Thursday, January 25, 2007

Technologically challenged

Serious computer problems today. I've spent virtually the entire day since about noon trying to diagnose and fix several problems that have come on suddenly. What timing!

Near hysteria, my body in a rage. I should be preparing for Washington, but this has sidetracked everything.

I haven’t started packing. It’s unlikely I’ll get any sleep since I have to leave around 3:00 a.m. It’s freezing out - which will play havoc if I'm in a weakened state for the ride to Sacramento.

"This is just insane."

***

As a change this morning, I visited for the first time “Holy Roast”, a new coffee shop downtown. Connected to their free wireless service, but after a short time, "all hell seemed to break loose."

The computer screen flashed “Stuck key FE” and “ATIDVAG driver” error messages. Then the system "froze". And every time I attempted to restart and continue my work, it would quickly freeze up again.

I had just finished making arrangements for a room in Washington, and was in the process of thanking others who had offered rooms.

Returned home to continue the investigation. I wondered if it were a virus attack (or "Homeland Security" playing with me!) Tried downloading "Panda" software to run a virus scan, but couldn’t maintain an uninterrupted wireless connection long enough. Tried getting Mapquest information for Washington. No luck. No access to my "Contacts" files or e-mails regarding the travel I'm about to undertake. (Fortunately, I was able to note the flight number and departure time during one of my momentary connections!)

Henry and Charlene invited me to join them at "Old Mexico" for dinner, but I had to get to the bottom of this.

Late in the evening, decided to go to "A’Roma’s" for a decent wireless signal, and hopefully download some fresh anti-virus software, do a disc scan. But I didn’t get anywhere there. After an hour or more, and repeated restarts, the battery draining, I had to give up. Now, I wonder if I’ll be able to recover data from my computer?

At home later, I was finally able to transfer Jessica's graduation photos to discs. A small victory and quite a relief. For some reason, disabling the wireless seemed to have settled things down a bit.

This mess appears to have coincided with my downloading a new version of "Internet Explorer" earlier, but not precisely. I think the problem may have popped up prior, but now the sequence of events was a fog. At first I thought I had a “stuck key” on the keyboard – the “e”. (There was a “stuck key” error message.) But then suspected it was not that. Further research pointed a video driver failure. But why and how to restore it? Viruses, I learned, can exhibit such symptoms.

***

Trying to download various anti-virus software packages tonight, nothing will stick, which makes me suspect a virus all the more. "Are viruses really that good?" I go hunting for the faulty driver but have to give up. Running out of time. I don’t think I’ve lost any data yet.

Haven’t even thought about what to pack. I need to shut my eyes for a while before I start preparing.

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