Posts Tagged "laptop"

Dad Did What??

Dear Kid,

If you’ve ever thought about buying a Lottery ticket today might be the day. Because the unthinkable, the unimaginable has happened.

Rarer than a Royal Flush, more unlikely than a calorie-free brownie, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Wait, that’s different.

Back to our story. Your father, the man who is reluctant to part with garbage, the man who wears t-shirts until they are 90% holes, laid his laptop to rest and bought a new computer.

Dad's old computer was slightly (but not much) more powerful than this one.

He didn’t have much choice. He somehow managed to download a corrupted file. This wouldn’t have been the World’s Biggest Problem except that the computer in question was prehistoric (at best) which meant that none (emphasis on Not Any) of the software on his machine was still being supported.

Actual message: We’re sorry, but the program you are trying to access is outdated and no longer supported. You are the only person on the planet still trying to use this program. This makes you a technical dinosaur. Get a new machine.

At first, Dad challenged The Message. He was determined to cleanse his computer and continuing using his antediluvian machine. He researched. He investigated. He went to Microcenter and beseeched them to resuscitate his laptop. No matter how hard he begged, they laughed harder.

Finally, after suffering Severe Email Withdrawal, Dad caved and bought a new laptop.

He and the New Laptop are getting to know each other. They are more stuck with each other than working like a well-synchronized team. Because the operating system is, um, modern, Dad is having to figure out where things are and what the new capabilities are. This is – not surprisingly – leading to frustrations and inefficiencies. Which leads to more inefficiencies and frustrations.

Be that as it may be, Dad actually has a laptop that was manufactured in this millennium!

Which means it’s Lottery ticket day.

Love, Mom

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Update on My Friend the Internet

Dear Kid,

This is what it looks like when there is no internet. You do NOT want to know what I look like when there is no internet.

By today’s standards, my little computer is ginormous. When I bought it, it was a cute little thing.

Today’s blog is being brought to you by a 4,000 year old computer.

Yesterday, as I was driving you back to school, Dad was kind enough to take my laptop to The People Who Know About These Things. (I assume you remember that I “upgraded” [ha!] to Windows 10 and  immediately lost all ability to connect to the internet. If you don’t remember, read about it here.)

The People Who Know About These Things knew all about the joys of Windows 10 and mentioned that people have been having difficulty with internet connections when they upgrade.

Where were those people when I was triple checking that it was safe to upgrade??? Clearly I should have quadruple checked, but you can’t have everything.

Techno-dude took the laptop’s blood pressure and checked other vital signs, plugged in a thumb drive thingy, whispered sweet ones and zeros and managed to connect. Yippee!

But by the time Dad and the laptop got home, the laptop turned pissy again and refused to cooperate.

Which means I still cannot connect to My Friend the Internet.

I may be good at killing technology, but I don’t like being defeated. So I pulled out my little I-can-write-blogs-anywhere computer which is over 100 years old and slower than mud. Thick mud. Frozen thick mud. That hasn’t moved in a century.

By today’s standards, my little computer is ginormous. When I bought it, it was a cute little thing.

By today’s standards, my little computer is slow. When I bought it, it was slow. But cute. And conveniently light.

Mostly what it does best is inform me that it is Not Responding.

It’s had a lot of practice saying that. Which means I’ve had a lot of practice being patient. And if you’re wondering how well that worked out, let’s just say I continue to need practice.

Love, Mom

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Unplug and Let Your Brain Create Something

Dear Kid,

Our Favorite Bunny (from William and Mary) sent me a link to this article yesterday. Since it arrived 2 hours after I’d read a similar-but-different article I decided it was a Trend.

The first article I read was a post (presumably on Craig’s List) by a restaurant comparing consumer behavior Then with consumer behavior Now. According to their analysis, it Now takes about an hour longer for diners to eat their meal. This is because of (wait for it) cell phones. The restaurant says people take longer to begin to look at menus because they are texting, surfing, whatev; diners ask servers to take photos, retake photos, and occasionally pose for photos; and diners take photos of food before eating which causes it to get cold which causes more food to be sent back to the kitchen which causes—you got it—everything to take longer.

Books. They don't need to be plugged in. Try one! DearKidLoveMom.comThe article our Bunny sent talks about how people born after 1985 (a marvy year) will never know what it’s like to be un-connected. Says the author: In the last decade, researchers have confirmed that moments of insight arrive not when the mind is in a clenched state, but when the mind is at ease, when we’re aimlessly walking down the street, lost in thought. From Archimedes to Poincare, many intellectual breakthroughs occurred in the midst of a perfectly inane daydream.

Huh? Sorry. My mind was wandering.

I saw a post on Facebook where two friends were remembering a trip to New York City pre-cell phone. They had to stop to ask strangers for directions, they had to wander into restaurants without the help of Yelp, they had to talk to each other while they waited for performance to begin. Oh, the horror.

It’s possible that the restaurant story is a bunch of hooey (especially since it’s been pulled off Craig’s List) but the idea is absolutely on point. Our minds don’t have time to do nothing. We don’t give our brains a chance to unclench, to meander. How many of us work on a computer while watching tv? (Guilty.)

What’s worse is that we don’t read an actual book (those papery things with bindings and lots of words). We don’t solve puzzles (well, some of us try).

My suggestion? Take a few minutes to stare out a window, contemplate the ceiling, meditate on the meaning of the day. Turn off the electronics for just a moment, and enjoy.

Love, Mom

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Customer Service? Not So Much

Dear Kid,

Customer Service can be wonderful, easy, and painless.

Last night, it was none of those things.

I was locked out of a website that I needed to get into. After trying several different magical incantations, I gave up and called Customer Service. Since the Help Desk was going to be open for another 30 minutes or so, I thought things would go smoothly.

Calling Customer Service DearKidLoveMom.comThe first automated message really, really, really wanted me to fill out a ticket on the website. Yep, the same website that I wasn’t able to get to. I declined the invitation.

The automated system punished me by playing music. Not just bad music (that was predictable), and not just music interrupted every 47 seconds by a message (I’ll get to that in a minute), but music of varying volume. In the space of 6 seconds it would go from regular volume to undetectable by human ears, making me wonder if a) I’d been cut off, b) I was in spot with bad reception (even though I hadn’t moved), or c) if I was being transferred to a Helpful Person. I, of course, immediately assumed that a real person would answer the phone during one of these sound deficits and I would have no idea, the person would then hang up on me, and I’d have to call in again. Which would be awful. Especially because the help desk was only going to be open another 23 minutes.

The message which I heard more times than seems reasonable: “Thank you for your patience. Please try using our knowledge library by logging onto We look forward to helping you.”

This was clearly a bunch of hooey. Not only do I not have patience in this sort of situation, they clearly didn’t look forward to helping me. 13 minutes until the help desk closes.

Since a few thousand polite invitations to use the website didn’t work, the automated system switched tactics. The music changed from Bad 1980s Music (Designed to Soothe) to What My Least Favorite 3-Year-Old Niece Recorded Over the Weekend (Designed to Annoy). Where the first batch failed to reach its goal, the second succeeded brilliantly.

I was, indeed, annoyed. 7 minutes left.

(And I thought I didn’t have a blog topic. Ha!)

Did I mention the crick in my neck from doing the ear-shoulder-phone-hold so that I could document the process (and by “document the process” I mean “type”)? I was

With EXACTLY 42 seconds until the help desk hours were over, “Adam” answered the call. I’m pretty sure that’s not his real name since he stumbled over it. I’m also pretty sure that “Adam” and his friends were all sitting around waiting until the last possible second to take the remaining calls for the day. (Seriously, who waits on hold for 33 minutes and 18 seconds these days? Yes, I looked. I had to know.)

I explained my problem to “Adam.” He punched a few buttons. No change. He punched a few more buttons. All fixed.

Very glad to have it all fixed. Very un-glad to have the worst “hold” experience on three continents. (I actually wrote that on the survey they promptly sent me.)

Hope no one keeps you waiting today.

Love, Mom

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The Ten Commandments of Technology | Rules for College Kids About Technology

Some days technology is my BFF. Today is not one of those daysDear Kid,

I hate technology.

That’s not true. I love technology. I love the ease and convenience it brings. I can’t imagine going back to typewriters or princess phones. But right now I hate technology.

I was working away happily when I got a message that Word had decided to take a short break and would be back shortly. This did not amuse me. My new-ish laptop and I have not yet developed a solid working relationship, which is to say I don’t understand all the joys of Windows 8 yet. Like why Word would spontaneously stop working and why there is no bar on the left saying Here Are the Docs I Saved for You, Do You Want Them Back? (Note: it eventually showed up, but “eventually” wasn’t soon enough.)

The point is, I probably have to recreate some things unless I can talk George the Laptop into coughing up the data. But before I perform a laptop-Heimlich, I thought I would share with you the Ten Commandments of Technology in case you’re not up on Important Theology.

  1. That Which Goeth on the Internet Remaineth on the Internet
  2. Just Because Someone Else Posteth Something Doth Not Mean Thou Art Required to Repost It
  3. Thou Shall Plug in Thy Laptop if Thou Expecteth Thy Battery to Work
  4. Thou Shall Back Up Thy Work
  5. Thou Shall Not Punch Thine Laptop no matter how annoyed thou shalt be
  6. Someone Else Shall Always Have a Newer, Cooler Version of Technology. Thou mayest drool enviously, but thou shall not be getting a new device any time soon
  7. When Thou Watchest Cat Videos Thou Shalt Not Claimeth to be Studying
  8. Thou Art Smarter Than Thy Laptop
  9. Typing Thy Class Notes Is Not the Same as Studying and thou shalt not pretend it is (even to thyself)
  10. Thou Shall Be Kind to Tech Support Even When They Are Busy Not Solving Thy Problems. Techno-frustration shall be no reason for rudeness.

Hope you are having a techno-happy day, kiddo.

Love, Mom

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