Commentary by Cherie Jung

(19 February, 2015)

It’s Monday morning. Lots to do. Short stories to edit, code, and proof. Book reviews to post. Interview notes to type up. But am I working on any of those tasks? I think not. I’m battling with my computer and its latest software updates. 

Beginning recently, every new update changes my files from “lists” (my preference) to “icons” (my computer’s apparent preference) and then my computer “synchronizes my folders” while re-alphabetizing everything beginning with “z” which is rather inconvenient.

My computer refuses to let me go to various websites that it (apparently randomly) decides might be unsafe…like my banking website and other popular mystery/crime websites.

Changing everything back – customizing, I believe is the term – wastes a great deal of my time and sometimes must be done more than once a day. 

This morning my computer’s software decided my printer was a threat so it disabled it and left me a message to the effect that something might have gone awry so it stopped the printer, took it off-line and/or something else because it couldn’t find a solution to the problem and oh, by the way, it continued, we also stopped Big Fish* (because we don’t like it) and stopped a couple of your other programs but we are synchronizing your files and would you like us to archive the old unimportant stuff?

No I would not! (And how does my computer software know what’s old and unimportant to me when it comes to my files?!?)

At first I wondered if the software was keying in on words and phrases, that when taken out of context might seem alarming or threatening. After all, mysteries and crime fiction use the same chilling words as real news items these days…

I’m rather inclined to think that my computer is just picking on me.



*Big Fish is a gaming program I’ve been trying to download a new mystery related 1.8 GB size game from for the past 3 weeks, which I want to play then review.

P.S. – There’s more…


After nearly two weeks of wrestling with my mal-functioning computer, receiving lots of helpful IT advice and serious advice from a good friend, it still seemed as if my computer was infected with a virus, malicious malware, trying to drive me insane, or all three.

I eventually discovered that I had two corrupted files that were hanging the system, preventing it from completely loading, each time I turned on the computer. In order to get past them, and get access to my system and files, I had to call up the task manager program and stop the two corrupted files from running. Until then, my monitor screen was black except for a small magnifying glass icon in the upper left hand corner. The computer guy (hubby, who is a professional…don’t try this at home by yourself…) spent all weekend (including the holiday on Monday) working on the problem. The graphics card was fine; the monitor old but fine, and likewise, the printer. However, the corrupted files wouldn’t allow us to repair them, replace them, or delete them. Sigh. I miss the good old days when I used a manual typewriter. My typewriter never ever wrote a letter or story on its own…or change anything I didn’t do on my own.  While we were hassling with the printer yet again, I asked it to print out a Sky & Telescope page from the web. It printed out a coupon for a medical prescription refill card from 2013. Something it found in an old file somewhere on my computer.

For no apparent reason, the computer started working properly on Tuesday afternoon. Hours later, again for apparently no rational reason, the computer was still working for some things but would no longer print. It had printed just fine earlier in the evening then decided it wasn’t going to print properly. It printed out the Sky & Telescope article (or I should say, reprinted) I had finally gotten to print the previous night but I hadn’t been back to the S&T site since the previous night and the computer and printer had been turned off several times since then so I have no idea how or why it decided to print another copy of the S&T article or even where it got it from. My printer queue indicated it was empty. Sigh. I just wanted to print out one page of text – as a test – yet in over two hours, going on three, I couldn’t get anything to print…from either computer. (I have three separate computers that share a printer.)

Have I mentioned…


I mean, is it too much to expect a computer to do what it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to do it?

Even though the computer was acting like it had a virus, all three of our anti-virus software programs claimed the computer was clean.  (Of course it was possible I could still have a virus that the software couldn’t detect but I was hoping that wasn’t the case.) Around 4 a.m. this morning hubby woke up (probably because of me, in the next room, repeatedly hissing at the computer, “Why won’t you print?!?!” –  expletive deleted) and he rejoined the battle. He disconnected the printer switching box (which allows me to use either of the computers to print from the same printer). Voila! The one page test page printed out without a hitch. For now, I will have to manually disconnect and reconnect the printer cable to each computer, depending on which one I want to use to print. But a faulty printer switch box can be replaced and new software added quite easily. Much better than a virus.

After several late nights and many hours wasted in the struggle, it may turn out that my software was right and that my printer was a threat, in a way.

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