Don’t tell me computers don’t do random…

I am assured that computers do not do things randomly. And also I am assured that they do not have little people sitting inside them doing – or not doing – the stuff that I ask the computer to do, via the keyboard. (Though I must confess i have always found Terry Pratchett’s version of the personal organiser, commplete with imp who says “bingleybingley beep you should be at such and such a meeting” strangely compelling!)

However, right at this moment, I do not believe the non-random theory. Indeed, neither do I believe Patient Colleague’s insistence that the computer has not emotional reaction to me. My pc at church appears (I will say appear because of what I have just said in the first para, but…..) to be opening word in randomly different forms; sometimes in the new system, sometimes in the old. And I can see no pattern to it, nor find anyway to achieve consistency.

And now my laptop has decided (I know…..), as of Friday, to lock me out of my email. The laptop is a shared one. When I open up the drive with my name, my email remains stubbornly not there. When i open it in Beloved Other’s name, I can access email as I normally do.

I do not understand this.

But it brings vividly to mind the experience when I was first using email. I was then teaching in Venerable Institution, and we had access to email (on the one computer in the insitution) via a dial-up throught the University system. Each morning, I would go and dial up, and then enter my user name and password, and collect any emails that awaited.

Except the morning when, for a reason I have never established, this no longer worked. And all I got was the message “You do not exist”.

The shock to my psyche reverberates to this day.

So, if you see me looking lost, vague or simply bemused, please assure me that I do exist.

Sometimes I need reminding. Especially when the computers gang up against me!



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