Also during the hurricane the video card in our desktop computer went up. It is unfortunately an integrated system (meaning, built into the motherboard) rather than constructed Lego-style. We just replaced this tower a year-and-a-half ago around the time of the blizzard. Robb hauled it over to Best Buy to have the geeks take a look. The diagnostic alone costs $70 and takes several days. The geek he spoke to suggested it might be the power supply which would be another $40 to fix. If it is indeed the video card that is fried they could plug in a separate video card if they are able to track down that part. The geek didn't think they would find one, in which case they would have to replace the whole motherboard. Or $400. That's $100 more than we spent on the tower to begin with.
Robb asked him how is it possible that an 18 month old computer is already so obsolete that replacement parts are unavailable? Apparently the technology was "on it way out" when we purchased it. The geek wouldn't recommend plugging in a separate video card--if one could be found--anyway because in these integrated systems, once one part dies the others pieces tend to start dropping like flies in a terrible rapid cascade. "So what you're telling me is that computers are disposable now too?" "Exactly," replied the geek.
Now I know what you're thinking. "Who wants a desktop anyway?" Well, me. I do. I really hate laptops. I'm pecking away on Robb's laptop right now, and I'm not happy about it. This poor thing has such a puny processor that I can't plug my camera into it without causing an event not unlike Chernobyl. And it's only maybe four years old. If our desktop was "obsolete" this thing is practically prehistoric. Welcome to the land of waste where you have to replace your computers twice a year to keep up, and on the first of every month a new smarter phone is waiting for you.
There is something deeply wrong with our tech culture. I wasn't raised like that, and I don't want Maureen to develop a permanent case of the I-want-gimme-gimme's. We have a cabinet of VHS tapes and two large binders of DVDs. These dusty stacks represent hundreds of dollars invested in obsolete media. Video tapes were around for about 20 years and DVDs for maybe 10. How long do you really think the Blu-Ray fad will last? It is already a flash in the home theater pan. I urge to save your money and ignore Blu-Ray entirely. Anything you want to watch can be streaming to your tv or computer instantly.
Streaming media worries me. It's not so much that I miss having my large cassette collection prominently displayed in my home. It's 1984. It's the worry that without media artifacts--books, sheet music, handwritten letters--that our history can be edited, skewed, and deleted. Already music and books you have downloaded can magically disappear from your electronic library when the service provider has a dispute with a publisher. But an executive from Amazon will never walk into my home and physically remove a book from the shelf in my living room.
Anywho. We're not sure what we're going to do about the computer yet. We did not leave it for the $70 diagnostic. And Robb is going to have a friend move all the files to our backup drive this week. If it wasn't full of toxic metals and stuff, I would really like to bury the tower in the back yard. Have a little funeral for the old gal. Only the good die young, eh?