Tech and the Old Guy

Well, this has been an interesting couple of days. Since last Tuesday I have had a tech breakdown. I am retired, but fairly progressive when it comes to technology. It has always fascinated me and when new things come out it stirs my inner curiosity. In fact until just the beginning of the year I have had used a Linux system that I installed and built on in an old HP computer. I loved this system because if something breaks, I can fix it. Or if something in it wouldn’t work properly I could dig out my “Linux for Dummies” book and usually figure it out and if all else fails there were always the chat boards that have some real expert advise.

While using Linux was and will always be my main source of surfing and productivity I decided maybe I would pick up an inexpensive computer loaded with a very popular operating system. There have been a few things I have tired to accomplish with Linux that I could not accomplish, but could with the more popular brand of operating system. So I did.

I made the purchase in about December and have been using the newer system for some time now and have been tolerating its slowness, but I have noticed the more I used it, the more it seems to be getting used to me. (I’m not sure if I should be concerned about that or not from a privacy point of view?) At any rate I am now able to watch my television shows from my subscribed to cable company when I’m on the road.

I like to use Chrome as a web browser (Chromium on Linux), but when I am surfing social media I usually go to FireFox. Well, as of Tuesday tragedy struck! My Chrome kept crashing. This was only mildly aggravating at the time. I switched to FireFox so I could get stuff done. Then low and behold my operating systems updater said there were new recommended updates. I thought, well, maybe this will help clear up the Chrome crashing problem. (I might note here that I went through the trouble shooting process with Chrome up to and including uninstalling it and reinstalling it with no luck)

So, I clicked on update. Update it did. Then it restarted my computer. I was momentarily happy in my anticipation that Chrome would be fixed. It was not. Not only was Chrome not fixed there were other issues that arose as a result from the update. Some DLL file is now missing upon start up and my To-Do app won’t load. It says there is some type of error; what the hell?

I played with it for a while until frustration set in and I had to walk away from it. As I set in my favorite chair. (You get one of those when you are a retiree) My wife simply reminded me that the laptop was only a year old and should be under warranty.

I finally accepted the idea that I was not going to be able to fix this problem myself, so I called tech support.

The first person I talked to said that my problem could be hardware and if it’s not hardware it would be software and for that he would have to transfer me to a different department. I said: “Ok what do I do now”? He ran me through a series of diagnostic test and at the end of the process it was concluded that my machine was fine. He told me that he would have to transfer me to another department to assess my software as that is where he believed the problem lies.

To my surprise, after only a very few minutes on hold, I was connected to a tech who promised that she could solve my problems. But first, she noticed that it had been longer than 90 days since my laptop was purchased. I acknowledged that and told her that I believed the thing has a one year warranty. She said: “yes on the hardware, but the software is only warrantied for 90 days”. When I asked how much this would cost to fix she told me that she could sign me up for a one year warranty plan for $49 dollars to start then $14 dollars a month after that to maintain the warranty.

I began thinking about this and started to do a slow burn. I told her my laptop was doing fine until I did the recommended update. Then it broke. So, I am having a hard time understanding how you broke my laptop and now I have to pay to fix it. I started to get a bit upset as she was trying to use here Jedi sales technique on me, Then I simply told her I would fix it myself. I told her that I would simply crash the computer and put Linux on it. (I already have a efficiently running Linux system. I was only saying that for affect) She said: “well you will still have the same problem,” I said: ” no I won’t because in the process I will completely reformat the hard drive and start the computer fresh. The problems of your system will be completely destroyed! She simply told me that they were there to help and if I wanted to put another system on my laptop that was up to me. This is where our conversation ended.

Even though during my conversation with the second tech, it was I who was a bit upset, she was still pretty pleasant. The first guy was pretty pleasant to talk to as well: however, between the two of them their company broke my computer and want me to pay to fix it. That’s the final outcome here; or is it?

I put my laptop away and dug out old reliable (Linux). I got some things done on my computer and called it a day. Then last night, not wanting to leave this alone, I dug out my new laptop. I fired it up. There was still the DLL file missing window at start up, but I was able to sign on the lock screen window just fine. This was a problem a day ago. Then I continued. The apps and programs, including Chrome, that had given me problems didn’t seem to be as defective as they were the day before. What gives? This is a mystery to me, or is it?

I will continue using this laptop until it breaks again. Who knows maybe the missing DLL file will return. Sometimes it’s tough for me to wrap my head around technology. There are times when I feel like I should be living like my grandfather. Setting in my favorite chair listening to my AM radio and reading my news paper, but this is the age of technology and in order to live in the world productively one must embrace change. So, I try to keep up on “The google” and “The Facebook”, even though I get concerned about privacy matters. That’s for another post.