So, after four installations of Windows Vista Beta 2 ("Community Technology Preview Build 5270"), I was merrily up and running with Office Professional 2003 Service Pack 2, Firefox 184.108.40.206, Windows Media Player 11 beta (which is pretty nifty), Internet Explorer 7 beta (which I am not using, preferring Mozilla 1.7.12 as my secondary browser over IE7 and Opera 8.5), and Macromedia Studio 8. Life was good. I had ordered and installed a nice 100Gb HD and was waiting for the second gigabyte of RAM that I ordered to arrive. That's when Pallas Athene witnessed my arrogance and struck me down with one of those borrowed thunderbolts.
I installed Microsoft Office Proofing Tools 2003, which I had been given as a gift a year and a half ago. "Who doesn't want to be able to spell-check their Icelandic and Irish Gaelic?" I thought.
What did this do? Oh, it switched me to Chinese. Permanently. I can now choose from:
- Chinese (Taiwan), i.e., Traditional
- Chinese (PRC), i.e., Simplified
- Chinese: Microsoft Pinyin IME 2003
I can still type in Engrish, but I can't switch it back to American English as the default. I tried eradicating all Chinese modules and leaving only English, but it just came right back. gondhir laughed heartily and averred that this was the vengeance of the ancestors on the dishonorable descendant who has not learned to read and write his mother language. YRAINW.
Periodically, it switches from English into Chinese mode on me. Not only do Roman characters start spelling out Chinese characters phonetically, but full stops go from ‘.' to ‘。'. This happens for no apparent reason. It's as if the computer is literally possessed (quiet, Gond). If I thought in my most paranoid moments that this is really Vista "thinking it knows better than I do" and autonomously deciding what language I should be writing in, I would format my hard drive and salt it thoroughly with a few installations of Slackware before switching to Gentoo or Kubuntu.
So, how did I lose my ~? Well, the little Chinese taskbar gives two options for switching modes: [Alt]-[Shift] or [‘/~]. I chose the latter, and as with a certain Lord of Rivendell, it seems to have had a detrimental effect. Now I have to scavenge backquotes and tildes from various applications and documents.
That BananaOS Mobile 5 on my new Audiovox PPC-6700 from Sprint is starting to look better. And that's a fact.
Before I uninstall Proofing Tools 2003, though, I think I will try reinstalling Office Pro 2003, and then calling Microsoft. Because I'm not ready to give up yet on that edda I have rattling around in the back of my head.
Coda, 00:45 CST Thu 23 Mar 2006 - I ended up switching the "change mode" key to "unmapped" after uninstalling all non-English languages, and it hasn't reverted to Chinese since. I think the reversion is due to random keypresses registering from some touchpad glitch. This is based on Dell's having a "disable touchpad when USB mouse is plugged in (to avoid random keypresses)" utility. Again, this seems a case of "uncripple my computer" patches being preferable to, oh, say, not crippling the system in the first place.