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Inside Column: Catastrophic computer crash

Laura Baumgartner | Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Like many people today, I feel like I spend my life at a computer. Probably because I do, and I think it’s starting to catch up with me.

It all started to go downhill last year. I was sitting in my room on a warm and sunny afternoon enjoying the breeze drifting in through my open window. I had just finished typing a paper and proofreading. I was ready to print.


My printer would not print.

Fifteen minutes later I had unplugged, plugged-in, shut-down, restarted, jiggled and wiggled my way into a frenzy. The stupid hunk of plastic was obviously not going to fulfill its one purpose of existence.

I thought to myself, well I’ll just e-mail it and print it out at the library later. I had more important things to attend to at the time. I had new photos from the weekend rotting on my digital camera, and they needed to be uploaded STAT.


Turns out my USB ports were on a level 5 meltdown. No printing. No uploading.

One year later, I have learned to live without.

The printer was one less thing to pack. I’m saving money on ink and paper, and I can make a quick stop at Walgreen’s to have my photos put on a CD for about two dollars. Overall, my programs were still functioning, and at least my hard drive hadn’t crashed.

My computer and I were at peace.

Until today that is.

Today, I come home from class and sit down to check my e-mail. I gently push the power button to wake my machine from sleep mode and am greeted by the most horrendous sound I have ever heard.

My computer sounds like a garbage disposal with a spoon stuck in it intermingled with almost peaceful moments of a high-pitched whine somewhat similar to a table saw ripping through a two-by-four.


Approaching its fourth birthday my PC is well beyond the years of warranty coverage, and I am almost certain all signs of functioning are about to cease.

As I sit here and compose what could be my last Word document on the old boy, I can not help but remember the good times. There were the late nights at the library, the warm sunny days by the lake or on the quad (noise update: it now sounds like a percolating-coffee-pot-and-shoelace-stuck-in-a-vacuum-cleaner hybrid) … I can still remember when I brought him home from Best Buy.

Maybe a little well-deserved rest will help him.

Forget sleep mode, I need a button for drug-induced coma mode.