My mom’s old computer died on her, so she bought a new one. The old one—which had taken to not going past the Windows splash screen—was given to my oldest son in a fit of magnanimity.

I was pretty sure I could get it to work, and I tried to tell my mother that before she took on the expense and trouble of getting a new computer down at Wal-mart (yes! Wal-mart! she’s old).

She got a new computer anyway, and we got her old one. The first thing I did was to try to load up my XP using a Dell cd lying about, but that didn’t work, because it didn’t have enough RAM. So. I looked around for an old copy of Me or 98, but I guess I threw all that out years ago. With gusto! I love throwing away shitty OS’s that have wronged me over the years! I wish I hadn’t.

I did, though, come across an old ‘TurboLinux’ cd. What the hell; why not? I said to myself. I’m savvy. I’ve done Macs, I’ve done Windows, I’ve done DOS; hell I knew my way around the C-64, back in the day. Tape drives! Tape drives, back and forth from school, uphill both ways!

It still didn’t work. Subroutines kept telling me the hard drive was wasted.

So I went down to Wal-mart and bought a new hard drive. 40 gigs, 69 bucks.

After fiddling with the BIOS for far too long, I got the computer to recognize the hard drive. After that, TurboLinux loaded easily.

The thing is, it’s been a long time since I had to learn a new OS. It’s a shitty endeavor under the best of circumstances, but with a jury-rigged system, it’s more so. And there are completely new metaphors to learn. Usually, when something craps out on my Windows system, I can figure it out in fairly short order, because I’m experienced with it. I’ve had many things crap out on my Windows systems over the years, so this accretion of dismay, rage, and eventual triumph over the forces of Evil has given me confidence enough to believe that, no matter how evil and crappy Windows is, I can eventually browbeat it into working again.

Not so with TurboLinux. I mean, things are happening that my limbic system doesn’t know whether to urge me on in a fit of rage and disgust, or just quit and order a pizza. For instance: mounting the cd-rom. Apparently, I have to ‘mount’ the cd-rom almost everytime I start the computer, else the computer doesn’t know it’s there. Oh, there’s a function that can be set from a command line sort of interface, that should tell the computer that it has a cd-rom at start-up, but it doesn’t work all the time. And I have no idea what parameter is changing that the computer decides to make me re-mount the thing; I didn’t change anything, it just changes!

Also, I tried to load a DOS emulator into the system, to give it a little functionality. Meaning that it would allow me to play some ancient games that I haven’t played in years, yet I still have lurking in my closet. I followed the recipe I lifted from the site I got DOSemu from, which called on me to invoke commands that I was clueless about. It actually behaved fairly well. The loading, I mean; things scrolled by efficiently, as if other things were really happening. In the end, though, the load returned cryptic errors. Mysterious errors; errors that I wouldn’t even know were errors, except that the computer prefaced them with the word ‘error.’

I guess I’ll figure it out, but I’m kind of tired of re-learning shit like this. I just want it to work, anymore.

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