Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Argument with CleverBot

The new computer I bought has decided not to turn on, anymore. Or, rather, not to come off standby and/or never to boot up. It just sits there, on, in defiance of me. My monitors, keyboard and mouse all scream for power, for light, for hope – yet nothing is the diet they receive. A bountiful cornucopia of Fuck All is what the computer offers.

So he sits there, powered but never sharing his electrical harvest, and I’m tempted to grow my hair back again just to have something other than my eyes to tear out.

We’ve all learned something today. And that’s never, ever to say the words “Why would I need to back it up? The computer’s only 48 hours old…”

In brighter times, I’d have used this as an excuse to steal a few more days on a deadline, all the while smirking into my coffee at how Fate flipped the right switch. But right now, at this stage, it couldn’t have come at a worse moment. And I’d done a shitload of work in that 48 hours, too. I’m accordingly upset.

So I’m going to stay up all night, fucking about with recovery when I needed to be writing, and then writing when I need to be sleeping.

I say this not as some Woe Is Me! tirade that people should feel sorry for. I can think of way better things to do with your sympathy, mostly involving Africa or that weird, bulbous frog-sac George Lucas now has instead of a throat. I say it only because I need to warm up to some real writing, and the best way to do that is by getting the bullshit writing out of your brain and off your fingertips first.

I call it Purging. I’m sure other people, like real writers who back shit up every night, have different and better names for it.

I just got some coffee. Then I had an argument with CleverBot, who was – in fairness – being a dick.

I’m about to get some more coffee, which I’ll probably weep into for a while.

And then I’ll get to work.

Here’s my argument with CleverBot. Click to read at your leisure. I feel it’s worthwhile to note that we clearly reached an accord at the end.

January 19, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. Dude. Dude!

    You don’t even need to back it up. There are two default no-fail ways to make sure you’ve always got access to your latest and greatest revisions..

    First, sign up for a free Dropbox account – then, just make sure that it’s where you default save your manuscripts… That way, even if a disk bites the dust, you can get into your Dropbox account from any other location (or, hell, even a web browser) and get at your stuff.

    The other way, which is kind of cludgy, is to use something like Google Docs to actually write! It saves directly to the cloud, so anywhere that has internet access, you’ve got acccess.

    I know. Hindsight and all that.

    The good news – just because your computer crashed doesn’t mean there’s a thing wrong with the disk drive. You could pop that drive out and plug it into almost any other computer and get in and suck the data right out.

    Unless, of course, the disk drive is toast.

    In which case, um, I’ll see you later.

    Comment by Kyle | January 19, 2012 | Reply

    • staying on standby sounds like a motherboard issue, which means you hdd, and files, should be fine – assuming you weren’t saving the document when it powered down.

      Comment by Rob | January 19, 2012 | Reply

    • “sign up for a free Dropbox account” Not especially secure…

      I’ve been using Windows Live Mesh (or something similar) to sync my desktop and laptop to my windows SkyDrive (like Google Docs but Office.) It’s a little slow on start up, but it’s handy to power down my PC, go downstairs, boot the laptop and pick up where I left off.

      Also, at least CleverBot didn’t threaten you:

      Comment by G | January 20, 2012 | Reply

      • There was meant to be a link there:

        Comment by G | January 20, 2012

  2. execute it for insabordination

    Comment by matthew weston | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  3. Sounds like a corrupted standby cache, you should have been able to delete that cache by hitting a key (normally space bar, escape, F10 or F8) and do a fresh boot, or unplug the power cable, hold down the power button for 20 seconds, and then replugging it in. Bit late now though, I guess.

    Comment by Nick | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  4. Cleverbot sounds like Amir from Jake & Amir. I think they might one and the same.

    Comment by neamtzu_rau | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  5. Omg I nearly laughed a hemroid right out my mouth, your misery always seems to amuse me…so there for I(god) shall endeavour to make your life a living Lovecraftian style nightmare drenched in mental abuse that shall leave you a shell of a man for my omnipresent all seeing all knowing ball exploding amusement:D

    Yours for eternity GOD

    Ps I’m going to make it rain today just for you;P

    Comment by Adam Ruddy | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  6. If the file is saved on the PC, have you tried turning it off and back on again to see if it is the standby cache that is corrupted.

    If that doesn’t work look into getting a hard drive docking station so you can whip the old drive out of the broken machine and plug it into another PC to recover the data.

    Comment by Jimmy Carmine | January 20, 2012 | Reply

  7. Uh, I don’t want to be THAT guy, but clever bot just owned you, man. Left you reeling for your sanity.

    Comment by TheSGC | January 21, 2012 | Reply

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