Looking at life... from an oblique angle / and I sometimes Twitter (normally only when riled up): @brindafella

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Altruism and Advent

Altruism came into my home in the last several days.

On Saturday, a friend of many years (actually, from my mid-teens) who is a very busy lady inveigled herself into my consciousness with a tale about trying to upgrade her laptop computer's operating system from Microsoft Windows 2000 to XP. While we were on a break in rehearsal for Bach's "Christmas Oratorio", she related how she had struggled for some days, notably until 5am that morning, to get XP to supercede 2000.

This lady has been a "good friend" to our family on several occasions through her private advice in her professional capacity. It was a no-brainer!

I offered to do the deed for her on Sunday. My wife, who had met this lady through the choir -- they had become friends, invited her to dinner on Monday night so that she could then pick up the computer, too.

Hence, I had a lovely almost-new laptop to play with, plus a pristine but not quite virginal copy of M$ Windows XP and some other software she needed, and my home broadband connection.

Now, you have to realise that this lady is a 'professional' with her own business and could not afford the grief of persecution by Microsoft or any other software company. She is also a strongly religious person and her belief system would also eschew software piracy.

So, Sunday was spent intermittently getting off her machine the software she did not need and was incompatible with XP, copying her files to my computer across the LAN, then installing XP over 2000. Hmmm... Her computer would NOT see the Internet! I need that to register XP and other software. Hmmm...

On Monday I consulted the IT gurus in my building who, like the industrious dwarves of Tolkien (not the blundering cave trolls), work at keeping to computer system going from their lair in the sub-basement. A very helpful person suggested several strategies and methods, that I wrote down in the very-nerdy (nay, geek) notepad that I carry around, with a pen, in my shirt pocket.

As with everything... "The LAST thing you try is always the one that works." After I got home from work, I had to shut down several 'devices' in the XP Device Manager in order to clear the obstruction to the digital nether-world. XP and the other programs then furiously downloaded, and then updated ad nauseam... and finally stopped. So, at 10.30pm last night, after a fine dinner interspersed by me going in to the "study" where the computers (plural) live in our house, she left with a computer that was "playing the game".

"But, what about Advent?" I hear you asking in one accord, like the heavenly choirs of angels at the First Noel.

(1) we spent "quality time" with our friend who deserves good friends;
(2) its a great Christmas present from me to our friend;
(3) we modelled for our sons what adult friendships can be;
(4) altruism fits in Advent;
(5) and... well, we also got to talk about our appreciation of Advent in light of the Christmas Oratorio that we'd shared together.


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