Friday, March 29, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Back in the day, when the TV went on the blink, an announcer would say in a somber tone, "We are experiencing technical difficulties. Please do not adjust your set." I remember, even as a child, how frustrating that was. It always seemed to happen right in the middle of my favorite show, right at the most exciting part. Back then, there was no pausing or rewinding live TV. Once you missed a few minutes, or sometimes several minutes, there was no getting them back. If you were lucky, you might catch the rerun months later in the summer. Otherwise, what you missed was gone forever.

Recently I've been experiencing technical difficulties of a different kind. Nowadays, most people under the age of, say 80 or so, find living without a computer most inconvenient. When my ten-year-old Dell began to bite the dust a little over a month ago, I sensed it was time to take the plunge and put out the money for a new setup. Luckily I was able to save all my files and photographs onto an external hard drive before the old Dell finally died. (At least I hope they are saved; I haven't had time to load them on the new computer yet.) I knew I used my computer a lot, but I didn't realize how much I depended on it until I was afraid to use it for fear of killing it and losing everything. And it couldn't have come at a busier time: we were knee-deep in syrup, puppies, elder care, and Guest House opening.

Once I decided to get a new computer, I took a day to go shopping. I came home with a snazzy little laptop (which I love) and a desktop with more power and storage space. The actual computer tower for the desktop was out of stock and had to be ordered. So I actually came home with the laptop and a monitor. The laptop worked like a charm right out of the box, even with the handicap of having to orient myself to Windows 8. It connected to the Internet through my wireless router with ease and kept me up to speed with email and other Internet tasks. When I picked up the back-ordered computer tower about ten days later, it sat in the box for another two weeks before I had time to tackle taking down my old computer (I won't even try to describe the maze of wires and cords that went with that job!), cleaning the built-in desk corner, and setting up the new computer. I finally started that whole process about ten days ago.

Needless to say, things have not gone very smoothly since. Once I connected the desktop to the Internet, the laptop stopped connecting to the Internet. It appeared only one computer at a time could have access, which should not have been the case. In addition, the desktop did not "go to sleep" and "wake up" properly, nor did it restart correctly. Once, when I shut it down completely and hoped in the magic of midnight for resetting things, it wouldn't even come back on! The power button did nothing. I finally solved that issue by disconnecting the power cord from the back of the computer, waiting a minute or two, and then reconnecting it. With frustration mounting, I packed the whole desktop computer up and took it back to the store yesterday, where of course it worked slick as a whistle when the technician turned it on. I left with a new router, a set of speakers (that was another thing: there was no sound; apparently computers don't come with internal speakers anymore), and a tentative hope that all would be well.

After twisting around like a pretzel numerous times hooking up another maze of wires and cords under the desk, I got the new desktop all set up again last night. It was a relief to find that the sound worked, but quite disappointing to find that instead of intermittent Internet access, I now had none at all, even with a new router. At 10:00 I quit trying and went to bed. Today, I spent the better part of three hours, in two different sessions, on the phone with a technician from my Internet service provider working at getting Internet access. When we finally succeeded, I think she (the technician) was as excited as I was.

Since that milestone was passed, about 1:00 p.m. today, the desktop has worked beautifully, and the laptop, too. What a relief! Now I can start installing the software I use, copying all my files from the external hard drive, and begin catching up with all that has been waiting for this new computer to work properly. In the movie Evan Almighty, the modern-day main character (Evan) hears from God that he is to build an ark. When he reluctantly obeys and things get really crazy, God (played by Morgan Freeman) tells Evan's frustrated wife that He doesn't give people patience when they ask for it. Instead, He gives them opportunities to be patient. That's what this whole computer saga has been for me: several huge opportunities to be patient. I hope I passed the test!


  1. Hey! You are LIVE! Congratulations!
    Hope you and Robin have a Happy Easter!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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