A tale of (computer) renewal

Things are stable again in the Land of Nu, and we didn’t even get to the end of the buffer. (Which means it’s time to rebuild the buffer for all three of my regular posts – kotowaza, Magic Monday, and yojijukugo – and make a habit of staying a week ahead of the game, just in case!) In the meantime, I thought I would describe the weird series of coincidences that characterized this episode.

I knew my old laptop was dying. It was about four years old. It had been carried around a lot, and dropped a couple times. The screen’s integrity was starting to loosen; it was secured with duct tape. The original power cord had been replaced. The E key had simply fallen off, and sat loosely on top of the keyboard. Operation was getting slower and slower, to the point where watching a video sometimes required that all other programs be shut down. There were occasional Blue Screens of Death. And then, last Saturday morning, it took an inordinate amount of time to boot up from sleep mode.

It was past time to start thinking about getting a new one. My wife and I discussed finding a few models that I’d be interested, checking the price, and seeing if any good deals were forthcoming in the post-Thanksgiving sales blitz. So I spent Saturday evening looking at possible new computers, mostly with the help of LappyList (found via Reddit) and the mercenary warrior-woman.

On Sunday morning, the old laptop refused to boot up, as if being forced to research its own replacement is what broke its heart. I was able to use my wife’s to look up the error code it gave me (it was a hard drive issue), fortunately, and to take care of ordering a replacement. All that remained was the matter of data: I’d been doing semi-regular backups… on Sunday evenings, and of course there were gigabytes of photo data that simply wouldn’t fit on my backup memory stick.

On Monday I took the old dead laptop to a computer shop, where they confirmed that the HD had failed for good, but that they could try to retrieve the data off of it (and that if that failed, there was a dedicated service that could try… for an order of magnitude more money. This was business-world-level serious data retrieval, after all).

On Thursday, the new computer had arrived and my data was (“were,” technically) ready. I had business on campus in the afternoon anyway, so after the kid woke up from his nap we went over, took care of the other business, and then dropped off my new computer at the shop to have the data transferred onto it.

I had forgotten that this process takes time. I dropped off my new machine at around 4:30 in the afternoon. The kid and I hung around the area, walking down the hill to do a little shopping at an Asian-foods market, then back up to campus. At about ten ’til 6:00, when the shop was due to close, I called them again to see what they wanted to do – I had neglected to bring the power cord, so even if we left the transfer running overnight, there was a chance that my laptop would hibernate and cut off the process.

We managed to work out a plan: I would take the next bus home (at about 6:30; I had missed one bus while we were talking) and get the power cord; one of them employees who lived close by would stop over to pick it up, then go back and plug in the laptop so that it would keep running, then I’d come in the following morning. That settled, I packed up the kid and we headed back down the hill to catch the bus.

I was at the bottom, about to cross a busy road, when my phone rang: the transfer had finished! So I walked back up the hill, retrieved my computer, paid, chatted with the guy a little and thanked him for being willing to keep working after hours, and then headed down the hill a final time.

The wife was kind of worried when she got home and found the apartment empty, of course, but somehow we managed to have dinner and get the kid in bed at a reasonable time. And as of this writing, I’m in the middle of the laborious process of sorting through the “Old_Hard_Drive” folder that was created on my computer, first retrieving the things I’m currently working on, then re-filing everything else in a more organized manner than it was previously (especially the contents of the Downloads folder!).

And that’s the coincidence-filled story of my sudden computer change-over. Make of it what you will.

About Confanity

I love the written word more than anything else I've had the chance to work with. I'm back in the States from Japan for grad school, but still studying Japanese with the hope of becoming a translator -- or writer, or even teacher -- as long as it's something language-related.
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