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by Genghis


Computers, man---ya can't live with 'em and ya can't live without 'em. We've become so dependant on the ubiquitous computer in our daily lives, that when you get reminded of this unfortunate fact of life as I did this week when my laptop broke down---you get a real appreciation of old school technology such as our Harleys. 1903 technology man, it rules. Start the bike up, and internal combustion propels ya down the road of life with a minimum of technical worries. Any of you reading this now, know what I'm rappin' about. Computers are frickin' wonderful when they work, but infuriating when they mysteriously malfunction. Check it out. My two year old Dell XPS laptop---which replaced this decrepit old laptop I hittin' the keys on now with the tiny screen and broken hinge on its display---just stopped functioning. It slowed down to a crawl, and eventually stopped responding, period. A system restore didn't help. After I ordered up a new one from Dell, I felt that I had nothing to lose by trying to fix the broken XPS. I ended up doing something that I would consider radical for me, because I'm not really a savvy techie with computers.

To make a long story short, I reinstalled the Windows XP operating system followed by installing whatever utilities and drivers on CD that came with the damn thing. Well guess what? That wasn't enough. Sure, the laptop now runs at full speed, but I can't get online and there's no audio. Obviously, there are some drivers missing. That pissed me off (anybody remember the Pisspeas M.C.?) enough to storm out the door and go for a ride on my good 'ole Harley 74, a bastion of old school technology. Wind in my face, motor rumbling beneath me, and reasurring "clunks" as I shifted from gear to gear on this dinosaur of technology from the past. Man, was it refreshing and uplifting. We'll just call Harleys the Uplifting Machines. As pleasurable and reasurring as that ride was though, it didn't solve my computer problems. I've become---as I suspect many of you have---so dependant on computers, that it's a major bummer when a computer goes down unexpectedly. I do my writing online. My photography is now married to computers, as I've migrated to digital photography. I thought of going back to film when my laptop broke down, but that wouldn't solve anything. In order to translate my film images to digital so that I can post my pictures on my websites, I would need a scanner to interact with a computer anyway.

There is no escaping computers these days. Man, wotta racket new technology is. Like a beautiful chick, she lures you in and then sledge hammers you in the head when she fails. As it is, I may have to worry about how my older Nikon software that enables me to import images onto a computer---will be compatible with the new Windows 7 that's coming with my new laptop. It probably will be compatible, but in this day of technical surprises, who knows until it's tried? To show you how dependant I've become on computers, I even got sucked into doing my banking online. It's great when it works because it makes the task so much more convenient, but it sucks when computers break down because it's human nature to become accustomed to convenience for convenience's sake.

For now, at least I can continue my writing on this old laptop with the tiny screen, broken hinge and lousy contrast. I wouldn't trust it to process digital images. For that, this old computer is inadequate. You all must've come across moments like these when your high tech computer betrays you. At moments like that, gettin' your motor runnin' and gettin' out on the highway sounds like a good idea, as I did when I was gonna blow my top when my laptop went down the other day. There's something really special about uncovering a 39 year old Harley-Davidson that looks brand new, and going through the little low tech rituals that bring her to life. Mabel is "Old Reliable." Gas on, ignition keyed. Turn on the enrichener on the S & S Super B carburetor that was designed forty years ago. Hey man, this was the same carb that I put on my '68 XLCH back in 1973. Now this carb sits on my shovelhead, Mabel. Start 'er up and warm her up with a fast idle. Straddle her and institute as satisfying "CLUNK!" as my foot comes down on the toe lever of Mabel's heel-toe shifter. Head out on the highway, and all is well for the moment. Old school technology, man. Ya can't beat it. Now I sit and wait for my new computer to be delivered. Later.