Yesterday was not a good day.

So I’ve mentioned how I’ve been working on my old Dell Latitude L400 trying to get it back to running Windows 98 so I could use it during downtime at work and not have it run as slow as molasses in January only I can’t find where I packed away the CD-ROM drive which makes getting the OS onto it difficult. I ended up yanking the hard drive out, hooking it up to an adapter, and plugging it into my desktop machine so I could format the hard drive and copy the Windows 98 files over. What I didn’t think to do while I had it hooked up was copy over the network drivers for either the built-in NIC or the D-Link wireless PCMCIA card I had in it.

So I run the installation and it installs just fine, but of course it doesn’t have the needed network drivers. So I think, no big deal, I’ll just use my Sandisk USB flash drive to copy the files over except that Windows 98SE doesn’t have the drivers for that either. OK, not a problem. I have a working floppy I’ll just put the drivers for the USB flash drive on a floppy, except my desktop no longer has a floppy. So I have to go upstairs and use Anne’s. Annoying, but not a big deal. I do that and I come back downstairs and hook up the floppy drive and put in the disk and the system refuses to read it. Pop the disk out and back in a couple of times until the floppy drive decides it doesn’t want to take the floppy anymore. What the hell? So I set the laptop down on the edge of my desk so I can dig around in my boxes for another floppy drive, these things are pretty old so perhaps this one just picked that particular moment to die.

You already know what happened next, don’t you.

Yes, I somehow managed to knock the laptop off of my desk whereupon in landed in just the right way to not only break the D-Link wireless card I had in it, but also smashed the display rendering the entire laptop into a very attractive, but otherwise useless, paperweight. It was like the perfect storm of bad things happening all at once. Needless to say I was quite upset as I don’t have the funds to replace it anytime soon. The sting is lessened somewhat by the fact that I got this one for nothing as it was being tossed out by one of the companies I used to work for and they were kind enough to let me take it home after removing the HD so it could be destroyed. In fact all of the laptops I’ve owned were castaways from someone else and this was probably the newest one of the lot. All the others having long since died or been given to friends and family who needed one, this means I’m now without a laptop.

There’s nothing quite like an event like this to make you feel like a total idiot. I’m a Tech Support Professional, this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen to me. I’m supposed to be better than that. On the plus side at least it happened to me at home and not while at work with someone else’s laptop. It’s probably going to be awhile before I can replace it unless I break down and finally take a chance on eBay or something and even then it’s going to be awhile before I can afford to do that. Grrrr. Damned annoying.

Oh, and to top it off, I heard back about the possible job back at Ford Motor Company. They decided to promote one of the first levels to the open second level position so it looks like I won’t be going back to work at Ford after all.

20 thoughts on “Yesterday was not a good day.

  1. It’s because you are a tech support professional that these things happen to you, you may be able to fix the computer that can cure cancer at work, but at home anything that can go wrong with your computer will.

  2. I have a compaq windows 98se in mint condition, except that it may need a good blowing. ” found that idea here on SEB ” Sorry about the Job. I will be busy for the next 3 or 4 days running into the far NW part of the US. Probably won’t see me as much for several days.

  3. It seems that I remember you helping DOF with his website and he lives some distance away.  Could you make money helping people set up, improve, and maintain blogs or other sites?  For example, is there a way I could give you control of my site or my computer?  You make repairs or improvements and then bill me?  Just curious.

  4. There’s nothing quite like an event like this to make you feel like a total idiot. I’m a Tech Support Professional, this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen to me. I’m supposed to be better than that.

    This is precisely why you are a tech support professional; because you’ve tried and failed at least a few times at something mundane.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer my lessons a little softer, too; they don’t always go like that.

  5. Last weekend I had a similar issue. It was the electronic recycle and I think all of the newer hardware I didn’t get rid of was pissed at me for getting rid of the older stuff. Nothing worked, and everything that could go wrong did. As an IT professional it’s annoying to deal with issues at home you spend your whole career working on. Shit happens.

  6. Les:  If you’re in the mood for schadenfreude, here’s a little anecdote:

    Back in the early days of Windows 95, a (definitely non-technical) friend called in a panic b/c the sound wasn’t working on his wife’s brand-new computer and she was “going to kill him.”

    So while I’m trying to figure my way around the Win95 interface (we were still on 3.x), his five year old pops in her “101 Dalmatians” game and starts randomly banging on keys. 

    All of a sudden, the sound starts working again.  I later figured out that the kid must’ve pressed the F8 key to “break” the sound, then hit it again, which re-enabled it.  But at the time, I just wanted to crawl into a hole. 

    So, long story longer, at least a five year old didn’t make you look like a complete moron in front of her dad.

  7. It seems that I remember you helping DOF with his website and he lives some distance away.

    He sure did!  Les, if you consider at least putting up a price schedule for EE upgrades, you will surely get takers.

  8. Tailrider asks…

    Could you make money helping people set up, improve, and maintain blogs or other sites?  For example, is there a way I could give you control of my site or my computer?  You make repairs or improvements and then bill me?  Just curious.

    It depends on the task involved, but yes the possibility of doing things remotely does exist. I regularly make use of Windows XP’s Remote Assistance function to help diagnose problems on the PCs of friends and families, but it’s of little use when the PC won’t boot up. However I have walked someone through the process of removing a dead hard drive, installing a new one, and installing Windows XP from scratch over the phone before. Once we got it to the point that the network card was working I had him get on the Net and start up Remote Assistance so I could do the rest of the work remotely.

    Website wise as long as the person can trust me with access to their FTP account and webhosting control panel then I can help out with getting people up and running. I’ve set up blogs for a number of people over the years on everything from Movable Type to ExpressionEngine to WordPress. Again what you want me to do will dictate how much access I have to have.

    DOF, for example, trusts me with his FTP account and Super Admin access on his ExpressionEngine blog so I can login and update his installation whenever there’s a new build. He makes it sound like a big deal, but it’s not that much work really. Awhile back I even went as far as to mention that I was looking for side work from folks but not much ever came from that. Not enough of my readers are local. grin

  9. You have my complete sympathy… My laptop, my only computer, is currently in the following state:
    Cooling fan: Broken/Off Balanced; CPU has to run at half speed because if the fan runs at high speed it scrapes against the casing and eventually stops.
    Modem: Funky; Randomly decides their is no data coming over the dialup connection but refuses to hang up.
    Frame around the LCD: Broken in two spots.
    DVDRom/CDRW: Burnt out; refuses to actually read anything, but always sends ‘bad media’ messages to the computer’s error log.
    Battery for the BIOS: shot; have to reset clock on every boot even when the machine left is plugged in.
    Regular Battery: fully charged lasts 2 minutes.

  10. I don’t think blog maintenance is a crowded niche market. It might not be crowded because there’s no demand, but if there’s a buck or two for little effort, go for it wink

  11. Blog maintenance is the niche where someone really likes to blog, but for one reason or other isn’t enamored with the task of maintaining it and is willing to pay for help. 

    Web design is a tricky market.  Small businesses need good websites, but rare is the owner who understands how much one is worth to them.  And most of them have fallen victim to friends or relatives who, with the best intentions, start a web page for them and just kind of drift away from the task.

    Just for example, my youngest son is looking for a new guitar, and he’s going to drop at least a couple grand on it.  Most of the guitar stores in our area don’t have websites. The huge chain stores do, but they don’t carry the guitar he wants.

  12. Web design, tell me about it. I’m trying to resurrect an old domain of mine and I can’t figure out why the background images of the sidebars aren’t rendered. @#&^$%&@#^$%

  13. I’ve had a few too many of those types of accidents, myself. I work for the Computer Services department here at my University, and I never seem to make mistakes on the job. Then I get home and destroy my computer by accident. Maybe it’s some sort of psychological reaction…?

    Anyway, if you’re looking for “decently cheap but not half-bad” in the laptops arena, there’s always the Medison Celebrity. Yeah, I know, it’s not the most wonderful piece of crap out there, but I have a healthy distrust of eBay when it comes to electronics. I worked for a company once that bought a server on eBay – and, of course, it died.

  14. Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask Zilch about the Medison. I wrote about it here on SEB awhile back and he went off and purchased one. He never did say if he ever got it.

    Zilch, you ever get that thing?

  15. I’ve bought a few laptops on eBay and been very happy with them.  But the hard drive on one of them failed, so I replaced it.  One had a network card problem so I returned it.  There is an element of gambling mixed in with the bargain.

    Also I prefer to buy high-end, the Lenovo X or T series or the Dell Latitudes.  The other day I was visiting my son in Urbana, IL and noticed an old Latitude I gave him years ago. “This thing still runs?”  Yeah, it does, cracked hinges and all.

  16. I have bought a Lenovo off eBay with no troubles at all, and my Sister has too. Thinkpads have a very good reputation for quality and I have found that to be true. I highly recommend them to anyone.

  17. No offense, but I’ll wait to pass judgment on Medison until I’ve had news from someone I know – including myself. The posted is from a personal blog, and I don’t know that blogger from Adam (or Eve). It’s a good source of cautionary information, though, which I appreciate – and perhaps it will make me think twice about buying one. Hmmm…I think I’m in the same boat as you, Les. Except I don’t even have a computer at home anymore.

  18. Too bad you’re not a Mac lover. I have five old Macs sitting in my studio, although I admit that I’m not sure how well they all work. One of them being Daryl Hannah’s old Powerbook 540C (a blazzing 33 Mhz) from 1994. It still works great! (running system 7) grin

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