Oct 19, 2010
Most Importantly, No Reddit
Posted in: Miscellaneous
On Friday evening, I made the disturbing discovery that my computer’s power adapter was dead. A long time coming, it had been on the fritz for about three weeks – I’d plug it in, but the battery wouldn’t begin to charge until I gave the plug a little jiggle. The odd thing was that I was just using the plug not five minutes earlier. I then unplugged the laptop, took it to another room, and then came back. I’m not sure what happened during those five minutes, but not even a jiggle could resuscitate its powerful abilities (pun intended).
After fruitlessly trying to get the thing to work, I quickly ordered a new adapter online the following day. It was scheduled to arrive Monday, and while I knew I would miss my computer the whole weekend, I was ready to take advantage of this weekend off to get some serious work done. No YouTube, no Grooveshark, and, most importantly, no Reddit. This weekend, I said to myself, was bound to be my most productive all semester -- and perhaps ever.
I was able to complete my Spanish homework without issue – my textbook and two workbooks were all I needed. I now feel moderately prepared for tomorrow’s exam, and I should be fully prepared once I finish this post and get back to studying. However, when it came to just about everything else, well... no, it was far from the most productive weekend of the term.
I tried to work on my UROP, which involves computing statistics about traffic in a section of Singapore. I had been really guilty about not devoting enough time to the project as I would like, and this weekend – I had vowed earlier – I’d really knuckle down and work on it. But it required MATLAB. And previous data I had already spent time computing. And that was on my computer. So, sorry, Swapnil, it’ll have to wait a bit longer.
At the same time, I came to the alarming realization that my first set of graduate applications is due in mid-December. Mid-December! I have plenty of time to work on them, of course, but the three people whom I would like to ask for recommendations? Well, unlike me, they may not be so willing to pull all-nighters to get something in before an application deadline (did that last week for externships). They, as Matt put it, have lives too, and I needed to give them ample time. (Note, for the record, that I absolutely will not be pulling all-nighters to get my college applications in, and neither should you. I'm just saying that if I had to, due to unforeseen circumstances, I would.) Two of the three people who I decided to ask recommendations from are overseas and so I needed to ask them via e-mail. There were e-mail addresses, background information, resumes, etc, that I wanted to have access to as I prepared said e-mails. And, guess where those were? Yes, so, I didn’t get around to that until today.
I needed to also pay some credit card bills. But, I'm not doing that from a public computer, nor am I searching through thousands upon thousands of e-mails in Webmail (can you tell I don't use Gmail?) looking for that esoteric username they assigned me. No, still haven't done that yet.
Now, now, I know what you’re thinking: (1) Use an Athena computer. Yes, I did, but I had more pressing things than work, silly. (2) This is why you should back things up. Don’t worry; I have learned that lesson by now. My computer crashed suddenly in September of my sophomore year, and I was practically crying all the way to the post office as I mailed off my fallen hard drive – and a $250 check – to recover the hundreds of photos taken during the second half of my summer that I had foolishly neglected to back up. (Ah, I’ll just get around to it tomorrow, I kept saying.) A year and a half later, earlier this year, when my computer was stolen on an overnight train in Eastern Europe (another long, sad, but easily predictable story), I had at least some solace in the fact that I had backed up everything, especially my precious pictures, just two weeks earlier (and not emptied my camera’s memory card like I had planned).
But, there’s something exhausting about trolling through and unzipping all those backup files. Instead, I sought to go the easier route – borrowing a power adapter from a fellow Baker resident. I e-mailed out to the dorm mailing list, but, unfortunately, there wasn't a single person that could help out. Perhaps this is just a testament to how many people have Macs (yes, I'm willing to admit it now; I sometimes have Mac envy). Or maybe it was a testament to how many plugs HP makes (so many that when they offered to replace one for free a couple years ago, they sent me the wrong one: "oh, your computer has an Intel processor, so you needed the 90-watt one; sorry about that!"). But, no, it's neither; it's just a testament to the fact that nobody likes me.
So, yes, with no help from fellow Bakerites, I had to suffer the whole weekend without my computer, but with a wonderful – albeit not airtight – excuse for putting off so much work. But to think my parents had to go decades living like that... wow... makes me shudder.