Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Not funny! Not at all!

Everyone seems to be lamenting about their computer problems of late on their blogs so I thought I would add my two cents to the mix. "Grendel" lost his network for a time and was late with the Blogpower round-up. Cherrypie has been having terrible problems too and was reduced to using the internet connection on her cellphone/mobile at one point. In one way my problem seems not so drastic but in another it was/is driving me crazy.

Several weeks ago the e key on my laptop stopped functioning reliably and took to intermittent activity. When you tapped it, either it did not work at all or after several increasingly "firmer" taps a string of e's followed such that much deleting accompanied by muttering (euphemism) followed. Ah well, bite the bullet. Time for a new keyboard for the not so old Dell.

Telephone call followed to the local reliable computer store which builds and repairs computers, mostly for the university community: oh no, we can't help you with that. Nothing to fit. Sorry.

Telephone call followed to repair department of BIG electronic goods chain superstore which sells Dell locally: oh no, we can't help you with that. Dell won't sell us replacement keyboards except for models we sell. Sorry.

Telephone call to Dell, way down East, followed: Oh no, we can't help you with that. We don't have any replacement keyboards in stock for that model. Sorry.

What? I have to buy a new computer because the e key is not working? After two years? And suffer Vista? OK, I'll use an external keyboard for now. Naturally none of the three spare keyboards we have will connect because all keyboards now use USB connection. Ok, off to buy one. You see the result below.

Now it is a very nice Microsoft 3000 digital media keyboard, with more capabilities than you can poke a stick at or than I have yet explored. It's even spill-resistant, a very good feature for me. But this is not a very good solution for the long run. It works just fine at a desk or table, despite being considerably longer than the laptop itself and it does require a bit of adjustment for using the mouse. Yes, I use a laptop mouse. No I can't stand the touchpads on a laptop. But sitting in an armchair, which I often do when using it, is just not very convenient or comfortable now.

As I said above, a new computer because the e key does not work? Did you notice that the delete key is missing too in the photo at the top? It fell off the very same week and although it does not seem to be broken, I can't put it back on for love nor money. More muttering.

I did look at new computers when I was at the BIG store buying the keyboard. Quite seriously. I looked at a very nice high end Hewlett Packard 17 inch gaming laptop which was very tempting, except, besides Vista, it had very small arrow keys (I mean tiny) which is how I walk in Second Life so that made me pause. I even looked at Macbook Pros which they sell there too, but the salesman said why would you pay twice the price for a Mac which is not as powerful as this HP? Good question. Obviously more thought is required on this subject.

Well I'll just have to buy myself a consolotion toy/s. Yep, an 32 GB iTouch (I'm not anti Apple, you know, iPods are brilliant and outclass the opposition by far. Yes they cost more but they are definitely worth it.) and an Altec Lansing speaker system to play it without the headphones, which I can also use with my laptop and do.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos and for the fact that this post resembles a paid blog post, although I am not linking to Dell you'll note. I'm not very happy with them at the moment although up till now I have been delighted with this laptop. Managing. Just.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

No, not funny for you at all, jmb. I empathise as my laptop has gone all peculiar at the moment too!

Dr.John said...

All my keys work but some are too sensitive and I keep getting extra letters which I have to stop and delete. I guess every computer has some problem.

James Higham said...

Have to try a Mac, JMB.

Dragonstar said...

Seems rather like built-in obsolescence to me. Two-year-old laptops obviously need replacing at a nice(!) high price. I've been dreaming of a laptop, but maybe I'll forget about it. At least I can plug replacement bits into this desktop.

Baht At said...

If you are using it as a laptop rather than a desktop replacement you would be better off with a netbook like the msi wind.

I bought the advent 4211 - a rebadged and £50 cheaper version - and it is the first laptop that I have used out of choice rather than necessity

Ellee Seymour said...

I have both an Apple and Microsoft and I swear by the Apple ten times over. I hope to get an Apple iPhone one day too.

Ian Lidster said...

What a drag. I know a number of people who have had woes with Dell. I still worship at the shrine of Mac, though am happy with the cheapo Acer I'm using these days.

Carver said...

My problem with my keyboard is I've worn out the letters. Since I touch type it's not a big deal but still bugs me. I'm sorry you had to deal with an external keyboard for a 2 year old computer. That just doesn't seem right.

CherryPie said...

Oh dear I am sorry you are having problems too! You should still be able to get an XP machine if you look around. You certainly can in this country.

Thanks for the link :-)

Nunyaa said...

I am slowly getting used to Vista, very different to XP but is not as bad as I first thought. Just takes time in getting used to. I had a laugh at the new keyboard, this new one I have has all these little buttons and I don't dare play with them unless someone who knows computers is with me, knowing my luck I would end up deleting or causing some mishap lol :)

jmb said...

Welshcakes we love them when they are working but they cause more frustration when they are not.

Ah Dr John, we are seeking the perfect computer it seems.

Well James to try a Mac, I have to pay twice as much. Is it worth twice as much? Somehow I don't think so.

Dragonstar I think a computer should last more than two years. We used to replace ours every five years but it is escalating now.

Baht at that is a rare beast in this part of the world. In fact I am not sure it ever made it to Canada.

I remember you bought a Mac Ellee. I thought it was your frustration with Vista that made you change.

I never had used a Mac Ian so maybe I don't know what I am missing but at twice the price I am not convinced.

I'm sure I have worn the e key out Carver. But replacing a keyboard in a laptop is a different kettle of fish from a desktop.

The XP's have pretty well dried up here Cherie. They don't give you the operating disk anymore either. A real pain.

Yes, all those new buttons Nunyaa. Very intimidating. Of course no manual so I have no way of knowing what half of them do and I, like you, am a bit scared of doing something that I don't know how to undo if I don't want it.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

"Grendel" said...

Its amazing how quickly we've all come to rely on our 'puters for communication - we felt lost all week!

Have you seen the steampunk keyboards? Google it - they are very cool, a little on the pricy side but very very cool.

Ian said...

Hi jmb,

Ebay is always good for computer spares. You might be able to pick up a new Dell keyboard for your model of laptop, or if you're not worried, a second hand keyboard from a laptop that has expired.


Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Oh wow Grenel! They do look the part don't they.