Last Tuesday my computer seized up and died. The young man at our local computer shop, Streetwise, was confident he’d be able to fix it, just a soft wear problem he said, but as the days passed the story developed first from a soft wear problem to one of irretrievable decay.
We bought a new computer and the Streetwise fellow offered – for a price – to install my old data, which we had saved onto a backup disk, as all sensible people do. The Streetwise chap had hoped to be able to save it from the original damaged hard drive but no such luck.
Then the back up drive only coughed up data to 2011, the rest is not there. A problem with the way the back up disk was connected to our computer via Time Zone or some such guff. And so we needed to take the damaged hard drive to a fellow in St Kilda Road who retrieves lost data, again for a price.
He’s confident, this second fellow tells me, that he can retrieve my data. For $440.00 economy, it will take approximately ten days; for $900 priority, he'll need four to five days, or for emergency, he can retrieve it all in one to two days for $1200.00. Despite my desire to have my data back now, right now, I opted for economy. I can wait.
But to wait, when it feels as though half of my life is on ice. I exaggerate, but this business of losing my data has unhinged me.
Strange dreams in which I move house with two of my children as youngsters and the place, filled with many rooms – a mansion of a place – is chaotic. No matter how hard I try to tidy, the kids drag toys out from everywhere and I cannot get my house into order.
A new computer is one thing, a fun thing you might say, but for me it’s cruel the time it has taken to get my new computer running and all of this dependency on the genius of my children, who are au fait with the lingo and all things computers, is debilitating.
I bought an IMAC but did not realise I needed Microsoft office until I made another visit to Streetwise. Until then almost nothing would run, and then another visit later, this time to Office Works because Streetwise had closed by then, to get a new separate disc drive because the newest computers are slim and lighter to carry than their predecessors and in line with the view that one day soon DVDs will disappear altogether as Videos did before them, the new computers no longer have the capacity to insert discs.
I sound like a luddite or an ancient person who cannot bear change.
I had resisted up grading my computer for this reason. My computer was eight years old, they tell me, a good long life for a hard drive.
It seems computers do not live as long as pets. Hard drives are destined to fail sooner or later, they tell me. Human error and the limitations of all things mechanical.
Inbuilt redundancy, I reckon. It enrages me and adds to the stockpile of junk, unless we can recycle. And all this new stuff to learn again.
But then I tell myself, it’s character building, the re-learning that is, not the accumulation of junk.