The diagnosis came back surprisingly swiftly: The virus was fatal. There was nothing they could do. And, besides, I was due for a new computer anyway, so the kind folks at my work’s technology office announced they’d do me the favor of chucking my old one.
But I’m not quite ready to part with it just yet. I still need a few days to mourn.
I had used this computer almost since my first day as a professional reporter five years ago. I’ve used it to write about everything from cement factories to school board meetings to giant transforming robots invading my town; it’s been in the presence of the Dalai Lama and even blessed by the Pope.
My wife just pointed out that the blessing doesn’t seem to have helped much; I answered that, without the blessing, it might not have lasted this long. It was an old machine, limping along on far too little memory using Windows 2000 and some outdated version of Internet Explorer.
Which was probably part of its downfall, actually. The end came soon after I accessed a Web site via a link that a trusted source e-mailed to me; as soon as the page started loading, it downloaded some sort of malicious code onto my machine. My anti-virus software was smart enough to tell me something bad was happening but not strong enough to stop it.
I have a hard enough time dealing with any computer’s slow death through obsolescence — I still have some old machines in my house that run (barely) on Windows Me and Mac OS 9, and yet I can’t bear to put them out to pasture. The sudden, violent death of my trusty workhorse has been even more difficult.
I know my new computer will be great; I expect it to have WiFi, scads of memory, and even a semi-current version of Windows. (And I don’t care what the higher-ups say, this time I’m installing Firefox!) It’ll also be a lot cleaner, without five years of work notes and other digital detritus clogging the hard drive.
Still, that old thing served me well for many years. So long, old friend; here’s hoping you end up in a better place.