Saga of My Laptops

In a previous life, prior to current one as a writer, my first PC laptop was an IBM purchased from a big box store no longer in business. The IBM served me well, along with a PC desktop equipped with all the bells and whistles necessary to perform my daily tasks with a minimum of interruptions. When either PC misbehaved, usually the desktop, I simply picked up the phone and called tech support. One of their guys would bail me out in a matter of minutes or hours, depending on the problem. Ah, those were good old days, ancient history now, not that I’d ever want to go back.

In the seventeen years since I left that world in order to write fulltime, I have owned—make that been owned by the following laptops:

  • Refurbished Toshiba selected by my youngest offspring and set-up with help from a second offspring.
  • Toshiba purchased from a big-box store, which I paid extra to have the tech guys set up software, etc.
  • Dell purchased on-line with help from another offspring after which I figured out the set-up on my own.
  • Hewlett-Packard purchased on-line and set up by my-then-PC genius who has since left the business. Gosh, I hope it wasn’t because of me.

In each case, my newest computer soon became my favorite; that is, until it was no longer my favorite, a condition usually brought upon by an incredibly s-l-o-o-o-w response or a blank screen no amount of coaxing would awaken. The refurbished Toshiba lasted the longest—about six years to the astonishment of said offspring who knew more about the life-expectancy of PCs than I who had unrealistic expectations about electronics and to this day expect my acquisitions to live on into perpetuity. The Dell barely made it to three years, which after having the modem and battery replaced, just gave up and died on me with no warning whatsoever. Fortunately, the pre-retired PC genius managed to salvage my documents and email account for the new HP he suggested I buy.

All of which brings me to my latest PC disaster which occurred several weeks ago after I received several messages on my HP, something plugging it into a power source since the battery was running low. So, I unplugged and re-plugged into the nearest outlet before continuing with my WIP. After the third such incident, my laptop seized control of the situation and shut down with no further warnings. Time for a new battery. Again? Dang, I’d already replaced the first one, maybe two years before. Plus bought a new cord some time ago, to replace the frayed one presenting an electrical hazard. Also paid two different techs to resolve problems I couldn’t manage on my own. Then last fall I added extra storage. Another new battery from HP would cost, with shipping, about $129. Really? At that rate I’d have been surpassing my original investment.

Time to consult the offspring who still know more about PC technology than I do; but not about life in general. “Your PC is how old?” was the common response. Time for a new one. Oh, no, not again.

So, I went back to yet another big box store where I walked around with a PC guy, who suggested among others, a mid-range HP laptop. He explained the pros and cons and more cons of Windows 8, with a quick follow-up that Windows 10 would be available in the fall, and at no additional cost to those who hadn’t learned to love Windows 8. What the heck, surely an intelligent person such as myself could handle a few quirky adjustments, having made the switch from several earlier versions in a matter of days.

Not wanting to spend more time away from my current WIP, I paid extra to have new software installed; plus my documents, photos, and email transferred from the old HP to the new one. I agreed to return the following day with expectations of my new PC being ready. This time the head of the department waited on me, and at my insistence made sure everything I’d requested had been taken care of. It was … sort of … maybe … eventually; the details of which are too cumbersome to go into again.

Back home was another story. For starters, I had my backup vendor download the same files I’d just paid the big box store to copy, which probably was overkill. As was the extra $100 I paid for Windows Outlook, thinking it was Windows Live, which I really liked but now cannot find. Although, I finally figured out how to retrieve my Windows Live contact list. Still working on exporting/importing it. As for all those special emails I’ve been saving for years—still haven’t located them and doubt I ever will. Still working on adding my second email account to Outlook, which may never happen.

And what about the new HP keyboard—it’s slightly skewed to the left, which means my fingers are never where they’re supposed to be, especially when I’m typing in the dark Did I mention the screen won’t stay in place and the text size wanders about, anywhere from 30 percent to 300 per cent. Plus there’s a ton of apps occupying space on my screen that I have no intention of ever using. Help, somebody, get me out of this touch-screen nightmare!! I am and forever will be a creature of habit. I like order—my way.

What’s more, on learning of my frustrations, a friend directed me to this on-line site specializing in PC batteries, and there was the $129 battery for my old HP, now being sold on this discount site for the affordable price of $29.99 plus shipping. Hmm, I suppose I could invest a few more dollars to bring my retired HP back into service. And retrieve all those saved emails I haven’t been able to access. But at this point do I really need what I’m slowly learning to live without. In other words, do I leave the old baggage behind and move on to create new.

Decisions, decisions … what to do … what about you? Would you rather hold on or move on?

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About Loretta Giacoletto

Loretta Giacoletto is an American writer of family sagas, mysteries, and contemporary fiction, all of which contain elements of crime. She divides her time between the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks where she writes fiction, essays, and her bi-monthly blog, Loretta on Life, while her husband Dominic cruises the waters for bass and crappie. Their five children have left the once chaotic nest but occasionally return for her to-die-for ravioli and roasted peppers topped with garlic-laden bagna càuda. An avid traveler, she has visited numerous countries in Europe and Asia but Italy remains her favorite, especially the area from where her family originates: the Piedmont region near the Italian Alps. - See more at: http://www.loretta-giacoletto.com
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