Monday, August 14, 2006

Computer Issues

This week, fear and sorrow choked the heart of this writer. Why, you ask?

My computer died.

Well, it didn’t die completely, but it started doing weird things like saying certain files weren’t where they were supposed to be, claiming my screen saver file was empty, and-heaven forbid you should ever experience this-my email disappeared!

That’s right. Imagine me crying like a whiny baby. Hey, it was scary!

Luckily, my brother-in-law had warned me that this catastrophe was on its way, so my husband had already been looking into new computers. Still you can’t imagine the full extent of the fear you’d experience if your computer started doing strange things and you realize the end is near.

First thing you look at is “What am I going to do if I lose everything?” Now, I’ve gotten really good at remembering to back up my files and my husband bought me a flash drive- and taught me to use it. But there were little things I didn’t know how to save. It took me forever to save my internet favorites list. I never could figure out how to save my inbox emails. My brother-in-law had to do that for me. Genius that he is, he even transferred them to the inbox on my new computer.

But I did have moments when I worried he would open my email box and it would be empty. Currently I hold onto between 200 and 250 emails in my inbox. Why? Because I think I just have to have them.

Just like all the paper around my desk. I figured I’d be nice and sensitive to the fact that my brother-in-law was giving up his Friday night to set up my new computer and clean out my desk so he could actually work on it. He wouldn’t have to shove my junk aside in order to do anything.

Do you know how much paper writers save? How much we use? Little scraps everywhere with notes written on them that I look at and think, “Is this important?” Why do I keep all this stuff?

Of course, after tackling the main computer area, I’m really scared of decluttering the shelves. Soon I won’t have a choice, since my favorite (and only) brother-in-law has informed me that my computer isn’t getting adequate ventilation. Who knew?

There isn’t much I can actually do about it until we move. Our house is very small and I have a little alcove I’ve created with my desk in the living room. (I used to have my own office, but turned it into a nursery for Little Man when he came along. I figured I should make the sacrifice.) I’m just glad to have some small space to call my own, a space that isn’t the kitchen table.

Hopefully the new flat screen monitor will give my computer more breathing room, because I’m not giving up my down-graded space.

Anyway, keep me in your thoughts this week as I learn a new computer and get to know all its little idiosyncrasies (they have them, you know, not just people). I’m even thinking of naming mine, like Smarty Pants. My husband said it should be forever known as “She Who Must Be Obeyed’s Computer.” I like the implied meaning, but it is a mouthful.

What’s your computer horror story?



Smarty Pants said...

I burn a backup of all my files every couple of weeks onto a cd, but for the most part, my most recent work is all on my flash drive. Around Christmas, I upgraded myself to a 512MB. I'd had it only a few days, moved everything over onto it and had cranked out several pages from a breakthrough I'd had.

(for those of you that don't know, a flash drive is a little dohickey the size of your thumb that you can plug into a USB port instead of using disks or CDs or whatever)

My computer sat on the floor at the time. We bought a special thing so I had a USB port on the front (easy access, right?) Well, one afternoon, I got up from working and went in the kitchen. DB used the opportunity to jump onto the computer and after a few minutes I heard "Uh oh."

Seems he had kicked my flash drive with his foot and although it was still plugged in, instead of sticking straight out, it was pointing up. Not good. I about had a panic attack right there. No way would I remember the 20 pages I'd written in the last few days.

Afraid to touch it but amazed that the computer could still access it, we copied all the files onto the hard drive, pulled it out, then bent it back into shape. Oddly enough, I didn't lose a thing. I actually still use the flash drive, its just a little crooked now.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Recently I left home with my husband for a few days. I'd just finished a book, but it was Friday afternoon, and too late to take it to the post office. Before we left the house I printed the book out and got it ready to mail, and I made a couple of copies on floppy discs. I took the manuscript with me, figuring it was safer in the car than here, unattended, and left one floppy copy here, in case we had a disaster on the road.

Paranoid much? :-)

I have a flash drive, but it's new and I haven't tried it out yet. I think it's time.


Instigator said...

I just bought myself a flash drive. I've been saying I was going to get one for over a year. I kept putting it off. But when I found a 1 GB for $25 on the tax free weekend I pounced.

You'd think I would have gotten one a long time ago. Especially after I came back from 6 weeks maternity leave to find my work computer had crashed. Everything was lost. My work files couldn't be recovered but at least I'd sent my book files to myself at home.

Now I have my book files on both my work and home computers. I have a gmail account that I send everything to. And I have all my books backed up on my flash drive. A little paraniod? :-)


Problem Child said...

I'm just glad I have DG around. I know nothing about my computer or how it works...without DG, I'd be lost.

Lis said...

My most nightmarish computer story happened about 4 years ago. Got a new computer, a pc which meant I had to email all my files over from the 10 yr old mac. A few weeks into having the new pc, I had the inkling I should back things up but had no clue how to use the cd writer. One afternoon, the new pc just up and died, blue screen of death and I lost everything :( But now i back up religiously and email every new version of anything to my gmail addy.

Maven Linda Howard said...

Does this mean you want to hear about the day (Black Monday) when ALL THREE of my computers died, one at a time. They all had different versions of Windows, too, so it wasn't the same thing. But they all died, doornail dead, the inescapable blue screen and all.

Does this mean you DIDN'T hear me cussing?

So I went the next day and bought Macs. Two of them. No more blue screen of death. No more crashes. No more viruses.

By the way, does DB stand for Dear Boy or Dumb Butt?

Patricia W. said...

Can't top Maven Linda but my laptop died a little over a week ago. No backup. (Yeah, I know and it's worse because I'm an IT professional.) Anyway, for some reason, just prior to that, I decided to try the Yahoo briefcase thing, and pushed copies of most of my writing (and luckily my son's summer book report) out to the Internet. Good thing! Now laptop won't boot so I either buy new (which I can't afford) or I get new hard drive installed and pray I can find someone who really knows how to recover data files (I'm a software specialist so I pay folks to mess with the hardware.)