M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, October 08, 2003  

Tech Support

My monitor at work started acting weird yesterday. Nothing major. It was just that none of the buttons on the front worked. Which wasn’t a tragedy, but it ahs built-in speakers that were locked into “mute” mode, which meant I couldn’t listen to any of last week’s show on the website.

This morning, I figured I’d have another go at it. Maybe powering it down and back up would take care of it. All of the buttons were still non-functional, though, so that meant I had to actually unplug it and plug it back in. Done and done.

When I sat down again, the buttons still didn’t work. And now the screen was flickering on and off. Two seconds on, one second totally black. Normally I can work around minor system glitches, but it occurred to me that this might be just a touch too distracting.

Power up and power down again. This time the screen stayed on, but it was extremely dark. It was like sitting at a computer while wearing a welding mask. The reflection was brighter than the display. Normally, under such circumstances, I would adjust the brightness level, but the buttons on the front were still—wait for it—not working. Obviously this wasn’t going to work, so went around to the back of the monitor and tried again. This time there was a loud pop, a flash like a magnesium flare, and a torrent of glass shrapnel fired into my chair, which made me glad I wasn’t sitting in it at the time.

Okay, that last thing didn’t happen, but this was on the verge of getting boring.

I wandered down the hall to our Technical Director’s office to ask if there was a spare monitor lying around somewhere. He said there were some in the basement, but since he was cutting together a promo of considerable priority, he’d get back to me. In the meantime, I stole the monitor from the vacant office next to mine and plugged it in. That one has an anthill-shaped shadow at the bottom center of the screen that degaussing doesn’t eradicate, but at least I don’t have to read my documents in Braille any more. Also in the meantime, the person who does the travel itineraries when the show goes on tour had a catastrophic system crash. I wasn’t there, but apparently there was a horrible noise and a burnt smell and everything. So it’s possible that we may not be going anywhere.

So we call the Help Desk. The Help Desk, mind you, is in Minnesota Public Radio headquarters in downtown St. Paul, which is one of many places where we are not. And anyway, they’re quite busy getting geared up for Pledge Week. I guess they’re in charge of setting up the phone bank, which I have to imagine is a pretty large and involved job. So they’ll send someone out here when they can to replace my monitor and maybe that other person’s hard drive and perhaps reconfigure a laptop that needs reconfiguring as long as they’re here, but nobody’s clear on when that’s going to be. Because Pledge Week is coming up.

Which is fine. I can deal. No rush. I just wanted all you Minnesota Public Radio listeners to know that if Pledge Week actually goes ahead as scheduled, it won’t be for lack of trying on my part.

Today’s best search phrase: “Combover hairstyle for women.” But why settle for just one?

posted by M. Giant 2:43 PM 0 comments


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