November 30th, 2005


Resurrecting my mother

I spent many hours the past week working on resurrecting my mother, who died on December 12, 2002. No, not with a res spell. One of the things I inherited from her was her HP Pavilion 8370 Pentium II computer. At least for me, this computer, as much as anything, holds remnants of my mother's soul. She used it for her writing and her artwork. I began resurrecting the machine last year. The hard drive was flaking out badly, developing bad sectors every time I booted it up. I think it was trying to die, just like the grandfather's clock that stopped short, never to go again when the old man died.

I attempted to preserve her system by copying what was left of the drive to a new, much larger (40 GB) drive. And then I got really ambitious. I bought brand new memory sticks to maximize the machine's potential (384 megs) and a PL-iP3/T CPU upgrade from PowerLeap that would increase the computing power from 350 Mhz to 1.4 Ghz. I also got a wireless card and a repeater so I could connect from the garage where I was working on the machine to my home network. I got the system running and then ...

Everything fell apart. The system would only run for a few minutes before crashing so I left it alone last winter.

But when I remodeled my home office last week, I decide to bring the poor old HP out of the cold garage and put it in my office. Thus far I have replaced the 40 GB drive with another drive, but the Win98 system was so corrupt that I had to wipe clean the disk and start over with XP. I had saved all of my mom's documents to put back on the hard drive. I'm still struggling to get the CPU upgrade to run steadily, but am determined to do this by mid-December to give my mom new life.

I have a file drawer full of my mom's short stories, poetry, and rejection letters from publishers. I would dearly like to digitize her writing, just as I have digitized her art work, and put it on the web.