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A Monkey Wrench in the Works

November 7, 2016
Posted at 9:47 am

That's the predecessor phrase of 'a bug in the computer.' But that's not what I'm talking about. I've had the dreaded computer failure. Fortunately, it was not fatal. But it's been inconvenient and expensive.

One of the misadventures I had that didn't make the cut in Seven Wonders of the World was frying my computer somewhere between Bangkok and Abu Dhabi. I'd been so pleased that the plane had power for us digital nomads and I had the right adapter in my international power kit. I plugged in to recharge about half way through the trip (it's an 8-hour flight) and caught a power surge that shut my computer down and wouldn't let me restart.

When I landed in Athens, the computer restarted, but was flaky as hell. It would randomly shut down, the touch screen no longer worked, the clock would reset itself to bizarre times, and three-quarters of the time, it wouldn't restart until it had cooled its heels for a day. Fortunately, in Athens I was so busy looking at other stuff that I couldn't be bothered to write. I did, however, go to a computer store and buy a very cheap (200 euro) computer that I could type on and managed to get all my files backed up. So, all through Europe, I carried two computers until I gave the European model to a friend in Amsterdam for his kids.

Gradually, the old computer (like six months old) began to stabilize. I remembered to save my work often and to back up regularly. But occasionally, it still randomly shuts down or some other fluke causes me to have to shut down, reset the computer, and start over. Then yesterday morning, I lost the pointer device. Touchscreen didn't work and touchpad didn't work. Restarting didn't salvage it. I managed to do a complete backup and resignedly went to Best Buy. Of course, this is the first place I've been in nearly a year where I could possibly leave the computer and not be five hundred miles away when they got around to looking at it. That also means that my warranty expired a month ago.

The Geek Squad ran a diagnostic on it and shook their heads. It was not a software problem and they wouldn't be able to tell specifically what hardware piece or pieces needed replacing until they tore it down. The net would be somewhere between $250 and $500. Well, they had a nice laptop there for $450, so I came home a poorer man. I see a lot of Ramen noodles in my diet for the next several months.

I'm still reinstalling software and getting my files transferred, but there was a big hole in my writing day yesterday. And a bigger hole in my wallet. And a bigger computer on my lap. I went from my 14" screen to a 17.6" screen. The thing is huge! It covers my lap desk where I used to be able to set my coffee cup. It has a ten-key pad. In fact, it has everything I wanted except a lighted keyboard. I was looking at one model and bought the other. But everything else is shiny.

This doesn't affect the posting of the last chapter of Seven Wonders of the World Wednesday. That was all uploaded before the story started posting. It just means that I have a backlog of words that I need to get on the page. Words. Words. Words.