There is something downright maddening when your brand-new netbook, laptop, or PC spontaneously develops artificial intelligence. I say artificial because nobody with any real intelligence could have invented a computer that enjoys tasting, chewing up, and then ingesting my writing whole the way my new netbook does. Not only does it eat some of my best words, but no matter what I do, I can’t get the blasted thing to cough them back up again.
Forget a ghost in the machine, I swear Al-Quaeda has secretly infiltrated this computer company. You want to find a way to really hurt hard-working Americans—make us have to re-write our inspiration. We’re a microwave, drive-thru, mach-driven society. What better way to drive us crazy than to make us stop and have to start from scratch?
And when invisible fingers seem to be doing the walking over our keyboards, it can be worse than when our kids or the IRS does something out of left field. Who hasn’t accidentally grazed their fingers over a magical combination of keys and presto, their last hour of work (that was sure to be nominated for a Pulitzer) disappeared into the electronic ether?
You debate whether to throw your laptop against the wall or out the window. You struggle for the next 30 minutes to see if by some bizarre chance, some intelligent person (not the person who designed the keyboard) actually thought about you and that you might need to recover your document. So you scour Explorer looking for hidden files, reaching back into the bowels of your hard drive in the vain hope that maybe, MAYBE your perfect paragraphs are still somewhere in there awaiting rescue. But alas, no. They’ve gone the way of the transistor radio, Popeye, the VHS tape, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic. (I swear I can hear faint echoes of Celine Deon.)
You reflect on the last time you got a new laptop and how you went through a similar 6-month nightmare of keystroke catastrophes, mouse mis-steps, and file thievery. I mean this is SO much worse than socks disappearing into the black hole of the dryer.