Kage Baker loathed changing computers.
She loved sitting down to a nice, clean, fast, brand new machine; whenever we updated the equipment, she spent happy days re-customizing everything. What she hated was the physical process of changing out the hardware. She said it felt like having part of her brain full of Novocaine.
Even when I set her up on a temporary machine, she fussed. Not even the Buke had all the bells and whistles that Kage was used to accessing – the desktop computer was an extension of her nervous system, so she didn’t have to think about how the buttons worked. She knew them in her fingertips. The Internet was, effectively, wired into her nervous system. Or maybe she was wired into its; I was never sure. She really did admire cyborgery …
Still, from time to time it did become necessary to upgrade equipment. Usually when something blew up – because not only was Kage allergic to changes in her environment, we were usually poor. Replacing computers depended on royalty checks, advances and tax returns. Consequently, we usually didn’t do anything like that unless the system became completely unusable.
My dear computer (and I am fond of it) has never quite recovered from its great mother board collapse. I solved the over-heating problem, and I got the system working pretty well. But in the last couple of months, it has developed an ever-growing collection of small crochets and eccentricities. It refuses to communicate with the monitor every now and then; the hard drive is humming away, but the screen stays black. More often, it refuses to close out – no longer can I hit Shut Down and confidently retire. In an hour or two, it comes out of its vampiric fugue state and turns itself back on. Then I wake to the false blue moonlight of the monitor filling the bedroom. It’s unnerving and annoying.
Alternately, it turns itself off, with no warning or symptoms. Not even a BSOD, for pity’s sake. Just a faint pop of vacating pixels and static electricity and then all the lights die. So far everything important has come back intact when I turn the computer back on, but I have lost a couple of games. Probably for the best, long term, but still not the cold-turkey way I want to break my mahjong habit …
I’ve had it. So I’ve been moving programs I want and need to the exterior drive (all Kage’s work is already there) and when a nice chunk of royalties appeared this week, I knew it was time.
I went to Fry’s, which was – as always – having diverse sales and specials. I’ve a deep fondness for HP computers, and they had a nice tower on sale. Tons of ports, a DVD drive that is blessedly horizontal (I’ve been fighting with a vertical model for 5 years) and a hilariously SF-ish terabyte of memory. My old computer had more power than the space shuttle; this one could, I suspect outdo the International Space Station. And probably several of the more rural state capitals.
There was also a nice little bonus: buy a computer tower of sufficient price, and get a late-model Canon printer for (after discounts and rebates) $10.00. Ten freaking dollars. If any of you, Dear Readers, have insider information that this wonderful deal involves a printer that is demonically possessed and will wake in the dead of night to eat my soul – just don’t tell me, all right? It’s sleek, multi-function, wireless and has cheap ink, so until and unless it goes to the dark side, please leave me in my short-sighted bliss.
Bottom line, though, I am refribbing all the framistats in my entire desktop system. So it’s unlikely I will be in touch with anyone tomorrow. These things rarely go as easily as anticipated, and I may spend most of the day under my desk. But when I return -! It will be on a fresh,new, fast system with an intact nervous system, and I won’t have to restart these blog posts three times to complete them. (Which I have had to do tonight.)
So good night, Dear Readers, good night. If all goes well, I’ll be back on Thursday. If things go miraculously well, I’ll be back tomorrow night. But I will be back!
This time I’m not waiting for the last minute.