Saturday, December 15, 2012

The End Of The World comes early

I have been planning for some months now to use the alleged 'Mayan Apocalypse' at the end of next week as a facetious pretext for closing down my two blogs - which I feel have been going on for quite long enough now.

Alas, being on the road for most of November left with me with a huge backlog of posts I really wanted to write before the shutdown (hence the fitful incontinence of my writing here over the past two or three weeks since I got back). And I've been further frustrated in my efforts to get those posts out of the way by a succession of problems with my preferred VPN and my Internet connection. I am once more getting a little paranoid that perhaps I have been targetted for some special attention by the censors here in Beijing; everybody's been struggling to keep their VPNs working, but I haven't heard of anyone else getting their Net connection completely shut down.

Then, yesterday morning, my computer - less than six months old - DIED. Yes, I suffered a return of the dreaded 'blue screen of death' - the first time I've experienced it with this laptop (though I'd had a few nasty encounters with it on my previous Dell, and it used to be a constant companion with the ancient IBM Thinkpad I'd been muddling along with before that).

Not even a conventional, familiar 'blue screen of death', either; darker blue, brighter screen. Maybe they've changed its appearance in the last year or so, but the creepy unfamiliarity of something once so familiar added to my anxieties.

As did the fact that the screen appeared to be frozen; it was not creating 'dump files' - as it promises to do - and then shutting down automatically. It was just staring at me tauntingly, denying me access to any of my computer functions, and not doing anything. I couldn't even crash the computer using the power switch, so eventually, after about half an hour of this agonising limbo, I had to remove the battery.

And then, of course, I couldn't reboot. The first several times I tried to do so, I was just getting a blank screen and an ominous silence; I couldn't even use the F keys to try to access the 'Safe Mode' start-up options.

After going back to bed and crying for a couple of hours (amazing how this seems to work as therapy for the computer too!), the little bastard did deign to fire up again, but... oh dear me, limited functionality or what?! No Net connectivity. No access to most Windows functions. VERY SLOW operating speeds (3 or 4 hours to run a virus check!!!).

Eventually, I have managed to get a Net connection back via the 'Safe Mode with networking', but.... now my bloody VPN won't work again.

And my 'System Restore' function is mysteriously broken. This is a clusterfuck from hell.

In another two or three days, I would have cleared the backlog of planned posts, and tidied up a few outstanding work assignments, attended to the last of my social obligations, and finalised my travel plans over the imminent holiday period. In another two or three days, I might not have needed the bloody computer again for weeks. But having this spectacular meltdown assail me just now is several notches beyond merely 'inconvenient'. I suffer rages of despair; if I had a carpet, I'd chew on it. (I achieved some valuable catharsis yesterday by smashing the old Thinkpad - barely functional anymore anyway - into about a million pieces, as a proxy for my maddeningly misbehaving Dell Inspiron.)

So, this is it. The forces of malign Fate have got the better of me. I accept defeat. I'm done.

I may, perhaps, one day retroactively insert some of my planned final posts into the upcoming week (I've already written most of them, but omitted to 'schedule' them for automatic posting), but for now - IT'S OVER.

So long, farewell, adieu, adieu, adieu.


KingTubby said...

KingTubby said...

Keep in touch via my site and hand the parts over to the customs dude when you depart Beijing.

That's what you call bad serendipity.

Safe trip and ask the flight babe for g and ts for both of us.

Froog said...

Thanks for the good wishes (and the video tribute!), KT.

I have, just about got things working again with my computer now - after three-and-a-half days of grief!