Computer Frustration 101

I rarely, if ever, have catastrophic computer issues. I've been very lucky in the past in that I've not had a hard drive totally crash or a destructive virus that couldn't be cleaned up or anything of that sort. I've lost story files due to bad flash drives, but that was my own fault because I didn't save a backup file. Otherwise, I've avoided some of the major mishaps that make misery an everyday companion for some computer owners.

Until now.

It hasn't happened yet, but my computer is sending signals that it's about ready to retire whether I'm ready for it to or not. Every time I have a freeze, my husband says the same thing:

"I think you need a new computer."

Of course, that's not what I hear. I hear, "I think you need to spend tons of time and energy doing research and shopping for a computer that you will buy and take hours to set up only to discover the next greatest advancement to happen in technology not only happened the very next day but made your purchase obsolete the minute your credit card was approved."


I think back to my teen years, when the only computer I'd ever seen was an Apple 2e, which used those humongous 5.25 floppy disks that were actually floppy. Then came the 3.5 inch diskettes that weren't floppy but were still called floppy disks by some, leading to confusion for many others. I also remember computer labs in college, when there was one computer hooked up to the printer because they were so expensive and the lab attendant hovered over it like it was made of gold. You could work on any of the computers (with a time limit, of course), but you could only print from that one, and if it looked like you might try to change a word and print again, you'd get an evil glare and humiliating chastisement designed to keep you from ever stepping foot in the computer lab again. Consequently, if your print-out was flawed in any way, you had to save your work and go back to another computer, change the one tiny mistake, save your file again, and return to the computer with the printer hooked up. Then you would stand in line for twenty minutes because by that time the lab attendant's buddy was printing for the third time after taking "just a sec" to fix his five page essay.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when every computer on earth was supposed to shut down because of a little glitchy thing called Y2K compliance. Of course, no one cared if the computers that ran our infrastructure--like our gas and water supplies and stoplight sensors, etc.--collapsed into a heap. We were more concerned that we wouldn't be able to get on the Web and hang out in the AOL chatrooms, which were responsible for damaging more marriages than arguments over the TV remote.

I also think back to when I got my first computer in the late 1990s and realize that while I thought my little Compaq Presario would last forever and that I would never be able to buy another computer, it was just the first of many to come. The prices kept dropping and the technology kept improving to the point where we are today, when our computers, through their own unique way of freezing up and making disturbing klinking noises, tell us when they're ready to go through the great Final Shutdown for good instead of us telling them.

Which leads me to where I am now, typing furiously in case my machine decides to mangle this post like it did my last one. I think I've beat it this time. I think that I'm going to get to post this before my computer

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