Sunday, January 11, 2004, at 11:30AM

By Eric Richardson

Computers obviously don't like me. I'm back in LA now, and came back to find that my computer here wasn't off because anybody turned it off, actually the power supply fan just fried. For those with a long memory, I've actually had this happen before.

So I went down to Radio Shack and bought a new fan, rigged it in the same way I had done the last fan (which also didn't really fit the spot), boot it up, and leave.

I come come back, with a new wireless router -- since they're so cheap these days I figured it was time for my computer to not play that role -- and start to work setting that up. I hop over to my computer to change some network settings, and... no /etc (the directory where most settings are). Apparently it's just vanished. I tried rebooting, to see if something funky just happened on boot, and... no grub (my boot-loader, the thing that makes the operating system go).

Right now I'm downloading a system rescue cd to see what I can figure out from that. I'm doing this via my laptop, which I'm still convinced could lose its hard drive at any moment.

Maybe this is a sign.