Douglas Adams Was Right
For the past several weeks, I’ve suffered computer meltdown — and I do mean I, personally, suffered from it. Seemed to do everything I could to not go with the flow (except bile, which ran freely through my system). Even my incredible Standard Poodle, Harlee, tuned in to my angst with a vengeance. By Saturday night, we were both howling at the moon most of the night.
What started as a bit of quirkiness grew into anarchy by my home devices. The iMac, recently upgraded to Mountain Lion, apparently decided it didn’t “do” wifi anymore, certainly not with the old D-Link router. If it stood its ground and absolutely refused to allow me internet access, or to network with the other computers in the house, I would have wrapped it up and taken it directly to the Computer Hospital.
It preferred to toy with me, like the cat it is. It would work “sometimes” for a few minutes; occasionally it did this when I first turned it on during the day. Then, obviously it was bored and checked out. The intermittent aspect drove me nuts. It loved to pretend we were buddies again, let me get into something important, and then — nothing. Pleading and threats were about as effective as you might expect.
The iMac also figured it had nothing in common with our five-year-old HP printer, either. Refused to acknowledge that a driver even existed that would allow them to work together. Nope. No way. I couldn’t check for updates, because — wait for it — guess who was not able to get online . . . ?
The Windows 7 laptop got in on the act. It, too, refused to communicate with the Mac. It did pretend it liked the printer, and spit out test page after test page when asked, but nothing else. So, if I needed eighteen original test pages, it would be happy to accommodate me.
As someone who straddles two worlds, Apple and Microsoft, I’m continuously pulled off balance. Documents created or updated on the Mac refuse to hold formatting when exported to Word. Spreadsheets designed for XLS will not open properly on the Mac unless uploaded or created on the laptop first, saved in DropBox, or (when it works) pulled from one to the other via the in-house network/wifi.
My husband’s old XP desktop was still functioning, probably best of anything, until we got our tech-person out; he fixed a lot, but put a password onto Len’s computer, which threw him out of whack.
It seems that my iMac has a faulty wifi card, which needs to be replaced — when I’ll have the “right time” to do it is a mystery. The D-Link fought a good fight, but had to be retired; failing eye-wire-circuit coordination gets to the best of them. The new router, a spiffy Air Express (I think) is sleek, and capable — but, in exquisite irony — can only function well right now to deal with wifi when it’s actually plugged in to the Mac. Um, a hard-wired wifi; I’m sure someone’s made a fortune on a joke about this already.
The laptop also seems to be answering to a higher authority than me — or Mr. Tech Man. He finally took it away with him to find out who’s the boss, telling it to ignore what it needs to do, and stop doing what it shouldn’t — like spitting out test pages.
Only the iPad behaved itself, relatively speaking, during this time. It opened most of the email (but not all of it); let me get into the internet much of the time, as the only sane device around here that at least thought it was supposed to be able to use the wifi system to do it. If only it could have accessed some of the material I desperately needed from the Mac. If it knew how to do that, it decided not to upset the Big Mac, so played dumb.
For the better part of these three weeks or so, I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to get into my documents to deal with crazy deadlines for the Muse Online Writers Conference next month, the next issue of Apollo’s Lyre, posts for this blog, and material pertaining to my car accident from almost two years ago. Time is running out on all of them. In order to use them, they have to be converted to Word or XLS, pulled into the laptop, and handled from there.
I’ve tried to see the humor in all of this, at least today, now that I’ve been able to get most of what I needed for the car accident paperwork at least. I can see a good country music song tangled in the lyrics, or the sixth volume in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy — imagine Arthur Dent, waking up one Thursday morning, knowing he hates Thursdays because everything goes wonky those days. Imagine he opens his front door and Deep Thought, the infamous computer, burps at him. Take it from there into absurdity.
So, Douglas Adams was right when he said, back around 1978, that the Earth is a giant computer, and white mice run experiments on humans all the time. If you don’t believe this, then give me a better explanation of the behavior exhibited around my house lately. No prissy ideas about hardware and software. No, I want you to get to the heart of this thing.
And write about it in verse, any form you choose. (Hey, gang, what’s crazier than Limericks to deal with the absurd?)