Ethan Marcotte now blogs at Unstoppable Robot Ninja.

Weblog entry:

Gotta get my Luddite on

The irony of having a broken laptop on the first day of a technology conference is not lost on me. Granted, I’m not dying inside to quite the extent I was yesterday, but healing takes time.

There are, I suppose, a number of arguments against me owning anything remotely technical and/or expensive: I’m a bit on the clumsy side, I’m not especially bright before the first cup of coffee, I don’t play well with others, etc. Yesterday morning, however, I definitively closed the door on any future computer-related purchases; I have, I think, earned the right to move back to Vermont, clothe myself entirely in fur, and live out the rest of my years in a beaver dam, sans electricity, internet access, or sunlight.

So I have, if you’ve been listening to me natter on in the past few months, this laptop — a PowerBook, to be exact. The quirky thing about said laptop is that there’s no CD tray; rather, Steve Jobs, in his ultimate wisdom, saw fit to have a slot on the front of the machine, into which (you guessed it) CDs and DVDs can be inserted. Apparently because trays that slide in and out of your laptop are so 1997.

Unlike, say, single-button mice. But now I’m just getting snarky.

So yours truly found himself in Boston’s gorgeous Logan Airport yesterday morning, thinking in his pre-coffee haze that it’d be nice to install a recently purchased copy of Adobe CS. In goes the installer disc, but nothing happens. Attempting to eject it through a few different means nets the same result: bupkis.

On the off chance that Adobe’d sold me discs fashioned from sandalwood, I cracked open the software box to inspect the rest of the CDs. Leafing through the remaining discs, I noticed that each was mounted atop a thin white piece of paper. And when I noticed that the case for the installer disc was missing that piece of paper, I promptly shrieked like a schoolgirl.

Yes, folks — I’d created a nice little open-faced CD/paper sandwich, and then jammed it into my laptop. Sweet.

For awhile, the laptop simply refused to boot up, which made for a long, boring flight down to Texas. Thankfully, the disc and the offending paper managed to slide out last night at some point in my journey, but now my disc drive doesn’t work. Unless if by "work," you mean "whimper pitiably, make ka-chunking noises, and spit CDs back out at you." In which case, yes, thanks — it’s working just fine.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a beaver dam to build.

Update: And of course, Dunstan sends a helpful link (or two) my way.


Hooray, technical difficulties.

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