Indelible Blue Pen

Jason C. McDonald (CodeMouse92)


April 27, 2010

Thank God They Haven’t Invented Artificial Intelligence Yet…

I am sitting at my computer desk, staring at an old decrepit laptop, a pair of pliers, and a set of mini screwdrivers.

And I’m half tempted to go get a hammer.

My Aunt gave me a USB card that I would be attempting to install in my laptop right now, if I could get the blasted case open. Toshiba built their computers a little TOO well, me thinks. I got all of the drives, screws, and whatnot out of the bottom part of the case, so theoretically, the bottom lid should just pop right off. Ha ha.

My laptop, a Toshiba Satellite Pro (which predates the Aztec Empire by about six years), is so out of date, the thing is an absolute relic. It runs Windows 98 (thanks to an upgrade by someone who actually knew what in heck he was doing,) and it is a pretty reliable computer for clattering away on…assuming you don’t want to actually KEEP anything you write.

Which is the whole reason why I got a USB card. The right side of the laptop consists of two PCI slots, and two serial ports, the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. One is for my floppy drive, which, if I got a USB hub working, I wouldn’t need. The other is for some time of monitor that probably went out with the Nixon era.

This isn’t my first case of computer repair. I’ve done a lot of software work on computers in the past, with relative success. But this is the first time I actually did any work with hardware, and without an owner’s manual. This thing is so old, I suspect that the owner’s manual is probably written in old Anglo-Saxon (early English.)

Windows XP is the most common target of my amateur repair work. I’m sorry…I used to love Microsoft, but after the new CEO and the Windows ME fiasco, I can’t stand them.

To make a long story short, their business practices have lead to some pretty drastic shortcomings in their software. (Hey, why do you think they named it WINDOWS?)

I’m gonna take the laptop to my Aunt tomorrow, to see if she can lend any help to the project. We’re both someone amateur (her less than me, since she took a computer programming class some time back), so our combined effort won’t have much more than about a 70% chance of success.

We basically invented a form of computer work called Kamikaze Programming. We actually managed to “repair” a computer to the point of it not having an operating system. And we forgot the book disk. Go figure.

Later that same day, we started an installation of Windows NT on another PC, only to realize after overwriting the old files that we had lost the CD key. And again, no boot disk.

Oops.

When we found later that the remaining three computer towers needed major repair (one of them had a dusty logic board, and nothing else,) Aunt Brenda opted to get rid of the computer parts and cases. Can’t say I blame her. We know when we’ve been beat.

Thank God they haven’t invented artificial intelligence yet. Computers are aggravating enough as it is. The last thing we need is our computers talking BACK to us.

 

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