Monthly Archives: July 2012

Maybe If I Yell “Alohomora” At The Computer Screen…

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I’m putting this on the blog because I’ll never, ever be able to load it on Pottermore… for several reasons…

All I can say is, it’s a damn good thing I have a sense of proportion about the inherent glitchiness of online/internet stuff, but even with that sense of proportion, the Pottermore “experience” is still falling somewhere between extremely trying and @*#%*&!!! I had been nurturing the fond hope that perhaps, after an almost two-month absence from Pottermore, a few things might at least work when I finally returned, but it seems the site as a whole is still woefully under-servered, because my load-times (8 minutes for the Gateway to load, 10 to 12 minutes for the Profile page to load) have not changed at all. Today, while waiting for my computer to choke its way through my Profile page, I peeled and cut up 5 avocados, hand-juiced some limes, and whipped up a batch of guacamole, which I then consumed about half of while waiting… waiting… waiting…

I will remind my readers that I am on a dial-up connection, but even so, I can routinely access Google, Facebook (and Facebook games), my own blog here on WordPress, Amazon, my local Public Library system, and even a graphics-heavy Moroccan website called BaboucheShop (where I purchased a pair of babouches online just last week) without experiencing anything resembling the online pain I continue to have on Pottermore. I have to ask, if a Moroccan webstore selling purses, shoes, sarouelles and jewelry with lots of pretty pictures and slideshows can make itself accessible to a dial-up user like me, why can’t Powered-by-Sony Pottermore?

So what can I still not do on Pottermore? Glad you asked!

1) I still cannot brew potions. The potion practice page still does not load fully, so although I can crush my little handfuls of Snake Fangs, dump them in my cauldron, and turn the cauldron on, the part of the page that contains the temperature control for the cauldron never loads, so there is no way to regulate the temperature. There is also no way to wave a wand should I ever get that far, because there is no wand to wave…

2) I can still practice-duel, and each practice still takes a lot of time to load. Subsequent practices with the same spell load a bit easier, but not by much. I haven’t tried dueling for real, as I’ve only been able to practice about 3 spells total.

3) I was able to load only one Moment from the latest Chamber of Secrets chapters, but after that, my computer froze twice, even after I asked for low quality on the graphics.

4) When I ask for low quality on the graphics, there is nothing to click on or collect, and I cannot access the extra backstory goodies, which is my main reason for wanting to visit Pottermore after all the non-fun it’s been. (I am also seriously grumpy about JKR apparently back-pedaling on writing the long-awaited Potter Encyclopedia, and instead putting the heretofore unpublished stuff only on Pottermore… where… I… can’t… access… it…)

5) It took me 45 minutes and five page reloads to get out of the last chapter of Sorcerer’s Stone and into Chamber of Secrets.

6) The following statement is still true– I can only really access Pottermore decently from the broadband public internet terminals at my work, and in high quality graphics mode, even the work computers choke and require page reloads after several Moments have been waded through.

7) Several of my coworkers tried using their laptops and the wifi access we have at work, and Pottermore managed to crash two out of the three laptops we tried the site with after about 10 minutes of play in each case. After all this time and supposed beta-testing and revamping, this should not be happening! (These same coworkers of mine use said laptops to play other online games with nary a stutter, hiccup or glitch, I might add…)

8) It still takes me between six and ten minutes to go from any one page on the site to any other page on the site. Pages still frequently load only partially, even with immediate browsing-history-and-cookie-dumps. I frequently have to reload the page more than once to get a fully finished download, and the potions page never fully downloads, no matter what I do, or how many times I refresh.

Now, I will repeat this again, because it bears repeating– I cannot think of another website anywhere on the internet that performs this badly for dial-up users. Even with regard to streaming video, which takes ages to load on dial-up, I can still rest assured that at the end of the download, I will actually be able to watch the video. This is because sites like YouTube have enough server-power to allow lower-speed down-loaders to get enough data to make things work. When I am on Pottermore attempting to access something, I have no such hope.

Additionally, I will note that among the thousands of kids who use our public library computers each week for a bit of game-playing fun, Pottermore is not a site they visit with any regularity, which I think says it all.

So, three Furnunculus Hexes and one Jelly-Legs Jinx to Sony for being excessively cheap when it comes to server-power for Pottermore. Combining these two spells is said to produce facial tentacles in the hexed– just deserts, I feel, for cutting corners in the name of trying force technology-upgrades and eReaders on everybody to make the corporate bottom-line look tasty. If I am forced into a (completely spurious) “choice” between having to buy yet another new computer and more expensive high-speed internet access and foregoing Pottermore, I will forego Pottermore, despite the exclusive, never-before-published content from JKR.

And if I ever do buy an eReader, it will not be a Sony.

It Has Been A Lo-o-ong Six Weeks…

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…during which my activities included– but were not limited to–

1) Observing the Transit of Venus with my friend Prunella (and qualifying for an award certificate from NASA in the process),

2) Interviewing (along with several of my co-workers) for a promotional opportunity at work (which is still hanging fire thanks to a terminal case of bureaucratic dithering, much to everybody’s disgust),

3) Watching two versions of Jane Eyre— again with my friend Prunella– the Wasikowska/Fassbender version (draggy, deadly dull, and Mia Wasikowska often looked like she didn’t have a brain in her head) and the Masterpiece Theater version with Ruth Wilson (a plowhorse bumpkin of a Jane) and Toby Stevens (who never seemed to want to kiss Ms. Wilson full on the mouth for whatever reason, and kept missing it badly). The Wilson/Stevens version was the better of the two, but only just– it veered so far off the actual plot of the novel, that at times, Prunella and I burst into peals of WTF-Was-That-All-About-laughter, and we both decided the person who did the screenplay should stick to writing limericks on lined foolscap paper with crayolas, and leave Charlotte Bronte the heck alone. Just for the record, the Michael Jayston/Sorcha Cusack version remains my gold-standard JE, with the GCS/Suzannah York version coming in a very close second… and…

4) I’ve still been slogging along the old care-giving trail with my folks, which has meant watching my father continue a steady downward slide in both his overall health and cognitive ability. He also has picked up a cold which has taken 3 weeks of extra work and medication to get him over, and he’s still not fully recovered yet. Any physical ailment he has takes a toll on his mental faculties, as at this stage of the game, he does not have enough gas left in the tank to run both his immune system and his higher brain function at the same time. The result has been some really drifty, loopy behavior, major bouts of incontinence (due to forgetting to let any of us caregivers know he needed either a commode-trip or a urinal), an inability to remember how to organize his arms and legs so that he can get out of a chair, and some awful moments of agitation and/or confusion, during which he has become irate with his cerebral-aneurysm-surviving wife of over 60 years when she tries to carefully explain to him that she is not his mother, but his wife. He also told her last week he no longer loved her, only to forget his outburst five minutes later, and frankly, it has been a real trip to keep Mom on a semi-even keel during all of this.

What all this means, of course, is that I’ve had little to no time to work on making more altered books, nor have I really been following anything much in the news (except for spending about 10 minutes reading a couple of internet accounts of Katie Holmes ditching Tom Cruise and giving Scientology a well-deserved black eye). Both the blog and my Pottermore account have also been languishing, though I have managed to squeeze in some time for a bit of yoga and some of my ongoing magickal studies, and this last week, I did actually get my bed linens changed, two loads of laundry washed, and I threw together a big batch of Carrot-Cucumber-Apple Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing so I’d have something good to eat to take to work for lunch.

Tomorrow, I will head out to my dentist to get my teeth cleaned, do some grocery shopping, and stop at the post office to mail my bills. My car is also due for an oil change, but that will have to wait until I have time to fit it in next week. Now I am off to shower and then I will go to bed… to sleep, perchance to dream…