27 November 2006

Computer issues

I do not have a good relationship with computers, laptops especially. I got my first computer (as in one that belonged solely to me) when I went to uni for the first time. It was a secondhand PC, a huge lumpy thing that ran on Windows 98 (remember that??). It was more than slightly peculiar: it used to turn off of its own accord, would whur and hum loudly when I wasn't anywhere near it, and frequently crash, normally just after I'd finished transcribing 6 hours of Welsh data (my lecturer had a PhD in Welsh Syntax (I think), and was quite hot on using it for homework and assignments). Out it went at the end of first year, much to the thanks of my next door neighbour who had to deal with me in tears everytime it ate my homework.

Then, in second year it was decided that a laptop might be a better suggestion, if only because it would fit in the car with the cello on the trips up and down the M1 to Durham. There is a computer shop in Woking which looks incredibly dodgy, and seems to buy/sell/fixup old computers and sell them on. So of course, this would be where we decided to get my next computer... A secondhand IMB laptop was duly perchased, and for at least a few months it worked...And then, spontaneously, it went completely crazy. It forgot everything I had taught it, uninstalled all the programmes I needed for uni, and generally had a schizophrenic moment. When I phoned Dad (who can normally fix any computer problem you can name), he admitted he didn't know what I'd done to it and said that unless I had the CDs to reformat it (which of course I didn't, as I'd bought it from a dodgy shop in Woking), it would probably be worse than useless forever more.

Year three, computer three. I splashed out and bought a new laptop with some inheritance money I had received in the holidays. My lovely Dell laptop arrived with its shiney printer, and it was a joy. That is until it decided to download ServicePack 2 from Windows, at which point it promptly died. It would work but v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y and only if you were very patient could you get anything done on it. Thankfully, my dissertation was in by this point, but I still had two 5,000 word essays to write. Sigh. I got it done, switched it off and gave it up for lost until someone could look at it for me. Phil eventually looked at (bless him), reformatted it, and told me NEVER to install ServicePack 2 again. I haven't done (well, mum did, once, but will never touch the computer again!), and we got along swimmingly until just recently.

As you know, my spacebar gave up the proverbial ghost on Friday, for no real reason we could fathom. When I brought it home, P looked at it, sighed and then asked what on earth I had done to the USB ports. One of them works. The other...doesn't. Well it sort of does, but it doesn't really look like a USB port anymore. I had also bent the dongle (where do they come up with these names?) to a point that it no longer works. Hmm.

These problems were all workable-around. I borrowed a keyboard from Phil's dad, I have a hub plugged into the remaining USB port, and bought a new wireless network card. This morning I was all set up to start the essay.

One problem: whenever I typed anything, the computer minimised the screen I was working on, spoke to me in a Stephen Hawking voice, and wouldn't do anything.

Now, being a girl, I got quite upset about this. I cried, rather a lot, stamped my foot, shouted, and then set myself up on mum's computer. (I am also still not very well, I'll just remind you.) I told Phil all this and he came over at lunch time to see "what I'd done now". The funny thing is? Stephen Hawking has stopped talking to me when I type, and the internet is working again. So maybe I'm just imagining it...I've spent rather a lot of time on the Dell website, wondering if it'd be easier just to give up...

(Why can I write a blog entry really easily but it takes me about 4 hours to write 450 words of essay?)


Liz said...

Computers do their own thing. It is a well-known fact. Talking like Stephen Hawkings is one of their lesser known traits admittedly but, given the right opportunity, they will flaunt their power in your face and render you helpless, while they sit and smirk mercilessly

Anonymous said...

Crying when your pc packs up is perfectly normal IMHO! After all, it IS the end of the world - you can't get in touch with the world, so it's the end.

Anonymous said...

Huh! I don't know. First you all want the vote; now you all want to be able to work computers.


And what do you mean, you're not well?! Why didn't you tell us before so I could dole out some sympathy at our extremely long and tedious tech rehearsal?!? Eh? Eh?!?

Clare said...

Ah, I didn't think the rehearsal was THAT bad. I mean, the back of the stage still isn't lit properly, we were frequently plunged into darkness and some people (Phil) waited from 7 - 10.30 and then climbed a gantry, dropped a rope, climbed down and went home (oooh I was in the bad books!). I will expect tea and sympathy tonight in this case!!