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Down the Hatchet

My Baby’s Got a Case of the Blue Screen of Death

By Akshay Patil
COLUMNIST

So I’ve been pretty sad lately because my baby is sick. The real tragedy is that I don’t know what’s wrong with her or how to make her feel better. I let her sleep most of the time but when I wake her up, she blinks at me a few times and then whammo, she blue-screens.

It only used to happen once and a while, but recently I haven’t been able to get her to stop. I restart her, wait, log in, and then keep my fingers crossed.

The LCD might flash a few times after things get loaded, but that’s the least of my problems because after less than 30 seconds of quality time with my baby, she goes blank and gives me the Windows blue screen of death. Then she starts dumping memory (or something) and tells me to kill her and seek help.

It’s not a pretty sight and it breaks my heart. I really wish I knew what was wrong with her, but I have trouble finding out what exactly is troubling her. Whenever I successfully resuscitate her, all she wants to do is tell Microsoft that something happened; she never bothers to tell me anything. Typical.

And it’s not that she just blue-screens -- sometimes I just feel like she’s ignoring me. She’ll sit there and stare at me, not reacting to a thing I do. I hit the keyboard and move the mouse but she refuses to respond. It wasn’t always like that. When my baby first came into my world, she and I got along so well. We spent many happy hours together with no problems: installing programs, doing word processing, surfing the Net together. Now she’s a few months old and she’s acting all uppity. I’m guessing her operating system doesn’t get along with the hardware, but I can’t figure out much more than that. I gave her a little medicine (chkdsk) and it seemed to fix some of the issues, but she still insists on throwing a hissy fit once in a while.

I guess I should take her to a doctor, but I just don’t feel comfortable doing that yet. For all I know, they might take my baby away from me and just give me back a new one. That’s just not the same. I know she might have some problems, but can’t those be fixed? Do they really have to just totally gut her and give me a new one? Maybe they’ll leave her body alone and erase her memory, but it still makes me uneasy.

I’ve only had her for a few short months, but I feel the bond between us is strong. I never let her get too hungry, I change her battery at least every other day, I take her everywhere I go and I’m very careful about letting other people handle her. She has all these accessories to play with and I encourage her to talk to others of her kind. Its true that she’s a lot smaller than most of the other computers in her group, but she seems to get along with her peers just fine. Sometimes she gets a little hot, but I make sure to check her temperature periodically and let her rest when I feel she’s overheating. I take good care of her, I swear, and I won’t let them take her away from me.

Maybe it’s that I ask too much of her. She’s not the most powerful baby in the world and I often push her to the limit. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to want her to perform at her very best. I guess I’m selfish like that.

I think about all the things I wish I could have done in years past and push her to do them. I don’t think she minds, but lately I’ve been wondering.

Whatever the cause may be, her condition is certainly not healthy. I hate feeling so helpless, but short of giving her up, I don’t know what else I can do. Fingers crossed and here’s to hoping little dot.mit.edu can pull through.