This was my PCs response to the remarkable conceit that – after 1000 posts and nearly six years – the time has come for a vanity self publishing project. I can sense that my readership (the time-rich, the dribbling, the family members, the hanging-in-there-it-might-be-funny, a small but valued crowd) are almost as excited as I at the prospect of new ways for the Hedgehog to spam his shit*. More on this soon. Obviously. I mean I know I’m interested.
Back when computers were maintained by ex-TV repair men steeped in the secret lore of the Soldering Iron, this sort of thing used to happen all the time. Much to the amusement of the latter day Luddites quipping “Does it need a starting handle” and “Can you get the football on that”. Difficult and dark days for us Pen Protector Brethren. But while we may have lost the battle, we won the war – see those good friends of mine in the vanguard of personal computing? Look at them now. All working in IT. H’mm.
In 2011 tho, that message is bloody stupid. Operating systems and clever hardware gubbins take care of all the old problems. Of course they do, otherwise what we’d be looking at in fifteen years of constant revolution would be a few nice screen drivers covering up loads of shitty hardware. Nobody would buy into that, surely.
Before I lost the keyboard, my will to live had already declared itself mostly expired. Excel handed me a jaunty rotating orb, no autosave and the prospect of recreating the last hours grind.In frustration, I may have gently tapped the keyboard to non-violently show my displeasure. At which point it stopped working. Only not quite, with occasional random key presses illiciting contrary beeps from deep inside the PC case.
The mouse was also partially crippled. Wanging it about in the approved manner generated nothing on screen until – in a sudden rush – mouse poo trails would be etched onto the screen and applications were mysteriously opening and closing. Considering demon possession the culprit, I was on the cusp of an axe based exorcism when a tiny inner voice** wondered if it might not be better to research the problem before the firing up the killfile.
I find this is a known problem. And not just because I know about it and have shouted “the bloody keyboard’s knackered” at a chicken who was largely indifferent to my plight. This makes it absolutely on message with the rest of the family when faced with my mindless ranting. The Internet on the now non broken Mac explained that the wireless keyboard communicated with the receiver using a secure link, and may need resetting.
Sorry? Secure Link? For a keyboard? Who is going to intercept my messages? Frankly if I see that chicken wearing a headset and taking notes, I’ve got far bigger problems than broken technology. Someone in marketing has clearly been involved here “yeah well we can sell it for more cash if we go for the ego-message and tell them they’re all really important so need secure comms”. Dilbert-Esque.
The resolution was to press a combination of keys designed for a man with four hands and a spare nose. I tried it, nada. Then it became apparent additional software was required. Which I couldn’t download as I had no keyboard. So I mailed it from another machine. But Outlook wouldn’t let me open it without a verification code. Which I couldn’t type in. Because – and I think you know what’s coming – I HAD NO SODDING KEYBOARD.
Out of options I went for the nuclear reboot. And you can see what happened. What you can’t see is me motoring off to Ross to borrow a spare keyboard from a friendly sysadmin, and returning with a murderous glint in my eye “you’ve got one chance PC, see that keyboard in my left hand? That’s your chance. See this axe in my right hand? That’s the consequence of playing hardball”It crumbled under the very real threat of hardware evisceration.
Triumphantly logging back into Windows, my analytical and honed mind fashioned a sequence of idiot-proof testing involving pushing of buttons, removal of batteries, scratching of head, flipping of leads and loading of drivers which fixed absolutely nothing. It was then the realisation struck that the last 20 minutes of extreme troubleshooting would have been more effective had I remembered the plug the keyboard receiver back in.
It was so nearly the axe then. But no, after a further year or so of my fading years and more blind alleys than a Microsoft Mobility Presentation*** success was a non flatulent keyboard, a mouse without St. Vitus Dance and barely any noticeable percussive damage to expensive technical items.
The way things are going thought, it’s hard to see how this can be a stable state of affairs. I’ve not put the axe back in the shed yet. But I have sharpened it.
* this is a marketing term. Not a medical condition. I know about marketing now. I’ve read a book. And renamed my home office to “The Evil Marketing Shed“. Everything else you’ve heard about marketing is fluff – all I’m missing are some braces, a breath spray and a personality bypass.
** The infinitely minute bit of Al marked “common sense”
*** I find IT “in jokes” work well to people not involved in IT. To be fair they don’t work that well for the rest of us.