Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A computer is just a computer

(to be read while listening to the soothing sounds of this.)

It's still the same old story.... You develop some excellent habits as far as backing up your computer goes; and you maintain them, and you might even have recently backed up the most important documents and files on which you're working. But even so, when your laptop, bought in November 2005, suddenly develops an electrical fault and starts fusing whatever power supply you plug into it (I told the ArtsIT man about this and he still plugged in his own cord and fused that too), and you are told, after two weeks, that it's going to cost $1660 to repair, while a bright shiny new one is listed at $1749), what are you going to do? You're going to hold your tongue, and get ready to go through all the hoops again: working out which computer to get (and which colour: black or white?) and wait for Arts IT to upload all the relevant software, because our School can no longer afford our own LITE person and the wonderful Damian has now left to work on an amazing-sounding ornithological project with his wife.

Then you're going to see if they can retrieve any of the files from your old computer, and then if you're as bad at this as I am, you're going to start to build your email address book again, one by one. You're going to make some excellent resolutions about storing emails on the clumsy server, rather than on Eudora; and you're going to spend hours customising your music, photos, emails and files (and hope like crazy they can save your son's unfinished Lego animations: yeah, he thinks they're all technically imperfect, but you think they're great).

And then maybe three weeks after your battery ominously stopped re-charging, you might be back at work.

So, it could be a lot worse: but it is still very irritating, just when I feel ready really to start writing again. I'm currently working on Joel's computer in Paul's study (and nursing a sore throat, too, just to make everything really lovely).

I used to develop a kind of sympathetic affection for my computer: I don't think I feel that any more. Partly because when they break down they just seem to give up the ghost completely: they don't even want to get better when I'm doing all I can to keep myself healthy. Partly because, if I think about it, a fair amount of my work does take place on the server (as email correspondence), or is stored on the ARC Network's Confluence site, or is stored on my collaborators' computers. Or, since I truly have not been too bad about this, book and essay drafts are mostly filed away and duplicated on little memory sticks.

Still, the fundamental things apply.... back up NOW!

Update: The word is that Apple is about to make an announcement about a new range next week, so that it's probably worth waiting till then (and even the additional time it will take to order and load up with the stuff). Apparently the current 13" Powerbooks that I was tossing up between (black or white) have very shiny glass screens that are great if you want to watch movies, but irritating if you want to write books. Wonder if the new range will give us some options here. In the meantime, back to Joel's computer...

3 comments:

Pavlov's Cat said...

1) How smug am I, that I've just come home from shopping with 10 new blank CDs? (Reality check: they're blank.)

2) Betadine throat gargle. Get the ready-to-use variety. I have stopped at least ten URTIs in their tracks with this stuff over the last two or three years.

3) Have they told you yet that the black one costs an extra few hundred bucks? No mention of that on the website! The answer to 'why?' is apparently 'because they can'.

We probably double up address-wise on at least a dozen people, so email me if you'd like me to send you anyone's details. ('I CAN HAS ADRESEZ?')

Rick said...

I once thought of being a computer science major before diving head long in to English, but a semester working at my university's computer lab fully cured me of any residual desires to work in computers. This was in the day of floppy disks, and I saw so many go bad on a daily basis that I have not used a floppy since that day.

As it is, I'm a bit crazy about backups. I have an external drive with automatic backups scheduled for my mac, CD back up, and memory stick. Overdoing it? Perhaps. Worth it? Absolutely.

Good luck with sorting this out Stephanie. While the black's much nicer looking of a laptop, it's only marginally better than the white.

WhatLadder said...

Dude, gmail is your friend. Google stores all your info, and you never have to delete an email ever again. Plus, you can link your gmail account to your blogger account.

I have been drooling over the new desktop range since yesterday morning. So that's my birthday and Christmas presents sorted.