Got me the technology blues
Interrupting our regularly scheduled Wordless Wednesday to bring you this:
Oh Friends, my computer is on hospice. Three and a half years seems such a brief life and I such a terribly inadequate nurse. Even at the end, I’m pushing it, risking all for an afternoon of Bob Dylan Radio on Pandora.
It troubles me that I rely on this machine increasingly and yet my understanding for the whirring metal beast has not improved appreciably since my dad unveiled a thick-bodied, micro-screened Apple II Plus in 1982. That first computer held magic and boredom in equal measures for me: the black and white computer games I was allowed to play (via keyboard!) in my father’s home office were fun for awhile, but nothing beckoned like my own backyard with its thicket of olallieberries, tire swing and real live offerings of leafy adventure.
But today there’s a forest of e-mail to wade through, online banking, freelance writing work, archives of digital photos, and rollicking through the blogosphere.
Luckily, I have this fabulous computer guy. He’s young and charming in a 1940’s educated farmhand sort of way; he says things like “in my humble opinion, Dell is a very decent brand.” Or I’ll be rambling along in my remedial computer-speak, and he’ll listen attentively and then graciously reply: “precisely,” allowing me to believe I have an iota of understanding about gigabytes and RAM. Today, over the phone he said “If I do say so myself—even with the older Core 2 Duo processor—I have a very fast computer.” And of course I shrieked “Oh, go on you braggart!” Really, I have no idea what he’s talking about but I love his quaint phrasing and that while making house calls he manages to smile encouragingly at my children who can think of nothing better to do when he’s here than strip naked and run laps around our tiny living room.
The problem is my computer just shuts down randomly, spontaneously. Sometimes it’s utterly frightening, like last Sunday when I had just finished writing a short tribute to read at Grandpa Herb’s memorial and hadn’t printed it yet and my laptop shut down half an hour before we needed to skedaddle off to the memorial. All the technological CPR of booting it back up while begging in a shameless prayer to no one in particular didn’t work. Then at the eleventh hour, the beast roared back to life just long enough to print that baby. Other times it’s merely annoying, like when I get lost following internet links like breadcrumbs and want to return to where I started and poof! Blackness. At best, it’s inconvenient.
After spending the night with my laptop, my computer guy pronounced the problem to be the video card (ten points to Ryan who suspected as much after my flustered voicemail), which is cost-prohibitive to fix. The temporary antidote was for computer guy to “tell it to not shut down anymore,” and for me to not leave it on standby, which weakens the video card or something like that. “So, this could work for a couple days or even a year?” I asked. “Precisely.” He answered.
At first, I appreciated not relying on the “standby” feature. This meant my computer time had to be clearly delineated. When the kids were up from naps, the computer got turned off. No more sneaky rendezvous’ to do a quick little something on the laptop while it lounged around on standby.
But as warned, that fix lasted less than a week. And now my computer is headed for the recycling station, to “ooze toxic chemicals” as one friend speculated.
So, I’m wondering:
1) What sort of computer do you use? Do you like it?
2) Tips, warnings, ideas?