A Copywriter’s Blog
Problem Solving. Ben Levy 24, April

Ever since I got my new Mac, I’ve been meaning to transfer all the files from my six-year-old, pre-pentium, 40-lb aluminum G5 desktop. This was important to me, as I didn’t feel like moving a 40-lb aluminum paperweight to the new apartment if I didn’t have to.


And so, in the midst of all the boxing, organizing, and throwing out, I backed up and transferred all my files. The final step was to reformat my hard drive. After all, there’s six years of tax information, embarrassing photos, and swedish-tentacle-dolphin-porn on there that I didn’t really want anyone to find.

And that’s when I discovered that formatting the hard drive required the original boot disks that came with the machine. I had those. They were in a box that looked like this:


I knew it looked like that because I’d just seen it two days before. When I threw it out.

But that’s ok, because I knew another way to format the hard drive. All I needed was to connect my old machine to my new machine using a cable I didn’t have, and then boot up the old machine in target-disk mode.

I really didn’t feel like doing that.

But that was ok too, because I had another idea about how to keep my old hard-drive from being a security risk. I called it Plan C:


And, as I explained to my father, the idea was to use his sledge hammer to break my hard drive into two separate pieces and dispose of each one on a different side of the Hudson river.

I was mildly surprised to discover the amount of punishment a hard drive can take. Those things are built tough. Like, Ford Tough. It was pretty impressive. Especially in light of the three separate warning labels foretelling doom if it came within 30 meters of the refrigerator magnet your mom has holding up your perfect spelling test from the fifth grade.*

In short, it actually took a whole five minutes to smash the drive to my satisfaction. Roughly four minutes and 58 seconds longer than I would have thought.

When you wipe a hard drive using the boot disk, it generally takes a few minutes for the progress bar to travel from 0 to 100 (or from 100 to 0 in this case). The Plan C method of formatting doesn’t have a progress bar. You start with this:


And you stop about 5 minutes later when it looks like this.



*Yes, I could have tried to wipe the drive with a magnet. I didn’t for two reasons. First, my father actually tried that experiment years ago, using a frighteningly powerful earth magnet. It had no discernable effect. And secondly: SLEDGEHAMMER VS HARD DRIVE. COME ON.

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Nothing PC About It Ben Levy 22, November

Hello, I’m a Mac, and The Wife’s a PC.

She’s a PC out of necessity. There are a ton of medicine-slash-hospital related things that she uses the computer for, and many of them don’t like Macs. Now, I know ways to work around that. But that means The Wife would rely on me to do doctor things online. I think we can all agree that is less than optimal. Also, I think we can all agree that I should stay as far away from doctor things as possible.

It is for that reason that we just replaced the very old Mac she was using with a DELL Inspiron. It’s not a bad machine. My major gripe with it (aside from the fact it runs Windows, ZING!) is the touchpad. It’s so over-sensitive that if it hears a loud noise it runs off and hides under the bed.

After a week of accidently zooming when I wanted to scroll, selecting things when I wanted to scroll, and clicking on things I hadn’t even selected when I wanted to scroll, I decided to change the settings on the damn thing. In my head, that procedure went like this:

1. Find settings panel
2. Change settings for touchpad.
3. Enjoy no longer having to fight the urge to hurl the brand new computer through the window.

Obviously, since I’m writing about this on my blog, that is not how it happened.

Me: [Colorful and richly-varied insults of a mechanical nature directed at the PC]
The Wife: Want me to look at it?
Me: [Call into question the PC's lineage and ancestry, such as it is]
The Wife: Let me see it for a second.
Me: [Coyly imply that perhaps the PC was best-suited for testing aerodynamics, specifically those pertaining to defenestration]
The Wife: Fine, whatever.

This scene repeated itself several times over several days. Trolling through forums, staring at option-less option panels, and various threats to turn the machine into a boat anchor all yielded nothing. It was probably a week after I first looked into changing the settings when I ran out of vituperation to hurl at the device and tossed it on the couch as I left the room in disgust.

90 seconds later this occurred:

The Wife: Hey, is this what you were looking for?
Me: [Stomping into the room] I will not believe that you just found some magical panel full of pretty, colorful graphics whose sole purpose is to very simply adjust the touchpad settings.

A moment’s silence is observed while I see that, yes, she has just found some magical panel full of pretty, colorful graphics whose sole purpose is to very simply adjust the touchpad settings.

Me: [Laughter. Lots of laughter. More laughter than that. So much laughter my eyes are tearing up]
The Wife: You’re only laughing because you want to scream.
Me: [Nodding through even more laughter]

I hate PCs.

And Windows 7 was clearly her idea.

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