Archive for March, 2008

Why I’m (temporarily) out of touch

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton brought her campaign to a North Carolina community college just a few miles from my Raleigh-area home. At almost exactly the same time, my email server stopped accepting messages, effectively cutting off my contact with the digital world. Coincidence?

Well, yeah, of course it is. What, you think I’m some kind of conspiracy wacko?

Actually, I’d be happy if my tech woes could be traced to the near-presence of the woman who would be president. That way, I’d at least know what I needed to do in order to fix the problem. (Exorcism, in case you’re wondering, plus a Rush Limbaugh bobblehead permanently parked next to my computer to prevent the demon’s return.) But since I can’t trace my woes to Hillary — my computer woes, at least — I’ve had to call in the experts, who are chewing on this problem even as you read this.

The bad news is that I’m temporarily robbed of the fan messages that flood in from readers. (OK, that’s mostly a theoretical flood of fan messages, but hey, it could happen.) The good news is that my daily number of spam messages, truly a flood, is now down to a trickle.

My helplessness in the face of what is probably only a minor problem illustrates how much ground I’ve lost in the past quarter-century. In 1982, I was a cutting-edge geek simply by virtue of the fact that I was one of the first people to buy a home computer. Adjusted for inflation, it cost me the equivalent of $11,300 today, and was such a marvel that friends made special trips to my house just to see it. I immediately was designated the technology writer at the paper where I worked at the time, because while I only knew a little bit about home computers, everyone else knew absolutely nothing about them. Ergo, I was that generation’s John Hodgman in this regard — the resident expert.

That was then and this is now. Today, I’m just one of a countless number of clueless chumps who are routinely brought low by glitches they can’t even diagnose, much less fix. My experts soon will have me up and running again, though. When that happens, I promise to respond to all the messages awaiting me. Both of them.