Der Druker – computer woes

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I’ve had several dismal days of computer rebellion.

I must have overloaded my computer with photos. I had that conference at which I took a thousand photos in five days. I modified some of those and made smaller file sizes with others, resulting in duplications of a sort. In addition, I take photos of all manner of things I find beautiful.

I took a walk with Mrs. Stepford at Kanaka Creek Park on one of the recent sunny days. We get so few of them that it’s a real treat to be out there and pounding the gravel walkways. I always take my camera. It’s my motivation for getting out there. I took quite a number of photos, maybe thirty or forty. The reflections in the oxbow of the creek were stunningly beautiful. The creek meets up with the Fraser River and after a short walk, you can see the river as well. There were a few clouds backlit by a winter sun. It was so very visually tasty.

I’ve been doing this kind of massive photographing without editing, culling out the out of focus ones, the ones that caught a moving object passing in front of the camera just as the shutter goes click, and those that simply don’t express what I wanted to capture ever since Franc gave me this digital camera in July of 2006. It was his gift for our 20th wedding anniversary.

If only I went out photographing twice in a week and shot two hundred photos a weekend, that would be about sixty-six weeks times two hundred or a little over thirteen thousand pictures. But that’s not all.

I take pictures of my art work so that I can send them by e-mail. I make smaller copies of each one I want to send, and that creates more duplication. Sometimes my skittish computer will copy photos on its own and I find them later at the bottom of a folder. It’s a pain to go back to check that it actually is a duplication, so I leave it there until I have time to do so. That time to check and cull never comes.

The other day, I took off two hundred sixty seven photos of the Pitt Meadow dike. Again, it was a sunny day and the water in the dike and the surrounding park was glorious with its reflections. The surrounding farmland was glowing with a late day golden sun. Somehow all those pictures disappeared. I could not locate them in my picture files so I did a search and figured I’d sort them by date afterwards and maybe I could find where they had gone.

The search turned up over 31,000 pictures! If I were a shopaholic instead, you wouldn’t be able to move around the house for the storage space the photos were taking up. I had been wondering why my computer was acting a little strangely. I realized I’d have to take a lot of them off.

So I painstakingly backed up all my photos and all my data. The other data took up one full DVD – my accounting, my letters, my spreadsheets, my writing and my estate files. It took me nine more DVDs to back up the photos. Yes, the photos had to go. Well, as a true photoholic, I couldn’t let them all go; and I knew that I had them on disks, so it wasn’t like they were really gone.

My computer was feeling poorly, though, overloaded to the hilt. She just didn’t want to work. I had to cajole her, sweet talk her, trick her, in fact. I had to work around her rebellious need to go on strike. Burdened as she was, she did not want to let me into her memory. She wouldn’t show me my files.

“You have enough of them already. What do you want to look at them for. Enough’s enough. I’m tired. Go away.” she said, refusing to open up Windows Explorer for me. I stood there at the threshold patiently waiting, thinking “Please. Pretty please. Just one more time?” but she didn’t budge. The flashlight waved back and forth in the Explorer Window like a desultory finger waving back and forth, “No. No, not today. Maybe never. I’m too tired. Too overloaded. Go away.”

So I opened up the Recycle bin and deleted everything I thought I could let go with impunity. I was still trying to find those files I’d lost of the Pitt River Dyke. I had no idea what they were called; there was no way to identify them.

I took off everything having a file name with “small” in it. I knew I would have the full pixelled photo somewhere. Then I took off all those with “copy” prefixing it. They too must have originals somewhere. There was no risk there.

If I tried to take off a row of files away, she gave no warning and simply shut down, left me hanging mid operation. I’d reboot, go back in the Recycle Bin and start again. I spent about fifteen minutes deleting them one by one. Then I experimented with two at a time and that worked. But when I tried three, she crashed. “I’m too tired. I’m going to bed” she whined and I was left hanging again. Hours later, I could take a whole row off. Eventually I took everything off. I knew if I didn’t she might never work for me again.

I still couldn’t open Windows Explorer so I hit Start, then Documents, then My pictures. Obviously the pictures were the big files. Miracle! The files opened. I had snuck around my recalcitrant computer and gotten in the back door. Before she could notice it, I deleted a whole folder of photos from the Sixties party from July ’06. I took off the Conference files, all one thousand plus of them. I took off a file folder I made for my cousin Marion and one I made for Moira of Stave Lake.

Sneaking around the back door like that was making me nervous. Besides, taking them out of the Pictures file and into the Recycle Bin had done nothing to diminish the bulk of them on the computer. It had simply moved them from one location to another. I went back into the Recycle Bin and deleted them all.

All on my own I found the My Computer file and was able to see what progress I had made in freeing up space. As I was browsing in the various options there, I found the defragmenting function and ran it, although the file announced that I didn’t need it. I watched the two sets of identical graph lines red, blue and green, rearrange themselves in the second set until it was all cleaned up.

I phoned my computer nephew. The computer was still having hissy fits and refusing to work – my computer the Drama Queen. I can laugh about it now, but I was pretty serious about it then, I can tell you. “It might be the motherboard, but try taking off more files,” Hugh recommended. “If it’s Hardware then….” he thought for a moment and then finished, “I’ll send you the link for Dr. Hardware. You can find this file that will assess each component of your computer and then give you a report on each device. It should tell you if you have a component that is not working. ”

I downloaded the file, saved it, ran it, then waited. Twice I cancelled it as the computer made threatening gestures and then just left the program hanging. Finally I got it going and left it to work on its own. I’d given up on waiting for it. It was ponderously slow.

The result was a fifty-two page report which I printed out. If only I knew what it meant! The only clear thing I could see was that a battery was missing. Just before I shut down Dr. Hardware’s program, a vermillion red pop-up came up with a warning.

Der Druker ist nicht am Druken.

I’d set the program running in English. What more did she want? She hadn’t told me she was bilingual. How was I to know what Der Druker ist?

The miracle of the Internet came to the rescue. I Googled Translate Druker. At first it insisted “Do you mean Drunken?” Finally with “tranlate Druker from German” helped me find “Printer” as a plausible meaning. Perhaps ” the Printer is not… printing? ”

It couldn’t be that. The program results were being printed on the printer at the same time as the pop-up appeared. The printer was working.

When the printing was completed, I rebooted the computer. Although it had been recently done, I ran the Anti-Virus program again. There were six more viruses found. Just where do they come from? I was up and operating . Mademoiselle la difficile was finally off strike, though still on a work slowdown.

When, near midnight, I tried to scan an important document for file, she wouldn’t allow the scanner to operate. I gave up and shut everything down including the scanner. She could have a good sleep in until morning and then maybe she would be a bit more responsive, a bit more dependable. Maybe even the scanner would cooperate. If not, I’d have to crawl around on the floor unhooking the peripherals and reconnecting, then rebooting to see if I could cajole the peripherals into operating properly.

Today, I am pleased to say, I’m back in business. It has taken me two days away from my other work.

Now what do you think? Can I get away with not giving her a Christmas bonus?

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