Monday, January 29, 2007

...And We're Back

Didja miss me? Did you even know I was gone?

Well I wasn't gone long, so I don't blame you. In actuality, I didn't go anywhere. My computer went down for the weekend. It was running slower and slower, so I had a guy fix it for me. I have a guy. Some folks have extended warranties. Some folks have trusted repair shops. I have a guy. One of those self-taught guys who live for whatever their passion is. What he doesn't have in formal training he makes up for with hours and hours of trial and error.

So I took the box to my guy, and he went at it. Two days and a hundred bucks later, it's like a new computer. Some of it was pretty stupid stuff--there was so much dust collected inside the case that the fan wasn't really working any more, and so the processor was, in effect, suffocating. But he also added some more RAM, a second hard drive, installed a much more powerful antivirus system, and ran a bunch of disk utilities which found a plethora of spyware and viruses that my bargain-basement programs didn't catch.

I really enjoyed standing in his apartment, listening to him talk about processor speeds, RAM caches, drive defragging, and all that stuff. There were rarely two words used together that I recognized, and I had a feeling that the ones I did know had gained alternate meanings . I didn't care. All I needed to know was asked with one question, and answered with one word: Is it running faster than it was before? Yes. Pay the guy.

And even though I had never been in this guy's apartment previous to this, I recognized that this scene had been played out before. Only the hardware has been changed.

Forty years ago, it would have been car-related, and I would be the guy who drove his Studebaker into the suburban garage of the twenty-something gearhead who was constantly tinkering with his chopped Chevy Nova.

In the end, it's all about speed. His computer looked more like a cyborg than a desktop machine. It had a clear acrylic side, with a fan that had an LED array on it that displayed ambient temperature and humidity. The chassis bolts had little LED lights on them. He burbled on about the new liquid-cooled system he wants to buy. Hell, the front of the box even had flames on it.

And as he went on about what he did to my computer, I guess I had an aha! moment--one of those realizations that comes with four-plus decades of life under my belt.

They come at strange times, and sometimes at a cost, for example: aha! So this is why older men tend to walk so gingerly across parking lots in winter: we don't heal as fast as we used to.

So as I stood there with a bemused smile on my face, enjoying his enthusiasm, knowing that it was a lifestyle that has no appeal to me, my aha! moment is that I can enjoy someone else's hobby without having the faintest clue of what it is.

This sucker boots a hell of a lot faster though.



Blogger Jessica said...

I'm waiting for the service where someone can help you get past the annoying parts of a video game. Much less practical and of course they would have to be paid in pizza and beer/Gatorade depending on their age.

1:13 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Like you are old...NOT.

Glad you could appreciate the other side of life, or the passion that so many have these days for computer "doctoring". I personally am thankful we have people who can and want to tinker in a realm that has absolutely no appeal to me.

Much obliged to him that you are UP and running, or should I say walking?

2:28 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

ica: I'm much the same way. Puddle once set up a cheat code in a game that let me get past the boring parts. I promplty died. Seems that I needed to know the techniques the bring parts taught to survive in the higher levels. I miss the 'shoot/duck/run' games. They were much easier.

rebecca: I many not be old, but I'm older. And if I'm not running, at least I'm strolling at a quick pace.


6:48 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

should read 'boring,' not 'bring.'


6:49 AM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

What the hell were you just talking about????

honestly, what the f? pwerful anti virus system? disk utilities??? spyware???? drive defragging? What the hell is all this crap???

three words my friend: Get a Mac. Take out a bank loan, get the Mac, and then use it for the next seven years. Never look under the hood. yeah it's slower than hot rod boy's computer but the damn thing works and you won't want to throw it off the roof.

I'm to computers as most women are to cars. I don't want to look under the hood, ever, I want to turn it on and go. I pump my own gas, I check my own oil, and I know exactly what kind of small block V8 I'm running. Ask me what kind of computer I have? "A black one." That's the way I likes it!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Nölff said...

I bet guys like that hate macs.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

I have a guy too. His name is Cranky. He's my network administrator and fix-it guy, but sometimes I go days without telling him I have a problem so I won't be accused of changing something. The user is almost always the problem ("What did YOU do?") and I get no special treatment for being married to "the guy".

11:39 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

OMG you know it drives me crazy when you get all techie and talk about RAM and LEDs and use words like plethora

12:15 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...'re preaching to the choir. If I had my druthers (and I have faith that I will have them soon), I'd buy the mac pro quad core with 2.66 Ghz processors, 1.75 Tb storage,a Fibre channel PCI express card and the ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB graphics card, 30' cinema display.

Then I'd load up Adobe's Video Bundle (After Effects, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, Audition, Encore, and more), and add a HD DVCPRO editing deck along with a Panasonic 27F Varicam.

It would only cost about $55,000.

But they'd throw in the shipping for free!


1:34 PM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Missed as always but you've avoided all kinds of bullshit over at mine.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Dude I still don't know what you're talking about!

But after that I'm sure Colleen is gonna lose her mind!

In other news, it was looking like I was gonna get a 325 hp 355 cubic inch V8, rebuilt. but it's meant for pre-1984 and ready for a carburetor and my truck has fuel injection so I'm not getting that one. I will definitely be getting a rebuilt and replacing the stock 305 with a 350.

Hey Pirate, I'm just glad your blog habit won't be interrupted!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Miss 1999 said...

Woo-hoo! I wish I could get mine running faster-- I guess if I'd delete some shit, it probably would! Anyway, glad you're back :0)

12:05 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...


11:35 PM  

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