The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


So, we have this computer in the basement.

The basement computer serves the Beynon family as a  sort of a nerve center for all of the family's computing.  It is the place where we store our photographs.  It's where we send our documents when we need them printed.  It is the repository of all files and things electronically stored which all members of the family might find important enough to keep.

Well, the other day I came home to find a blank screen on the basement computer.  I restarted the system and was greeted by a long, drawn-out beep.  I took the computer to our local computer shop and they told me that the motherboard was shot.  I asked them about options.  They told me that I was looking at a new system and quoted me a price.  I did not like the price.

I went to another place about a 20 minute drive away and found a bare-bones system that suited my needs.  It came without an operating system but that was no problem as my previous computer was loaded with a copy (legal even) of Windows XP.  Once I got the system home, hooked up my old hard drive and loaded the operating system, I figured it would be clear sailing.  I was wrong.

First of all, the computer did not recognize my home network when I plugged in the ethernet cable.  I spent some time fiddling around with cables until I became so frustrated that I hooked up a wireless card I had lying around.  Once that was done, I could access my network and the Internet but I was royally pissed off that the built-in ethernet connection was not working.

Next, I attempted to look at one of my kid's games, only to have the new computer tell me that it was unable to support the graphics required for the game.  "Fine," I thought, "it is a bare-bones system, so maybe my graphics card for my old computer will fit."  I cracked open the case and was about to insert the graphics card when I discovered that this computer's motherboard would not accept an old graphics card.  I muttered a few swear words.

Finally, I plugged in the speakers.  Jesus Christ!  The goddamn speakers didn't work either!  I swore.  I stomped my feet.  I shook my fist at the ceiling.  I hung my head in defeat.  As I hung my head, my eyes drifted to something sitting on the chair next to me.  It was a little white envelope about 4 inches square. There was a plastic window.  Inside I saw a CD.  Screen printed on the disc was the name of the manufacturer of the motherboard and beneath the name of manufacturer were printed the words

Utilities and Drivers

"Oh..." I said.

I put the disk into the drive.  The computer seemed happy to see the disk.  It chirped a little, the disc rattled and suddenly all was right in the world.  In the wink of an eye my  ethernet cable worked, 3-D video was not an issue and sound, glorious sound, poured from the speakers.

Moral for today:

Read the damn instructions.