† ... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now I' m sharing magnets from my mother's fridge.

My mother has been to Holland 3 times now.

* Discussion *

If you have anything to discuss, go to this link. Feel free to start a new discussion on anything.


I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Bill Bryson

I enjoyed his Australia book so much, I decided to try the one about this country.


Battersea Park Road
to Enlightenment

(this is a book I picked up in London)


Washington Week in Review
This Week in No. California
Gay Bingo
We're Funny That Way

That's it for today!


23 June 2001

I must start out apologizing to someone--you know who you are. I donít mean to find fault, and Iím not. Honest. But I do want to tell the continuing saga of my technical woes here, and I hope you wonít take offense. I know you were trying to help and I very much appreciate everything you did. Much of the problem was my own. So with that said, let me go into the saga...

Today I called Gateway and I ordered a new computer. This is my third computer in one year (I also had to replace my laptop), which, for someone without an income is somewhat excessive. But I hope to sell the Compaq that I bought earlier and pay off part of the cost of the Gateway. The Gateway purchase was a bit precipitous, but they were having a sale on line that would end tonight and I had to make a decision quickly.

The Compaq has been a headache from the beginning, and at first it was not entirely the computerís fault. Part of it had to do with the fact that in the confusion of the day of the set-up, I lost the paperwork and so was unable to return it to Compaq for repairs. And it should have been returned on day 1.

Instead, Iíve been trying to find a way to make it work. The modem that wouldnít hold a connection to the Internet, the CD burner that didnít quite work right, the A-drive that went out and had to be fixed. The strange messages that would pop up as the system would freeze on me.

At the time when I got the computer, I was deluged with work, and so every time I wanted to use the new machine, I would have to suppress my excitement because there was a stack of work to do. And then when Iíd start the new machine, I would run into all these problems I didnít know how to fix and Iíd shut it down in frustration.

I finally got serious about transferring information from one computer to the next when I got so excited about making slide shows, and when I had the new graphics programs to work with. I had a greater incentive to be on the new computer and I started spending more and more time on it. But the frustration of the modem got to me, and then when the A drive went out, I had to take it in to the shop to be fixed ($60 for service and a $5.00 part!)

That was when all my problems started.

I decided that while I had it in for repairs Iíd have a second CD drive installed, to make copying CDs much faster. I ask the clerk to let me know the cost of a second CD drive, which was minimal and I gave the go-ahead for installing it. Nobody hinted that this might not be as easy as it sounded like it would be.

I picked up the machine and brought it home. The new CD drive worked just fine for playing CDs, but the original CD drive (the burner) wouldnít work at all. The gate wouldnít even open. It was just dead.

I returned the machine. The technician, Jake, told me that oops...apparently 2 CD drives overload the Compaq system, which wasn't really built for expansion (which nobody told me) and heíd remove the second drive and hook the original drive back up.

Next day Jake called to say that the first drive is dead. He said he could replace it for me, but he hated to charge me for an expensive drive and if he were me, heíd just go to Fryís and get a cheap drive and bring it to him.

Following his instructions, I went to Fryís, got a CD burner and brought it back.

He installed the burner and Nero, the CD burning program which came with it.

I came home, fired up the burner, attempted to make one CD and Nero tells me it cannot recognize a burner. I called Jake.

Jake told me that he canít help me because he doesnít use Nero, but he has a friend who does and he will check with him. I mentioned that I also have a copy of Easy CD Creator and he said that might work better and that it is the program he uses.

Jake checked with his friend, who said he couldnít understand my problem with Nero because Iím doing everything right. Jake suggested that maybe the CD Creator would work better and told me to install it.

I installed CD Creator. When I attempt to burn a CD with CD Creator, I got exactly the same message--it canít read the CD burner either.

I called Jake. He said that if I bought a cheap CD Burner (which is precisely what he told me to do), that CD Creator probably wouldnít read it, because it wonít read all burners. I pointed out that Nero, the program that came with the CD burner also wonít read the burner and that suggests to me that perhaps there might be something wrong with the installation of the burner. He told me that installation canít be guaranteed because "setting are so individualized." I pointed out that I hadnít changed a single setting, that I just came home plugged in the computer and attempted to burn a CD. I told him that I assumed he had at least tested the burner to make sure it worked before charging me and returning it to me as fixed.

Jake told me I could bring the machine back and heíd "only charge me for yelling at him." (I hope heís kidding!)

To this point I have spent money on a CD ROM drive, a new burner, and labor and still have no working computer (though I did get a partial credit for the second drive, which had to be removed)...and no encouragement that the set up can be made to work at all. I am becoming very cranky.

So this morning I returned the Compaq to Jake (who wouldnít come out to see me and wouldnít answer the page of the clerk at the front desk) and I wonít bring it home until he has installed SOME software and burned at least one CD.

But in the meantime, the modem has stopped being reliable again and Iím fed up with the whole thing. Iíve had this computer for nearly a year and have been struggling with it for all this time, and I just want something with a technician close at hand, that is built to my own specifications.

So for only slightly more than I paid for the Compaq, Iím now getting a Gateway, with double the RAM, a second CD ROM drive, a much larger hard drive, and exactly what I want on it. It also has an easier capability of transferring data from one computer to the other (the Compaq had the wrong software on it, I was informed by Jake) so moving all of my graphics files from the old computer to the new one should be simple.

I am hopeful that after the new machine arrives next week, I might actually have a workable computer and that I can sell the Compaq to someone who has more technical expertise than I do, and who knows where to tweak all these things that have bothered me about the machine. It might be a good buy for the right person. Obviously, I was not the right person. I apparently need more hand holding than I thought.

One Year Ago:
Family Ties

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 6/22/01 by Bev Sykes