It was a normal kind of day on South West trains. The first class carriage door being out of order, I had to hawk two heavy bags through several carriages for the privilege of sitting in peace, quiet and a comfy seat. âWarmâ wouldâve been good too: but with an outside temperature of five degrees, the air-conditioning was at its work with a vengeance.
The first plug I tried for using the laptop didnât do anything. The second one confused Hewlett Packard so much, my pc insisted on a full start-up including all the hieroglyphics. Halfway through this lengthy process it did what all pcs do: offer me the chance to âPress F11 for recoveryâ.
Two years ago â given the innate attraction of such an offer â I pressed F11. The technical infrastructure of European communications is still recovering. Do not, whatever you do, press F11: if necessary, tie your hands behind your back rather than succumb to the siren call.
Nobody knows why the F11 option is in there. Take your pc to an expert with post F11 trauma syndrome, and the first thing heâll ask is âYou didnât press F11 did you?â Iâve written to hardware and software companies asking why itâs there â but more importantly, why it almost leaps at you with a âPress me Now!â request. Surely (I have suggested) most people with a collapsed computer â on seeing a line saying âhow to recoverâ â will press F11, wonât they?
Iâve never had a reply. But you can be sure that somewhere on HP or Microsoftâs websites there are Help forums devoted toÂ The F11 Triangle. I can imagine the entries so easily.
âHelp. Iâm in a parallel worm-hole. All I did was press F11.â
âThis is flight Tango Delta Charlie Twoa-threa-sixa bound for Boston March 11th 2006. Please respond, overâ.
âHi. Where am I? My small daughter pressed F11 ten minutes ago. I can see her, but she canât hear me. I think Iâm behind the screen.â
âSay, isnât this a neat chat-room? Like, totally Bill & Ted. Meet my new buddy, Intel Insideâ
âAnybody have a razor? My beard is itching something awfulâ.
âThereâs a tapping noise coming from somewhere. Anyone know Morse code?â