By Kathie Felix
I’m typing this blog entry on what has become my primary computer – a laptop that I originally bought as a backup system. Recent events have made it clear to me, however, that the day is near that this computer will be getting a backup laptop of its own. (In fact, I probably should have already made the purchase, but I’m holding off until after the holidays when I expect technology prices to drop even lower than the current recession-affected pricing.)
Like most people – except my brother, the computer programmer – I need a good reason to buy a new computer. I love the latest technology and what it can do – and have spent more than 12 years writing about technology for schools and libraries – but I hate to toss aside an electronic device that still has some reasonable use left in it.
Here’s the story:
One day, my laptop suddenly lost the ability to open an email account that contained the incoming news stream for a project at a critical publishing deadline (these things never seem to happen on a leisurely day, do they?).
Like any resourceful writer desperate to make a deadline, I found a way around the problem. I logged on with another screen name on the same service, opened the webmail version of the email service and logged on there with the user name that wasn’t able to access its own email directly. I was psyched when my improvised system worked and I could access the needed email – even though it was a clunky, time-consuming sort of fix.
Once the deadline was met, I sought a real solution from my internet service provider. After receiving the help (a lengthy series of instructions of which buttons to push, apparently read to me from a manual of some kind), I was once again able to directly access the incoming email. Sadly, however, my computer has been on shaky ground ever since that little customer service assist.
These days, the computer’s cursor is a randomly-moving entity that bounces around like the lights on the test my eye doc uses to examine the extent of my peripheral vision. It’s kind of amazing to watch as the cursor types in a straightforward manner, then jumps back several spaces, then jumps up the page, then down the page. It’s also beyond frustrating to endure.
I did some research and the only fix I could find was a recommendation to plug in a mouse – which seems like a touch of overkill on a laptop, as well as a real mobility-limiting move.
One computer expert I know was very matter-of-fact in her assessment of the situation: “It’s broken. You need a new one.”
That sounded ridiculous to me.
So, for the time being, I’m working around the problem – by turning off the touchpad while I type. And, every now and then, I wonder why no one suggested this – simply pushing that little button at the top of the touchpad until the image of the computer next to it turns red (as in “off”).
Whether a writer or a reader, nearly all of us are in a daily partnership with a computer. How’s your relationship with your computer going? Got any tips to share?