My computer is working just fine… today.
Saturday morning, approximately two years after I ruined a computer by spilling 32 ounces of Mountain Dew on it, my computer didn’t want to work. It turned on just fine, but when I tried to actually do something with it, the dreaded blue screen appeared.
Computers have something called “safe mode,” which allows a damaged computer to operate to a limited extent. So, I spent parts of two days trying to repair what was wrong while in safe mode. I tried everything I knew how to do, including downloading “blue screen of death” repair software (fortunately, in safe mode one can go on-line), but to no avail.
Me fixing a computer is much like me trying to fix a car. I kind of know how they work, but the details elude me. If a car isn’t working well, I’m likely to buy something to pour into the gas tank, knowing full well that it probably won’t help much. Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t have a gas tank.
I know I should probably get a new computer before too long, since this one has exhibited occasional odd behavior, but with the constant evolution of technology I am not really prepared to make the decisions that need to be made, or to learn the new skills I’ll need to learn.
On Monday morning the fellow our company hires to help with such things spent three hours on the phone with me, logged-in to my computer remotely, and after much trial and error isolated the problem. It turns out to have been the anti-virus software our company uses. Somehow it got corrupted. Better the software than our management.
After “uninstalling” and “reinstalling” the anti-virus, things were back to normal.
It got me thinking. Everything that has moving parts will eventually break, and even things that don’t. When an oven or a fridge breaks, it’s such a rare thing that we just sigh and get a new one. Computers are much more fragile, it seems, and so complicated that only a handful of people really know what makes them tick.
That can also be said about people. If we get a flu shot, that’s an anti-virus too. Our brains are like hard drives, and some people have injuries or abnormalities that make them operate differently. We also run on electricity, though the amps and volts are very small. Computers don’t really have a heart, which makes us more interesting and, well, human, but also adds a vulnerability, both physically and, if we look at the heart in a romantic way, emotionally.
Today, my computer is working just fine. Thanks for asking. As for the human operating it, he’s working just fine too. So far, so good!