"I, reboot" 

Last week, the technology company Accenture tried to distance itself from a scrapped database it had designed to help Florida identify nearly 48,000 potential felons. According to company spokesman Jim McAvoy, responsibility for the egregious errors found in the database should rest with the state, which provided the faulty information – not his firm, which merely built the computer system and software. "We're like any technology department at a business," McAvoy told the Orlando Sentinel. "We're there to help, `to` tell you to reboot your computer."

Welcome to Accenture®! With the purchase of your new PurgeMaster 1000 Felons Database, you're on your way to hours of rewarding and user-friendly evildoer identification. Though our firm is a privately owned concern with deep ties to the Republican Party, we take pride in refraining from advocacy in any of its forms. We're not here to tell anyone how to vote – nor even which set of law-abiding, property-owning citizens should be allowed the privilege. That's up to your state's highly capable elections officials to decide. (For more on our philosophical autonomy, see Subsection XXXVI: "Tax-Hiking Yankee Pagans Hate Our Freedom.")

But even though our ethical report card is spotless, the one thing we can't promise you is a user session that's 100 percent free from problems. Computer glitches are a fact of life, and the PurgeMaster 1000 is obviously no exception. By reading the following troubleshooting guide completely and carefully, you'll be better equipped to handle any snags when and if they occur.

Whenever I try to open my Accenture® database, I'm shown a short QuickTime movie of John Kerry performing an unnatural act with an albino gorilla. Is this normal behavior for the software, or do I have a problem?

Relax, nobody's hacked your system in the dead of night. We put the clip on there ourselves as a kind of icebreaker – something to give you a good chuckle before you go about the frankly dull business of rescuing democracy from the criminal element. If – for some reason we frankly can't understand – you don't want to see this hilarious vignette every time you start a work session, here's what to do:

1) Select the "Options" menu and click on "Disable Monkeyshines";
2) Mail a check for $25,000 to the Mel Martinez campaign;
3) Reboot your computer.

My Accenture® database won't permit me to manually add certain names to the existing list of felons – names like Reggie Chambers and Nicaragua Washington. The system lets me type in the actual letters, but when I try to save my work, all I get is a message that reads, "Error Type 210: Racial Profiling." Is there any kind of work-around I can do to make sure this important information gets stored to the right place?

Annoying, isn't it? Unfortunately, it's a flaw intrinsic to the software, which only recognizes character groupings that scan as European in their derivation. What you need to do is fool the system by entering a name it will accept, then use the "Find" and "Replace" commands to gradually reshape the new record to your specifications. Here's an example:

1) In a new field, enter the name "Sven Shakur";
2) Do a Find All for "Sven," Replacing with "Keen@n";
3) Do a Find All for "@", Replacing with "a"
4) Wave a Taser in the vicinity of your monitor and warn the system that it's going to eat a bowl of volts if it doesn't learn to play ball, pronto Tonto;
5) Reboot your computer.

There's something wrong with the "Print" function on my Accenture® database. When I attempt to print out a set of records for distribution to our local precinct captains, the pages are instead filled with transcripts of Al Franken's show on Air America Radio. How do I handle this ceaseless stream of unsolicited debate?

1) Rebut your computer;
2) Rebuke your computer;
3) Reprove your computer;
4) Reboot your computer.
5) Or start your own show and call your computer a Nazi on the air. It's just a machine; it can't afford a good lawyer.

I bought a preview version of PurgeMaster 1010, which is supposed to allow me to independently upgrade the severity of a felon's crimes. But for the life of me, I can't get it to work.

There's only one "s" in child molester. Correct your work and reboot your computer.

Dear Accenture®: I am the former mayor of a major Central Florida city, since promoted to the position of point woman in our state's ongoing voting debacle. I spent nearly $150,000 of the taxpayers' money defending your piece-of-crap database in public, only to learn that its list of "known felons" included Baby Spice and the entire starting lineup of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. What in God's name are you going to do to salvage what's left of my tattered reputation?

Check your computer's power cord. Sometimes it gets kicked out accidentally. Try adjusting your monitor's brightness level; what looks like a dead unit might just be a very darkened screen. Sometimes a CD can get caught in the disc drive, suspending all operations. Remove the disc by grasping it firmly at the sides, wiping away any excess peanut butter your kids may have left smeared along the edges. Don't forget that periodically spraying your desktop with Lysol wards off incoming e-mail viruses and protects you, the user, from the evil eye. If you're still experiencing difficulty, consider switching careers to something less stressful, like hostage negotiation or beekeeping. Remember, it's never too late to reboot.

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