A Piece of My Mind: Computer Problems
Bennet Pomerantz

If things are not as bad as they seem, why do they seem so bad?
Ashleigh Brilliant

I write this column with a HEAVY heart and a lighter pocketbook

My computer system was INVADED! Yes, Virginia, invaded! However it wasn't messed with by Martians or the military, but a worm. I don't know how, nor do I really care how, this worm came resting in my hard drive. And no, it wasn't from adult porn sites, so keep your mind outta of the gutter . . . okay?

This Kango worm entered my system like a bull in a china shop, after it uncurled itself from its quiet home nestled in my hard drive. The idea of a computer worm crawling into my files and burrowing into my information left me with the creeps. It stayed dormant until one day . . . and then ZAP!

Does the danger of a virus mean that I should never use my OR any computer ever again? C'mon, if we gave in to that, we would all still be writing with slate or clay tablets.

A writer is known for information, so a worm, a virus, or a bug leaves me panicked! It wouldn't let me start my system, which is not a good thing, so I needed to call for help to fix the computer.

I called Geeks on Call (www.geeksoncall.com or 800-905-GEEK), the computer repair people, to see if they could fix my system. They have TV ads and I was impressed with them. Their tech came out and told me my system was corrupted . . . like I don't know this already. The repair person said that I need to run better scans. Well I ran Spybot. and a few others . . . he said that wasn't good enough.

Some repair people are like BAD doctors.  After you hurt yourself, he says you should have come in sooner. You don't go to a doctor because you are WELL, it's the same thing for a computer repair.

The tech asked me for drivers and disks I hadn't used since the system was installed. I started to look for stuff long gone and put away. My search ended with limited success - missing many of the needed drivers and disks.

So will I be more careful? I was careful before. I guess more virus scans are needed. I guess more cookie removals -SURE! However the tech remarked it happened a lot.

So what can a writer do?

  1. Like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says on its cover: DON'T PANIC!

  2. I know you've heard this before . . . Back up all your work. Thank God, I save anything and everything of my writing on floppy disks.

  3. If you have a second computer (a laptop, palm top, etc.) as a back up, that's great - if not, use a friend's.

  4. I learned this lesson the hard way . . . Save your drivers and start up disks. No matter if you think you will never need them again or not. Remember the disk you toss away maybe the disk you need to save your computer.

After script: The tech took my computer and cleaned the hard drive. He returned it completely empty as the day I received it, and there was not a virus to be found. So now I am recoding all the programs back on the system, finding the internet favorites again, revisiting the web sites I use, and even re-finding the game disks I love to play. It is a long and burdensome process, but I am slugging along. It may take weeks til I am back to the NORMAL that I know.

Barring any other problems with my system . . . I will be back next column a little happier and a lot wiser.

Reach for the stars.

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.