Saturday, October 2, 2010

Farewell (hopefully) to the Summer of Broken Computers

Those of us down here on the southern tip of the U.S. can't bid farewell to hurricane season just yet. But I'm hoping we can bid farewell to the summer of broken computers. It seems that everyone I know has been battling technology this summer. I am ready to be back to having reliable computers, two of them, in my house.

Yes, I realize how fortunate I am--I have not just one, but two computers. There are days when I think a second laptop would make sense, in addition to the laptop and the desktop we already have. It's been frustrating being back to sharing a computer. I had forgotten how much we've come to rely on our technology. And we don't even rely on it as much as some folks. We still do our banking and check paying in the old-fashioned, paper way, for example. Our cell phone can make calls, and that's about it. I don't want to haul around too much technology, and so I haven't bought a lot of it: no Blackberry-like device, no e-reader, no fancy phone that could do everything if I could just figure it out.

Everyone thinks I'm joking when I say that if an i-Pad could make and receive calls, I'd buy one. The screen is big enough to read from, and I could do all sorts of word processing with it. I could buy/read books and read magazines. I could make calls and photos and movies. Sure, it would be the world's biggest phone, but I rarely use the phone, so I wouldn't care.

Once we get the computer back to where it was before (we still have software and data to reload), I wonder how long it will be before I trust it again. My friend has written of her feelings of betrayal as she faces some of the first signs of aging (we're both in our mid-40's, so yes, I realize it could be much worse). I feel similarly about the computer. Can I really trust you? How often should I back up everything? Probably daily, if I'm doing a lot of work, to be safe. How long before you contract another virus? Yes, for those of you about to ask, I did think I had the most up-to-date virus checker stuff and yes, I thought I was checking daily. An ickiness still got through. How long before some piece of code goes wonky and I can't even get past the Welcome screen? How long before the computer rejects the mouse again? My computer seems back to its youthful vim and vigor, but is it real or is my computer trying to fake me out? I wish I knew.

So, what was I doing before my computer went wonky? I was thinking about my collection of linked stories: writing new ones and revising old ones. I was writing poems. I had a submission strategy for both individual poems and manuscripts. Now is the time to return to writing. We have a whiff of autumnal weather. I'm ready to return to some vim and vigor myself!

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