08 February 2009

Tough Old Bird

I use the term affectionately... the cat that I grew up with gained that title when she was around 12 years old from what I recall. The ball hip joint bone had been shattered in her back leg as a kitten just before we got her, and no one had noticed because she had been hiding. When she got used to our house and we noticed her limping, we took her to the vet. They had told us that she would run okay, but never be much of a jumper. Yet she learned to jump straight to the top of the fireplace mantle, 5 feet off the floor. She climbed trees (with no front claws), and hunted down prey just like any other great furry tailed hunter. She used to go out and beat up the tom cats that ventured into our yard... And when she was diagnosed with kidney disease and we were told she wouldn't live long...well, that's when she became "tough old bird", as she stayed with us for another 4 years or so...

Well, this time around I am using it to describe my computer. We first moved to this house in the middle of nowhere 15+ months ago. We had to hook up the computers to DSL for the first time in 8 years, and I forgot how electricity travels through the phone line.... Well, one big storm, and we had a surge come through the house, and everything attached to just that one phone jack was tweaked. The phone company denied that it could possibly be their fault. The phone company replaced their modem that was fried, the satellite company replaced the satellite box whose modem was fried, but my poor computer that was attached to the DSL modem at the time just kept chugging along in it's tweaked little manner.

A year later it was still limping along, until one day it just couldn't quite get started. It tried... it would start to get stuff running, and then it would just fall into a crumpled pile. We replaced the motherboard...which showed scorch marks where the cat 5 cable connected it to the internet... (but the phone company could't possibly be responsible -said dripping with sarcasm).

And it was back, the computer was back up and running, but seemed crippled. I put it up to the cheap motherboard I had to use because of finances at the time. And I got used to my poor crippled computer limping its way around...and then it happened again.

Last week, I said good night to my computer one night and came back to it the next morning and it wouldn't start up. I was reliving the painful experience. It tried to start, but it couldn't quite make it. And there it was in a crumpled pile of electronics on the floor. It was pitiful to look at. It sat there whimpering at its own failure.

We had suspected this would happen. The processor took the electric surge hit also, but had seemed to be working fine. It had been a tough old bird. It kept going long after it should have laid down and given up.

Knowing it might happen does not really prepare you for it. It is like losing a close friend, a long time pet.... I mourn the loss of my computer. We built it 6 years ago. We used some of the newest technology at that time. We joked that it was so fast that it could almost keep up with me. ALMOST... computers are just not as good as the human brain. I have still never met a computer that can keep up with my multi tasking and speed. but it was a great computer, and I accomplished so much on it.

I could simply replace the processor, but it has been six years. Technology has moved on, and my top of the line stuff is now third generation. It is time to build a new computer. Of course I can rescue the hard drive with all the information (most of it was backed up anyways), but that doesn't bring back my computer. The spark of life that was its personality, that just seemed to adapt to me. (Yeah, I know, that was probably me adapting to it....) But, I will miss my computer.

For now, I will commandeer one of the kids computers to earn the money to buy the new parts for mine... and I will leave my tower sitting near my desk while I mourn the loss of my computer. (After all, it makes a great end table!)

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