Monday, June 27, 2005

Yo Quiero Computadores Nuevas

In retrospect I really shouldn't be surprised. The Monday following a very relaxed, very enjoyable week-long vacation is almost always a storm o' shit. Today proved no exception. Skipping into work this morning fifteen minutes early, I was almost taken out by the head of the Academic Department (in other more normal schools this person would probably be called a "Dean") who informed me between panicked gasps of air that she had a 'crashed' computer. 'Crashed' as in not working, nothing is salvageable and, of course, none of her data was backed up type of 'crashed.' Or at least that's what she told me. I quickly raised my eyebrows in what I hoped was a skeptical expression of.... um, skepticism. Understand this about the average computer user where I work - many of them are tech savvy enough to know their way around a computer (some, mercifully, are not, thereby ensuring my continued employment provided I play nice) but much of that knowledge comes from trial and error - emphasis on the error. For years and years the school went the cheap route when it came to purchasing hardware (think eMachines, then think "Surely he must be joking", then believe me when I tell you I'm not), and they absolutely paid the price. Machines would randomly shut down; everyday programs like Word and Excel simply wouldn't function because they (and the Windows OS) weren't installed properly; various internal hardware would inexplicably fail. In short, it was a mess. Schizophrenics were more predictable. The faculty and staff understandably freaked when these events occurred, until finally one day about a year ago, the powers that be decided enough was enough and bought new, much more reliable computers for the entire outfit (which I had a fantastic time installing, let me assure you.)

Since that time, we'd been relatively problem free aside from the standard user-induced problems (which we in the industry call "I-D-10-T" problems. ID10T. Idiot. Get it? HA!) So, when this woman almost knocked me down while screaming bloody murder, I stomped and harumphed over to her computer, turned it on and was greeted with a series of loud *clanks*. Holy Shit. Then the thing started beeping incessantly, and displayed a long list of jargonish statements which basically told me the hard drive was junk. Our new family of computers had seen it's first death... and of course it had to happen to one of the more important higher-ups in the institution. Crappity crap crap crap.
Long story long, I ended up having to drive out to Cambridge to pick up a new hard drive (the manufacturers warranty expired less than a month ago. You believe this shit?) On the way back, I stopped at Taco Bell for lunch and indulged in one of their new "Crunchwrap Supreme" combo meals. Oof. Let's just say I was hurrying back to work afterwards, OK?

(Side story time. Ignore the fact that I actually ate at a Taco Bell for the moment. What ever happened to the Taco Bell chihuahua dog? He's no longer alive, it would seem... or maybe he's retired. I once read that the dog was actually a bitch called Gidget (I've always wanted to use the word "bitch" in it's proper context. Now you've just seen my excuse to do so), but anyway I liked the thing. Call me crazy. He(she) almost even proved inspiration enough for me and one of my old roommates to get a chihuahua ourselves which we were going to name "Joaquin." You see, back in those days he and I used to love to drink copious amounts of tequila and watch football. Often, when there was no game on, we'd watch a movie instead. One night, we threw on 'The Mask of Zorro' which had a scene at the beginning where two kids were snooping around and trying to escape from someone so they hid in a merchants wagon. However, in order to see who was coming near they had to cut holes in the side to look out. The merchant caught them and, rather confused asked, "Alejandro? Joaquin? Why are you cutting holes in my wagon?" Doesn't seem like much now, but at the time it was the funniest thing we'd heard in months, although I still can't tell you why. We went around quoting it for weeks afterwards, and when my roommate decided he wanted to get a chihuahua the logical thing to do was to name it either Alejandro or Joaquin. Joaquin won out because it sounds better. Common sense intervened thankfully, and we soon realized that two men living together and owning a chihuahua would seem a bit... um, suspect. We also decided to keep the tequila consumption to football games only. Moving on.)

Eventually, I was able to get the bigwig's computer up into some sort of working order, but much of her data and old documents were indeed gone. Thankfully, she did a good job of backing up the real important stuff and it wasn't a total loss. Still, it made my day one of playing therapist on a bad stomach (people who have just suffered an irrecoverable computer crash ABSOLUTELY need consoling, as irritating as that sounds) while throwing all my normal duties to one side to get a single computer back up and running. Lesson to be learned? Back da shit up, yo. Never know when the thing's going to die on you.

P.S. As the afternoon progressed and I needed a break, I went back to my office to check my e-mail and ended up entertaining myself with
this little gem. (If you have trouble with the link, right click on it and choose "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" to download) See? It's not all bad when things break.


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