More Computer Woes

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In the middle of normal computer activity this morning, I had to go in the other room to check on something. I placed my computer on the floor, went and did whatever it was, and returned to find an error message on the screen saying that there was some sort of problem and the computer had to be shut down. When I tried to restart, it said I had no bootable drive. I checked in the BIOS, and it didn't detect the hard drive. I haven't tried the hard drive again, I haven't run a disk checker on it, and I haven't tried it in another computer yet, but I think it's shot. I didn't back up some of my stuff recently either.

Fortunately, most of what I need for my teaching is online in some capacity, and the only thing school-related that I lose if I can't resurrect the hard drive is previous semesters's gradebooks. The racial classification paper I've been working on would also be gone, but I have a printout of the latest version of it. There's lots of other stuff that I've collected into easily accesible form that I'll just have to re-collect if I need it, but that can be done with some difficulty, and only the only really important thing that would be completely gone would be email. I have a backup of Outlook from a year ago, I think, but the last years' messages would be entirely gone. I can get a list of what I intended to blog about from a week or so ago, but I don't have anything I added to it in the last week, and I don't have the list of sites I was keeping to see whether I want to add them to my blogroll. The reason this is most annoying is because I've had at least one completely new and unrelated computer problem every single week this semester, actually even starting before that.

First we had an AC adapter die. In this case it was actually the one Sam had been using, but since I have the medium to large business plan from Dell, which is a few cardinalities of infinity easier to deal with than their regular customer service, I called up on my own plan and had it replaced. That was the week before school started, I believe. We were moving the adapter back and forth for a few days and shutting down one computer at night or when one of us left the house. Then, just as school was starting up, the power input on my motherboard died, which allowed me to use my computer only when I charged the battery in Sam's computer first, and I had to shut down when it got low and then wait for it to charge again. After a few days of that, they replaced the motherboard but gave me a faulty one that eventually wouldn't allow me to start my computer at all. I had about an afternoon of problem-free computing before I saw the first problem, and the next day it just ceased to work. The best I could do was use my hard drive in Sam's computer, which required more work than I wanted to do, so I only checked my email once during that 5-day period without access to my own computer.

Now all that's been fixed, and the sound card problem that I had for months because of defective hardware on the earlier motherboard that had the power problem is no longer an issue of course. Well, now there's the hard drive issue. It took me most of today to get my spare hard drive up and running with internet, virus protection, firewall, Microsoft Office, and little else, with my year-old backup of documents and IE favorites. I have to download the more recent ones from the course material I have online. I can't read email except the two of my four addresses that have web access, and those at least are the ones my students should be expected to use. Finally, my AC power just cut out, and it doesn't work with either AC adapter. I checked the input, and the piece the adapter plugs into seems to be at the wrong angle, so I think Isaiah's incessant addiction to standing on my power cable and pulling on it so he can chew it to bits has taken its toll.

So I'll be able to blog, it seems, but some of the stuff I really wanted to blog about takes more time than I've been able to put into it, and my posts on the three carnvals this week that I was going to plug (Philosophers, Christian, Vanities) are going to be a little longer before they're done. I'm most of the way through reading the Philosophers' Carnival and have typed up what I want to say on two posts so far. The reparations post is going to be a while, I think, and a comprehensive gender roles post may not come at all unless I'm still in the mood to write on it when this is all over. I have one smaller post idea that I may get to soon if I get the time before the meeting I'm going to tonight. So don't write me off while I'm trying to get everything settled here, but the longer and more reflective stuff that I most like to do that I was planning to do soon isn't going to be happening for a while.


Sorry to hear about your computer troubles. Hope you won't run into too many of them in your future.

Dell support is by and large impressive, with the sole exception being their recent attempt to outsource their call center to Bangalore. Many have had trouble understanding Indian English, and those that do aren't impressed with the level of service that they were provided. So Dell moved the call center back into English-speaking territories like New Zealand and Australia.

That was only their home customers' support line that was in India. They had good reasons. India has a great reputation for producing a good customer support industry. My problem wasn't with the language but with the longer delays with the home line. The business support was much better, though perhaps they should fire the guy who finished with me yesterday who transferred me to PDAs to wait a half hour with no one picking up after telling me he was transferring me to quality control.

This was after he told me I'd need to go to their depot to get my computer swapped with another one due to having had ten unrelated problems, all of which have now been fixed except for this current power issue. The way they have been fixed is by having new parts installed. That means the system isn't a problematic system, as he described it. It's just that they keep giving me defective parts. A newly refurbished machine is going to have as many problems as newly refurbished parts in a machine that's only got one or two minor original parts left. I can't believe he didn't see that after I'd already been telling him all along that they weren't related and after he had to go over the list of problems in the past with a colleague. This guy obviously wasn't ready for this kind of job.

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