By: Revanche

Did we anger the technology gods?

April 18, 2016

Technology: Can't live without it, can't seem to keep it alive! The day it was like Skynet took over and shut me down.My tech boom and the day it all went south

We aren’t early adopters.

Setting up new gadgets, or paying for them, isn’t fun the way it was when I was 13. Or was it 15? Honestly, I can’t remember when communication technology first crept into our lives, but I was part of the generation that adopted pagers for fun at $3/month. We’ve come a long way since then, with the smartphones and the touchscreen computers, and the phablets.

(Can’t you just hear the old age settling in? Or is that creaking our bones?) Either way, new technology here is unusual, but we can’t seem to survive without it.

It was a big deal when PiC surprised me with an iPad so that I could still work on days that my fingers had checked out of Hotel California.

It was a huge deal when we graduated from only upgrading our phones when offered a cheapie free phone in exchange for a renewed contract (remember that?), to buying the exact one that he wanted.

It was the biggest deal to buy a new laptop, only the third one I’d bought in 16 years, that was exactly what I wanted and needed for all my work and personal-work life.

Riding high on the clouds of “high” tech is exactly where they want you

…when the machines turn!

First, it was the brand new laptop. Less than a month old, but more than the 3 weeks to qualify for a return, the laptop randomly, and without warning, turned off.

At first I chalked it up to carelessness, obviously I’d let the battery run down. Right? After leaving it plugged in overnight, satisfied it had had more than enough time to get a full charge, I cracked my knuckles (mentally) and set in for a good day of work. Only to sit in front of a black screen, head cocked, wondering if it was just me.

It was and it wasn’t. In expert-speak I believe this is called “The computer hates you-itis”. Something was seriously wrong and thankfully, I had sprung for the premium service plan: parts and labor and in-home service, for three years. Responses were guaranteed within 2 days.

What they didn’t tell me was the policy only guaranteed that they would acknowledge you had a problem in 48 hours, they didn’t say that they would fix that dang thing in that time. Great!

Resigned to waiting 5-7 business days for the hardware to be shipped to the service tech, who would then schlep it to our house to actually revive my computer, I started to work on my old laptop, Backup #1.

Backup #1 had gotten the memo, though, and ten minutes in, the fan started rumbling like it was going to implode. Or explode. The jury’s still out on which would be worse. Shaking my head, I pulled out an even older laptop and, transported back a decade to Win 95, tried to get some work done. Except its ability to keep more than two tabs open has been long-lost to the mists of time.

iPad? I could work on the iPad! Except all my passwords were locked up in Dead Computer. In 1-3 minute bursts, I coaxed Backup #1 to give up the passwords, one painful bout at a time. But of course, the iPad decided that it wanted charging and by the way, it also didn’t feel like letting me view attachments.

That was Backup #3 down. Doubtfully, I hauled out an old netbook that only ran Win 7 starter, and if you can imagine a tiny computer laughing in your face, that was Backup #4.

Driven into the arms of Apple

Desperate to get some work done, any work done, at this point, I commandeered PiC’s old MacBook.

Quick background: Once upon a time, I was the indifferent owner of an iPhone and a MacBook. They worked ok. Well, except the iPhone – both I and the Genius Bar are convinced that thing was possessed – but generally, the user interface was ok and they lasted a long while. After they died a relatively dignified death, though, going back to PC and Android was a breath of fresh air. I’m neither an Apple fanatic or a PC devotee, I just want a thing that works and lasts years.

The transition was simultaneously a huge relief and almost equal frustration. There are basic programs on PC that make my work flow more easily that just aren’t available to Apple users. My Apple-sworn friends helped me with substitutes but none were as useful as my originals. There are not so basic programs I’d have to buy again for the MacBook that I just didn’t want to spend the extra money for.

But the computer turned on and stayed on and, at this point, that was about as high as my blighted expectations could rise.

For a long horrible moment, I wondered if I’d have to spring for a new Mac ($$$$) and buy a whole new Apple set-up ($$$). We could pull the money out of savings but we’re just catching up after several huge expenses from the end of last year and the beginning of this. Then I told myself, Self, don’t get ahead of yourself. You’re just stressed and stresseder. Let’s see what happens with the repair and go from there.

Then my phone died.

My soul wept. Actual tears may have been shed. I can’t remember, I went into a sort of fugue state at that point.

I had to wait five weeks for that repair.

The Mac was available, and working for those five weeks, thank goodness. Y’all, if I had one more backup computer die on me I would have lost my mind, bought three brand new computers, and burned every one of the others in a massive sacrifice to Electronica, the god of broken technology.

I can sort of laugh about it now that the primary computer has been repaired. Sort of.

Backups #2 and #4 for sale are still being listed for sale as old scrap or whatever it takes, and putting that money aside for New Backup #2 because who here trusts my computers anymore?

:: Has Skynet ever taken over your day?

It feels like I keep overpaying for my gear, even though I do usually hunt down bargains, because I’m looking for quality too. Do you have any super reliable ultrabook (I need very lightweight gear) or phone recommendations? Is there a secret to gear that works?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and, *

14 Responses to “Did we anger the technology gods?”

  1. Honestly, this is one of the big reasons I switched to Macs. Well, that, and I wanted a Unix-like environment and was way too lazy to go the route of all my Linux-touting friends. I’m not saying Macs are perfect– Word for Mac sucks and so does gaming– but my Macbook Pro from 8 years ago is still chugging along (though I’m planning to upgrade this year). The biggest expense and hassle on the Mac side for me has been replacing burnt out batteries and chargers, which are proprietary and therefore super expensive! Those, I understand are now covered under AppleCare Plus though.
    Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial recently posted…Kids On The Bus Part 2: The EducatorMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      They do seem to keep working for a really long time, even if their peripherals don’t last. I didn’t know that they’re not covered by AppleCare, though. I wish I liked using their interface more, that change might have brought me back to the Apple Table.

      • Linda says:

        This seems to be shifting to a Mac vs. Win PC/laptop discussion in some ways. “I wish I liked using their interface more…” I’m wondering what you mean by that.

        The first computer I worked on was a Tandy running DOS. (Yeah, I’m old!) Up until I bought my Macbook in 2011, I had only used Windows PCs and laptops, and I still use a Windows machine for work. Switching to Mac software was awkward for me; I kept trying to figure out where to get to the “Control Panel” or “Windows Explorer” structure that I was used to (now I know they are called “System Preferences” and “Finder” in Mac-speak), and I still have to look up more complicated keyboard shortcuts. (The keyboard shortcut for Force Quit is something I need to permanently etch on my Mac, I think; when you REALLY need it, you can’t necessarily look it up.) But I LOVE the hardware features of my Macbook. The Magic Trackpad is the most awesome thing ever, and I wish I could find a Windows laptop that could offer something like that.
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        • Revanche says:

          Actually I should clarify I wish I liked the programs and the physical machine aspect of Macs better. For the work that I’m doing now, none of my preferred programs are supported on Mac and then the way the keyboard is set up for the laptops hurts my hands. All of their keyboards are no good for my hands, TBH. :/ But I love the brilliant screens, and some of the shortcuts, so I do wish I enjoyed the use of them more. It used to be fine for the old work I did, in a former life, but I’ve gotten old 😀

  2. Linda says:

    The best advice I can give you is: have outstanding tech support available at all times. I know that’s not really practical, though.

    I have two laptops (Windows and Mac), and iPad, and an iPhone at my disposal. The Windows laptop is owned and supported by my employer. I rarely have problems with it, but when I do I know I can call up support 24 hrs a day and get help. If needed, I can take the machine into the office and get a loaner while they deal with fixing it for me. Simple.

    The Macbook is my personal laptop that I bought six years ago after I had had enough of dealing with the Windows Vista laptop purchased just a year earlier. I didn’t understand why Vista had such a bad rap until I tried it “out of the box” and realized that our IT guys must have done some heavy magic/juju to get it to run so nicely on the work laptop. Ugh. I decided to think of it as a bad debt, declare it a loss, and move on.

    The Mac hasn’t been perfect. I think it was Mavericks that crashed the machine during upgrade/installation, and I ended up paying a consultant $100 to get it working again. But that was a few years ago and I’ve forgiven it.

    Seriously, if you ever go entirely freelance, I’d look into getting a contract with a tech support service that can step in to help if you hit roadblocks like this. Get one that has a better SLA that that contract you have now. (Is there such a service outside the corporate world?) You can’t work and bring in money without your tech.
    Linda recently posted…A visit homeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      The sad part is that we no longer have a service contract, they let it expire, so I’m on my own already. I miss that part of corporate life, a bit!

  3. Oh man I feel you pain. It seems like when one thing doesn’t work, they all don’t work, and like you all I see are $$$ when something isn’t working. My MAC has been freezing a lot lately for no reason. Thankfully I don’t use it for work anymore, but I vacillated from a rage-like state to falling into puddles of tears.
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    • Revanche says:

      Right? I feel like it’s an electronic conspiracy! Do you still have AppleCare for your Mac? My fingers are crossed that it doesn’t take anything else with it.

  4. We’re slowly switching to Mac/Apple but it hasn’t been as trouble-free as I thought it would be, and I’m still better at using PC-based programs (and that’s what I use at work). We have an older PC that is sitting under our bed, waiting to be fixed or replaced. I think the tech gods hate us, too!
    middle class revolution recently posted…Hard Choices, Part 7My Profile

  5. {moan!} This sounds just awful, but gosh it makes me feel better when someone as smart and techie as you also enjoys the occasional frenzy of computerized frustration. It’s NOT just me!

    The Macs I’ve got, as frustrating as they can be, are notable for their longevity. I work on this Macbook — the one I’m playing on right this instant — for 12 to 14 hours a day, 5, 6, or 7 days a week. And it’s still…uhm…maybe I’d better not say this in front of it…it’s still running.

    However, even PC-ish programs that the Mac will run, such as office, are weird on a Mac. All the Word keyboard commands that help speed things along are system commands for the Mac! So if you try to duplicate them with macros, you do so at your own (considerable) risk. Office for Mac programs are not as versatile as Office for the PC…but get used to it, you find workarounds, and you forget how to use the PC. Which is not such a great thing. A lot of Adobe programs don’t work on the Mac, and I don’t believe Intuit programs that aren’t in the Cloud will, either.
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  6. I hear you. These days, technology gets the better of me and I had a similar laptop fiasco at the beginning of this year. First the webcam went which was strange. Then the USB ports stopped working. Manageable until I needed to print something. Then when I realised my laptop was dying on me, I couldn’t back it up (the USB ports!) properly! I had to pay for a new laptop, back some files up to the cloud, transfer them to the new one, then having learned my lesson about not backing up files, I made extra copies on an external hard drive. All rather troublesome, especially as my business is based on me working online! Sheesh!
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