Last week my home computer fell ill. She kept on rebooting herself. This has been strike 3 in spate of near catastrophic technical failures in my life the last few months (first was our DVD player that’s now departed and disposed off, and then it was the clutch of my car which is now repaired). With my expertise in social sciences and not in IT, my first thought was that my computer has been struck down by a virus. In my mind when ever something ominous happens to my computer it must be a virus. Luckily I have a number of friends in the IT industry and a couple of phone calls and a house call later the diagnoses was made - her power-supply was broken. In the mean time I was effectively isolated from the rest of the world: I had no E-mail, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Msn, Skype nothing. All my friends that live inside my computer was trapped there, I could not reach them and they could not reach me. A part of my existence was in a virtual coma.
Even though my real live went on as normal, being disconnected from a part of my virtual daily routine was disconcerting. Even more unsettling was the fact that I planned on fixing my computer myself, because I am stubborn and impatient. I have never attempted anything like this, and it was either going to be a success or I was going to cause irreparable damage. At work I did some basic research with the help of Google and mentally prepared myself for what I was about to attempt. I bought the power-supply and now I was ready to reconnect myself with the virtual world.
Opening up my computer can be equated to cracking someone’s chest for open heart surgery. Seeing all the exposed wires and the nerves of my pc was a frightening sight. With great care I started to remove the power supply. After I disconnected all the wires and the supply was completely detached from my pc, the awful reality of my basic error was sitting on the floor in front of me: I disconnected all the wires but did not pay attention to what I plugged and pulled out where. I panicked, if I plug in the wrong thing at the wrong place I suspected that Guy Fawkes would come early this year. So I made another call to my friend, who I was sure at this stage was getting annoyed with me. He said the cables and instillation of the power-supply was “idiot proof” and straight forward (it may be idiot proof but was it “Pierre proof”?). He asked me to explain what wires I see in front of me and with great effort and by making up a number of new words I described what I saw. His step-by-step guidance was appreciated and helpful.
Twenty minutes later I was confident that everything was plugged in correctly and I was now ready to revive my pc. With everything screwed back, plugged in and hooked up the moment of truth was imminent. I switched on my pc and with bated breath waited, listened and watched. With all my senses fixed on my pc box and monitor I am anticipating an apocalypse inside my computer. Three seconds and no flames or smoke is billowing out; eight seconds no explosion; thirty seconds and the once irksome trade mark jingle of windows confirmed that my pc was alive again. My computer was brought back from her hibernating coma and survived open heart surgery by an untrained and inexperienced technician. I was relieved, and swore to never do this again, not to myself or to my pc.
Being awakened from my virtual coma, after 4 days, my appreciation for technology has been renewed. We never know how much we rely on it and how much time we spent using it until some hardware malfunction reminds us. Without technology we would be back in the dark ages. So even though people sometimes call me when I’m in the loo, my GPS sometimes gets confused and lies to me, I frequently have to reboot my satellite television decoder and my pc sometimes break down, I am thank full to have it in my life and for the ability to accessorise my life with it.
Till next time.
Dustin Black's powerful speech after he won an Academy Award for writing "Milk."