Monday, February 22, 2010

Computer Woes

These days we are all so dependent upon computers, and when they crash or give us problems, one can get very frustrated. It happened to me this week, and I spent several days dealing with issues. It was doubly depressing as we had just arrived in the US from Germany and were trying to settle in to our Boulder home, and suddenly my computer crashed pretty badly. I had seen signs of it before (sometime before Christmas). The computer would freeze and then I would have to reboot. Not too bad, as I had seen that with all computers I have had (going back to the Tandy computers from Radio Shack, the first IBM computer with 16 bit hardware and two floppy disks, etc.). This time it seemed worse, although I know it isn’t as bad as it could be. After several cycles of rebooting (using safe mode, etc.), if finally stopped booting up at all, and started cycles of automatic roboot repair. Finally, I reinstalled the operating system (Windows 7 on a Sony Vaio several years old), and I was able to reinstall keeping the programs and data, but this took hours. My biggest concern was whether I would have to reformat the hard disk and install a clean copy of the operating system. That is the worst solution (and I have done this in the past; even worse is buying and installing a new hard drive; been there and done that, too). But I am tired of dealing with these issues, and they really take away from the quality of life.

I should be able to ignore this and go out and enjoy Boulder and its nature and scenery (yes we have some nice snow in the hills and a little on the street sides). But our dependency on computers is sometimes overwhelming. I couldn’t write this blog without a computer, but I have to say writing this makes me feel a little better. I couldn’t have written anything two days ago. I didn’t feel like reading the paper (I was disappointed a great deal by the Massachusetts election and that didn’t help at all).

Now some time has passed since I wrote the above lines (several weeks). In the interim I had to buy two new computers, one for Rena (planned) and another for myself, as the repairs on the three year old machine just didn’t work. The hard drive on that machine has been reformatted and now it sits in our living room as a Wikipedia/Google reference library. Installing all of the programs and setting up both computers was a lot of work, and, of course, it was a great procrastination from doing anything else that might have been remotely useful. In the meantime we have been skiing several times and have enjoyed the wonderful nature that Boulder has to offer.

I hope to write about more interesting topics than computer woes in the future. However, I do know it is a common experience for all of us out there.
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