It’s been a few days since my last post. This is mostly due to the craziness of the last week of school and the Memorial Day weekend. But also, my laptop started to give me problems. So naturally, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Two years are about average now for laptops and I managed to get two years and one month. Granted, the “issues” with my laptop started earlier in the year, so it was time.
I went to a big box store and bought their top-of-the-line (aka most expensive) desktop computer with all the bells and whistles. It wasn’t the brand I had intended to buy, but my nephew was a fan of this brand, and he’s a systems guy who builds his own computers. I figured that was a great endorsement, right? It came with Windows 8…
I can hear the collective groan across the cyber-universe now.
Funny thing is, my frustrations with using Windows 8 was nothing compared to the fact that the computer I bought wouldn’t connect to the internet. It came equipped with a wireless card, so I assumed it would actually work, what with being a brand new computer and all. Silly me. Windows 8 only exacerbated the problem by not being very intuitive. And by that I mean that most of the people buying computers are former users of Windows 7, XP, Vista, etc. So while Windows 8 looks pretty, it caters to the lowest common denominator instead of the majority of computers users who kind of know what they’re doing. But that is a topic for my review of Windows 8 once I figure out how to use it. This post is about my adventures with, what should have been, a simple fix.
I spent the weekend on the phone with the big box store tech support trying to get my computer to connect, because let’s face it… What’s a computer good for if you can’t get on the internet. After three hours on the phone and watching the tech control my laptop and my desktop at the same time, he got it to work. The signal was weak so he suggested that I buy a signal booster. Our wireless router is in the basement. My office is one floor up and about thirty feet away. Considering what I paid for the computer, I would have thought that it would at least be able to pickup the wireless signal. Not so, said the tech. I ground my teeth to keep the bad words from escaping. My hubby and I drove back to the store (thirty miles away) and forked out more money for a signal booster… came home, plugged it in, and computer connected immediately to internet with only three bars to the signal booster which was located in the same room. Whatever. Problem solved, and I spent the rest of the evening backing up all my files to my cloud storage, tracking down all the product keys, and locating the download instructions so I didn’t have to repurchase all my software. I didn’t get to bed until the wee hours of the morning, but I felt good because I would be able to get my computer up and running in no time.
Next day, no internet. Apparently the driver no longer loaded correctly. This would be the same driver the technician deleted off said computer the day before. I called big box tech support again. They informed me that because it was now a software issue, I must take my computer back for repair, even though it was the technician who caused the problem. This time I couldn’t keep the bad words in, and my family retreated to the basement while mom had a mini-meltdown. Not quite willing to give up, I called the computer manufacturer because they included a lovely flyer among all the documentation saying to call them first before returning computer.
SIDE BAR: I’m not impressed with the instructions and warranty information coming out with items lately. While I don’t have an issue with things being in multiple languages with the global economy, I find the new format confusing. Instead of giving each language a section, they now include one line of instruction and then repeat it in every language known to man so that the reader has to scan the entire document looking for words that are remotely familiar just to find out that there’s nothing they can do for you unless you want to pay more money. By the time you get to the end of the document, you can’t remember what you were searching for.
Back to the story… I called the manufacturer who told me to do a factory reset. No big deal since I hadn’t been able to set up squat on the computer because of the internet issue. He told me that it would take about forty-five minutes, and if this didn’t fix the issue, to take the computer back to the store for repair. Repair? I just bought the thing. For the price I paid, it should stand at attention and call me master. Anyway, with the reset underway, I decided to make peace with my family cowering in the basement to prove that I was sane and could act like an adult in most situations–just not those involving expensive computers that don’t work out of the box. Three hours later, the reset finished. What happened to forty-five minutes, I wondered. But no bother, the internet was up and running, so I happily went to bed in the wee hours of the morning.
Next day… you guessed it. No internet. This time I didn’t even attempt to act like an adult. I dramatically announced that we would be returning the #@%$&! computer and buying the less expensive brand I had planned on in the first place. Screw a reliable recommendation. Experience trumps all.
I am much calmer now. I promise. I have my new desktop computer. It’s running like a dream AND connected to the internet with full bars via our wireless router in the basement, meaning that tomorrow, I’m driving the thirty miles again to return the signal booster. For all my frustration, I’m getting over 200 dollars back with the exchange and the return of the booster. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will have internet tomorrow and this hasn’t all been caused by a gremlin infestation I don’t know about. We’ll see, but if you see a mini-mushroom cloud tomorrow, that would be me having a major meltdown.