Su Lum: Slumming
August 27, 2008
I had a bunch of e-mails and when I went to click on one from my granddaughter Riley, the cursor disappeared. I swirled the mouse, click-click-click, swirl-swirl-swirl and nothing: zip.
Few things can make my blood pressure shoot up faster than a recalcitrant computer.
Just get a grip, I advised myself, you know the drill: Turn the damned thing off, wait a few seconds, turn it back on and lo! the cursor will be alive again.
Not. When I turned the computer back on I got a message telling me to install the start-up disc. I have a closet full of manuals and discs, pawed through them for a few minutes, piled them on the bed and sent out a distress call to Sheldon Fingerman, who has been my computer supplier and fix-it man for many, many years.
That was last Wednesday night. Next morning, Sheldon arrived with his tool kit, took a long look into the computer and told me, as gently as he could, that my hard drive had crashed and he could probably not retrieve any of the data.
After trying all afternoon, his suspicions were confirmed. Everything on my hard drive was gone, baby, gone and need I even mention that none of it was backed up. Lest this happen to you, do not pass GO, back up your data!
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Things started looking up on Saturday, with the installation of a new hard drive. The one that crashed was fairly new, still under warranty, and Sheldon was able to transfer everything from the hard drive before that (which I use as a footstool) onto the new one, meaning I only lost 100 columns instead of 400 and did not, after all, lose a work-in-progress (“Life on a Leash”) about being on oxygen 24/7.
On the advice of my friend Hilary, I had sent an early version of another work-in-progress (ancient relative captured by Shawnee Indians) to my e-mail at The Aspen Times.
Still, it is such a shock and disruption, like having a major fire and all of your papers burned up but finding an uncharred box in the basement. I have lost all my e-mail addresses, which I should have, but didn’t, diligently entered into the hard copy of my address book along with the phone numbers. It’s so easy just to hit “reply,” or enter the first few letters of a name and have the address pop up on the screen.
Sheldon said he could send the hard drive to some outfit in California, which might be able to recover all the data for something over $2,000. I haven’t faced such a dilemma since (many years ago) I dropped my last birth control pill into the cat box, but I’m leaning toward not doing this (I did retrieve the pill).
Surely this is how the world will end. Not with a bang or a whimper, but by some entity taking over our computers. We have become so dependent on computers that even a little crash like mine, which I only use for writing, was a small catastrophe.