Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paranoid rantings about a printing problem

When I'm under a deadline it would be nice -- just once -- to print a document without incident.

It's always something different. Yesterday I was trying to get an amended pleading filed, but I couldn't make it print. It wasn't a mechanical problem with the printer. (Ink has run out on me at critical moments in the past; once, on the eve of trial, my printer died entirely. Instead of working on motions in limine I had to run out to the nearest store and buy and install a new printer.)

I have learned not to push Escape or Alt-Tab or click my mouse in frustration when these freeze-ups occur. Eventually, if nothing happens, I will use the trusty Ctrl-Alt-Delete and bring up the Windows Task Manager.

I push my chair back and wait. With gritted teeth. Yesterday, it was for 15 minutes, during which time Older Daughter called seeking instruction on the Plan of Her Life. At least I had something to keep me occupied. As I watched, with unblinking eye, the little hourglass that mocked me from the screen.

When the error finally revealed itself, I was too far gone in frustration to carefully note its name. It wasn't a "spooling" error; I know what those are. And even if I didn't catch the exact name of the immediate problem, I know what the underlying, overall problem really is.

My trusty computer is getting old.

Bought in a fit of pique in late 2003 after my Windows 98 machine deteriorated to the point where it was crashing every five minutes or so, my computer is now ancient. Almost five years old. Dog years are measured one for every seven human years and I think computer years are measured one for every seven dog years... I think that means my computer is somewhere between 196 and 245 years old.

It doesn't have the capacity to handle all these video ads that pop up on Yahoo! or the newspaper websites regularly. I'm convinced that an open tab on the Tribune site has been the cause of many crashes.

And, of course, there's the Bill Gates factor. Deep in his retirement lair somewhere in the mountains of Washington State, Gates prowls the Internet looking to punish those who are not 100% Microsoft. Yes, I use Windows XP... but I run WordPerfect and Firefox. I am a heretic.

And, yesterday, when the crisis came, I had Windows Media Player open. Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast... and I like it as well.

That was my mistake. From deep inside his mountain hideaway, Gates pointed a finger at my machine. As the Byrds tried to give way to the Mamas and Papas and I pressed "print," he struck.

It all worked out in the end, though. The pleading eventually printed and got filed and I came one step closer to realizing the day must soon come when I retire this machine and get a new one, with more storage, more memory and a bigger, beefier video card that can handle the video ads.

Sometimes I can actually look forward to that day.

Then I realize I'll be getting Vista, too.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

seriously dude, get a mac!!! none of those problems here. doris is a doll. i only have two blogs that hang up my computer (yours and mo's) and i am still trying to figure out why but i don't get any pop up ads at all and you don't need that pita anti-virus stuff. just sayin'...

smiles, bee

ps: thanks for all the good stuff you are sending my way for chuck!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Don't get Vista. A new operating system will come from Windows in 2010.

Kacey said...

My son (my relative computer genius) told me not to get Vista if I ever got a new computer again. I've had Windows 98, Windows ME and Windows XP... loved them all. My biggest problems come from getting Norton 360 for virus protection... slows the bejabbers out of my machine and I'm paying for hi-speed cable. Hang in there, we enjoy your writing so much.

Ralph said...

Maybe you should name your computer 'Curmudgeon'. Why can computers be so malevolent? They seem to sense tho most opportune moment to tease us...

Mother Jones RN said...

Vista bad. Mac good. Simple. Buy a Mac:-)


Unknown said...

I think I must be the only person in the world who has no problems with Vista, and I LIKE IT!! So there *razzzz*. Seriously though, Macs are good too, especially if you're doing graphics. But Vista's not that bad, really it isn't. I have been running it for a good while and no problems whatsoever.