My computer is now repaired, and this blog has officially returned from technological Purgatory.
The NVIDIA graphics processor failed on my current computer, a MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. This is a known issue for MacBook Pros of my computer's vintage (roughly the first half of 2008). Apple even has a free repair program to fix the problem, regardless of warrantee or AppleCare status.
Unfortunately, my specific model was not one of those covered under the free repair program. However, I was able to have the computer repaired for a reasonable flat fee, which was arranged through the Apple Store at Chestnut Hill. The service I received was astonishingly fast: I turned in the computer for repair on Wednesday at around 1:15 pm and it was delivered to me, repaired, via FedEx at 9 am the following morning.
I want to express my deepest thanks to two people: to Michael Johnson (aka, on this blog, "Dr. Mike"), who helped me diagnose the problem last Sunday afternoon, and who allowed me to run a complete backup of my hard drive in target-disk mode, using his (similar vintage) MacBook Pro; and to the donor who has covered the cost of the repair, which, even as modest as it is, would otherwise have been impossible for me to afford under my present financial circumstances.
The experience of nearly losing my connection to the digital world and the equipment with which I write has "concentrated the mind wonderfully." It has made me realize that, given the absurd precariousness of my current situation, I must prioritize: I must concentrate on those projects that are the most important to me, because it is not clear how much longer, under the present circumstances, I'll be able to continue producing any sort of work at all.
The events of the past few days have also made me realize that it makes no sense at all for me to give away for free my most novel or interesting ideas (at least as they seem to me). So, at least in the short run, I'm unlikely to publish fully on those things here. In the short term, I may be circulating some of this work privately (in fact, I already have), and I will probably refer to the projects on this blog, without giving full details.
However, I will be continuing to post on this blog about various topics, including substantive pieces on some of the topics that I've already covered here (my life in academia, for example), as well as other topics.
The first of these substantive posts will be a long piece that I wrote in May 2009 in response to an essay published by Ilias Chrissochoidis in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the subsequent lively (and sometimes vicious) discussion of that essay on the AMS List (the "official" e-mail list of the American Musicological Society). I'll explain the background more fully in an introduction to my posts (I expect to divide the piece over three or four separate posts). The musicologists in my readership will already know what I'm talking about, but those of you who aren't musicologists, and even those of you who aren't academics may find it interesting and eye-opening. I hope to whet your appetite, anyway. In essence, it is about corruption in musicology.
I expect to publish these posts within the next two days.