"Eric Blair," as well as his C Drive "Luigi," was pronounced dead approximately 20 minutes ago, at 8:18 PM Central Standard Time. He is survived by a Logitech mouse and a Seagate external hard drive in a Rosewill case. This was the computer on which virtually all Wayward Episcopalian entries, including my widely-read dispatches from the 2008 NH presidential primary, and virtually all my Dartmouth papers, including the many twenty-page all-nighters, was written.
In some ways he was lucky to make it this long; many Dartmouth students seem to lose their computer right after the warranty expires at the beginning of the senior year. Others lose their computers during random finals periods, either before or after the warranty expires. My computer, Blair (so named because I am a pedantic jerk who wanted to mock a dear friend who called her own "Orwell"), made it a year the warranty's expiration before succumbing to pre-existing conditions.
The computer contracted some sort of Malware or Spyware the other day, presumably while I was watching the Simpsons online at wtso.net. The virus basically hijacked my web browsers so that over half the time I was surfing the Internet, all HTML links rerouted me to the websites thefeedyard or livefeedinc. Sometimes Firefox would just randomly behave like Internet Explorer and close without warning. System Restore didn't work; it wouldn't restore my system claiming no changes had been made (baloney). Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, Symantec Anti-Virus, Spybot's Search and Destroy, and Security Scan all failed to solve the problem, finding bugs but not the right ones even though several online forums claimed that Malwarebytes and Spybot tended to work on this particular virus. The Symantec website gave me instructions on how to delete files from my computer's registry (its deepest bowels, save binary code), but they turned out to be for the wrong virus as well. I only had two options left: work in safe mode and/or download Hijack This on a computer guru friend's advice. Hijack This is a little complicated so I was saving it for last, but safe mode bit me in the butt tonight. The regular F8 Setup menu option wasn't working - I would select safe mode but it wouldn't be able to access it, and would just give me the menu options again. So I restarted Windows in normal mode, used the MS Configuration menu to set it up to automatically start in safe mode, and restarted again. All this seemed to do was prevent Windows from opening normally, but it still wouldn't start in Safe Mode. So, now when I try to start the computer, it just goes in an endless cycle of trying to open Windows, failing, going back to the options menu (normal mode, safe mode, etc.), failing again, going back to the menu, etc.
I guess technically my computer isn't dead, just on life support and unable to function on its own. It's a vegetable with massive artery blockage. I could pay to get those arteries unblocked, but instead I am going to constitute my own death panel and, unlike a government but like a for-profit private insurance company, rationalize the computer's care and deny it the operation.
In other words, the timing here is pretty damn good - I've got a new computer on the way anyway! It may not be here for another week or two, but there's no point shelling out big bucks to extend this particular grandpa's life by six months when the kidney could go to a young teenager with even more to lose and thus more to save. Wait, what?