You know it’s time for a new computer when you turn the thing on and it grumbles about needing another few minutes of shut-eye.
You glare at it a bit. Stomp around the office, waving your arms, making caveman noises. Hoping to scare it into activity.
It just whines at you. A loud, cacophonous, shrieking pterodactyl-like noise as it starts up and whirs to some semblance of life. It takes ages to reach a point where you can sit down to start typing, doing anything even remotely productive, and all the while it continues with the whining.
Either it’s a noisy dinosaur or a two-year-old having a temper tantrum.
My computer is a Gateway 2000. A veritable dinosaur in the modern age. It’s one of those things that I kept thinking I’d upgrade years ago. Take it apart, install new memory, give the insides a quick blast with a can of compressed air.
Then I tried opening the darned thing.
I don’t know about current Gateway cases, but the ones they used in the 2000 series are a pain to pry open. I tried numerous times and couldn’t do it. And I’ve worked with computers for years, upgraded a few, rebuilt one from scratch (which I gave to my mother as a gift one year). I looked up how-to write-ups and videos on opening this style case. No good. I even resorted to the old stick-your-tongue-out-the-corner-of-your-mouth-while-prying trick. Still, a no-go. Almost came to my playing caveman with it. You know, hoist it overhead and drop it from a towering height. (OK, maybe all of six feet with my arms above my head, maybe a bit higher if a stand on a chair.) This one just wouldn’t budge. Finally threw in the towel and got back to writing.
Wound up downloading a virus or Trojan or whatever (never figured out what exactly had happened) a few years back that blew through all my security and took it to a computer tech who runs a shop nearby. He looked at it and said, “Oh, that series. Not good. Too bad I don’t charge by the hour.” Then he brightened and added, “Wait! I do charge by the hour!” A day later, it was finished. He offered to replace the memory but didn’t have what I needed in stock. It would be sometime the next week before he’d get it in. Since I had a project due in the next few days, I took the computer and told him I was interested in the memory upgrade and would bring it back. The next week (and for three weeks afterward) no response from phone calls or e-mail, so I decided he really didn’t want my business.
So my computer continues to limp along.
When I’m on the ‘net and run across a site that is loaded with video (which means quite a few of them) or just loaded with images (pretty much all of them anymore), my computer cries, grinds to a halt, and sits there while it tries to rearrange everything in memory to download images. I could turn off the graphics in my browser and that would likely speed things up somewhat, but that also means having to turn it back on when my wife or the kids get on the computer to catch up with friends on Facebook or play the latest version of Bloon’s Tower Defense.
But this is the reason you will not see images on my blog. My computer can’t handle the truth. Errr, no, that’s not right.
My computer can’t handle images. Not too well, at least. One or two on a page, and it’s fine. Three to five, and it starts having conniption fits. More than ten and it seizes, clutching its throat and gasping for air, complaining of the vapors or some such. I just sit and count to ten—well, thirty, OK, OK, all right already, fifty—before I do something stupid like tossing the computer out the window.
I know you’re probably saying, “Darin! Just replace the computer! They’re cheap nowadays.” And you are correct. They are fairly inexpensive. But every time I even think about purchasing a new computer, something else around the house dies on us, prompting replacement cost elsewhere. Dishwasher replacement? Check. Twelve-year-old-mattress replacement? Check. New water heater replaced? Check. Ad nauseum.
But it is time to take out the dinosaur.
Maybe this weekend I’ll tell the wife, “Honey, I’m going to buy a new computer.”
To which she’ll reply, “Great. I’ll buy new shoes.”