Laptop Time Warp

In case you were wondering, my poor baby (read: hard-working laptop) did flicker out a couple of days after my initial post on its misbehavior a couple of weeks ago. It valiantly chugged along for another day and a half of minimal use, but then the screen went dark.

The two days warning was more than enough time to back up all my important files -- although I have since remembered one file that I had conveniently saved to the desktop for easy access that didn't make it into to lifeboat that is my jump drive. But it wasn't that long, and I have hardcopy, so it's not a momentous loss.

(Moreover, I'm convinced that it's the screen and not the hard drive of my old computer that went caput, so if it really mattered to me, I could probably get someone who knows what they're doing to extract all my old data for me.)

So what all this means is that the crisis before me with a dead computer was not the catastrophe of massive data loss, but the annoying inconvenience of disrupted internet access. I realized after my last bout of withdrawing from the world that cutting myself off from electronic as well as physical contact with other human beings is a sure sign that I'm getting in over my head. So I think of the internet as a mental health tool, not just a convenience or a distraction (though it is those, too). But it's not something I absolutely need to have at my fingertips to function.

So I pulled out the laptop which this laptop replaced, since that one hadn't actually completely died before the newish one took over. It was only mostly dead. So I thought it might work for a stop-gap.

And it did, although it took me a day to remember the secret code to override the short circuit in the keyboard that had it stuck in help mode. So for the first day I used it, I was limited mostly to mouse-clicks. It's remarkable the amount you can do on a computer with a semi-disabled keyboard.

The fun thing about firing up old not-so-reliable was the blast from the past that was my old wallpaper. I had put up my favorite picture of my favorite infant as my desktop background approximately 726 days ago:


Isn't he beautiful? Isn't he tiny?

Here's the same little boy, as of last week:


I won't say it.

Anyway. Back to my computer situation. Mostly dead laptop would work in a pinch, as long as I didn't try to take it anywhere. (One of its peccadilloes is emitting a string of loud beeps of protest upon being turned on. There is no way to stop this. I'm embarrassed by it when I'm sitting in my own office.)

At this moment, however, I am instead typing on Bill's old laptop, which he has graciously loaned to me for the time being, as it was sitting at his home collecting dust otherwise. It has a visible screen AND a functional keyboard. Imagine! Thanks, Bill!

So now I'm in the very weird position of having FIVE laptop computers in my custody. There's dead laptop, mostly dead laptop, the laptop-before-mostly-dead-laptop (An archaeological specimen, almost: it has a floppy drive and a dial-up modem. I haven't even turned it on in more than five years -- but it still worked, after a fashion, the last time I turned it off, so I haven't bothered to get rid of it.), Bill's Dad's old laptop, and Bill's Dad's other old laptop (he let me take both and figure out for myself which one best met my needs). These five together make up about 2.75 functional machines.

Planned obsolescence is a bizarre phenomenon, no? I bought my first laptop in 1999. If you had told me then that in 7 1/2 years I would be in the market for my fourth laptop, I would have cried. My own tendency to baptize my important possessions in coffee (not too terrible with books and cars, disastrous with computers) contributed to the early demise of the mostly dead one, but the others succumbed to the simple load of regular use and warranty expiration.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

So, you'll be switching to Mac now, right?

My in-laws currently have a Mac something-or-other at their lake house. It's at least 15 years old, b/c it was their oldish family computer when Stephen and I *started dating*.

Still runs, if a little loudly and slowly.

C'mon. You want one. You'll be asking for one for Christmas, right?

Rachel said...

Are you a Mac family, then?

I like Macs. Not the religious way that devotees do, but I'll grant their superiority. I grew up bi-lingual when it comes to computer platforms.

But this Christmas I'm asking for car and health insurance, so I don't think an Apple is in the cards. Maybe someday.

Blogger said...

The first picture was so close to a recent one of our baby boy (down to the couch color) that Steve thought it was ours! :) (Here it is--scroll to the very bottom. Now that I look at it, I see ours is very colorful.) That means that soon he will resemble the second picture, too. Already his beloved aunt Sharon says the forbidden phrase to him every time she sees him, which is every day pretty much.

I just wanted to console you that life would not necessarily be better with a Mac. We now have 6 or so computers around, one of which is completely dead (I think) and is waiting to be recycled, and some of which are mostly dead or dying and are waiting for us to figure out some really cool thing to do to them. All are Macs except for one, mid-1990s laptop that I can't get rid of because it STILL WORKS, even though it's completely archaic. Sounds like your similar one, down to the floppy drive. Does it make you feel any better about the planned obsolescence of your deceased computer that if it had hung around it eventually would have been replaced anyhow and just clogged up your place while you figured out what to do with it? Well, didn't think so.

--Amanda

P.S. Steve baptized his latest with buffalo sauce. That was a treat to clean out of the speakers.

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