This is going to take a while. If you’re hungry or have to go to the restroom, do it now.
I used to like Dell. I’ve had good experiences with them. My grandmother’s computer, my aunt’s computer, and my laptop are all Dell made. Never once had there been a problem, and they were all reasonably stable computers. So when it was time to purchase my next computer, I naturally looked to them. The machine I eyed was the Inspiron 9300. It was a beautiful machine with a 17 inch monitor, 128 MB graphics card, 1.6 Ghz processor, and 1GB of rhyme. Making the deal even sweeter was its silver color and sparkling shine. The price was right, and I was ready to go. I ordered it online.
And that’s when things went downhill.
First were the billing issues. I’m not sure exactly how Dell manages pricing, but I know that at one point money was taken out of my account and then suddenly it was back in and then it was gone again. I didn’t ask questions - I just let things slide, and they resolved themselves.
And then the laptop came. And I turned it on.
Or at least I tried.
The funny thing about me is that when I hit a computer’s power button, I expect it to turn on. I think the new laptop thought this was funny, too, because I could hear it laughing at me as it did exactly not that. There was a short period of about half a second where something lit up, and then nothing happened. I read the technical manual twice to make sure this wasn’t supposed to happen, and I even ran a google search. Just to be sure. My initial suspicions as a computer science major were correct, however. The machine was, in fact, dead. Right out of the box.
So I called up Dell’s tech support, which is apparently located in India or at least employs a lot of Indians. Now, I don’t inherently dislike people from India. I had a coworker who was Indian, and he was a very nice fellow. Oh, I remember how we used to laugh. But that is neither here nor there. The point is this - India is now one of my least favorite countries. I was on the phone for easily seven hours, plugging my computer in, unplugging it, removing the battery, closing it, opening it, petting it gently, calling it “Sweets”, and doing all manner of worthless things. I talked to three different tech support people who all had me do the same thing despite me telling them I had already tried that. And then they gave me a phone number, which they told me would be used to get a replacement machine, but actually just got me back to freaking tech support. I talked to some managers and some people from international shipping and, ultimately, got absolutely nowhere. In frustration, I gave up and took the computer down to the tech support people here on campus. They managed to get me a new computer in a few days, and all was well.
For about three months.
Which leads me to yesterday morning when I woke up. I looked at my computer to find that every application had shut down with a weird, cryptic error. I tried to hunt down the problem for a few minutes, when the dreaded Blue Screen of Death materialized. Okay, no big deal, this sort of thing happens. So I reboot. I login. Blue Screen of Death. Things are a tad weird at this point. I reboot. Blue Screen of Death. I reboot. Blue Screen of Death. You’ll notice a pattern. So I take Zach’s Windows XP CD and prepare to do a re-installation. Before it starts, it scans my disk and starts deleting files from my computer (on a screen that I have never seen before and didn’t look like part of the normal Windows installation). I thought, okay, maybe that fixed things. So I refrain from reinstalling Windows while I reboot. Success! I get in, play around for about twenty minutes while I think everything is peachy, and BAM. Guess who pops up? I think you know who. I try every variation of Safe Mode, System Restore, reconfiguration, and what-have-you. The Blue Screen of Death stops me every time.
So I finally resolve to try reinstalling Windows. I reformat the hard drive, which is typical. Then the installation begins, and our friend Blue Screen says hi. You’re smart people. I should’ve have to tell you that that’s not supposed to happen. So I try again. I get through the file-copying portion of the installation, and then the system goes down once more. I try a few more times to no avail. I’ve given up. It’s time to go see the tech support guys again.
So I travel down to the Mt. Lair to thrust my shiny paperweight at them with orders to repair it. And what do they say?
I gave the clerk the most wide-eyed, sad look my face can manage without caving in, and slumped away. Maybe in three weeks I’ll be happy again. But I doubt it.
That’s all. Now we’re going to move on to another topic. Again, if you’re hungry, now is the time. I’ll wait.
I’ve grown tired of people saying that video games are going downhill. Did any of you ever actually play the NES? A good 90% of the games for it were crap. Was there more originality? No, not really. Count the number of side scrollers/beat-em-ups/run-and-jumps. Or space shooters. I swear, half of them look identical. The SNES/Sega generation wasn’t much better. Yes, both systems had amazing games, but they also had their share of trash. So when people tell me that games now-a-days are all the same, I want to ask them what magical world they’re from where innovation leaked from faucets and beautiful gameplay rained from the heavens. Games haven’t changed. They’re just a little easier and they look a little better.
I think I’m done now.