Sunday, November 20, 2005

Terminal Trouble

I have been terribly quiet this week. Mainly because at last I have my old computer back, so I have been catching up on some workstuff. In theory I work two days a weeks as a freelance editor while sprogs are all at school/nursery. This is a newish arrangement as no4 has been going to nursery for two full days this term. Prior to this I had a wonderful nanny, who could be on hand in the event of puking fests et al. The biggest downside of losing her is that when the children are ill my work days go for a burton. I think so far this term I have lost about ten days to children being sick (inconveniently they tend to take it terms, so whatever bug is going round stays with us for DAYS), one day because of an inset day, a week thanks to half term, and with the collapse of my computer, three weeks of being unable to work at ALL.
It's my own fault really. Our computer is positively ancient by computer standards - it 's six years old and was running onWindows 98. I knew it was in trouble as it was so slow to start up, but being as a) I never have any time to sort stuff like that out and b) Spouse is the most untechie husband in the universe, I just never got round to doing anything about it. So ostrich-like I ignored the terminal decline of my terminal until the fatal day when AOL told me that the version I was running was so outmoded as to be laughable. In fact it was so outmoded they were no longer supporting it, so a spanking new CD for AOL9 was about to arrive in the post.
The CD duly came, I duly loaded it (but the battiness of my machine ensured this operation took several centuries), and hey presto! I was about to leap eons into the future in internet terms. Except that I couldn't. Because the damned thing didn't work. So now I couldn't get any internet access at all.(And as a selfconfessed email junkie this is seriously bad news) Very techie mate came round to play with the machine and pronounced it practically braindead by computer terms. So it was time to stop being an ostrich and face facts. My failing machine needed urgent attention, so it was time for a trip to the computer hospital - a tiny little outfit round the corner, recommended by aforementioned techie mate.
I left the computer with a rather vacant looking girl, who said she would get the computer guru to look at it and he would call me in a couple of days.She seemed so dozy I didn't hold much hope for this, but figured that as it was half term and I wasn't going to get anything done anyway, I could survive for a while.
There followed a deafening silence. As I was busy dealing with German guests I didn't pursue it terribly hard, but did get our new laptop up and running, so I could at least email people to say, sorry I can't do any work for a bit. But when a week had elapsed ( I find weeks elapse with an alarming speed these days, leaving behind a terrifying trail of Things Not Done, on my To Do list), I went into the shop where the guru swore blind that he'd tried to call but couldn't get through.. Call me Cynical Sal, but somehow I didn't believe him...
Anyhow, he then offered me a deal with a brand new Dell, which sounded good to me, till I got home and Spouse told me that it didn't possess nearly enough Gigabytes to be anywhere near useful, and why hadn't I got a proper spec out of him. (Amazing the way his interest in technology rears its head when he thinks his money is being spent unwisely...). Forebearing to say I wouldn't have had a clue what aforesaid spec meant anyway, I went back to plan A. Namely, I wanted my terminally challenged terminal, to be reconfigured, remade, and rebooted till it was slick, sleek and speedy - a thing of joy to behold forever...
Hokey Dokey says my friend. It will be done on Monday.
By now I am two weeks behind on my work. I have people sending plaintive emails asking when they are going to hear from me. And I can't do a thing about it, because I have belatedly realised that my superdooper swanky laptop doesn't have Word on it. So I can't actually do any work at all, even if I had backed up stuff properly. Which ahem, I haven't. I know. I know. This is another feature of my too busy life. It's something I'm always meaning to do... Oh for the joys of office life and techie support..
I do have the most important stuff on disks, but having never been able to get my zip drive to work properly, the majority of my files were worryingly trapped in the motherboard of my sick computer. I had requested three times that everything in My Documents should be transferred to the upgraded machine, but was terrified it would all go. And I am so behind int the technology stakes. I don' t possess a memory stick either (the original machine only having one USB port which I needed for my printer). Which all goes to show that I should have embraced our Throwaway Culture much sooner, but it just goes against the grain to me to get rid of something which is only six years old. I know that makes it practically neanderthal in computer terms, but still....
Anyway it got to Monday and nothing had happened. I rang computer guru, who told me the parts hadn't arrived. Two days later, he was going to start on it tomorrow. Tomorrow arrived (Thursday) and he was still waiting for parts. But it was going to be done on Saturday -honest.
By now I was tearing my hair out - My Computer's At The Menders And I Am So Technically Illiterate I haven't Got Anything Backed Up, starts to wear thin after a while. I already fret about being unemployable - but if I can't even manage to hold onto my freelance stuff then where would I be?(Looking at the prospect of fulltime motherhood and housewifery - a thought too ghastly to contemplate...) I did have a hissy fit at the guru's sidekick, so come Saturday I was actually graced with a phone call to say that his van had broken down on the M1 and he couldn't mend the computer today, but it would be finished by Monday for defiinte.
Monday morning came and I hadn't heard anything, so I rang up and was told it would be ready in the afternoon. Salivating at the prospect, I waited till after I'd picked the sprogs up from school,and then went into the shop to see how he was getting on. It'll ready by the latest in the morning, he says, in tones of a reasonable adult dealing with a fractious child (I know those tones well, I usually employ them on no 2)...
To my surprise it actually was ready the next day. (I had begun to believe I was having some kind of hallucination, that once in the dim and distant past I had had a computer that actually worked...) So in a lather of excitment, I got it home, set it all up, turned it on and got.... lines on the screen. I rang my little friend up, and it turns out our monitor is too old, too small and too damned poxy to cope with Windows XP. My guru mate offered to give me a monitor for a tenner, and that did the trick.
So now I have a spanky new machine, am all interneted up (I even successfully sorted us out with broadband), and have started to play catch up on all the work I've been missing.
The only trouble is. I now have several documents which I created on the laptop, which I need, but can't transfer to thismachine, and I still haven't bought my memory stick yet..
But on the upside, the guru didn't lose anything - at least I don't think he has...

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