Friday, June 06, 2008
You hear about bad computers happening to good people, but until you have been there it’s hard to sympathize. We have been through a few computer crashes in our day, but none more catastrophic than the one that came a knocking this week.
We had ordered a new laptop to replace my road-weary Dell. After years of being on the road, the sand, dust, heat, cold and some amazing flirtations with bashing and banging have taken its toll and I have been holding my breath that it would last until we could afford a new one. Once we knew my parents were heading this way we scrambled and saving our pennies ordered a brand new shiny Dell XPS.
I can't praise my old Dell enough though, it has traveled in my backpack through 37 of our United States and on to Lebanon, Germany, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Greece, Turkey, Iran Iraq and through some of the roughest terrain in Asia Minor. It has served me well, but its inability to handle my growing files and its slow and aging processor had me looking to upgrade and holding my breath that it would keep processing until I could replace it.
My parents hand delivered a shiny new one in April. While all the new features were cool and its 320GB of space gave me a new found freedom, I missed my old computer's small shape, the solid feel of its heft, and the tiny keyboard with the cracked frame where I have tapped out hundreds of thousands of words.
The familiar crack, the result of being not too well balanced on a rock while trying to upload a column from the Iranian border via sat-phone, was a way-point that kept my palms in the perfect orientation to expound ...a little Norah Jones, a scalding glass of çay, our balcony, a pile of books and maps along with my old Moleskine diary open to our latest adventures and life was good.
I had just completed the transfer of thousands of pictures, hundreds of musings and all the stuff that I need to bring our wanderings to you in print when I finally put away the old, and embraced the new. My shiny new XPS now sat on the shelf next to my bed, but I kept my old Dell just below it, unplugged and for all intents just sitting there waiting to be passed down through the crew.
I waited a few months to see if the new XPS was working as it should before I wiped my old Dell clean and passed it off to the kids. Last week I felt that I had finally made the transition and the swap was complete.
Tuesday morning when I started work and turned on my shiny new XPS-- I got nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. Just an error code that Dell said was a complete HD failure. There was nothing they could do...the HD in the new shiny XPS was “irretrievable” and a total loss. In fact, once I passed the error code on to the Dell tech, he said it was the worst possible scenario. They quickly dispatched a new HD to some friends who are heading our way and were confident that they could restore the shiny new XPS to top notch condition, but all my files were lost.
Feeling a little guilty, I picked up my old Dell a few days ago and turned it on, it took its usual 8 minutes to fully boot up, I reactivated my E-mail settings and had to enter all my passwords by key instead of the cool fingerprint reader on the shiny new XPS, but it came back to life and we picked up where we left off.
Once the new HD arrives I will swap it out and get it all working, but it won't be used by me. I will pass the shiny new XPS off to Ann, whose old laptop only has half a screen and I will stay in the Stone Age with an old friend. Mercy is a big deal in life, I am glad my flirtations with something faster, cleaner and newer have been forgiven. The crack under my palms is reassuring and it is good to be back to work with my little laptop and its quirky ways.