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Goodbye, Igor.

July 2, 2014

An old friend and work colleague was laid to rest last Wednesday, and I’m going to miss him.

Igor joined me in 2005, and was my tireless assistant until he retired in February 2011. During that time he did much of the work required to create the text of my book, and bravely fought a debilitating virus in the winter of 2007, which eventually lead to a transplant in 2009. He still helped out when I needed an extra hand, right up until last Tuesday,

And I’m going to miss him.

Still, 9 years is outstanding going for a computer, I guess.

Yes, Igor was the first major investment I made in Theatremonkey since I started the site in 2000. It finally became financially viable and technology caught up enough that I was able to hand back to my parents the “Windows 98” (“Stained Glass Windows” now) machine that I’d borrowed from them for several years, and get something good.

Trying to find a machine was a nightmare back then. The one I’d borrowed had been put together by a wonderful man, Don, in those early times when branded machines were pretty hopelessly unreliable and those “in the know” got folk like Don to set them up properly with something better. Don, sadly, was too unwell to do the honours for a second time, so I was stuck.

I actually tried – and I’m going to name them – Dell, first. That idea fell at the first fence when I put a simple question by phone (their website didn’t cover it) to them about maintenance and engineer help plans when things go wrong. Both are vital for a small business reliant on a single machine, and wonderfully provided by Don at the time for my current machine…

Questioning Dell, I found myself passed around 4 separate offices… none of whom actually had enough English to understand the question, let alone come up with an answer.

Later, I found out that a massive company I deal with were treated little better, and that “Dell Hell” really existed. If they do that to a PLC, what hope for me? Oh, and later I found out also that someone I knew in school had an executive job at the firm… and suddenly it all made sense. Say no more…

Anyway, at a loss, and knowing I didn’t need that other purveyor of the “here’s an expensive box, now go away” services, that sounds like a World Policeman (you know who), but that I needed something else, on impulse I walked into a local shop. As the credits in my book say, the rest is history. Steve meets Victor, Victor helps me design and then create Igor. Custom-made to do exactly what I needed to do, and (as a later demonstration proved) faster than a Dell of identical – at least on the box – specification. Not paying a penny for what I don’t need or want, full value for what I do – and a local, personal help service from the team who actually built the machine when I need it.

Neither Victor or Igor ever let me down, not even when Igor got that almost fatal virus (naming no names, but I don’t touch that motorbike-brand name-alike anti-virus software any more), nor when his memory started to slip and a new motherboard was rushed to the surgery.

Sadly, it was Windows XP being retired that did Igor in. Victor’s workroom is full of XP owners equipment that recently discovered the joy of a “Cryptolock” virus which renders the machine useless, plus a hoard of other lovelies that do almost as much damage.

To render Igor fit would cost more than a 10 times faster “reconditioned” replacement unit… so Igor 2 is being configured as I type; and Mandy, who replaced Igor in 2011, does a great job (definitely female: much more sophisticated memory, more complex, more efficient, tells you clearly when you are wrong) but it won’t ever be quite the same of course. Still, life moves on, and better to let the old guy go than suffer a painful finality, isn’t it.

RIP Igor, 2005-2014. Thanks for the 2Mb RAM, 250Gb Hard Drive memory.

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