Saturday, March 01, 2008

Computers Are Weird

I should give up on trying to understand computers. After spending Friday morning happily (if somewhat frantically) slaving away at perfecting Chapter 1 (since the first and last chapters of a dissertation generally get whipped into shape last), my advisor indicated that the weekend would be a fine time for me to stuff chapters under her office door, as she'll be in there freezing anyway--I suppose scanning more images for next week's classes. I went off to look things over over lunch and prepared many more revisions.
Settling in at my carrel to continue work, I was confronted with the laptop refusing to finish booting. The hard drive was very active, but I had no clue what it was up to. Ctrl-Alt-Del had no effect. Neither, it seemed, did hitting the off switch. I had never heard of such a thing--manually shutting off a computer is always supposed to work, isn't it? After ten or fifteen minutes of this, I opted to unplug the laptop and let it run down the battery. After about an hour, during which I leafed through several library books and decided they could be returned, the laptop shut down in a very slow version of the normal shutdown.
I let it sit for another ten minutes or so, then plugged it in and started it up. Since all of this just seemed strange beyond words, I decided to do a full antivirus scan.
This kept the laptop busy until 6:00. I was astonished to see that the screen looked perfectly normal the whole time, and wanted to know why it had to be all dim and blurry when I was working but vibrantly clear while the antivirus program was running and I was reading library books and editing on paper.
No viruses were detected.
The screen has been beautiful ever since (although it might, of course, die as soon as I write this). I thought we had a hardware problem here, not a software issue. Are we simply dealing with some sort of divine joke?
Ah well, I will continue to work until 3:00, when we have a gamelan rehearsal in preparation for tonight's concert in the neighboring metropolis of Greensburg. With luck, I will not be the embarrassment of the ensemble.

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Blogger Kristen said...

Gosh I hope you have multiple backups! It doesn't sound good for ye old laptop...

Good luck tonight. I'm sure you will be far from "the embarassment" of the group!

March 01, 2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Crimey! That's a nail biting post till the end. Can you retire that laptop until the chapters are all in?

March 01, 2008 11:42 PM  
Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Laptops are buggier. I don't know why.

March 05, 2008 2:43 AM  

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