Alex Blaze

My computer problems

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 29, 2008 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: problems, viruses

This just might be my nerdiest post ever, complete with nerdy self-hatred for not living up to real nerdy standards in nerdy endeavors, so it's all after the jump.

If you want the short version, here it is: I'm never buying an Acer computer again.

Bil mentioned yesterday that I was out of commission because of my computer, which is true. But, really, I should take the blame for all these problems. It was a junk computer from the start, and I should have known before I bought it.

I paid $399 almost three years ago for my Acer Aspire 3002LCi. It came with everything a boy could want... except for enough RAM to run the OS. I didn't pay attention, though, since I was nearly broke and it was the cheapest one in the store.

A couple months later the power supply stopped working, so I went through a month of telephone and snail-mail stupidity to get a new one (it was still under its 6-month warranty).

After I went to France for the first time (two years ago), it started falling apart. Little things, like the rubber pads at the bottom, the metal ring that holds in the headphones, the little vent underneath for the fan. It slowed down and down and down, little pieces of it scattered in my old apartment in Lorient.

Then, when I started blogging, the space bar broke. You all don't understand how important a space bar is until you don't have one. So I blogged for a couple weeks without a space bar; I copied and pasted a space between every word or used a friend's computer until I went out and got a cheap external keyboard. (It's one of the best things I've ever bought. I'm still using it today!)

I was using it for a while, along with a cheap USB mouse (the right button of the touch pad stopped working as well at some point, I'm not sure when). I dragged the slab of concrete out to France with me back in October, and, since I didn't have internet for two weeks, I dragged it with all its accessories down to the McDonald's with "free" wifi. ("Free" means you have to buy something, and the cheapest thing on the menu was the "milk" shake.) I had to get there early, though, since there were only two outlets at that McDonald's and the lithium-ion battery only lasted 20 minutes.

(Right before I left for France, I should mention, Jerame tried to get it to go a little faster by installing extra RAM since it has only 196MB not devoted to the video card, but we found out that even if you unscrew the bottom, it won't open up to let you insert more RAM. I guess that feature comes with a more expensive model.)

Oh, yeah, and it stopped playing DVD's a month ago. I don't know why, because CD's were fine, but I had multiple programs on there to play DVD's and they all showed an error message when I'd try.

Well, around February I started having problems again with the power source. I had to twist it around where it connects to the computer to get it to connect, or sometimes I'd jam it against the wall. I started twisting more and more as the connection got harder and harder to make, and, last Wednesday, in my luggage coming back from Paris, the cable had broken in half.

I suppose I could have tracked down a new power source (I don't know if they make them anymore), but it wouldn't solve the original problem that broke the thing in the first place. It was only a matter of time before that thing just didn't connect anymore, and who knows how many cords I'd go through before it completely gave out.

Instead, Bil and Jerame were kind enough to send me one of their computers that they weren't using anymore. It's an improvement on everything - more memory, more disk space, lots faster, and the G-key is broken instead of the space bar. Plus it's from Dell.

So, thank you Bil and Jerame! It's working fine right now! And I learned my lesson - I'll never buy the cheapest one just because it's the cheapest again.

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You're right. Nerdiest post ever. LOL

And no DVD player? I know that had to kill you. ;)

Hey - it may be used, but we'll get you a better one when we get more cash. I'm next on the "need a new computer" line. :)

I'm glad it got to you okay. That computer has been passed around like a two-bit hooker. It was given to us by a client, we gave it to a friend, who gave it to her girlfriend, who gave it back to us, we gave it to Paige for a while (until she got grounded from the computer!) and now on to you (Paige is on the desktop!). If you haven't killed it by the time we can afford to buy you a new one, just pass it along to someone else. *grins*

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 29, 2008 9:27 PM

I shipped over my HP full size computer and had to go to market here where I found the biggest screen I could find. You are absolutely right about a full size keyboard. It is impossible for me to use a keyboard on a laptop. Talked the partner out of getting one when I challenged him to try and read the screen. So instead I bought the biggest desktop monitor I could find which is larger than the first TV I owned.

I would not call this commentary nerdy.

"I started twisting more and more as the connection got harder and harder..." :)

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | May 29, 2008 9:34 PM

"I copied and pasted a space between every word or used a friend's computer until I went out and got a cheap external keyboard."


That computer gets around too, Alex. Now I'm not saying it's a slut, but it started life as a business computer that had a lot of hands on it. When the first hard drive died in it, the previous owner gave it to me as a loaner because my own laptop had recently died. By the time I could afford a new laptop of my own, the previous owner didn't have a use for it and told me to keep it for some work I'd done for him.

Since I've owned it, I've loaned it to two different friends for extended periods, Alex had a previous encounter with it before, and my daughter used it almost daily until recently.

I have to say it's been a very faithful and reliable little laptop. I'm no fan of Dell, but at one time they apparently did build high quality machines.

I hope it serves you well. I think it's cool that thing has traveled to France - somewhere I've never been - and is still getting use long past when the original owner thought it was useless.

Bon Chance!

......just so you aren't running Microsoft Virus, er, Vista.

If you would like to avoid posting "the nerdiest post ever" for the rest of your life, Alex, I can pull out my old college Theory of Computability textbook and write a short essay about the special computability language developed by Noam Chomsky. As you read that text, you can actually feel your eyeglasses growing thicker.

Twisting the power cable on any electronic device sounds so familiar. My beloved Bose earbuds died that way. And now I am doing that same routine to my cell phone charger.

You are not a nerd, Alex, merely a plugged-in resident of the 21st Century, where PC woes are par for the course.

P.S. You do back up your laptop monthly, don't you?

P.P.S. (I know I'm not your mother --- I only impersonate her on the Internet.)

Bil and Jerame~ Seriously, thanks you guys. This computer might get around, it might be old, but there nothing major wrong with it and it can do everything I need it to, quickly.

Robert~ I know! Full-sized keyboard! It's great! It was $30 with a mouse that I don't use and it's lasted for a year and is showing no signs of dying. Plus I can take it over to French people's houses when I'm visiting and type away on a normal keyboard, not their crazy mixed-up version.

Polar~ Jerame was kind enough to install XP on it. I haven't heard much good about Vista....

A.J.~ Backed it up every two weeks; I knew death was eminent on the old Acer.