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29 October 2007 @ 07:47 pm
So we came home Sunday, having enjoyed our vacation/housesitting/dogsitting adventure (except for the part about the Joos family computer being incredibly slooooooooooow), and expecting to sit down to a nice evening of writing fic and corresponding with our wonderful friends online.

Lois sat down, turned on the monitor, and pressed the computer power button.  Nothing happened.  She tried it again, and again, it completely failed to respond.  Anissa, sitting in the dining room and preparing to carve an old-fashioned jack-o-lantern (using a turnip, not a pumpkin, as the base - more on that later), first learned of the problem when she heard a feminine shriek of terror. 

Anissa headed into the study to find a freaked-out Lois and a recalcitrant computer.  When she went to check the power cord connection, she smelled a scent she remembered from her stepdad's model train collection: that wonderful electrical burning smell.  You never forget it.  Much panicked cursing ensued; our lives are on that computer, dammit.  A metric shit ton of art and photos and videos, as well as oodles of downloaded programs.  The 3,000 or so Superman-related pics uploaded to Lois' photobucket account are just a fraction of the stuff on the secondary hard drive (80 gigabytes, and 3/4 full - the primary drive is 100 gigabytes).

Where does this leave us?  We have a backup computer, but it has no internet access.  No modem, no DSL connection.  We're borrowing a DSL-enabled laptop tonight so we can log on (MUST ... CHAT ... WITH F-LIST...), but we can't keep it forever.

Tomorrow, we're taking the computer to CompUsa to see what's wrong.  If it's the power supply, we'll order one and Anissa will install it (we're not paying anyone $30-$50 for half an hour's work - screw that).  We might be lucky enough that Anissa's Mom's boyfriend will have a compatible power supply, so we can get it cheap instead of paying the $40 that CompUsa just quoted us.

So we should be online tonight, and fully functional within the week.  Hopefully.  Keep your fingers crossed, f-list.

*sigh*  Why did all of this have to happen on the day we came home?

Oh, and we have about 1,000 words and 2 pages on the new chapter - a bit behind, but we'll work our butts off to catch up.  You should expect the unexpected this time around.  One scene in particular will hopefully elicit sniffles and the occasional "awwwww" from the audience, but you won't get any more spoilers than that.  :D
Brian's FanFic Journal: Pocket Protectormr_beeto on October 30th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
One word: Backups!

Everybody has too much data to risk a computer SNAFU or harddrive crash destroying everything, and it's too much to burn to DVDs. The best solution is to back it up to an external hard drive, which you can probably find for less than US$100. I use the LaCie external firewire drive for data redundancy on my Mac, but for PCs a USB drive like the Maxtor 1-Touch should do. The better models include software to perform the backup in the background. Even better, if your PC does go belly up, you can just attach the external drive to your loaner PC, and keep on trucking. For max protection, you get two of them and rotate them, with one stored at another location (such as a relative's house) in case your house burns down.

I'd bet money that it's the power supply. It's designed to fail (and thus protect the components downstream). I just recently replaced a power supply in my brother's PC to resurrect that.

And, Yes, I'm still around, though not so much these days. However, I do make time for your stories and Dandello's.
Loiskalalanekent on October 31st, 2007 07:33 am (UTC)
(this is Anissa)

BRIAN! My favorite computer wizard!

Yeah, all the writing is backed up to TWO jump drives (was one, but when that failed last time we bought another) which are on my person all the time. The art and video and stuff we might want to back up - I know how to remove and install hard drives from my system easily, and everything's on the secondary drive.

I took it to CompUSA and they hooked it to something and said, "Hmm, it's not your power supply". They made a couple jokes about flux capacitors and dark matter drives before telling me it was probably my motherboard. $129 to diagnose it fully, but they're quoting over $100 for a new motherboard too. It'd be cheaper to buy a new computer.

Well, screw that. I think they're BSing me to sell me a new computer. The electrical burning smell is ONLY present around the power supply, not the inside of the case around the motherboard.

I can't decide if I want Mom's friend to look at it, or just buy a new power supply. I'm also giving some thought to buying a barebones kit and building my own system. I saw one that was FREAKING WICKED for about $300, and I've got all the cables and screws I could ever need.

Or I could just be really smart and. buy a Mac..