Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Returning to Cyberspace

Yes, I know, I've been gone for a while. I should hang my head in shame.

It's a long story. Some time ago, I came by this laptop (in the nick of time, my eight-year-old desktop was dying), and leapt on it gleefully. Being the top-of-the-range, flagship model of a well-respected brand, I expected it to behave for at least the length of the warranty, n'est-ce pas?

No. A few months into my use of it, it perished. So I rang the mob that had the warranty contract with the manufacturer, and spoke to an "engineer" who walked me through a few simple diagnostics, deciding that its memory chip had failed. It had two such chips, a two-gig and a one-gig. The company ordered a replacement part, and a visiting engineer came out to replace it a week later.


The one-gig chip had failed. The two-gig chip had been ordered. So the guy took it back to the office and ordered another chip, taking another week, then fitted it at his leisure, and delivered it back. I relaxed slightly, and started using the laptop normally.

Not long afterwards, the computer stopped working. Over-the-phone diagnostics told them that the motherboard had failed, on the heels of the memory chip failure. So they ordered in a motherboard, and when it arrived in the offfice a week later, came and fitted it.

Or tried to. It was the wrong motherboard. So it and my laptop went back to the office for another week to await the right motherboard. By this time I had been paying for an internet connection that I hadn't properly used in weeks, and the thin trickle of additional income I derive from the internet had ceased entirely.

Another week-and-a-half, and my computer came back home on a Friday afternoon, and worked for a whole five hours. Office hours were over, so I couldn't ring the warranty people until the following Monday. When I did ring, I didn't have to quote my job number of the serial number of the laptop - the folks there were getting to know me and my computer.

The brand-new motherboard had failed.

Yes, I reacted exactly as you'd think I would.

So away it went again, though not for a few days as there were a lot of jobs already lined up and the courier couldn't get out to me until late in the week. Then another week passed as they waited for the parent-company to supply the correct motherboard.

Filled with anxiety and knowing their internal delivery-times by now, I rang up to check on the progress of the job. This time I didn't speak to the receptionist who knew me, but to the technician, who also knew me, who happened to pick up the phone.

"Hi, Brett, how are you doing?"

"Good, Nisaba, but I've got some bad news. They sent the wrong motherboard again. I've just ordered the right part an hour or two ago."

"So, another week before it arrives?"

(In a weary voice) "Yes, another week before it arrives."

Eight days later, I rang again. This time they had the right part, but they had a backlogue of jobs lined up ahead of mine. I explained, as calmly as I could, that I was still paying for an utterly unused internet feed, and I'd had no internet-based income at all - I was getting used to the net at least paying for itself and I wasn't all that happy. She understood, she'd ask the technician (Brett) if he could queue-jump it for me.

A weekend passed.

Monday passed.

On Tuesday I rang. "I'm fixing it this afternoon," Brett said.

On Thursday I was told Brett had left the office, and that they'd leave an email with my contact details.

On Monday morning he spoke to me. He had just fitted the correct motherboard. He hadn't had to ask me for my password - he remembered it from the succession of previous occasions (it is a pretty unusual word), and the computer seemed to be running just fine. That was this Monday, two days ago. He promised the courier would bring it back to me "tomorrow" - yesterday. So I waited home all day and, knowing their office hours ended at five-thirty, I called at four forty-five. The answering machine was on.

This morning I rang and said I'd spent all yesterday housebound waiting, and that I hadn't been able to either use my feed or negotiate a discount from my ISP, and could they give me a time? No, the courier would ring me when he was half an hour away.

And he did, but I was three-quarters of an hour away. When I came back up the street, there was a familiar car parked outside my home, and paperwork to sign, and a laptop.

It and I are tentatively getting to know each other again, like nervous new lovers. As a peace offering, I gave the laptop a new timber computer-table. Hopefully it is the start of a new cycle of success: in other ways karma has been particularly good to me these last two weeks, and one of the results of that is that I'm starting to read publicly out of a new and very local venue this Friday. It is my plan, when clients want a reading, to use the audio software on the laptop to record the reading, then email them the sound-file. For that, I'll need a working laptop, and I have no reason to suppose the computer will fail again.

After all, things happen in threes, right? I've had three failures and six replacement parts - you could say, a Trial by Electricity. The Winter Solstice, a time of endings and beginnings has come and gone. The sun - and the world generally - is in a growth-phase. It can't get any better - it's all up from here!