Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sigh. . .computers. . .sigh

It's really not fair to have your computer less than 24 hours and encounter the blue screen of death.

Nor should one have to be on the phone with customer support in that same 24 hours.

Today, however, after coming home from a fabulous 24 hour stay at St. Crispin's with our new bishop on a small group retreat, I found that the same old problem (how can it be the same old problem when I've had this computer less than 3 days?) had again reared its ugly head.

Thankfully the Spirit was lurking and directed me totally by accident to an appropriate help topic online. Turns out the SBC Yahoo software is incompatible with my computer. (I suspected it was SBC or McAfee). I deleted one of the SBC programs and so far, so good. If it crops up again I will delete the others and manually configure an Internet connection the old fashioned way.

I ended up having a philosophical conversation with Daniel In India during the support call. Daniel In India may not have realized it was a philosophical conversation. I wondered where was the owner's manual for my new computer (there's even a picture of it in the packing material). Of course you may note that there is an owner's manual on the computer itself. However, when one's computer is not working correctly (i.e. the icons and start button have completely disappeared) this is not useful. "you don't need an owner's manual," Daniel In India said. "Any time you have a problem you can call support and we will help you with it."

See, this is why I knit.

I want to understand why things work the way they do. I have just spent more $$ than I care to think about on my new computer and I don't want to have to call anyone anywhere in the world at 10 p.m. to try to understand what "safe mode" is or how to reboot without taking the battery out. (And let's not forget the 40 minutes on hold either, or how many times I had to input the "service tag," either.

Having spent $$ on said computer, I think an owner's manual is not too much to ask for.

It's scary to me how removed we are from the processes that affect our lives so deeply. We don't know where our clothes come from, or how they're made (enter knitting) and let's not even begin to talk about our food (I've just finished reading the section on the Potato in Michael Pollan's "The Botany of Desire". It will scare you, too). And how many hours will I spend on my computer without having the slightest idea how to work with it if it goes wrong?

Although, as it turns out, I am now an expert on running Windows in "safe mode," "System Restore" and "Symantec System Restore" which turns the clock back to the factory settings the computer came with. (Don't anyone bother me about that dangling preposition, either).


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