My computer has several idiosyncrasies, such as a missing On/Off switch, several pieces of missing software and a habit of randomly refusing to start. The switch was originally faulty rather than missing, but where a faulty switch refuses to start the computer, a missing switch allows me to touch two wires together and get it going.
A faulty switch is a nuisance, but a missing switch is merely a cosmetic issue.
I’m not sure what happened to the software, but several years ago I started getting notices that things weren’t installing themselves on start-up. I tried reinstalling them and I tried letting the computer correct the fault. Neither approach worked. Now I just keep cancelling the attempts to reinstall and after thirty seconds of button pushing everything seems to work and the only fault is with some photo software. As the average computer seems to have several ways of coping with photos, this isn’t a problem.
Which gets us to the real point of this post. The computer refused to start tonight. It sat there on the table when I returned home and whirred into action when I hot-wired it, but there was little action. The green light on the DVD player flashed and the blue light by the main switch (or the space where it used to be) came on. There was even a gentle buzz, but the main flashing blue light and the expected sound of internal arrangements sliding into place were noticeably absent.
I administered a sharp tap to the casing, which always seems like it should work. It didn’t. Then I hit it with a book. Don’t judge me, I grew up when electrical goods were different.
Finally I switched it off and started again. How, you ask, as I have no switch and the computer wasn’t working enough to allow me to close down normally. Well, that’s where the power cord comes in. Or more accurately, gets unplugged.
It’s not quite as sophisticated as a switch, but it does stop the flow of electricity. There is the occasional crackle, suggesting that the power might be about to flow somewhere unwelcome but it hasn’t happened yet and if it does it might solve the atrial fibrillation so it’s not all bad.
When I plugged it back in it started at once and gave me the choice of starting normally or (the recommended method) letting the computer have a shot at fixing itself.
I tried the latter method and you know what? It just kept going and grunting and churning and telling me this could take several minutes and…eventually…repeating itself and not starting.
So I pulled the power cable again, started it up again, told it to start itself normally and a couple of minutes later I was in. That’s why I’m now able to write about the shortcomings of my computer and my troubles with technology.
We never had all these problems when TV was black and white and phones were attached to the wall.
The photo shows what happened in the shop a few weeks ago – leaving us staring at blue screens for ten minutes.