I’m really fed up with the new disposable computer mindset. Since there is so much that can go wrong with hardware, software, spyware failure, scams, spams, slams and bams, the best and the worst manufactured units are equally vulnerable. My HP wasn’t on the list of serial numbers with defective mother boards qualifying it for a free one, but it fell victim to a virus that scrambled the mother board. I don’t know when or how it hit, but it got past my free AVG firewall, the hound dog under the porch that barks at visitors and licks the hand of the burglar.
Anyway, when I picked up the current laptop at the repair shop, I asked the owner if he repaired it, what would that cost. To start, $250 for the board, $100 for the people at HP to merely crack open the case….. I held up my hand in the tradtional whoa motion before he could get even close to the transportation or the labor charges. I brought it home and am using it now after only two off-on-off-on caffeine shots.
Slow is a relative term. Mom used to say “slower’n molasses in January.” You have to understand that Mom was from Upper Michigan, Saulte Ste. Marie (The Soo) to be exact, born and raised on a farm 5 miles out of town. Insulation was not a concept in her pre-WWI youth, the winters were white, long, and somewhere around zero degrees consistently. If the cupboard was on an outside wall, and there was nothing much between the back of the cupboard and the Michigan winter but a layer of wood siding, the contents stayed fairly refrigereated. Ok, frozen. On a warm day, molasses is thick and pours slowly. In January, in Michigan, you can’t be in a hurry and have to think way ahead if you want molasses on anything.
Another illustration of the word slow can be “slower’n dial-up.” The damaged, soon to be retired laptop is somewhere in between Michigan and a phone line.
Yesterday after work, I went to Circuit City after a 40 minute stop at Wal Mart’s computer department during which no one looked at me and another customer. He and I were serious shoppers. Between us we talked each other out of buying Dell, HP, and Toshiba all because of their customer service reputations. The Sony was a viable option, he had good reports on the brand, but I wasn’t ready to commit to the posted price just yet. I had looked online for reviews and it seems Toshiba employs people in New Delhi, India and HP’s USA service reps transfer everything to an unknown location near there. Dell’s additional warranty is limited, Toshiba’s hottest laptop has a soup and stew of name and no-name components from everywhere, and the Acer is who exactly? (Later, the service man at Circuit City told me they make a really dependable unit.)
At CC, I chose a Compaq because the Sony was higher than my allowance, the price of the Compaq fell into my dollar bracket, the HP like this one was bigger and pricier and could it also have a defective motherboard? and — the service contract is local and for a little more, covers spills, lightning, and suicidal leaps from open windows during temper tantrums. Toshiba problems still have to go through India and UPS during the first year’s warranty before they let CC’s Firedog repair and service center access it. HP, who makes Compaq, and the others contract with Firedog. Bottom line is I have the 24/7 support, local eye to eye pre-paid access, and basically the babysitting I need for two years. I can buy more time if the unit is still part of the family at that point. Since AVG is apparently armed with a squirt gun and the outside viral world has nukes, I opted for installation of Kaspersky, allegedly the watchman on the wall with its own nukes. We’ll see. For what I paid, I’m covered against disasters which are more common than uncommon for two years, ample time to save for a high quality desktop to take the heat off the laptop literally and figuratively, extending the life of both, or save for a Mac, a much more reliable system. At least that’s what I hear.
During the fray of computer replacement, I failed to remember we were out of coffee. I remembered this morning. Not a bean to be found even to crush and sniff. I managed to find the Sprint air card install disk, cleaning up the paper mess in the office in the process of looking for it, failed to locate my lost list of passwords, took the trash to the dumpster, went to the grocery store for the coffee and $60 dollars of other oh-by-the-ways, and I-almost-forgots, picked up the dying laptop, and came home to find I had forgotten something at the grocery store after all. No worries, I’m headed out again to CC to pick up the new baby after which I’ll stop at Wally’s on the way back toward my friend’s house where I will contribute one salad for an evening’s entertainment.
Did I mention the new computer has Vista on it? The Dell at Wally’s had XP and a 17″ flat screen but all that came with the extended warranty was an 800# all for $35 less than the Compaq. Did I mention the Vista part? Something to write about or call the 24/7 line about. The bugs are gone, right? (hello……) Right?