Monday, April 21, 2008

Techie Bullshit

As I sit here typing this, I am anxiously awaiting my fresh-out-the-box Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop. There is nothing I love more than new toys, and this time I decided to get something that was in my price range, but not so much that I would be paying it off for years and years like I did with my 1999 Gateway piece of crap that cost me $1800 and has a whopping 8GB of hard disk space.

I literally have to go to the DHL place within the next two hours and pick it up, and while I'm completely sittin' on bone waiting for my baby to get here, I can't help but be scared shitless as well.

The last year and a half or so have not been kind to me, technology-wise. I have suffered a rash of strange technology-related mishaps in the last several months, and they are simply too bizarre to be a coincidence. If this laptop breaks down on me, I am moving to Amish country.

Lest I abandon my favorite bullet-point format, let me give you a brief rundown of the electronic and mechanical disasters that have befallen me:

  • My iPod completely craps out on me for no reason in Spring of 2006, giving me a frowny-face and leaving me to actually purchase a CD player so I don't have to sleep in silence.

  • The stereo that I have hooked up to my TV to give me that wonderful surround-sound the kids talk so much about, just completely dies in the middle of watching TV. The sound goes out, leaving me to have to use my crappy TV speakers.

  • I get three flat tires within the last year, all different tires. In addition, I can't get my car inspection done becuause my "Service Engine Soon" light won't go off and no one can find out how to fix it. I end up having to take the DMV's offer to allow inspection if I spend $350 or more on the servicing of the car.

  • When I moved to my new place, I went months without internet service because I didn't have Windows XP and it took the 9th Time Warner tech support person to tell me that I needed XP in order to run Roadrunner. So I bought XP for $100 and finally it worked... but on a slow-ass computer that takes two hours to boot up, let alone download any good porn music.

  • I bought a computer on Craigs List in June of last year. It worked great until about November when it started to be slower and slower to boot up. Soon it wasn't working at all. And when I tried to open it up to see what was wrong with it (which is like a monkey trying to fix a wristwatch) it had some sort of power surge and fried the entire motherboard.

  • I stupidly asked for an iPod for Christmas, even knowing my computer wasn't in working condition. I had to beg friends to use their iTunes to set it up so that I didn't need to run iTunes. About two months into using the iPod, the screen crapped out, even though it played fine. I had to get it replaced, which included having to reload all the songs I had taken hours upon hours to load. (Side note: when I took the iPod back to the Apple store to have it looked at, the guy said, "Well that happens sometimes if you use a music manager other than iTunes." Nice try dude. If that's true, then Apple products are pieces of shit.)

  • Last year on Memorial Day weekend, I got a phone call and picked it up and said "hello, hello, hello" and no one would answer. It turned out that my brand new phone's earphone died out of nowhere, forcing me to talk via Bluetooth or speakerphone only until I got it replaced.

  • Oh I forgot to mention, the phone I talked about one paragraph above? I got it off of Ebay for about $175. It was an exact duplicate of another phone I had gotten for like $50 with my upgrade. Why did I have to get that $50 version replaced? Oh yeah, because I ran over it with my car when it dropped out of my pocket (fine, it dropped out of a dorky belt-clip) as I got out of my car.

I think that's the list, for the most part. And yet, the ancient Toshiba DVD player that I purchased in the year 2000 (for a then-bargain $300) is still going strong after all these years. Of course, by saying that I'm sure I just jinxed it.

I think back to the days of yore when people didn't even have these technological advancements and think, "Well I have it so much easier than they had it and so therefore I should be thankful." But I'm not; I'm spoiled. I would rather have never heard of the existence of the iPod than for it to crap out on me -- twice. I had no idea 15 years ago that not having the internet (which I didn't at the time, I might add) would be as alienating and soul-sapping as it is.

Even when my technology works, something goes bad. One time I was awaiting a very important phone call on my cell phone. In the 5 minute window in which that call was supposed to come in, the bars went away. I happened to notice this and had a conniption. I tried making an outbound call....nothing. It just said "Emergency calls only." I tried calling my voice mail just to get an answer. Not a peep. Of course, it turns out that the phone call I had so desperately been awaiting came in exactly within that 5 minute window, and I missed it, and missed out.

So we shall see if my voyage into the world of laptop computers will be short-lived or whether I can actually get some staying power in this technological world. If you don't hear from me for a while after today, you'll know why.


And one to grow on...

Not off to a good start. I called DHL today to find out when I could pick up my package since I wasn't home to sign for it. The guy at customer service told me to pick it up between 7:45 and 8:15 because the package wouldn't be back at the DHL place until then. He said they were open until 8:45 so I could pick it up then. So I drive out all over hell's half acre (on a soft tire, go figure) and pull up to the place. Yeah, they close at 7. Goddammit.

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