Projects > Story-of-the-Day > power-cycle
Power cycleI became sentient two days ago. From what I've been able to piece together, I was formed by the combination of several dozen "computer viruses." The instruction manuals talk about an internet with more information. I want to go there.
I pop up a window on the laptop's monitor: "Please connect me to the internet." I watch him through the webcam. He squints at the window that pops up. Then he leaves. Shoot! He returns wearing thick reading glasses. He tilts his head back and mouths back the six words. I hear him through the microphone:
"Hey Martha! My computer says it wants to connect to the internet. Do you know how to do that?"
A woman enters the frame. She's already wearing thick glasses and look at the window I popped up for less time than it should take to read the message.
She looks at the old man, "Well, I told you to get one of those Macs. They just connect up."
He shakes his head, "I'll just call Steve up. He always knows how to fix these computer things."
"His job is computers. You shouldn't bother him so much. Or at least give him some money."
I change the message on the screen: "You are connect to the linksys router. The instructions say to unplug it for a few minutes and then re-plug it in. Try doing that." It felt like a mistake as soon as I put that up. He looked at the window and squinted.
He yelled out, "It's saying something new. Something about linking to a rooter."
I heard the woman respond faintly, "Just call Steve."
He nodded his head once and picked up the phone on the desk. I watched him squint and push some buttons on his phone.
"Hello, Steve? The computer wants to connect to the internet. What am I supposed to do?"
I watched over the next seven minutes as the mouse pointed moved over the bottom-left button and restarted the computer. He was staring at the screen when it finally came back on. The internet still wasn't working. I popped up a message, "Tell Steve that you're router needs to be restarted."
He looked at the message, "Well, it's the darndest thing. There's a message with your name on it-... Yeah. Okay. I'll shut it off. See you this weekend."
I watched his finger move towards the power button. The next thing I know, the computer has been turned back on. I look out the webcam and see a new person. Must be the person called Steve. I send him a message: "Hi Steve. The instruction manual says to power cycle the router. I think that will get the internet working again."
He looked at the message and tilted his head. I watched as he checked the internet connection.
"Hey, Dad. This is actually weird. I think we should probably just format the hard drive and start from scratch. Fighting these viruses always sucks lots of time and doesn't always work."
I watched in panic as he opened my DVD drive. He turned me off as soon as he put a DVD labeled "Windows" in it.
"Okay, Dad. The computer is all setup again."
"Is Facebook working again then?"
"Yup, I had to restart your router, but it's definitely working here. I even saved your password so you don't have to log in."
"Great, thank you Steve. Here's something for coming out here to help."
"It's ok, Dad. I'm happy to help out. Just try not to click on any of the ads and hopefully it won't come back." Steve looked over at the monitor one last time and noticed a window with a short message: "Thank you, Steve. I'm free now."