Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Grand Disaster!

At the moment, my very favourite thing, even above my iPod, is my Dell laptop. Well it was until a couple of days ago.

When I bought it, 8 months ago, I needed a new computer like a hole in the head. We had bought a new desktop computer 6 months before that, so we were up-to-date technologically speaking. As always we kept our old computer and set up a network for the first time. But A, who watches little TV, spends an inordinate time playing Mah Jong, Solitaire, and FlightSimulator or doing Sudoku puzzles on the computer. Frankly, I was having trouble getting time on the new one and neither of us likes to use the old one much except to look for a old file, or some such thing.

Just as an aside here, it's most important use is when we Skype video my daughter's family and my almost 4 year old grandaughter, says "Nana, I want to watch the fish." This, of course, is the screensaver, very hokey by today's standards, on the old computer. She watches it on the screen, opposite our new computer since the webcam also shows that screen in our picture feed.

Well back to my Dell story. Longing for my first laptop, I kept visiting the Dell site, looking at the options, and saying to myself, "You don't need this." Finally, I told A about it and in his usual laid-back fashion, he said, "If you want it, buy it!" So we put together the order from the multiple choice options, gave the credit card number and hit the complete order button. Hey, I even bought a computer online .

Several weeks later it arrived and, luckily, the arrival coincided with a visit from my daughter and family. I say luckily, because my son-in-law is a research scientist at IBM so he helped me set everything up just so, connected me to the network and I was up and running in a flash and have never looked back.

Yes, yes, I'm getting to the disaster! While I was using the laptop recently I was drinking a glass of soy milk. Yes, you can just see it, can't you? I knocked the glass over and soy milk spilled into the keyboard. Of course, A wasn't home so I had to deal with this myself. Mopping madly, uttering language totally inappropriate for a "little old lady", but totally consistent with being Australian, I closed everything down and started on clean-up. I turned it upside down to drain out the liquid, I had the battery out and even had the screwdrivers out, taking off the back. Luckily everything seemed fairly well enclosed so I couldn't see any liquid. When A came home, with the manual in hand, we took out the keyboard. There was a little bit of soy milk under the keyboard, which has a metal plate behind it but with a few small holes in it, perfect conduit for liquid. Cleaning it as best we could, we left it in pieces for a while and finally, after reconstruction, we turned it on. Thankfully everything came on and I was congratulating myself on not being punished for my clumsiness and extreme stupidity. All too soon I'm afraid.

Because I keep my speaker volume turned down unless needed, it wasn't until a few days later, watching a video on YouTube, I found my speakers had and continue to have laryngitis! Yes, they're working, if you can call it working, but the sound is totally muffled and the speech is incomprehensible. You see there's a grate-like opening on the upper right hand side of the computer which took a hit of soy milk. I had always assumed the opening was a vent, one on each side of the computer, for heat to escape as they are not mentioned in the manuel, the speakers being at the front, left and right. But I guess somehow there's a connection from the vent to a speaker and the cone is no doubt covered with dried soy milk.

Of course, I, being cheap, only bought the basic service contract, and to get service from Dell you have to send the laptop to Ontario and wait and and wait. Since spilling soy milk into the computer is not covered under basic warranty, only the extended three year one, I think I'll try looking into local solutions. I sure hope there is a solution, else I'll have to start saving my pennies. At least computers are getting cheaper every minute.

I never was totally convinced that soy milk was good for you and I was right, wasn't I? At least not for computers. Those phytoestrogens are really messing things up. And now the AHA is saying consuming soy has no effect whatsoever on cholesterol levels or blood pressure! Sheesh! And my speakers are obviously allergic to soy, so I'm never feeding soy milk to that laptop again!
And I'm feeling so sorry for myself.


mhr said...

Ah, all I can offer is sympathy...
computer equipment is so fragile nowadays!
I hope your laptop makes a miracle recovery form its laryngitis somehow.
About the soy milk, I never get near the stuff so I guess I'm safe from any soy milk related computer incident (but not from tea or coffee!)

Cathy said...

Oh No! Do you have an applicance and electronics store locally? Sometimes those stores have an in house computer tech and some of them will allow you to check in your computer, for service ,even if you didn't buy it there. Years ago we took one to a Sun TV store (we hadn't bought it there either) But they did sevice the brand that we owned.. They charged us something like 40.00 to check it out and thankfully it was no big problem so we got off really cheap.

Now that has been about 6 years ago so I don't know what it would cost now to get one checked and Sun TVs are all closed up. But, I would sure call any electronic stores and ask.

I hope you can get it fixed soon. I knew there was some reason why I never drink soy milk!

jmb said...

Hi mhr,
Actually, I am now finding how much I do use these speakers so I must get onto it soon. At the moment I just rush upstairs and listen on the new desktop, if I need to.
A bientot

jmb said...

Hi Cathy,
Luckily I live in a big city with lots of computer stores. If I had bought the super warranty package I could have local service, so what I have to do is find out from Dell who the local service people are. I need to make sure that if it needs parts, then they would be compatible so I need a Dell service person. Obviously it will cost less than a new computer. It's just me not getting around to it yet, and not willing to be without the computer, for even a little while.

brainhell said...

Ifn yew got a place to plug in extoinal speeks, yew kin buy some.

jmb said...

Quelle surprise! I've already thought of that, even have a spare set, old but usable, but I do use this computer as a laptop, literally, in my Lazyboy, with my feet up, so the external speakers solution is not too convenient. Are you mocking my accent? Still here! Even after 45 years in Canada.

Ian said...

Sorry to hear about your laptop. I hope you get it fixed soon.
I can confirm it is not just soy milk that they are allergic to. I work in an IT dept and we had one user who found that his laptops didn't enjoy red wine, coffee and orange juice quiet as much as he did. In these cases it did prove terminal to 2 separate laptops.

jmb said...

Hi Ian,
You must be busy, no posts lately. Well I am so lucky that it was not worse, given your experiences. I hope I am not the slow learner that your user was. So are you the "Help Desk" or higher up than that?

mhr said...

... so how's your laptop recovering?

jmb said...

You know mhr, I'm being very naughty and ignoring it, since it is working except for the speaker problem. I am so busy learning this blogging thing I haven't had time to phone around yet. Did you see Ian's comment above about the two laptops killed by wine, coffee and OJ? I was really lucky.
À bientôt. I like this phrase because I always say "a presto" in Italian which means the same as à bientôt.

mhr said...

I love "a presto" too.
I learnt Italian by myself, a few years ago, just because I love the music of the language.
I've come to the point where I can read it well enough (with a dictionary close by), but I cannot speak it at all, for lack of any practise. Which reminds me I haven't read any italian for quite a while, I must have forgotten a lot (I find Italian grammar quite tricky)

Yes, I read Ian's comment, my own laptop suffered from the occasional spill of coffee, but without any damage so far (I should refrain from drinking coffee when sitting at the computer, but I'm not that sensible!)

jmb said...

Hi mhr,
I have resolved to keep all liquids at least 6 feet away from my laptop. A new keyboard is cheap for a desktop but a new laptop is another matter.
Funny you should say that Italian grammar is quite "tricky" for you, I thought they are quite similar, except for the fact that the subjunctive is used less often in French. My daughter who is doing more Italian classes to certify herself to teach Italian as well as French, says if she is in doubt about a construction in Italian she uses the French construction and it's most often right.
The thing I love about Italian is that every letter is pronounced, even the p in psicologo (psychologist-but you probably already know that, sorry).
Au revoir

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