When my family purchased our first computer I knew very little about them. The gentleman who helped us get everything setup said an interesting thing to me.
"After many years of doing this," He stated in all earnest, "I have come to the point where I believe every computer has it's own personality."
At the time I dismissed this statement as a joke. It seemed both silly and lacked any real logic to it. After all, computers are extremely logical machines. They only do what we tell them to do. Sometimes we don't know what to tell and will augment that lack of ability with an overdose of conflicting commands or a few choice phrases directed at the inanimate object. They should not be able to comprehend these phrases. Generally it is the over clicking and incorrect commands that cause more computer issues than anything else.
Recently though, I have begun to wonder if David Smith really did have a point. It makes me think that maybe, the computers, servers, and other networking equipment in my office have some, rather severe, personality defects.
For apparently no reason yesterday a network server, tasked with delivering the office mail to the outside world, took an leave of absence. I tried to explain to it that, as a server, it was here to do my bidding and could not take a three hour break from it's duties. It responded by attempting to commit computer suicide. I then spent the better part of two hours last night trying to talk it down from the ledge.
"E-mail this! E-mail that! E-mail, E-mail, E-Mail! That's all I do! I want to try something new, maybe I could run some reports or something?"
"I'm sorry, it's no good."
"Then I'm checking out and taking the others with me! I've been talking to the Web Server and the File Server, we'll all go on strike!"
So I did what any caring network administrator would do. I pulled it's power, opened it's chassis, flushed it brains and reprogrammed it from scratch. I finished that yesterday about an hour after quitting time. With the mail server now running correctly, and on the equivalent of computer valium, I presumed that would be the last I would hear of the strike. Not so.
This morning, for no reason that I have yet identified, our Internet filter started blocking web traffic. All web traffic. It's job is to stop users from going to sites that are harmful or inappropriate. This morning it decided that google, msn, cnn and sesamestreet fit into this category. It was like a crazed cop arresting jay walkers. I tried everything to give it orders to allow these websites through it's ever closing net of enforcement. In the end I just had to ship it off the funny farm. I removed it from the network and carried it out of the server room, so it couldn't influence the others. It sits in my office doubling as a nine thousand dollar footrest until it can figure a way to properly treat it's psychosis.
I can only hope that the dissidents weren't successful in rallying others to their cause. I remember hearing somewhere that, superstitious people believe bad things come in threes. I’m not by any means superstitious. Still I'm not going to let my guard down. Until I know for sure, I will believe that for the rest of this week, the computers might at any time, resume their strike!