Scientific Progress Goes “BANG!”

Another blast from the past as I continue to port blogs from my old site to here. This one is from October 2011 when the world of technology was conspring against me…

God, I hate computers. I’ve spent four days now trying to get some sense out of customer support people who seem to know less about computers than I know. As I know very little, it doesn’t bode well, does it? In reality, it was a silly little issue – probably a driver needing updating or a registry entry tweaking – but an issue neither the manufacturer’s technical support nor the ‘Tech Guys’ (hah!) offering extended support could fix. Basically, when you put a flash drive or whatever in the front USB ports it didn’t go ‘ping’, and it didn’t give you a ‘safely remove hardware’ icon to, erm, safely remove said piece of hardware. Oh, and just  in case there are some smart arses out there who know – or possibly think they know – about this kind of thing it could not be fixed by right clicking the drive/properties etc and changing the ‘policies’ to enable caching: There WAS NO POLICIES TAB!

The rear ports (oooer missus) were fine, and pinged and messaged in just the way you would want your rear ports to ping and message, but truth be told I’m not getting any younger and as the tower is situated under a desk my ol’ knees aren’t really up to the task of scrabbling around on hard floors and nylon carpets for the sake of inserting dongles blind into hidden hubs that seem to resent having dongles inserted into them. Apart from which, I shouldn’t need to with a new pc fresh out of the box that is supposed to have perfectly good USB3 hubs on the front panel, now should I? There are some things I would risk my knees on nylon carpets and hard floors for, but a new PC isn’t one of them, and I’ll hazard a guess that you, dear reader, don’t want to know about the things that would tempt me into such a course of action. Suffice to say there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle…

Un PCAnyhoo, I finally thought ‘sod it’ and took myself orf to the industrial estate where the shed from which I purchased the non-pinging pc is situated and demanded a replacement, a process which took several hours of careful, diplomatic negotiation followed by several minutes of insane ranting that made William Foster’s (Michael Douglas) attempts to buy a burger in the movie ‘falling down’ look like a scene from Mary (or Meeeery, if you happen to be Dyke Van Dick) Poppins. So now I’ve got my new PC, and have spent the past three hours or so removing all the preinstalled, buggy, spyware crap they insist on pre-installing on PCs these days and undertaking the equally tedious task of putting the software I do want and use onto it. And to be honest it’s not the installation time that drives me nuts, it’s all the palaver of re-registering everything because the ‘key’ you have is limited to x number of installations and what with keep buying PC’s that don’t work and reformatting hard drives that go ‘fttttttzzzzz’ you look, on virtual paper, like some sort of low rent, software Jack Sparra. A-ha, me hearties.

And then I’ve got to set up Microsoft Orifice so it saves to doc not docx ‘cos nobody has ever opened a docx, despite it being the ‘standard’ since 2005 when office 2007 came out (?). And then format margins, font, paragraph etc etc to suit the OU /SMS ‘standard’, then locate and install the ‘save as pdf’ add-on for word, then set default dictionary then… Well, you get the idea.

And somewhere, at some point, I’ve got to actually find time to use this computer to produce a TMA (tutor marked assignment, for those not learning with the OU) on material I’ve not even glanced at yet. If I hadn’t forgotten how to write (at best my handwriting looked like the scratchings of a madman writing with a fingernail and shit, but that best was a good twenty years ago, and it’s gone wayyyyyyy downhill since then) I’d ditch the PC and buy a lion brand eccers book, but considering the amount of retraining it would take to get my writing back to a standard where I, let alone anyone else, could read it it’s probably easier just to wait a couple of years until they can insert a micro USB port direct into the centre of what I laughingly refer to as my brain and I can just ‘think’ my words onto a memory stick. Of course, the memory stick will fail, or get stolen, but at least that’s a more convincing argument for not delivering on homework than ‘the dog ate it’.

Oh, did I mention the car? That’s FUBAR too. Well, it’s not now, as it was ‘fixed’ again yesterday, but it is of a vintage now where ‘fixed’ means but a temporary respite from hurling money and insults at it. That’s its second fix in as many weeks, and as I picked her up (why do we refer to cars as ‘her’… oh yeah, they cost a fortune to run and always break down when you most need them… *whistle*) yesterday my mechanic mentioned in passing that the exhaust was ‘blowing a bit’ and would probably need a bit of attention soon. Great…

I bought a new clock today off Amazon. It’s a waterproof one, as I have to have one in the bathroom to ‘remind’ my son that showers should be cheaper than baths. He takes about 45 minutes either way, but prefers showers. If we ever get metered water he’ll wash us out of house and home. He’s already trying to eat us out of house and home, so we’ve not far to go, but I’ve found a cheap supplier of hay and that’s helping keep the wolf from the door (though one of the three little pigs living down the road keeps walking past the hayrick whistling in a most suspicious manner). He (Ben, not the 3rd little pig) broke the old clock during an over-vigorous stint of drying on Sunday, so the swift arrival of the new one was a small ray of sunshine in a week that, with the brief exception of a ‘Writing Group’ meet and several pints of Guinness last night, could most accurately be described as ‘poxy’. It’s perhaps a measure of my cynicism these days that when, on inserting batteries, I discovered the clock was ‘tickless’ I just sort of grunted in a world weary fashion and made a cup of tea. I’ve printed off the return label now, and will enjoy, hopefully, a nice walk to the post office tomorrow to despatch it back for refund, weather and god permitting.

Ah well, Windows is nagging me to shut down the computer so it can finish installing updates. Best let it, so it can download the next batch. I left it waiting until I’d finished this ‘just in case’, ‘cos the way things have been going there may well be a failure to relaunch.

L8rs, hopefully. Fingers crossed…

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8 thoughts on “Scientific Progress Goes “BANG!””

  1. lol i am so glad its not just me that has major issue with ‘tech guys’ and their ability to fix anything! currently they have the 2nd laptop in for repair .. we are now on week 4!! ……

    1. Yerse… as ‘experts’ go they leave a great deal to be desired, ennit. I think as far as computers go you either get a good one or a duff one – there’s not really much middle ground. Perhaps they’re like cars in that respect – they always used to say get one that was built in the middle of the week rather than one that was assembled on a Monday or Friday when the guys on the assembly line were either knackered from the weekend off or distracted thinking about the coming weekend. Of course, that was in the old days when people built cars. Now we only have robots and computers to blame! Thanks for comment.

  2. LOL. WIth anything older like a house or a car, fixed does just mean temporary respite until the next problem! So true. I feel like I turn around in our Victorian house or our 8 year old car, and something else needs to be sorted out.

    1. 8 year old car? Boy, that’s almost fresh from the showroom! You swanky devil! My old Polo is twice that age and starting to feel it, but better the devil you know and until she coughs her last I’m going to keep nursing her along… Thanks for comment

    1. Not really… I’m not, to paraphrase Reggie Perrin’s son-in-law Tom, a technology person. It doesn’t like me much either – things that are meant to go ‘ping’ rarely do in my hands! Thanks for comment 🙂

  3. Luckily I have an in-house expert and yes he expects me to know what he’s on about and talks about things that aren’t there, but least he can just take it off me and do. Hope you are all sorted now. Love the picture.

    1. Yes, fine now – it was a very old blog! The replacement PC I got after taking the one mentioned back has been incredibly well-behaved… What’s the betting I’m going to regret saying that within the next fortnight? The Gremlins are listening! Thanks for comment 🙂

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