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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Morning, Dave

My computer thinks it’s in charge.

The problem first occurred several weeks ago at 11:30 PM while I was attempting to submit a paper that was due at 12:00 via Blackboard (for those of you who don’t know, Blackboard is a wonderful tool which allows students and teachers to communicate, submit assignments and post grades. It generally works very well in theory, but not so much in practice). This was my first experience using Blackboard, so I very carefully followed all its directions, including upgrading Java and disabling my pop-up blocker. Then, with all the confidence of a student raised in the digital age, I clicked on the link to the submission page.

“Bloop”.

I clicked again.

“Bloop”. Nothing else. No message, no explanation. Every time I clicked on something, the computer responded with a “bloop”. And not just any “bloop”. The computer was most definitely implying that I had absolutely no right to be clicking on the submission button, and it was its job to notify me of the fact. I eventually got the paper turned in through the more traditional e-mail route, and with that, the computer and I seemed to have reached a compromise. Until last Friday.

Last Friday, having finished checking my e-mail, Facebook, and completing other such vital tasks, I clicked the ‘X’ to close my browser.

“Notice: Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and has to shut down. Please excuse the inconvenience”.

I’ve received this message many times in the past, and so didn’t think anything about. Except it kept happening, and I began to realize there was a pattern. The message was appearing every time I closed the browser. There was only one conclusion to be drawn. I was the problem. I was making Internet Explorer shut down by clicking on the ‘X’. The problem was not in fact the computer or Internet Explorer (which obviously wished to remain open), but me for trying to make the computer do what I wanted it to do.

But at least I won. For now…

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