A cat by any other name

Computer karma



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Meow to me

Computers and I don't seem to play nicely together. I'm not sure why it is that I'm so blessed with this tidbit of good fortune, but I seem to encounter computer-related woes more often than most people I know.

There was the incident of the missing operating system. There was the incident involving my second favorite error message: "Hard drive failure iminent" ("Missing Operating System" is, of course, my favorite). There was the Saturday I spent at the office with both my laptop, a replacement laptop, and a very understanding coworker. After a week of fighting with tech support on the phone about why it was that I could not connect my machine to *anything* and them insisting that it was irretrievably broken, and me insisting that couldn't we just check the drivers and did I really have to migrate every stinking file I ever owned to a new machine, we ended up completely uninstalling and deleting the old network drivers, and reinstalling them. I may know next to nothing about this sort of setup thing, but that was one time when I felt satisfyingly vindicated.

It's been far too long between computer catastrophes, so I suppose it should have been no surprise when, after flying up for my latest stint north of Seattle, I pulled the laptop out of its bag and discovered that the screen looked remarkably like someone had taken that little knob you quite often find on desktop monitors labeled 'bright' and moved it all the way to the darkest setting. Only problem is, on this type of laptop, there *is* no 'bright' knob, which meant that, basically, my laptop was hosed. The only possible way to use it was to hook it up to a projector - something I wasn't willing to do because having the entire development team of over 100 people be able to see my email and project reports just wasn't a good thing. The tech support person I finally managed to contact suggested that I try hooking it to a monitor. I pointed out, rather nicely I might add, that while that was a lovely suggestion, I didn't make it a habit of carrying a monitor with me on projects (They don't come in bags that would classify as carry-on luggage, you see). Then he wanted to know when I'd next be down in the main office. Considering that the only time I've ever been to that main office is for the orientation (and that was *so* exihilerating that I couldn't possibly want to top it, so haven't been back since), and that the office where I'm technically stationed (although I'm never there because I'm always at the project site) is several hours away, I noted that the chances of that were fairly slim too.

The end result was that he scrounged up a replacement laptop and tossed into the overnight mail. It arrived Friday. I came home from work, dragged out a screwdriver, and got to learn how to replace a hard drive in a laptop. Piece of cake. I turned it on, I could actually see the screen, and I was happy.

Happy, that is, until I tried to log in on Sunday to do my timesheet, and discovered that this new laptop refuses to recognize the network. Not just my DSL, but any network, as I discovered this morning at the project site. I switched network cards with my old ones, thinking perhaps that might be the issue. No such luck.

The guy on the phone from tech support today was very helpful and nice. The end result is that he's going to have to send me a replacement for my replacement (which means I'll get more practice on this hard drive swapping thing). Luckily he was either tired enough, or simply flexible enough to find the humor in the situation with me. Too often they just don't seem to appreciate when I subside into laughter upon diagnoses of the computer's problem. This time it was a dead port. Who knows what the next one will have? I'm almost looking forward to the replacement replacement coming, just to see what potential fatal flaw the next one might hold.

I figure if this keeps up though, they might want to hire me as a trainer for tech support. All this experience with recalcitrant computers has to pay off at some point, right?