Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Arcadia of My Youth: My Millenium Falcon

For a full 24 hours, my PC died on me. I cradled her in my arms and cursed whatever Internet or electronic Gods that cursed her with the condition.

"Why? Why? Noooooooooooooooooooo!!! N! O! Ooooooo!!!1100010101001010101!!!"

I couldn't write. I couldn't even turn her on. We've become strangers, separated by her eye which glowed and then died down. It was as if she lost all the will to live.

So, problem: She won't get turned on.

Diagnosis: The only two possible answers would be, her power supply blew out, or the motherboard blew a few capacitors. Or both.

I checked any and all capacitors on her board. They didn't burst. So that leaves either the power supply, or less likely, the power chord.

I tested her power chord. It was okay.

So, after Kamil decided today, of all days, to get sick (Kamil is my IT goto guy), I hopped into a cab, cradling her in my arms whispering soothing words and sweet nothings. Just to calm her nerves a bit.

We reached Digital Mall at a bit over 4pm.

I went immediately to the repair shop.

The dude behind the counter hooked her up and told me there was nothing wrong with her power supply. He showed me a reading with one of the diodes unlit. He said he needed two to three days to diagnose her. I said fuck off and die and took her to the shop across the mall.

"My PC can't be started. I'll pay for any components you need to replace to make her glow again."

That got their attention.

Broke my heart to see her opened, lying by her side as they probed her. A simple substitution test showed that all she needed was a new power supply. Like, duh!

I got her a power supply upgrade to 460W, with a surge protector. It would cost me RM149 with an additional RM30 for service charges.

To make it worth their while, I also purchsed a 1TB SATA hard disk at RM178.

It's not really that cheap, but anything to get my precious up and running again.

It would take 30 minutes, the guy said.

So I went down to smoke, waiting anxiously for my precious.

Between puffs, I started to remember how I first got her. I assembled her from different parts, like the Bride of Frankenstein.

The flashback came with Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris' rendition of Aerosmith's Dream On in the background.

The casing and the processor I bought off a friend.

The hard drive was from my previous PC. Inside the hard drive are files I saved since 1996. All documents I ever opened, saved in my father's 2.1GB hard disk. I never threw any of the documents out, which actually serves me today as I stand on the brink of ultra greatness.

There are a few novels in there, somewhere, scores of unfinished short stories and countless movies as well as animation ideas. All those nights dreaming of doing these things are finally paying off as I draw ideas from a younger, perhaps more imaginative me. There are enough ideas in my hard drive to make creative projects till I die, and beyond.

The DVD-ROM was from my old Pentium III PC, before I got a PIV and now it is still running on my dual-core AMDx2 system. Dual-core, motherfucker! I don't need double quad-core. I just need my AMiDala.

Peripherals. The 15 inch LCD screen was also bought off a friend. So were the speakers. I use an old Philips Cambridge Soundworks, which to me sounds better than Altec Lansing or whatever. I tried RM500 speakers before, or RM1,000++ setups. This old RM100 double speaker and subwoofer still plays the best sounds, even if I have to hit it sometimes and balance a paperweight on the 'on' switch.

I don't like to tamper with what works, and these speakers have followed me around for more than eight years. They still work wonderfully. I am loyal to my machines.

With them, I listen to stuff I got from Napster. Anyone remember Napster? KaZaa? OG P2P, yo!

I even come from a time where 486 processors were in the fastest PCs. I used dot matrix printers to dole out stuff from Wordstar. I still remember old DOS commands. They're very simple, really, and a few years back, I found games I used to play like Gemfire and Uncharted Waters 2: New Horizons as freeware!

Man, I used to sweat to a 14.4kbps dial-up bullshit in fucking Kuantan.

It was 1996, and I was downloading cartoon porn. I still have some stuff from those days, in my precious AMiDala.

Fact is, I know my precious inside out. I know every inch of her. I know how she works. I know what she can do and can't do.

Some parts of her were instrumental in rendering my first 3D animation tests. I made fire, and I made it rain. Using Lightwave 3D.

I compiled an artificial intelligence on this PC. I wrote a software that could mark, graph the progress and tutor students in schools and colleges using ASP and Oracle as a database. That was my final year project. I wrote an Intelligent Tutoring System for Modern Anime Literature.

We did it. AMiDala and I, we created a software that could teach literature. I was offered to go to Portugal and present it at a conference, but I knew that I was headed elsewhere. And wherever I went, AMiDala was there by my side.

I wrote most of my articles using her. Other PCs seemed crass and limiting. Not even my new Netbook was any replacement. She was my sidekick, my companion, my muse and my lover.

She never betrayed me. Never. Well, she's not human.

I wrote all my movie scripts on her. Today, nothing calms me down more than sitting down in front of her and just exhale. I moved a lot these past five years, but she was always with me. She is my home. I can go anywhere in the world, but as long as I have her, I know that I am safe.

So I got back up to the second floor of the computer mall. I went to see her, and saw that she had the upgrade. A brand new power supply and an extra 1TB of storage space, which I am now filling with stuff.

I know that one day, I would have to change her core. Technology moves on. But as she stood by me when no one else would, I would always be with my precious, my love, my life. She is the Arcadia of my youth. She is my Millenium Falcon.