Life: February 2007 Archives

Well, I've shipped my computer off, having copied everything that I thought I might possibly need from it. (See this post and the ensuing conversation for details.) I even found the PST file from Outlook, which was in what looked like a corrupted directory with the name slightly off (which would explain why the program couldn't find any settings when I opened it). For some reason I couldn't see this directory when running Windows on the drive, but I can see it when I'm looking at the drive as an external additional drive on a different computer.

So now I just have to wait for them to sift through every part of it and find all the problems. What I receive back may well be in as good condition as the original computer was. I'll still have to reinstall everything, and that will take awhile, but I managed to find a hard drive enclosure at the local Circuit City, which I didn't know existed until today when the guy at the Best Buy at the mall sent me downstairs to "the competition" because he didn't have any in stock. I was surprised to discover what the competition was, because we've never had a Circuit City before. We did have a CompUSA, but they've all cleared out. When I saw that, I was hoping BestBuy had it, and when the guy said he didn't have it he must have seen something in my face. I doubt he regularly sends people down to Circuit City.

I had an interesting experience at Circuit City, and it raises an interesting ethical question. When I looked at the hard drive enclosures on the shelf, I saw two different ones. It turned out the more expensive one ($40) was for desktop computer hard drives, and the less expensive one ($20) was for notebook hard drives. At least that's what the price markings underneath them said. Since I needed the latter, I checked with a sales guy to make sure it was what I needed, and he said that was what would enable me to connect my hard drive to another computer as an external drive. So I waited in the fairly long line (the only one they had open) and then discovered that the enclosure actually cost something like $35. I didn't want to wait in line again, so I paid it and then went back to check. It turns out the one they had a price tag up for was a different brand. They're charging $15 more for this apparently better brand for the same product, and meanwhile they don't have the cheaper ones in stock and don't have this one labeled. That strikes me as deceptive marketing, whether it's deliberate or not.

I wouldn't normally be the sort of person to buy something like this, use it for what I need it for, and then return it. But given that I thought I was going to be paying a good deal less for this thing (and it was pretty much the store's fault that I had just about paid for it when I realized that), I think I may just return it when I'm done. Sam's going to use it to get some stuff off an older hard drive from her old computer that won't boot up (I already took what I wanted off it once the other computer got picked up by DSL), and I might wait until I get my computer back to transfer things back to it from Sam's new computer (where I put everything in the meantime). But I have no qualms about using their 30-day return policy basically to rent this thing for free, if they're going to do when in effect advertises it as if it's 4/7 of its real price, for people to discover only after they've waited in a long line. Technically speaking, it's not what I thought it was. It's a much more expensive product that does exactly the same thing. They frame their 30-day return policy in terms of whether you're completely satisfied with the product. I'm not completely satisfied with it, even if I'm very satisfied with what it does.

Aargh!!!

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I've been without my computer for nine days now. I had several hours Tuesday afternoon and late evening to enjoy it before it died again, and Dell has now replaced my motherboard twice and my memory once. They were supposed to do this Friday, but they didn't get the parts in time to show up, so they put it off until today, only for it to have no effect. Dell's now decided to have me ship off my computer to a depot, where they will almost certainly wipe my hard drive without allowing me any way to back up anything on it, since I can't boot up my computer. So I have to see if I can get Sam's computer to boot up with my hard drive. Her old one wouldn't, but perhaps her new one will. Otherwise I have to try to get my own computer to load up for longer than the couple minutes it stays active before freezing up, see if I can upload a huge file for my email to some online source or direct connect to another computer, and then copy several files I really don't want to lose but haven't backed up in a while.

Also, I stepped on a nail last night, which got embedded about 3 cm into my foot, and I had to teach this morning before going to the doctor to get my tetanus shot, who told me to keep my foot soaked the entire time I'm home for the next few days, which isn't easy when the kids are trying to overrun me and Isaiah is trying to play with the water I'm soaking my foot in (and the kids have no school this week, so it will be constant). Then I left my lights on when I came home this afternoon, and my charger took a half hour to charge the battery enough to start the engine, with just enough time to go through the Burger King drive through before attending the last class on race my advisor is giving in her seminar this semester, which she thought I ought to be at (and in retrospect I think she was right).

So no real posting today, and given that I'm trying to finish grading some papers this week (which has also been set back quite a bit by the boys' snow days and will continue to be set back by their vacation this week) and given the time I might have to spend backing up my computer if I can actually succeed in a method of doing that, I may not have the time in the next few days to do much.

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