When computers die

and human life comes to a screeching halt – is that a sign that we’ve become too dependent on them?

My ancient but familiar Dell started blinking and flashing ominously about two weeks ago. My brilliant husband and on-site tech support fiddled with it, defragged and scanned it (I have trouble remembering to do that), and convinced it to hang in there for a while longer. So I left on my trip to Burlington – and as soon as I got there, the blinking and flashing was back. Worse than any anime cartoon, it looked like it was intentionally trying to induce me to seize. So I did no computer anything, the whole time I was gone. A week without checking e-mail. It was dramatic. Seriously, how did I live without this thing ten years ago? Worse was the no homework thing. I am having enough trouble in my Emerging Tech class without missing days of content.

(Sidebar – to my old-fashioned way of thinking, the saddest part of the above paragraph is the use of the word “ancient” to refer to something I bought brand new in 2003.)

Got back home to the husband (yay), who did some more fiddling and playing, finally re-loaded the OS, and got it working well enough to confirm that I had everything critical backed up on my external HD. Well, almost everything. Little details like the student version of SPSS that I downloaded for my statistics class back in 2004 were lost. And my Brainiversity game. I really liked that one, too. Sigh. But the final diagnosis was that the video card was going. And apparently (who knew?) in a laptop, you can’t replace the video card. It is an integral part of the motherboard. In other words, totalled – in the car insurance sense of “more expensive to repair than it’s worth.”

Finally, on Thursday, I was able to replace it. I now have a shiny new Toshiba. The keyboard feels funny, the screen is bigger and brighter, and it runs a LOT faster. I am sort of getting used to it. Windows 7 is pretty cool, but again, different. Apparently, despite working as a full-time change agent and advocate for progress in the “real” world, in compuland I am a serious changeophobic. I miss my Dell. I knew where everything was on it.

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