I was “backing up” the hard drive on my XP machine because it looks like I’m going to have to re-install XP. “Backing up” is in quotes because I’m really just skimming over the drive looking for “irreplaceable” stuff. I don’t have proper backup and restore media or software. And a proper restore would restore my XP problem anyway.
The XP problem is that I can no longer install anything. When I try, I get a message like “Setup failed to launch installation engine: The RPC server is unavailable.” I confirmed in the Services (Local) section of the “Component Services” administrative tool that the RPC server is, in fact, running and even started the RPC Locator service, but to no avail. Web searches turned up that I should have the DcomLaunch service running, but when I can’t find it in the services menu, and when I try to do it manually from the shell (with sc config DcomLaunch start= auto), I get “The specified service does not exists as an installed service”. Since I have no idea how to get XP to just re-install the DcomLaunch service, I’m going to do a wipe and re-install. It’s no fun. It hurts. But, really, it’s a lot like (excuse the similie) throwing up. It stinks. It burns. A lot of junk comes up. But when it’s done, you feel better. You’re purged and empty. And before long, you start putting at least the essentials back in.
It’s odd to me the turns that my writing takes. I intended to be telling you about one of the things I found. When I was a younger man working for a game company called Kesmai, we made online games for online services like GEnie and CompuServe. Eventually, we grew up and managed to put those games on AOL, and directly available from our web presence which we called GameStorm. Those were the salad days and the glory days all wrapped up together. Of the games that we made, three were “Big”: Air Warrior (WWII air combat sim), MultiPlayer BattleTech (Giant Stompin’ Robots), and Legends of Kesmai (Men in Tights). I could barely hold my own in AW or MPBT. But I played LOK. And I mean, I played a LOT of LOK. I was in the Wulf clan, a small and fairly close-knit group made up of some honored ancients from the predecessor game Island of Kesmai (IOK) and a few of us “insiders.” Of course, in-game, it’s important that the fact that you work for the publisher NOT be known. Users will either think your status was given, not earned (not the case), or pester you for improvements, bug fixes, information, etc. that you simply can’t provide.
Anyway, I played a lot of LOK. Enough that I made web pages for my different characters. When adventuring in LOK, it’s usually helpful to have a variety of character-types. “Tanks” (chars with high hitpoints) to absorb damage, Thaums to heal, Wizzies to do area damage on stuff ahead, etc. While my favorite character was my Martial Artist, I was happy to play any of the classes to help make a balanced party. It was with the idea of letting others in the guild know who they could ask to accompany them that I created, and occasionally updated, those web pages.
I had long thought that data lost to the mists of time, or at least to the write-head of a disk doing yet another re-formatting. But, no. I found them. See my folly for yourself. Of course, little of this will mean anything to you other than a few funny-looking, but kind-of pretty pictures unless you also played LOK. Still, I was quite pleased to have stumbled across these as I was doing my clean-up analysis. (FYI, the file date on these files was Feb 11, 1998)