Thursday, April 28, 2011

Instruments of the Devil

They're infernal machines, designed to drive us mad with frustrated desire. No sooner do you have one than you're craving more. The price you pay - well, let's say that it's not just money. Once you're hooked, you find yourself losing your time - your sanity - perhaps even your soul.

I'm talking, of course, about computers.

The past few days have been particularly bad. My four year old Asus Eee PC netbook, which I use for e-reading and travel, both for writing and connectivity, is aging. The battery has long been burned out, or so it seems. Now the wireless networking, previously a marvel of ease and functionality, has ceased to work.

Now, I'm a bit of a geek - I make my living as a software engineer - so I spent a good three hours yesterday on the web, browsing wikis and forums, trying to discover the source of this new problem. I tried all the suggestions I found, all without any success. Finally, as a last resort, I used the DVD that accompanied the machine to restore it to its factory settings. Alas, this procedure caused me to lose all my customizations and additional installed software, but I figured that would be a fair price to pay if it solved the wireless problem.

It did not, of course.

So this afternoon I have plans to trudge over to the computer mall and see if I can find the Asus service center. I'd much rather be working on my current story, but what can you do? Will they be able to make more progress than I did? Only experience will tell.

Meanwhile, last night over dinner my husband and I had a major fight over computers. He accused me of harping on all the problems of the Eee PC because I really wanted to buy a new laptop. In his eyes, I was trying to push the little netbook beyond its capabilities, making it fulfill functions that hadn't been in my original specifications.

I protested, assuring me that I had no such hidden agenda - not that I haven't been eyeing the recent crop of netbooks with a certain degree of lust (not to mention flirting with the fantasy of buying a tablet), but I recognized that our finances currently couldn't support such a purchase.

He's been battling issues with his own, much more recent and powerful netbook.(Yes, I admit I'm jealous. Lust AND envy.) He pointed out that while I've been sitting there, whining and swearing, he's been suffering in silence. Basically his position was, put up or shut up.

You see what I mean? Computers have driven a wedge between us! This morning all is forgiven - we both apologized for our angry words - but I see now the dangers of these diabolical devices.

Beware of techno-lust. Don't let it spoil your life and your relationships!

Now, why isn't my sound card working?


Terra Pennington said...

Did you download the drives for the sound card? Computers can drive a person to drinking. After 35 years of working with them I know. My husband and I have had many fights over the stupit things.

But I can't live without one.


Kaz Augustin said...

What o/s do you have running on that Asus, Lisabet? I nixed the Linpus on my Aspire One (Acer), loaded on Edubuntu and gave it to Little Dinosaur. She loves it, god bless her heart. This was after I found that I really WAS pushing the little beast beyond its capabilities.

Despite the fact that I only do writerly things on my lappy, it appears that the netbooks are still not up to scratch. I'd bust the budget and go for a more powerful machine. (Watch the specs; they're asking top dollar for jazzed up 1.6 GHz CPUs nowadays, which is unconscionable!)

I'd go 2.1GHz/4GB DDR3 as a bare minimum. And not a damn Apple where you can't change the memory, battery or hard disk yourself!

And I've already asked hubby for an Archos 70 tablet for my birthday (able to dual-boot Android & Angstrom! Slurpy!). Different function, different machine! ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't own a laptop. It was a consicous choice as I didn't want a computer that I could take to bed as I would be on it all night.

That having been said, my computer, a basic iMac is so full of stuff that I think it's grinding to a halt.

I hate to say it that you may have to accept that it's reached the end of it's usefull life. I had to do that with my LCII. I was sad to see it go but it went to a good home.

Hope you get it sorted out somehow and that whatever happens your writing continues.

Lily Harlem said...

Oh, I flirt with that tablet fantasy too - can't imagine it being realized any time soon!!

Hope you're somehow managing to get on with your WIP today.

Lily x

Jude Mason said...

Hi Lisabet,

You echo the feelings and desires of many a woman, my friend. Probably men too, but they're the put up or shut up kind and wouldn't admit it. LOL

I'm really sorry to hear you've got computer troubles. I keep stroking mine and telling it what a wonderful piece of machinery it is so it'll keep going a little longer. It's a full sized PC, no laptop for me and no tablet. I've eyed them in the store and online, drooled a bit but it's just not in the finances for the next while, same as you. One day!

Good luck and I hope you don't lose anything in all the shuffling.


Jan Irving said...

I got a lemon from Dell which gave me problems. I still leap around in text when I use it. Then when it completely melted down from mysterious OS problems and went back to them, I bought a Toshiba. The Toshiba was twitchy but no sign that it would suffer a devastating and complete hardware failure in the space of ten minutes. I lost a few things, including my stored emails and a lot of ebooks I'd purchased.

The thing about being a writer is all the lost time but even if you buy a new one, as I did, you can still suffer the worst. Now I have two twitchy laptops. I've yet to reformat the toshiba after what happened. It's new and they replaced the hard drive but I don't trust it. Usually the upset comes when one of the computers isn't working and we can't figure out why.

Nina Pierce said...

LOL! Don't you live to hate this age of technology?

Colleen said...

I have an older desktop that I have fights with... one day I am dreaming of a new computer!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, all,

Thanks for your comments and sympathy!

Kaz, I have one of the first Eee PCs, with a little tiny screen and only 4GB of hard drive. It's running the original Xandros OS - I found out how to switch off the "easy mode", though, so I have a real Linux desktop, albeit with very limited resources.

Jude - for my writing I use an eight year old ThinkPad. It's kind of slow but I love the keyboard, the little pointing device in the middle, and the screen. And yes, I tell it that I love it every day!

Jan - I'd never buy a Dell. And stay away from Acer. We have had terrible experiences with them.

Lisabet Sarai said...

I should mention that the service people, after spending nearly an hour checking the system out, politely told me that the problem appeared to be on the motherboard. They didn't recommend replacing it, since the MB by itself is $250 and the system cost only about $400. So I'll live without wireless. My husband says that's smart anyway, given the security risks...

Meanwhile, I've got to reconfigure the darned thing. The small amount of customization that I'd done is entirely gone.

Sigh. A chance to learn patience...!

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