Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is there anyone around who HASN'T had a major computer problem in the past month or so? The most popular seems to be the infamous hard drive crash, which affected me twice in a week.

When I got back from South Africa, my computer was dead. Hard drive kaput. It was hot as anything too. I took it out - exit 20 GB of hard drive - and put in a new one - enter 180 GB of hard drive. It was too big to install all at once, so I had to add a second logical drive and began putting my backup data onto that.

Humph. Next day, that logical drive wouldn't open. I tried reformatting. No luck. Looks like a worm ate it. So I had to reformat the entire drive and start from scratch.

Get back from Turkey and Paul's computer won't start up. Power supply dead. Sigh.

But we are not alone. Everyone I have spoken to has apologised for not being in touch, but their computers have all been in hospital.

Normally one would blame this mass computer suicide - or is it genocide? - on sunspots. Strange things happen to electronics during sunspot peaks. But according to SIDC -RWC Belgium World Data Center for the Sunspot Index, activity is low at the moment.

Maybe the computers need a certain amount of sunspots to stay healthy.

I once planned to write a book about the creatures that inhabit the insides of our computers and create havoc in their constant war against the humans. I called them chipmnks. I had a great opening too:

In the beginning there was the word, and the word was DOS. And DOS said, Format C.

Trouble is, I had no plot to go with the opening line. I did think about constructing a battle between the creatures in Windows machines and those in Macs. And then I had to think about genre. If you're going to be a best-selling author, you have to stick with just one. Do people really want to read about strange internal computer wars from the person who wrote that amazing Redemption heptology?

So I set it aside. Along with my Valentine e-book with its multiple plots accessed by clicking on the decision the reader makes for the heroine. And my amazing underwater science fiction story which starts with a wonderful quote by George Bush "I believe that man and fish can coexist peacefully", said in Saginaw, MI, on 29 Spetember 2000.

Of course, the only flaw in this theory is that I haven't actually finished even the first Redemption story, never mind found a publisher who wants to buy an entire heptology!

Which brings me back to the failed hard drive. Luckily I have a backup of Redemption, which I have restored. And I've just reinstalled my word processor too.

That should frustrate whatever plans those chipmnks in this box had. Wonder how they'll react to that. I'll let you know. Maybe even write a book about it.