December 17, 2002
When I was in high school, we didn’t have computers. There was one machine students could use to create punch cards, which would then be driven down the road a few miles to the community college for processing. If the program didn’t run correctly, it was a multi-day effort to make corrections and try it again. We once got to go on a field trip to see the computer; it was very large and made a picture of Snoopy out of ASCII characters. When I got to college, the computers lived in their own building, and I could punch my cards and walk them across the hall for processing. Multiple runs could be achieved within an hour– it was amazing. When I started my first real job, the computers lived in their own room, but they were only as big as a suitcase and we could actually take them out to clients with us, if we signed up for one far enough in advance, because they were very expensive and there were only a few to go around.
Now, I have a laptop that’s faster and more powerful than I could have imagined back in high school. I take it to customer sites, I take it home a lot of nights, I take it on trips. Actually, last week I got a new laptop, faster than the one I had before that. Unfortunately, this new laptop and I aren’t getting along so well right now. I lulled me into thinking it was on my side by mostly behaving itself on its first offsite visit today, but tonight when I wanted to get online and upload an entry, it refused to cooperate. When I tried the default tech support solution of rebooting, it got worse. Now, Windows XP and its horrible henchman the multi network manager are denying me access to my files entirely. It is too late in the day and I am too tired and stressed to deal with this. I don’t know what I did wrong, and I certainly don’t know how to fix it, and I’m a supposedly a computer professional. If it doesn’t make sense to me, who can figure it out? Probably any one of our nieces or nephews, I’m guessing. If I were more desperate, I’d probably call one of them. As it is, I’ll cross my fingers and think good thoughts and hope it’ll be happier once it’s back at home base and connected to the network. Then I’ll do a little research on what to do differently next time– hey, it’s job-related; the laptop belongs to Purple Systems.