Techno challenge


It’s been one week since we got the laptop back and a message keeps pinging up with some American woman in a suit telling me we may have a virus and that we need to call a toll free number in the US. The page with the number on takes over the whole screen and refuses to be closed down. Obviously you are supposed to call said number, but is it for real or some scam thing? How can you tell? I am sure there are Youtube tutorials on this, but I just don’t have time to watch them.

So I basically restart the computer every 15 minutes or so and work on the chromebook. I am not much of a salesperson, but I am pretty sure I could sell a chromebook. Apart from the fact it doesn’t allow downloads of eg word documents, it is pretty much the ideal computer. It is fast, it doesn’t get viruses on it and it saves stuff as you go along so if it closes down for some reason you don’t lose everything. It also appears to be almost child proof [so far]. Okay, the back of it is slightly coming off after someone dropped it on the floor, but, hey, it still works and we’ve had it for over a year. This is something of a record in our house. We’ve had the laptop since September and been to PC World [God bless the insurance policy] about four times.

I sent my partner last time as I was slightly embarrassed and considering going in disguise. I think the main problem we have currently is something called When Sundaes Attack, a slightly worrying game about mutant ice cream sundaes. It has a brother game called When Burgers Attack, which is full of dastardly giant onions. Only son gets extremely excited whenever he squashes a giant purple onion. I am not sure what he presses, but he seems to have downloaded several additional programmes in the course of squashing onions and I’m not entirely sure which one might have a virus.

I deleted the ones I thought it was, but so far no luck. The last two times I’ve been to PC World, who I now almost consider to be extended family, my partner has made a point of reminding me to get the DVD thing fixed. It was working for about a month until only son did something suspicious to it. We are not quite sure what, but Youtube does not have a tutorial for “we aren’t sure what” so we’ve not been able to fix it. This means my partner has been unable to view his trusted collection of Depeche Mode DVDs for months. I did mention the DVD player two visits ago, but it must have slipped off the list so I made a big point of it last time and lo, the computer came back and my partner was able to see Dave Gahan in all his glory. However, in the process of trying to delete the virus I appear to have deleted an audio card for the DVD player. Oops.

So I’m now avoiding the laptop as much as possible until I have time to think about whether to ring the woman in the suit. It’s been a bit of a week technology wise [the tv remote has not yet surfaced] and with work and I’d really just like a lie-down. Daughter one has had an English exam that is part of her GCSE so has been feeling a bit tense all week. This has meant lots of reassuring talks and debates about love and betrayal in Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet and love and betrayal in general. Usually at 9.37pm. I’m not sure I have been any help since I tend to go off at a tangent [eg talking about Kate Bush’s greatest hits].

However, on the plus side, I think I may have had a major breakthrough with daughter two over the sports championship she was chosen for but refused to attend. I tried reason, but in the end what worked was the confiscation of her new trainers which were bought at a knock-down price off eBay on the understanding that she needed them to run faster. Where better to run faster than a sports championship, I reasoned. Daughter two followed me to the kitchen as I marched off with them, feeling that I had somewhat lost any parental authority by resorting to threats and manipulation. She then angrily scrunched up only son’s third letter to Spiderman [the main invitee to his forthcoming birthday party]. I am sure I said that that was a horrible thing to do, but she swears I called her a horrible person, which, of course, all the books say is the WRONG thing to do and which I will now have to pay for for many years to come as I am pretty certain she will bring it up on a weekly basis.

In any event she withdrew briefly from the kitchen and I bunged the trainers in the dishwasher which I knew she wouldn’t look in. She returned and started opening all the cupboards [but not the dishwasher. Oh yes, I know my children and knowledge is power]. She stomped off upstairs. My partner loomed on the scene and, on learning of the emotional state of play, beat a hasty retreat. Daughter two then shouted: “I’m going to be in the championships anyway as my PE teacher asked me if I was going and I couldn’t think of an excuse so you need to give me the note”. I had taken the consent note out of her bag as I was contemplating posting it. I gave it back to her. I feel slightly victorious, although I’m not altogether sure that this is not some elaborate hoax and that in the end I’m going to end up, as per usual, in loserville.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Picture credit: “Benq laptop”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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