October 18, 2004


Normally, I'm pretty cool about things.

THINGS, as opposed to people.

I care for my loved ones, for my friends, for people in general. I don't like the human race much, but I do like people on an individual basis unless given reason not to.
But things are just things, and normally don't cause me much angst.

The one exception to this is anything in the realm of computers and internet. I can't handle it. I come unglued at the slightest provocation and I'm embarrassed to even admit it.

For example: this past week has been pretty upsetting.
I managed to break two computers -
In the space of ONE DAY. (Actually, probably within a couple of hours.)

Well, I only REALLY broke one of them, the other just sort of fizzled on its own and it still kind of works... barely.

It's because of my low threshold of aggravation that I violently resist any kind of upgrading unless absolutely necessary. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! So I was still plodding along on my Pentium II, 333mhz. Maybe not happily, but I even got it to work on a cable connection so that wasn't TOO bad. And in a pinch, I had Rob's computer, new as of April 2003. It had its own problems but is working fine now, and this is the one I'm using at the moment.

One day last week, the 333 decided to run even more slowly than usual. A LOT slower. So slow that it was too much, even for me. I tried the obvious, checked for viruses and spyware, checked the diagnostic utilities, defragmented, all of which took HOURS because of the slowness of the processor.
It all checked out okay except that for some reason the CPU was running at 100% ALL the time, even when it wasn't doing anything. I would have looked into it further but the thing is six years old and enough is enough. Time for a new one.

But I still had my laptop, purchased in the fall of 2000. It's a celeron 500mhz and is also slow but tolerable.
Or should I say, "was".
Until I firmly closed the lid with the connection to the network card resting on the keyboard.
It made a really sickening CRUNCH.
The screen is pretty well finished... only a small strip at the top is functional.

I am SO upset with myself. If one of my kids had done that I'd have freaked out. And made them buy me a new one.
It doesn't feel nearly as good to have to buy myself a new one.
Not a laptop - I really don't need one of those. I found a good deal on a desktop tower and brought it home yesterday.
It works fine! Except...
The Windows XP is the French version.
The salesman told me it was English, and all the documentation is in English.

If it were just a matter of the menus, it would be okay. But all the dialogue boxes, error messages, warnings etc. are in French and sometimes those are unintelligible, even in English.

Rob and I tried the settings - no luck. It's a separate installation. Since it was Sunday, I had to wait a day to speak to the "technician" at the store, who had me do a destructive recovery (oxymoron?) but there was no option for the English version.
After some negotiation (read: whining) he agreed to exchange the tower for an "English" one so when I get ahold of a car later this afternoon I am off to the store again.

So it's all cool - but my anxiety level is still high.
I know it's ridiculous.
I will be fine once it's all in place.
I can still use the French version only I don't want to put anything personal on it (not even a password) because it's going back.
I have access to Rob's computer.
I am being a total dork!

Oh and luckily the old 333 still works - I already thought of at least two files I forgot to back up...


The exchange went smoothly and Windows is now in English.

(Drum roll...)

The floppy drive doesn't work.

On boot up I get a "floppy failed" message, and it won't read a disk. It won't even make that sucking sound it's supposed to.
(Yes, I chose that word on purpose.)

I want my money back!

For the record: the store in question is the Quebec version of Staples, known locally as "Bureau en Gros".
Their price was a little better than that of their main competitor in this area, Future Shop, owned by Best Buy.
However, clearly their service... SUCKS!

To be continued...

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