It sounds like a jock strap or bra for geeks. Support your Tech! There is nothing worse than a sagging or unprotected Tech, is there? If you can’t be a Tech, be a tech supporter!
Like most folks living in our modern age, I had to confront the dreaded bane of our existence: computer failure.
The cavemen had to worry about their flint not sparking a fire.
Fire Support: Hello, this is fire support. My name is Bob. What is your problem?
Of course, “Bob” sounds like he is in India. I just saw a quip in the latest Reader’s Digest attributed to Jimmy Fallon . . . “I read about a new 24-hour day care that’s opening in India. Yeah, it’s pretty cute: instead of playing telephone, the kids just play tech support.” Pretty freaking funny until you actually have to translate one of them. But I digress.
Caveman: I can’t light a fire with my flint.
Fire Support: Have you tried turning it off and then back on? (Because that usually works!)
Caveman: Of course I did. (As he turns it off and back on while having this conversation since he didn’t actually try that.) It still doesn’t work.
Fire Support: Well what operating system are you using?
Caveman: Flint XP.
Fire Support: Have you thought about upgrading to Flint Vista? Or Flint 7?
Caveman: Uh, no. This was working just fine yesterday. I just want to keep using this one.
Fire Support: Well, I can reset it back to the factory condition, but you will lose all the data on your previous fires.
You get the point. We’ve heard it all before.
To make a long story short (too late!) my hard drive died the day after I got back from vacation. Just died. It worked the night I got home. It was dead the next morning. No prolonged illness. No stay in a nursing home. No ventilator. No suicide note. Just death.
Well, I couldn’t live without my computer (think freezing cold caveman unable to light his fire) so I bought another one. The computer repairman told me he could just put a new hard drive in the old one–for $400. Might as well buy a new computer. Besides, when I asked him if maybe something was wrong with the computer that caused the hard drive failure, he just shrugged.
He says that hard drives do that these days. They aren’t built to last. Tech companies aren’t stupid. If they sell you a hard drive that lasts ten years, you’re only going to buy one hard drive in ten years. If they sell you a cheap-ass product that fizzles in two years for the same price, they sell you FIVE cheap-assed products in ten years for five times the profit. Brilliant! And I digressed again!
So after using my new computer for about three weeks, I ran into a problem.
My flint don’t make fire.
Actually, after the computer went into sleep mode, when it came back on there was just the desktop picture. Nothing else. No icons. No task bar. I got me a cursor to jiggle around across the purty pitcher, but I can’t run a damned program. CTRL-ALT-DEL gets me a blank screen. Black. Even worse than no picture. At least I could look at the pretty picture and imagine some beach . . . somewhere.
I have Norton Security (although it reminds me of Ralph Kramden’s neighbor on The Honeymooner’s every time I see that.) “Nah-ton!” Did I catch a virus? I didn’t notice any sniffles. Or that the computer was running a fever. My God, it might die again!
Now I could turn the power off and restart and it would work fine–until it went to sleep mode. Pretty picture. No freaking useful icons anywhere in the background. I could right-click and try to select properties . . . but nothing happened. Pretty picture. Mocking me. I think my computer is possessed. Do I call an exorcist or tech support?
So in desperation, I called TECH SUPPORT. I bought the computer from Best Buy (ain’t that a bit ironic right there!) so I called the Geek squad. Damned, but that’s some more funny stuff right there.
Yes, I have rebooted. I have to, you twigging idiot. Didn’t I just tell you that?
It doesn’t sound like a virus, he tells me. I don’t know where he got his medical degree from, but if this baby dies, I’m suing you for malpractice.
We, or rather me with the pretty useless picture for a computer tried ALT-TAB. ALT TAB? Isn’t that like a diet drink or something? Not the hell sure what that would do, but it didn’t work. He said to keep pressing the TAB key. I felt like the moron standing at an elevator and repeatedly pressing the button as though that will make the car come faster. He was probably on the other end LOL-ing with his geek friends about the idiot he had on the phone. I got a little suspicious when he got to the part about me standing on my head and using my toes to type in the pass code.
Finally, he settled on a solution. Turn off the sleep mode. He then went on this long dissertation about how desktops don’t need sleep mode and that it was designed for laptops to conserve battery power. So just why do they put it on desktops? Is it the same reason they put Braille on the key pads of drive thru ATM machines? Won’t my hard drive die even faster if it never sleeps?
If that didn’t work, I could always bring it in for him to look at, but I’m thinking if he can’t help me over the phone, just what exactly is he going to do looking at it.
“That’s a damned fine desktop picture you got there.”
“Why thank you. I pixeled it myself.”
But I was desperate. I did not want my computer to die. I turned off the sleep mode.
Then we’re back to pretty picture with no god damned icons anywhere. ANYWHERE! Not even one. Come on Microsoft and throw me a freaking bone here!
I should have called the exorcist. If it starts spewing pea soup at me, so help me God I’m gonna call a priest. Or Ghostbusters.
But then I realized a couple of things as I desperately played with this stupid picture and tried to figure out how to get the icons back. If I went to CTRL-ALT-DEL, even though it was a blank screen, if I used the down arrows (as if I was selecting one of the options such as restart or to start task manager) and hit enter, I could restart the computer. It was working. I just couldn’t see it.
I think the same thing was happening when I right-clicked the pretty picture and nothing appeared to happen. Somehow, someway, my computer was hidden behind this bucolic scene.
At one point, I noted on the right-click an option for HP Magic Canvas. I don’t know what that is. It was an icon on the desktop, but I had never had any reason to click it before.
I needed me some magic now. So I selected it.
Lo and behold, I get an error message that I can see telling me that Magic Canvas can’t be used when the screen is in extended mode.
Extended Mode? Holy Tech Speak, Batman! Instead of pie ala mode, I got me pi extended mode? What in the name of God is this?
So I googled it. After some quick researching, rebooting my computer, and then finding the right place in the Control Panel, I discovered that my system had magically been switched into a two monitor (I only have one!) mode, and when I unclicked the box and saved the change, I haven’t had a problem since.
I bet the kids in India could have told me that.