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Your lifestyle, your quirk
In our last episode, the ne’er-do-well managing editor thought she’d fixed her big, beastly desktop after a restore and cleaning out the chassis. Of course, life’s never that easy; after repeated bluescreen crashes, she realized she had a massive computer problem on her hands. After spending plenty of quality time on the phone with HP and running diagnostic after diagnostic, it’s come down to this: reformat and hope it’s a corrupted Windows installation…or box it off and send it back to the mother company.
As it turns out, Leo was right (this happens quite often) - I am a slider. Not the fun kind that gets to hang out with Jerry O'Connell, though. No, I'm the technology-wrecking kind of slider.
Some people have dramatic social lives. I have a dramatic technological life.
On Tuesday, I went to the Radio Shack down the street with the intention of purchasing the 500-gigabyte external drive that was on sale. I back up all of my important documents on USB sticks and a 120-gig Western Digital drive that I’ve had forever, but the WD drive was full, and I’ve accumulated a lot of new music and images over the last few months that I’d prefer to, you know, not lose.
I was also determined to run some tests and find out what, exactly, was ailing my machine.
Tuesday night: the manager had taken the key home with him, so I couldn’t actually buy the drive. Great. Went home empty-handed.
Wednesday: Bought the drive and a stack of CDs so I could run a RAM checker. Burned the ISO to the CD, adjusted the BIOS so it booted from said CD, and then let the RAM test run all…damn…day.
Thursday: After 12 passes and no errors spotted, I have decided my RAM is probably in decent enough shape. So what’s the problem? It could be the video card. It could be the hard drive. I ran a bunch of hard drive diagnostics, including SeaTools (it’s a Seagate drive). It passed them all, bless its heart.
Would you all join me in a rousing rendition of “WTF?”
“Get a new one,” a friend advised me.
Why the hell should I get a new one? Yes, I’m aggravated, but that computer is a beast when it works. I shelled out good money for the thing last year. I am not about to chuck it just because one thing has gone wrong…although I realize that’s the type of society we’ve cultivated.
(Have I mentioned HP doesn’t think I should get a new battery for my [alive and well] two-year-old laptop? I had a sales rep actually advise me to just get a new machine. You know what I say to that? Nothing I can print on StyleQuirk.)
“Then get a Mac,” the same friend advises me.
Believe me, it’s on the list, if only so I can take it to the Genius Bar when something goes wrong rather than sit here running tests. But at the moment, there isn’t a Mac out there that I can afford. I don’t have twelve hundred bucks to drop (not to mention all the software I’d have to re-purchase for it).
I realize this is all very “first world problems” of me, but bear in mind that computers are how I make my living. Between writing, editing, and working with various websites, I need my machines up and running smoothly. Besides, being down to one working computer is a little unnerving for any writer, because now I have to side-eye it and wonder when it’s going to have problems.
(Please don’t have problems, laptop Selene. I couldn’t take it if you blew out on me, too.)
One of the complex handymen was nosing around the courtyard today. “Do you fix computers?” I asked him when I stepped out to get my mail.
He blinked at me. “I just handle the screen doors.”
Stay tuned for next Friday’s update, when we find out whether it was all for nothing…