plug it into the other, I took the opportunity to plug the UPS directly into the extension cord, removing the power strip that was also used during this period.
So it actually looks a fair bit better around here now, especially since, ever since those boxes of books had ended up in my room, at the end of 2016, I had only vacuumed around them, and even that rarely. Now that they were finally donated last month, I finally got around to doing this properly again, even if I should likely wash the floor as well. Left that for another time though, possibly for when we’ll move the desk and spray any mold that appeared again, as I think I’m just starting to spot something again these days. Not entirely sure of that though, so I’ll wait a while and see what happens.

As for donating those books, that really is a matter of catching up, since it happened on June 7, right after sorting out the mess with the UPS, since I went with dad, with the car, and we could go to both places at once, being in the same area. Had decided to finally get around to sending messages looking for centers for old people, and while the first place I sent a message to never replied, the city’s Welfare Directorate did, stating that they’d definitely be interested, but directing me to the shelter for homeless people instead of what I was asking about. Did give them the list, telling them to pick what they’d be interested in, to avoid anything just being thrown out or just dumped somewhere and unused, but after not replying at all to that message at first, when I asked again they said they’ll take everything if I’m willing to donate it all, so that was what we did.
Either way, on June 6 I went to Carrefour and Kaufland during the day, not seeing any interesting deeply discounted product at Carrefour and missing on a 0.50 RON coin due to picking between two queues and spotting it on the floor at the other while checking out, so I left it rather late to rearrange those books in the boxes, leaving aside the three albums and those Jules Verne books still wrapped in plastic, even though I later noticed that there are holes in the plastic and plenty of spots visible on the edge of the pages, so it may be pointless to try to sell them anyway. Still, despite only removing those few and rushing a fair bit, I was able to be efficient enough to end up with one empty box, just in case dad wants it for anything. Not that he doesn’t have others getting in the way anyway.
The thing is that I read a report about the conditions at that center we donated the books to and, while it also mentioned some very caring and dedicated employees, it revealed bad conditions and abusive behavior from the guards and the manager, who had other charges against him as well. But now I saw that there was a different manager, and dad talked to him for a bit while I waited in the car, telling me that he had big plans, including setting up a center for the elderly there as well, and also a place to stage plays, dad ending up exchanging contact information with him in order to see about collaborating in the future. Of course, words are easy, but maybe this new guy will actually prove to be one of those caring and dedicated people… And, if so, maybe he’ll actually manage to push his plans through, not getting dragged down by those who’d rather use the resources, and even the people in need of those services, for their own purposes.

Still on that day, though it had nothing to do with the part about the books and everything to do with the mess with the UPS, I was quite a mess when dad dropped me off, since he went somewhere else after that, and ended up buying myself an apple strudel from a place nearby that I kept meaning to get something from for a long time, eating it on the way back and then beating myself over the 3 RON (about $0.76 or €0.64) spent on it. Had tried to take the fact that I may buy myself one into account when calculating how I was going to spend the money I had been given for that period, but it was still an unnecessary expense, taking away that amount from something more useful, and I felt pretty bad over it. But I still had to put the UPS back in its place and plug the computer into it again, which I did after Simona Halep’s match, so I was stressed and kept worrying that something will go wrong and thought I could just make myself that little present. Spending money on something like that for such a reason is not a behavior I want to accept, much less encourage, in myself though…

Was wondering whether I’ll manage to catch up on a few more things in this post, taking advantage of the lack of World Cup matches today, but it’s at 3000 words already and it took long enough to write this much, so I’ll leave the rest for another time. Not that there’s any point in writing it, or at least in posting publicly, other than to just keep being an open book.

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