Saturday, January 7, 2012

Going Viral

I still remember my first laptop.  After years of being tied to a desk, I suddenly found myself liberated, able to enjoy my computer virtually anywhere - in the car, at the library, on the toilet.  I don't recommend that last location - the laptop throws out a LOT of heat.

The freedom of the laptop was generated by two events.  Cheaper electronics, bringing the laptop into my price range, and the introduction of wi-fi.  It wasn't long before Heather had her own laptop, and we entered into a digital utopia of sorts.

It's been a few years since that first heavy, clumsy Toshiba.  My replacement, a comparably svelte HP model that, at under $500 was half the price of the Toshiba, has been a faithful companion for a couple of years now, but has now passed away before its time.  Unfortunately, it came face to face with the reality of today's dangerous cyber world, and was infected with a computer virus.  This was not the first time I've had a computer infected, but it was the first time it wiped out my system.  The antivirus discovered and quaranteened it, letting me know that it had deleted one file.  I'm not sure what file that was, but apparently it was critical to allowing Windows to open executable files, which means my computer still works fine, until you want to do anything.  Everything looks normal, but nothing works because it's corrupt and broken on the inside, kind of like Congress.

To make matters worse I can't even format the hard drive and reinstall Windows, because opening the command prompt is no longer an option, and besides, computers these days don't come with Windows disks, they come with the backup installed on the hard drive, which requires opening a program to initiate the reinstall.  Did I mention I can't open programs now?  You see the dilemma.

Faced with laying out some cash to purchase Windows 7 and have someone with real computer skills  install it, when I can buy a new laptop for not much more, and considering my screen has been showing signs of dying for the past few months, I decided not to salvage the old HP.  But I'm not buying a new laptop either.  I have been talking about getting Heather an iPad for a while, and she graciously agreed to turn over her Gateway to me in exchange for a new iPad.  Time for our family to take the next leap in the techno revolution!