Technical Difficulties – Part Two

As of my last post, Technical Difficulties, which was so long ago that it’s been archived in my mind, I had vague suspicions regarding my new smartphone‘s role in the untimely demise of my faithful Gateway laptop.  Now, circumstantial evidence is piling up and tipping the scales of justice in ugly confirmation of the Optimus V’s unrepentant guilt.  At this moment, I am writing this post into Notepad on an ancient Dell Latitude that cannot access the internet and I think my smartphone is responsible.

After the Gateway kicked the bucket, I was left with two geriatric laptops each holding one way tickets on the Worm Express to Recycle-ville and a desktop which had been subsequently promoted to the family workhorse.  The desktop is also old, but we’ve never had any issues with it beyond the occasional easily eradicated virus.  However, once my trusty laptop bought the farm, the desktop began having more serious issues.  Coincidence?  I think not.

First, it picked up some malware that would not only try to trick me into installing who-knows-what with fake virus scans and infiltration warnings, it would also not allow me to access any site on the internet but the one which “proves” that it’s a legitimate product and encourages me to purchase and install the program “for protection” as if it’s some cheesy Mafia goon running an insurance racket.  When I ignored the “warnings” for too long trying to discover the magic words to banish the malware from my hard drive, a pornographic pop-up would appear to get my attention.  Nice.  My 7 year old son uses this computer.  Thanks a lot, computer-virus-writing-jerks, that really made my day.  I had no choice but to distract the boy with the Infinite Rufio Bros. app on my phone so that I could deal with the offending code and it’s slutty web girls clarion call.  This proved to be about as difficult as Smeagol’s attempts to escape the insidious and malevolent grip of the One Ring.

Precious? Is that you?

My husband, who is no slouch in the I.T. arena, decided that the only solution was to wipe and reinstall the drive.  This means that I have to reload, reconfigure and essentially rebuild everything to my exacting specifications in order to comfortably accomplish anything at all on the desktop.   I will also have to set up my son’s profile so that he can easily get to his approved sites (Panfu, Lego, Nickelodeon, Cool Math4 Kids, etc.) without being subjected to pop-ups directing him to naked internet bimbos.  Since this process will take some time, I have been relying on my smartphone to keep up with my email and satisfy my addiction to Facebook.

Then my niece asked us to burn a couple of DVDs for her which culminated in a mysterious intermittent DVD burner failure.  Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t.  When I sent her a text explaining why it is going take a little longer than expected for her to receive the disks, I could almost hear maniacal giggling coming from my smartphone.

Most recently, my inability to write efficiently using the Swype function on my Optimus and therefore work on any posts without suffering headaches and index finger cramps was causing severe blog withdrawal symptoms (depression, D.T.s, a decrease in narcissism and megalomania, fatigue, you know the drill), so I was determined to use the desktop to update totallytawn, regardless of whether it was restored to it’s former glory.  That’s when my adorable 3 year old daughter decided that it was infinitely more important for me to sit on the couch with her and watch the new episode of Bubble Guppies than it was for me to do anything at all with the desktop in the office.  The girl is cute and difficult to disobey.  I decided to do both with the help of the Dell laptop…which somehow cannot access the internet anymore.  And is so old that it suffers from Senior Moments in which it forgets what it was doing and has to be restarted.  And is so slow that it would lose a race against molasses going uphill in winter by a wide margin.

(Insert long suffering sigh here)

As the Optimus rests innocently next to me, I can’t help but wonder two things: how did it convince the girl that she could not possibly watch Bubble Guppies without me and does it have the power to subjugate a Mac?

Technical Difficulties

It seems the Universe is speaking to me.  The transmission is generally one by one (weak and unintelligible), but the message is vaguely understandable when I adjust the squelch and dampen the static.

This past Thursday, my beloved laptop gave up the ghost.  It had been slowing down and occasionally locking up in it’s old age, but it’s processor had always been healthy and spry, especially after a nice defragmentation and cache cleaning.  As I had no advance warning of it’s death throes, I was not even permitted the closure of being present to say goodbye in it’s final moments of electronic vitality.  It simply slipped quietly into the Dirt Nap Hotel.

R.I.P.

Upon discovering my machine pushing up daisies, I did what anyone would do – after reining in my growing panic, I tried to resuscitate it.  I checked the power cord thinking it may have just come unplugged and drained the battery.  Nope, not the problem.  I held down the power button believing that could restart it.  No response.  I raced to Best Buy fervently hoping that the Geek Squad could determine whether a power cord transplant would revive my mechanized companion.  They pronounced it D.O.A.  In the span of five minutes while my back was turned, it had been reformatted by God and transformed into an expensive brick.

In a murky haze of shock and grief, I purchased a USB hard drive enclosure kit in the scant possibility that it was the laptop’s internal power supply that answered the last call and its hard drive could be salvaged.  Even this final vestige of data was denied to me.  My Gateway had passed into cow-spotted hardware heaven and been promoted to subterranean truffle inspector.

I celebrated its existence and subsequent passing into the Garden of Forever with a bottle of Bacardi Classic Mojito, but the timing of its solo flight began to bother me.  It seems more than a little suspicious that I had just finished updating Quickbooks and uploaded a backup to Dropbox a mere 12 hours before it’s final departure.  This was something that I had never done before and I would have had to reconstruct a tremendous amount of data and been forced to languish in Quickbooks Hell for perhaps another 6 months if this backup was lost.  And then there’s the addition of the new smartphone to my electronic family to consider.  Could this have been a coup?  Is my Optimus V a murderer?  I can only assume there’s an app for that.  Perhaps my trusty laptop was only able to defend Castle Quickbooks long enough for King Backup to slip past enemy lines and elude assassination.

In any case, the sudden relocation of my laptop to Tomb Town has left me at a crossroads.  I could start saving for a new laptop or perhaps a new, more powerful and less expensive desktop.  Or I could simplify my aging home network of two unused geriatric laptops, a middle aged desktop and an adolescent smartphone by simply designating the desktop as the primary family machine and using the Optimus in place of my deceased Gateway.

The fact that I have been searching for ways to simplify my life and reduce the clutter and distractions is not lost on me.  Neither is the fortuitous timing of individual circumstances which brought me to this decision.  Perhaps I am, in fact, reading the Universe loud and clear as I hesitantly start down the latter path by sending the two unused geriatric laptops to the dance floor for their last horizontal tango.  Or perhaps that’s just what my Smartphone Overlords want me to think.