My PC emulates the Norwegian Blue…..

Although I’m primarily a Mac user, I’ve always had a WinTel PC at home, mostly for playing games. (I prefer turn-based games like Civilization and Alpha Centauri, as well as city-building simulations like Rome. However I occasionally fire up something in the Doom/Quake genre.) My current PC is an eMachines tower with an aftermarket video card and an extra hard disk so I can dual-boot WinXP and Solaris.

This morning I checked my Gmail on the PC and then hurriedly shut it down before going to work. I think that rather than choosing “Shutdown” I might have clicked on “Suspend”. In any case, when I arrive home I turn on the monitor and hit the power button. Nothing. The monitor status light is yellow, meaning no signal. Hold in power button for 5 seconds, then try powering up again. Nothing. Power supply and chip fans come on, maybe a flicker on the disk light, but no video. Repeat, holding down DEL to try to get into the BIOS. Replace USB keyboard with PS/2, repeat. Try booting off a Knoppix LiveCD, then off a floppy. Lug into the next room to plug into another monitor. Open case, remove graphics card, plug monitor into on-board video. Re-install graphics card. Re-seat everything. All totally, completely ineffectual. My PC is pining for the fjords. She’s dead, Jim. (Unless some blog reader can suggest something else to try.)

Now what? I’m tempted to declare victory, to forswear the works of Redmond and simply junk the PC. Of course there’s stuff on the disks that I want, which means I should probably get a FireWire enclosure to read them on my PowerBook. On the other hand, am I really ready to give up on PC games? I was just getting into Civ4. And there are one or two apps that I use that only run under Windows, like Family Tree Maker. How about Virtual PC? Well, if I were prepared to spend $240 on VPC, plus $60 each for a couple of disk enclosures, I’m starting to approach the price of a new PC. (Presumably I can re-use the graphics card, disks, and RAM.) And VPC may be OK for simple apps, but it’s hardly appropriate for a graphics-intensive game….


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