Tuesday, November 20, 2007


A few days ago I turned my home computer on to play some Max Payne II, and instead of my customised startup sound (the maniacally perky intro to the 'I Dream of Jeannie' theme) and my customised desktop (a photo of the Tasmanian countryside run through a watercolour filter), all I got was a dull whirr and a blank screen. I suspected either a dead motherboard or a faulty hard drive. I got a second opinion from a friend who blamed either the motherboard or the powersupply. Then I got a third opinion from the IT Manager at work, who ran a few tests and determined that it was indeed the motherboard.

Generally when the motherboard fails in a computer it's recommended that you just buy a new one, since it's an integral part and you're probably due for an upgrade anyway. But over the years I've got my computer into a configuration that suits me, with a new video card, new RAM, an additional hard drive and a DVD burner. The thought of transferring various bits of hardware and software over onto a new machine gives me a headache, and the thought of having to reconfigure the internet access, the preferences, the file heirarchies and everything else ramps that headache up into a migraine.

So I made a few calls and ordered a new motherboard ($167.77 including GST and delivery), but it won't arrive for about a week. Until then, I'll be in a state of crisitunity. I won't be able to check my email, write my blog posts, play Max Payne II or surf the web at home. On the other hand, not being able to do any of those things will free up time to do other things...

Like drive to my friend's house to check my email, write my blog posts...

In my state of enforced computerlessness I hope to do a little more work on a couple of art projects. I've been given a dozen broken hard drives, and as I've pulled them apart I've been enchanted by the wonderous and intricate engineering they contain. When you split open a hard drive it looks like some esoteric machine from a steampunk graphic novel. The discs themselves are heavy plates as perfectly reflective as a mirror, resting on exquisitely machined spindles. The read/write arm looks like the skull of a delicate robotic bird. The various little protective plates look like miniature versions of Rodin sculptures, and some contain rare earth magnets of such power that if you hold one up to your refrigerator door you may put a dent in it.

My first project is to make a technowreath for my front door this Christmas. After that, we'll see how the leftovers fire my imagination.


Blogger emawkc said...

Man, I've been there. Except when my mother(effing)board crashed, it also crashed my hard drive, resulting in the loss of 80 gig of data.

Good luck.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

The corruption of my main HDD would result in the following losses:

- a whole bunch of mediocre photos
- some poorly designed MST3K DVD covers
- blog backups
- copies of letters I wrote back before everyone had access to email
- all my Max Payne II saved games

So, it could be worse. Most of the important stuff is replicated on my work computer.

On the plus side, I'm hoping that while my computer is sitting on our IT Manager's workbench, he can see his way clear to hooking it up to our highspeed broadband and downloading the many gigabytes of security patches that are too large for me to install via my home dialup connection.

And perhaps a version of Windows XP that is more compatible with my DVD drive.

And a new puppy.

11:18 AM  

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