Saturday, 5 February 2011

There will now be a short intermission...

In blog time we have reached early October 2010, meaning that there is now a four-month gap between event and record. Something has however just happened in real time that means I must once again, for a brief moment, bring blog time and real time together.

Yesterday, that is to say Friday 4 February 2010, the previously blameless and perhaps even long-suffering laptop on which I have hitherto composed this blog began to exhibit signs of serious illness. The screen showed patches of a checkerboard-like pattern that began to overtake normal patches. I rebooted the machine, whereupon the screen became wholly infested with the pattern and stalled irretrievably in the early stages of the startup process.

This morning I took the computer the mercifully short distance to the nearest repair shop although, having done some web research (on my phone) the previous evening, I already had a pretty good idea of diagnosis. The problem related to the graphics chip, located on the motherboard, meaning that the said board would most likely need replacing. I did however find a YouTube video of one enterprising young man who had persuaded the motherboard of his similar computer to function again after wrapping it in foil and running a paint-stripping heat gun within inches of its defective circuitry.

Lacking however his daring, tools and, perhaps crucially, his capacious skateboarder's beanie, I felt it best to rely on the skills and experience of the young men in the repair shop, one of whom now stood behind his counter, tellingly wearing a beanie of similar colour and dimensions to that of the eager geek in the video. The prospective repairer, having listened to my sad tale and switched my computer on, confirmed the diagnosis.

Repair, he said, would be possible, but expensive and his general recommendation would not be to go ahead with it. Motherboards were pricey items to replace, even before the addition of labour costs, but, more importantly for assessing whether repair would be worthwhile, any replacement could exhibit the same fault, perhaps even after a very short time (yes, minutes were shockingly mentioned). The fault lay with the chip manufacturers, who had happened, for reasons unknown, produced a particularly suspect piece of kit that had found its way into laptops built around four years ago.

When I mentioned the heat-gun workaround, he said that they no longer carried this out, as it was in turn uneconomic and only met with success in about two out of ten cases.

His advice was to go to the nearest gleaming Apple Store and cast myself on their mercy, since he believed that there may have been legal issues with the chip makers, leading to a product recall.

Upon my return home, my laptop case as heavy on the return as it had been on the outward journey, I made an appointment to take the case its contents and me to the Apple Genius Bar this coming Monday. I will let you know what happens, but the polite young man I spoke to indicated that "options" would be discussed.

Why did I feel relatively untroubled by this irksome and potentially costly business either yesterday or today? On a simple level, I knew that most of my data was safe as I had made a complete backup to a separate hard drive not too long ago, although my most recent notes for this blog will most likely have been lost. This translates to the philosophical consolation offered by the observation that what matters about a computer is not its physical mass, its circuits or any other aspect of its hardware, but what is engraved (if that is the right word) on its hard drive, in other words data. It is these data that embody and give expression to our thoughts, memories, aspirations; the fruits of our work, our play, our time. Provided those are preserved in one or more locations, we have not really lost much when an individual machine dies, however much we may relish the design, ease of use, maybe even the beauty and elegance of the device.

There was a further reason however for my relative peace of mind, which was that yesterday evening I was aware of feeling more my old self for the first time in months. I look forward to sharing the journey to this point with you. Now where did I put my notes?
BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

No comments:

Post a Comment