Thursday, July 22, 2010

Self Reliance and Fixing Our Computers

I wasn't sure that I'd be writing today. Yesterday afternoon, I returned home after a productive morning at the office and an afternoon swim in a friend's pool. I thought we'd be grilling the beautiful sockeye salmon that I bought on Monday, but my spouse was taking a long, deep nap, after working 18 hours on a municipal budget on Tuesday.

I'm flexible. I thought, oh, good, quiet time to work on some poetry projects. Somehow July has slipped by, and I'm about to miss some submission deadlines if I don't get into gear.

I turned on the computer and--yikes! All sorts of warning messages, from a software package I don't own, warning me of dire infections.

The messages were written in slightly strange syntax, so I was suspicious. I went to the other computer and Googled the suspicious software that I'm sure I was about to be exhorted to buy: Antivirus. Sure enough, my computer had fallen to some sort of malicious awfulness.

I spent hours reading how other people had fixed the problem. Some efforts sounded more complicated than others.

Finally, in the evening, once my spouse awoke from his nap, I started the computer in safe mode (by pushing the F8 key) and did a System Restore. Voila! Problem fixed, at least so far. And I don't think I've lost any data.

Let me take a moment to pause and congratulate myself. Once upon a time, I wouldn't have had a clue when it came to computers. Of course, back then, there wasn't Internet access, so I wouldn't have been subject to as many viruses. Still, I'm glad that I had the presence of mind to try to fix the problem myself. Once, I would have been convinced that I couldn't, convinced that computers are too complicated.

I'm also lucky to live in this time of Google, where I have lots of resources right at my fingertips. Once, if I wanted to fix something myself, I'd have had to go to the library and wade through volumes of books. The vast amount of information can still be overwhelming; I could have spent days reading through all the results of my first Google search. But once I saw information being repeated in various online sources, I assumed I'd uncovered most of the ways to deal with this virus.

I'm still annoyed that it took such a chunk out of my day and ruined my contemplative mood. But I'm happy to be awake and blogging this morning.

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