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Issue #343: February 16, 2014

Q:   I have an Apple IIgs which I bought about 1987 or ’88. I want to get rid of it. Would it be useful to someone, like a school, to investigate how an early computer works? Or should I just throw it out. If the latter, can I just throw it in the trash?

– Bill M.
Shalimar, Florida

A:  You know the old saying about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure, don’t you Bill?  I believe everything has value; you just have to find the right person.  In your case, I don’t know of any schools that would want or need a computer that old, even for teaching purposes.  But, I did a quick check for you and I found quite a bit of Apple IIgs gear and software being sold on eBay, including complete machines with asking prices of several hundred dollars.  So, it appears that somewhere, there is still a market for this stuff out there.

One thing to keep in mind, no matter how you get rid of it is to make sure you’ve removed all personally identifying information from it.  In almost every case, simply deleting a file is not sufficient to prevent someone with even modest skills from getting the information back.

Q:  I’m having a horrible time trying to install Adobe Player on my Internet Explorer. It works on Firefox, but not IE. When I try to install it, it tells me it’s installed but when I try to view some videos, it tells me I need to download Adobe Flash Player to view videos. When I click on the download, it appears to download, then install and on the Control Panel it lists these 4 Adobe programs as being installed: Adobe Reader XI (11.0.05), Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash Player 11 ActiveX, and Adobe Player 11 Plug-in. Please let me know if you need more information on my system.

– Kris H.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: No, Kris, I don’t need any more information.  You gave me everything that I need to be able to tell you that I cannot solve your problem for you.  In fact, you described it so well that I am absolutely certain that I can’t solve it, because I had the exact same symptoms on a computer of mine and I couldn’t even solve it for myself.  In my case, the system in question had a nasty rootkit infection.  I removed the rootkit, and then proceeded to disable several browser add-ons.  Adobe Flash still would not work, so I re-installed it.  When that didn’t work, I completely removed it, did a fresh boot, and installed it from scratch.  I tried the same procedure logged in as Administrator, then again while booted in Safe Mode.  I even tried manually scrubbing the registry to remove every trace of any Adobe product I could find and then re-installing.  In each case it did exactly what you described – it appeared to successfully install the software, and when I examined the system and the list of browser extensions, all the pieces appeared to be present and functional.  Then when I tried to access any web contend that requires Flash, it threw an error that said the Adobe Flash Player was not installed.  Thanks, Kevin!  (For those of you not in-the-know, that’s a tongue-in-cheek sendup of Kevin Lynch, the former Chief Technology Officer of Adobe Systems, akin to Bill Gates as the former Chief Software Architect at Microsoft.)

I’m virtually certain that this is some sort of a registry corruption, but I was unable to track it down.  My ultimate solution to the problem was to simply re-install Windows.  With the formatting of the drive, all system errors got flushed.  I hated doing that, but it was faster, easier, and far less frustrating than re-installing Adobe over and over.  It should work for you too, so I guess I did solve your problem after all!  That notwithstanding, if any of you, dear readers, have experienced this problem and found a solution, I’d be very interested in hearing from you!


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