Friday, April 24, 2009


When I started the blog, I had no idea how much of my self would end up on display to the public!!

Okay, here's the ugly truth. My computer did not crash, and no, I have not lied to you. I honestly thought that it had!

We took a family vacation over the spring break from school, which is always the week after we Christians celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus. In leaving our home for that length of time, we turn off the hot water heaters, unplug everything pluggable except the freezer (This trip, we even emptied the refrigerator, cleaned it, and left the door open to allow the fridge to air out!) and we're off.

On our return, I replugged everything including both power strips serving the electronic array we have at the computer desk and turned on the computer. After a few minutes use, it shut down inexplicably. I CHECKED ALL THE PLUGS, I shout, as you snicker thinking you have diagnosed my problem already. I found no problem connections. I rebooted the computer, and it whirred alive. The computer is old (seven years); it has done some odd things lately, and I muttered aloud that it might be getting ready to crash.

This second go round, it worked long enough for me to check our e-mail, loading the 32 messages stored from the previous week, then it shut off again. I checked all the plugs again, but this time the computer would not come on. I tried several minutes later, then several hours later--nothing. I concluded it had crashed, and on Monday I posted it was dead. No one sent flowers, so I thought this wasn't a painful passage but a rather routine one as I have read.

Until Tuesday, when out of curiosity, I unplugged and replugged everything. The computer came on, and I knew I had to face the public admitting my distinct technical deficiencies. I have no clue what happened or why, but maybe my wife and I will get another year out this computer.


Steve Sensenig said...

I laugh, but not because of any technical ineptitude on your part. I laugh because I have had similar things happen to me, with similarly no explanation!

Such is the frustrating world of technology. So glad it wasn't more serious for you.

craig v. said...

It is rather ironic that the fruit of logic, math and technology so often leaves us without any explanation for what happens. As a programmer, I can confirm with Steve that this comes with the territory.

careyrowland said...

Sounds like a God thing to me. Through faith and patience we inherit the blog. Computers are a little like Balaam's ass, you know. If you look around on the thing hard enough, you'll probably find error messages through which it was trying to talk some sense to you.

And, for cryin out loud, don't ever let a computer know you're in a hurry.

Anyway, now that you've gotten all that out of the way, we're waiting to hearing what thoughts activate your fertile mind.

postmodern redneck said...

As someone who has rewired a number of houses, wired one from scratch when I built it, and has done a lot of trouble-shooting electrical problems over the years, I have a theory about the possible cause: corrosion on the plugs and the receptacles, possibly aggravated by condensation on the metal as the house cooled down (I think you said you turned the heat way down). If that was the case, the plugging and unplugging may have scraped off enough of of the corrosion to get a clean contact again. I once fixed a dead programmable thermostat by taking the control wires loose, scraping the bare copper until it was shiny, and putting it back together again. Most of the corrosion that forms on copper and brass does conduct electricity--at least better than aluminum corrosion, which is why aluminum wiring had to be dropped--but it can reduce the transmission of the juice, and if you reduce it enough...Bingo! You're shut down.

postmodern redneck said...

I guess you did not say you turned the heat down, I must have just assumed it based on everything else you said you did. If you did turn the heat down there is another possibility--like fluorescent lights, computers may not work too well if they get cold. From some things I've seen, you can store the computer in an unheated building without harming it, but you need to let it warm up to room temperature before using it, and this means hours, not minutes. If you came home, turned up the heat, then plugged it in to check on your emails right away, that may have been the problem. Anyway, hope this helps for the future, and welcome back!

ded said...

Steve, Craig, Carey and Phil,

Thanks for understanding!!

Now the modem for the DSL is on the way out. No mistakes here. We only can connect to the internet sporadically. The ATT representative said her tests over the phone proved it was not ATT's problem. (Is that a conflict of interest?)


I did turn off the heat. (It is a wood stove and a gas log, so we use it on demand only.) Your practical insights are likely and appreciated. Why doesn't this surprise me?!