I've known that computers are my life for many years now. However, I'd forgotten exactly how MUCH of my life they are until I woke up Sunday morning, ready to do whatever it is I do on Sunday mornings -- read message boards, email, LiveJournal, look at pretty pictures, etc. That lasted about 30 seconds or so, and all of a sudden the mouse and keyboard completely locked up. I didn't think this was the best way to start the day, but I really didn't think it was the worst either. However, it soon became pretty bad. I had to do a cold boot, but, well, I've had to do it once or twice in the last couple of years -- stuff happens, after all. Well, stuff DID happen, as it turns out. I pushed the power button. There is usually a blast of aircraft engine type noise and the power button turns green, and life continues as usual. Not this time. I heard the jet engine, and I watched the power button stay amber. Caution? Danger, Will Robinson? Am I in trouble? Well, yeah.
I know how Bill Murray felt in Groundhog Day. I've done this before. When the machine was about 5 months old. It was an easy fix. Just a new MOTHERBOARD. All it cost me was aggravation, so, that was cool. Luckily I had a lot of books to read, because if I'm not sitting here, I'm reading a book. It took almost a week to get the Dell Dude out here (it was over Thanksgiving weekend, thank you VERY much), but hey, it worked, and that was all I cared about. Until last Sunday.
I had the standard one year warranty on the machine. I'm not a big fan of extended warranties. Dell thought I should consider extending the warranty, and for once, I took their suggestion. I actually like this machine very much -- it's a fully loaded XPS 710, cost me a boatload of money, and maybe a couple of hundred dollars down the rathole would be money well spent. Well, apparently, it was! I waited a couple of hours to call Dell, since I'm the kind of insane who will repeat an action and expect a different outcome. While that works with random number generators, I've found it doesn't often work otherwise. After we went through the 75 thousand questions they have to go through (BTW, this is the Premier Service line, so, actually, they are pretty competent, but they DO have to make sure), Dell Dude agreed it was the motherboard, and he was going to send a power supply and something else that should make things all better. Yes, he noticed that the motherboard had already been replaced, and perhaps he realized they weren't going to make as much money from my extended warranty as they originally planned.
Dell Dude told me the parts should be delivered in a day or two, at which point I should hear from the local tech guy to set up an appointment. OK, I can deal with that. On Tuesday I get a call from the automated Dell Babe, who tells me the products I've ordered are on back order and will be shipped within three to five business days. Mikey wasn't thrilled with this, but it's kind of difficult to argue with the Dell Babe. Besides, I still had a lot of books to read (no, not the same ones from November, 2007), so it was all good. Sort of.
On Wednesday, which is the day right after Tuesday for all of you keeping count, I got a call from Tech Dude, who asked if I would be home "today" so he can come and fix my machine. Since I was home, I said yes, and figured that this ought to be good. He shows up essentially when he said he would (20 minutes late, which is early as far as I'm concerned!), and was carrying a box that I could have almost fit into! I'm not complaining, but sometime the same day Dell decided the stuff was back ordered, they overnighted it to the Tech Dude. Life is good again. Tech Dude decided it was the power supply, so he was going to change that and get me going again. I kind of knew it wasn't the power supply, but I'm not the techie -- I'm just the customer. So, he replaced the power supply, and guess what? It STILL sounded like a jet engine and was as functional as a doorstop. He then decided that perhaps it WAS the motherboard after all, and, hey, second time's a charm :D
Some of you who are still reading (someone IS still reading, right?) may wonder why I'm writing this on Thursday when the computer was fixed on Wednesday. Well, lemme tell ya :) Turns out that while I was sitting here in the Internet Dark, my ISP was upgrading their network capacity, and after about an hour of Internet goodness, I was connected to the Internet, but not really. Windows thought I was connected to the Internet, the modem thought I was connected to the Internet, but somehow I wasn't connected to the Internet. So, about every hour I had to close all IE windows, power down the modem, and start over. I should mention that yesterday, the ISP didn't know they were having a problem. I figured it was some wonky setting on the computer that got unset, and wasn't sure how quite to deal with it. Amazingly, though, when I called today, the lovely recording apologized for the inconvenience while they continue upgrading the network. They suggested turning off the modem AND the computer, restarting the modem and then the computer, and wow, 1 hour and 38 minutes into it, I'm still connected to the Internet. And lucky for you, that's why I'm now able to post this :)