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Lament for a Computer

| October 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

After 30-something years of using a computer for almost everything I write, I am now, with a horribly screwed up shoulder, trying to write on an iPad.  I began my computer relationship with an Apple product, an SE.  I was teaching Basic Skills at Mission Bay High School when the department chairman came into my office with a boxy machine and said, “I want you to schedule your students using this.”  He plugged it in, turned it on, and showed me the program to use: FileMaker.  I was also to take the computer home on weekends and over the summer so it wouldn’t get stolen.  I had no choice; I taught myself how to use an Apple SE and FileMaker.  At the same time, I learned how to do bookkeeping on Filemaker and to create a versatile file of recipes.  By that time, I was addicted to the computer and to Filemaker. I bought myself both.

At this point I was a full-time real estate agent; I now had to master the Multiple Listing Service on a computer/dot matrix printer.  Within a short period of time, we real estate agents were writing contracts on a computer, which was actually easier than sticking the contract into a typewriter and struggling to create a legible, legal document!

Sadly, the real estate world ran on Microsoft and Windows.  I abandoned whatever program I was using and bought a Dell computer.  My husband is totally committed to Apple, and he refused to deal with Microsoft.  I was on my own.

Over time I had numerous crises.  The worst one was when the Dell’s hard drive crashed.  I sent it somewhere and was charged a fortune to retrieve some of my information.  My husband gave me one of his fancy Macintoshes into which we installed a Microsoft program that could run on a Mac.  During the next several years, I learned to use the Windows side of the Apple machine with Parallel and later Bootcamp.

Eventually, the Apple machine went to computer heaven and I purchased an HP.  “You’re on your own,” my husband told me.  I had been using various services to “fix” myriad issues that arose.  I paid a yearly fee for unlimited remote computer service and repair.  My husband hated being in the house listening to me rant and sob at the technician whom I could not understand.  I would describe my issue.  The information technology (I.T.) person seemed to guess what the problem was, would look up the solution to his assumption, and leave me with an unresolved problem.  

A friend referred me to a local repair shop, and I now had real service.  However, ten days ago when I went to shut my computer down, I got a message that Windows was going to upgrade my computer.  Do NOT shut your computer down; Microsoft or Windows would complete the upgrade and close down the machine.  I did not shut it down, and I went to bed.

Two days later I turned on my computer.  I had NO data!  I called my local service’s remote branch.  They took over my machine.  By the following day they had retrieved SOME of my data from the back-up system, but many of the files, they told me, had become corrupted as Windows upgraded my machine.  

I spent some time trying to figure out where my data was since the directory no longer existed.  I don’t remember what finally made the shop’s remote branch tell me to take the HP to the local shop, but I did.  After several days, they told me the computer was out of ICU and come get it.  Whatever files they had recovered were too corrupted to use, but if I went home and got the remote service to help me, we could sort out my files.  

I had my photographs and my recipes (having been re-entered after the Dell crash.  I had lost over 1000 recipes the first time.  This time I had 1074.)

I recovered about 35 days of 2019 bookkeeping but lost at least for years’ records and my records from February 2 through June of 2019.  I recovered Sentinel articles from 2019, but those from the 20 previous years were gone.  All my own copies of real estate files and log notes were gone.  Luckily the Broker has duplicate files.

I took my computer home, plugged it in, and entered my password.  Welcome appeared on the screen.  Then a small white note appeared, “You do not have access to this machine.”

My computer went back to the ICU.  It appeared to be brain dead.  The machine is intact, but its operating system, Windows, was dead.  Some data may be retrievable at a cost.  It can be transferred to a new computer for another fee.  My husband says he has never had operating system issues with his Macs.  He has had almost NO problems of any kind with them whereas I have issues constantly.   Nevertheless, I left my computer in the hospital without pulling the plug.

While my computer lay in ICU, I called Microsoft.  They transferred me to a technician.  After listening to my computer’s symptoms, Microsoft’s I.T. told me it was probably a “wireress.”  I kept asking him to spell it, but he insisted it was a “wireress.”  I asked if it had to do with being “wireless.”  Apparently, he meant it had a “virus.” 

Two weeks later, my computer is working but I do not trust it.  I don’t care if it did get sick from a “wireress.”   I am buying a Mac.  

The Garden Club will meet from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, November 20, at the Mission Hills Church of Christ at 4070 Jackdaw.  It will be the annual holiday potluck, and a local florist will demonstrate holiday designs.  There will be drawings for these arrangements.

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Category: Education, Entertainment, Life Style, Technology

About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.