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Well boys and girls, I am sorry to say there will be no JFASN again this week.

Last Saturday, June 15, I reported that my Gateway laptop, which had been on life support for some time, had finally died while I was in the middle of using it to write last week’s CD review. That forced me to go out and buy a new laptop, which I did. It’s a blistering fast Samsung with 6 gigs of RAM, a 640 gig hard drive, and it runs Windows 8.

The Samsung also, it turns out, has no built-in CD/DVD player-burner. In fact, for the money you pay, it comes with damn little besides a bunch of little “apps” that I am not sure I will ever use. The fact that I got stuck with a computer with no CD/DVD player is, of course, my own fault. I didn’t bother checking for that because, frankly, it never occurred to me that anyone would make or sell a computer without one.

When I first discovered this beast came with no CD/DVD player, I thought to myself, well, a lot of things that I won’t get into here. But my consolation came from the fact that I still had my trusty old desktop computer from the early 2000’s, running a fully updated copy of Windows XP Professional. With both a built in CD player AND a separate DVD burner, I was covered and covered. (The CD player came with the machine when Belmont Computers built it for me in 2001; the DVD burner was added a few years later.) I figured I would just use the old computer to play the CD’s while I wrote about them on the new laptop. No problem.

I’ll give you three guesses as to what you think died Wednesday night, June 19.

That’s right. My dependable old desktop computer. And of course along with it went the final working copies I had of all the software I had purchased and installed on the laptop. Let me hasten add that they were all installed and used on both machines in accordance with the terms of their manufacturer’s individual agreements. I don’t do bootlegs.

It also took my favorite PC game of all time, “Quake III: Arena,” which apparently will not install any operating system more recent than Windows XP Pro. I haven’t tried on this machine yet (no DVD player), but it would not install on the old laptop running Vista.

This means that I not only have to buy new versions of every piece of software I have bought since 2009, it also means I have no way to play music CD’s on the new laptop. I have tried taking the older laptop into the living room and writing while I listen on my big stereo system. Frankly, doing it that way is kind of a pain. It’s so much simpler to play the CD and write about it on the same machine.

A little while ago I bought an external DVD burner which, according to the info on the box it came in, appears to also play music CD’s. I will be spending the rest of this evening doing my best to try to install it without screwing up it or the Samsung laptop. Then comes learning how to use it.

If all goes well, I will be back here next weekend with the CD review that I had intended to post last week.

This all reminds me of a story written years ago by the late Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mike Royko. The thrust of the article was that every man should have the inalienable right to execute inanimate objects. I believe that right should be extended to executing treacherous computers. (If you can find a link to that article online, please feel free to use the Comments below to share it with us.)

The only problem is, of course, when a computer deserves execution the most, the dirty little bastard has already died.

Thanks for your support. I’ll see you back here next weekend, if not sooner.

Al Evans


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Copyright © 2013 by Al Evans. All rights reserved.