Friday, March 11, 2011

the bluescreen of death

last summer, when my son, james, and his friends came back from their adventure in maine's mighty wilderness (story about that here), we got into a conversation about computers. james's friend happened to mention a nasty sounding thing called the bluescreen of death. i had no idea what he was talking about. (these guys know computers inside and out, while i, embarrassing to admit, know absolutely nothing about this electronic device i hunt and peck away on....) he told me that's when your computer instantly seizes up; the bluescreen of death is the grim reaper of the computer world who announces life is essentially over for the machine. there is no cure. i forgot to ask him if the screen actually turns entirely blue, kind of like this patient is suffering, he can't breathe, he can't get oxygen, he's turning blue.

recently, i turned on my computer and instead of my normal desktop and friendly wallpaper, i was surprised to find the screen filled up with lots of alarming numbers and words, meaningless words, words i could not understand. the words were in english, yet i couldn't comprehend them. to me they were gibberish. it was as if the computer was urgently trying to tell me something, but in a foreign computer language.

and that's exactly what was happening. some of the stuff the computer flashed on the screen i could understand. it "told" me do this, do that, shutdown and start up again, press F8, F10, F11, or something like that. i don't recall all the detailed instructions. i do recall, however, the computer caused me great stress and anxiety. nothing on earth makes me want to pull out my hair and scream except a computer that won't do what it is supposed to do! again and again i tried to help the ill-fated machine. the pc was frantically struggling to survive, and even though i did as i was instructed, nothing helped.

then slowly, starting at the edges and creeping along, not all over the screen at first, the computer displayed a frightening symptom: the deathly shade of  infectious blue i had heard about over the summer. diagnosis: the never-ending boot loop, caused by the bluescreen of death.

note: happily for me, i am now pecking away on a new macbook. the blog suffered no interruption.

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