Lum: Nasty times on the Net | AspenTimes.com

Lum: Nasty times on the Net

A few days ago, I got one of those pop-up notices that my computer backup system had failed. Due to a past fatal crash, I now have this top-of-the-line device that backs up all of my data every day at 2 o'clock in the morning, but when I clicked to "learn more," what I learned was that it hadn't backed anything up since Sept. 10.

Yikes, yikes, yikes.

I put in a call to my computer guru, Sheldon Fingerman, who came right over, tested a bunch of things and took home my backup device to test it thoroughly, saying that it seemed to be working and my computer was trying to connect with it but, for some reason, was failing to do so.

Next day, good news. The backup disc was in good shape, Sheldon came over to reinstall it and — impending bad news — left a message saying that the computer was functioning very slowly and I should do a virus scan and make sure my virus protection was up to date.

It just so happened that, right about this time, I had received an alarm message from AVG that my virus protection had expired. AVG tends to overreact but this time they were correct, as evidenced by the disappearance of the AVG icon at the bottom of my screen.

The reinstalled backup worked perfectly, the computer operated smoothly, but I took Sheldon's advice and ran the virus-clearing program Malware, which took forever, and then signed up for AVG's virus-protection services: free, but they are persistent in trying to get you to upgrade.

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This, too, took forever, and I was getting edgy because I was due to play computer bridge with my friends Jasmine and Adele (email me if you want to be a fourth and are OK about playing in the "relaxed" room) and time was running out.

The end of the AVG process was to reboot the computer and, when I did, it wouldn't come back on.

I made an SOS call to Sheldon, who came over within 15 minutes. I hasten to add that the bridge game was not mentioned and was not a factor. The upshot was that Sheldon removed my computer to take it to Kevin, the uber-computer guru in Glenwood, just as my friend Hilary arrived at the house, assessed the situation and drove back to her place to pick up her spare computer, which she installed, with perfect timing, just as the bridge game was due to begin.

We three bridge players were online chatting about the disaster when, with an audible "poof," my computer went black and my desk light went out. I grabbed my phone and (the danger of "bundling" with Comcast) the phone was out.

I have a cellphone, forced upon me by friends concerned about my welfare, which I keep charged but never use. I tried to call Jasmine to explain what was up, getting a verbal message from Verizon that I didn't have a valid account.

Hilary returned from the market just as I was perilously at the end of my rope, we called Jasmine from Hilary's cellphone, Hilary tripped circuit breakers and rigged up a Rube Goldberg tangle of wires and power strips and lo, we were connected and the game went on.

Su Lum is a longtime local who is getting a new computer and never played so ineptly. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at su@rof.net.