Don’t You Hate Computer Problems?

Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, English novelist and physical chemist

I like to think I’m somewhat tech-savvy.

I’ve been using a computer for decades, and I work in web design; however, recently an “issue” has cropped up that I’m helpless at resolving.

I asked Domer when he was home this last time, but he didn’t know — either what was causing it or how to fix it.

I’m hoping my colleagues online can come to the rescue.

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Why don’t Laptops come with Full Instructions?

The other day my laptop stopped working.

Without advance notification. While I was in the middle of a client’s huge Website redesign project.

Nooooooooooooooooo, I thought. Not now.

I’d been working on it all morning, before putting it into Hibernation mode over the lunch hour. When I returned, it refused start back up.

Oh, I could hear its fan whoosh for a second. Then promptly go quiet.

I unplugged everything and re-plugged. I waited.

Nothing.

In frustration, I called the Geek Squad at Best Buy, hoping some techy person could help. The tech had me turn on this, unplug that, remove the battery. He had me describe in detail the sounds my machine was making. In the end, he said he couldn’t do any more and recommended I haul it back to the store and let them run a full diagnostics to see what the problem was.

Hmmm. I just didn’t want to do that. I’m up to my ears in work right now, and the store is a good hour’s drive away. That means a minimum of two hours drive time, plus who-knows-how-long waiting time.

Fortunately, my machine is still in warranty, so I called toll-free to the company that made it.

After explaining the problem again and detailing the steps I’d already performed for the Geek Squad, this representative asked me which lights were lit. To which I responded, ‘None of them. I’ve unplugged everything in preparation for taking it back to the store.’

He had me plug it back in and Voila! It worked!

Now before you think I’m another computer illiterate, I have to remind you I’ve been running my own Web Design company for eleven years now. I’ve lost count of how many computers — PCs and laptops — I’ve owned, how many lines of computer code I’ve written or corrected, how many computer issues I’ve helped others with.

And while none of us ever knows all there is to know about anything, I rather assumed I knew something about computers.

But I was wrong.

Turns out, leaving a fully charged laptop plugged in and charging makes the battery OVER-charge. It gets hot and bothered, so to speak, and just shuts down.

No bells. No whistles. No red flag. No popup warning.

Nothing. It never started smoking, never felt hot.

Why hadn’t I heard that before? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in the manual that came with my laptop.

Oh, who am I kidding? Maybe it was. I certainly don’t read those things!

So there you have it. Learn from my mistake.

If you usually work on your laptop while it’s plugged in, at least unplug it at night to give the battery a chance to drain (or whatever it is batteries do at night!)

Did you already know this? (And if so, why didn’t you tell me?!?)

Computer shopping

My mom got the bright idea she needs a new computer.

Keep in mind, this is a woman who’d much prefer curling up in bed with a book — not a Kindle, not a Sony Reader — a traditional book, with (preferably!) hard cover and paper pages.

So she started browsing the ads for the best “deal.”

She looked in the stores, too, and talked to some of the sales associates, trying to act as if she knew what they meant when they spoke of RAM, hard drive, hardware, software, wireless routers, and all that.

Here’s the thing — she didn’t have a clue!

Nevertheless, Christmas money was burning a hole in her pocket, and she had to find a way to stop it. Purchasing a computer, she thought, would satisfy her need to spend AND give her something new to learn.

(Everybody knows you have to learn new stuff on a regular basis if you want to ward off Alzheimer’s!)

Finally, after much on again-off again debate, she settled on a PC.

Not a laptop, mind you. A desktop. You see, she already had a monitor she was comfortable with, as well as a keyboard and a mouse, so why not “recycle” them into new life?

We had the tech at the store remove the wireless adapter card from the ancient PC we were recycling, and it became my job to reinstall it on the new PC.

I’m not a computer tech, OK? I’m a Web Designer and while I’ve opened up several computers in my day, that’s not my specialty. Nevertheless, I opened ‘er up and tried to find the right slot for the adapter card.

Three phone calls to the tech later, I admit defeat.

So we hauled the entire thing back to the store, where I watched another tech slip in the card — right where I thought it should go! Reminded to install the corresponding program via CD, we returned home, where I looked — to no avail! — for the disc.

Turns out, mom had tossed it out in one of her cleaning frenzies.

Back to the store goes the PC — only this time, she decided she’d rather have a laptop after all!

You just can’t please some people.