Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ghosts in the machines

The last ten days have been my worst-ever struggles with technology. My new computer had a catastrophic failure, as I mentioned several days ago. Turns out that one of the RAM modules went bad, which was causing all sorts of random, sudden crashes. Then either that or the extensive testing of them that I did to diagnose the problem caused the operating system to get corrupted, leading to inability to perform basic tasks (like access the Internet), even when the crashes had mostly ceased. A couple of days in the repair shop and about $250 later and I'm back in business. Nearly everything is working again. Now my main problem is mess and disorganization. The repair place did a partial data backup and restoration, then I had Carbonite send me my data back. That led to a bunch of duplication and confusion, especially since Carbonite stores and retrieves even stuff that I deleted weeks and even months ago. The hard drive is just a big mess now, making it hard to find stuff. But at least things are operational. I haven't played any online poker for these ten days now. I'll try it in a day or two to be sure that's all still working normally, too. I haven't specifically looked for my "casino photos" folder, but I'm confident that it's lurking in there somewhere. Sometime in the next few days I'll locate it and restart some GTC posts.

I did lose about ten days of emails in the process--those that came in while things were haywire. It was my fault, because of how I reunited the email software with its previous cache of old messages. If you sent me something important and didn't get a reply, that's the reason. I think, though, that I managed to process all of the blog comments that came in via the Blogger dashboard.

In the meantime, I had resurrected my old computer to use temporarily as a backup, and it started to fail in strange ways, too--first refusing to play any audio files, then refusing to connect to any network. It is rapidly becoming useful only as a doorstop. I don't know what's wrong with it, but it's really not worth spending time or money investigating at this point.

To add insult to injury, last night my microwave oven suddenly went kaput. I wasn't even doing anything with it. I just glanced up at it to see what time it was, and noticed the display flashing 88:88. I tried the controls, and they were all unresponsive. Tried unplugging it for a while, but that did no good. I think I only paid about $60 for it when I moved here, but I'd still expect more than five years of life from it. I'm sure it would cost more to fix it than it would to buy a new one, so it will now just get thrown onto a landfill somewhere.

I tell you, there's a scary revolt against the establishment going on, and I'm not talking about Cairo.


NT said...

It just occurred to me that perhaps your problems derive from spiking power surges. They can mess up computers and indeed any appliance that is left plugged in (like a microwave or a refrigerator).

It might be worth investing in a power strip with a good built-in surge protector for your at-risk electronics.

Memphis MOJO said...

NT is probably right. I wouldn't mess with a power strip for the microwave, not worth it. But is definitely a good idea for your computer. If you want to splurge, for $50 or $60 you can buy a backup battery gizmo that kicks in when there's a power blip. It protects your computer and gives you time to shut down properly (usually 20 to 30 minutes).

Alex said...

Were you happy with restoring using Carbonite? I've backed up using it for a couple years and so far, fortunately, I've never needed to restore. Since I've never really used their service there is the niggling worry that I'm wasting my money with them. Did it actually work reasonably well?

Rakewell said...