Saturday, March 28, 2009

Attacked by beasties

This computer I'm typing away on is a bit of a lifeline for me. Connecting with you fine people via blog and email, typing up scintillating summaries of assorted state tax legislation, utilizing the power of the Internet to track down everything from weather forecasts to life is tied to this little collection of electronic pieces parts. My collegiate computer investment is a little slow on the uptake these days and severely lacks portability, so the work laptop and I spend quite a bit of time together, whether it's in the fluorescent-lit confines of PwC or just chilling on the couch at home.

When Dell (yeah, I think I just nicknamed my computer after its manufacturer - utter lack of creativity on my part, but let's roll with it) started exhibiting minor symptoms of illness, I was a little concerned...but not overly worried. I mean, if I had typed these systems into the WebMD symptom checker, it would probably return a diagnosis of "Ebola virus" or "terminal liver cancer," but it also returns those results if you're suffering from a minor paper cut that happens to be combined with a slight cough. Dell's problems started out small - Internet Explorer windows would randomly close, system seemed to be running a little slowly, so on and so forth.

My concern grew when Dell and Google began to disagree with one another.

Dell: Google, please return search listing for "state tax amnesty programs."
Google: (reply tinged with slight hint of sarcasm) Dell, shouldn't you be using the vast resources available through your PwC internal resources and numerous external subscriptions for a search like that? I'd really prefer to look for something a bit more exciting.
Dell: (small sigh of frustration) You're right, Google, you really are, but sometimes it's just easier, more efficient, and often more effective to see what you have to say on the matter. Come on, help me out, please?
Google: Good point, Dell, I am pretty awesome...ok, here are your search results.
Dell: Thanks so much! Hmmm, this one looks promising...(click)...ummm, Google? You seem to be directing me to crap! What is this, sending me to a random search engine instead of the URL listed in your results?!? Let me try another one...(click)...yipes, this one isn't working either! What's going on??
Google: (mollified tone) Uh, Dell, I don't seem to be feeling so well. Gosh, maybe you shouldn't rely on me until I get over this...seems to be a pretty nasty bug.
Dell: No, Google, noooo!! I was doing ok with the other little quirks I've been experiencing over the last few days, but I rely on you far too often! For EVERYTHING! We're going to the doctor right now!!

Not having developed the deeper levels of trust with PwC DC IT folks (enough acronyms for you?) to trust them with Dell...who holds my entire iTunes library and 30.4 GB of digital pictures, which is not exactly in compliance with firm policy...I turned to my techie friends and the vast resources of the Internet for a possible solution. I mean, busted Google?? You can't function with busted Google. No more of this "redirect search results to crap website" business.

Long story short (actually, long story long with the Google/Dell dialogue up there), a nasty beastie had infected my computer from who knows where and decided to wreck havoc on the technology in my life. Fortunately, I found my savior, and Dell has been restored back to its functional glory. When my techie rescuer scanned some crazy log report I ran and responded with "ok, that identifies the beasties," I just felt like I was in good hands. Skip all the techno-babble and refer to viruses as "beasties" and you're good to go in my book. I highly recommend the Tech Support Forum gang if you ever find your computer on the fritz and haven't the faintest clue how to restore it back to health. Glad you're feeling better, Dell.

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