Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Computer Rant

Well, I was going to write about cats, but I think I'll save that for a serious writing post. I have a story to tell you, though, about computers.

Computers are important for nearly everything that we do--from social networking and blogging to getting directions, from playing games to doing work. Jaron and I play a lot of video games. We use the computer for writing. For artwork. For composition. For game design. Tons of stuff. And when we can't do them, it makes us stir-crazy.

Our old computer is something Jaron got a long time ago, and it has been wearing out. It's a great computer, but it takes forever to load, and run, and its RAM and stuff just can't hold up to today's computers. So, I'm typing this on a little ASUS netbook, a computer we got specifically because it's good for writing, it's transportable, and it has a really good battery life. But it's no gaming machine, and it's no good for art stuff, just writing.

So we thought we'd buy a new one.

All right, here's my rant. You don't have to hear it if you don't want to... you can skip to the end.

We bought our new computer last year, this month. An ASUS, which are supposed to be awesome. And it was sleek and powerful, and I had a folder of around 20 composed pieces, and several works of art. Well... that was all fine and well, until about three months after we started using it. It crashed. Again and again. Finally we took it back to Best Buy. They sent it out, replaced the motherboard. We got it back after an entire month. Ah, good, we thought, it's fixed. But we backed up all of our files, just in case--or so we thought. ToT (crying face, in case you didn't know). After a couple of weeks, it broke again. It sat at Best Buy for two weeks because they DIDN'T HAVE A SHIPPING BOX. For two weeks. They finally replaced the memory sticks, and after a month, we had our sleek machine back. And my music files, that I thought were on our external hard drive? Gone. ToT

After two repairs and a lot of frustration, we thought we'd finally fixed the problem. Lies. All lies. Sent it out again, replaced the hard drive. Sent it out again, and they're currently replacing the hard drive. Neither Best Buy nor ASUS will give us a new computer. They'll only replace parts--and guess what? The warranty expires this month.

Four fixes, and I doubt it's actually fixed. Our computer has been in the shop as much as we've had it at home. Three months out of a computer that was supposed to be good for several years. And when you worry because you don't know if you have the money for a desktop, but you know you need it... I bet the problem is the processor, and it's making the other parts crash. I have a hard time believing that EVERY part of our computer just happened to be faulty. And TWO faulty hard drives? I don't believe you. Damn you, Best Buy. Damn you, ASUS. I loved you both, but I'm just so mad I don't know how to deal with it. And being angry makes me cry.

Well, rant over. 

...all things considered, we're doing okay. The old computer still works, and this little lappy is a great machine. I think from now on Jaron and I will be building our own computers. Over the last year, I've learned what all of the components are and what they do. I'm sure what happened to us is a fluke. If we had just picked up a different box that day, things would have been fine. We were just unlucky. Stuff happens sometimes. I got a raise at work, and Jaron got a second job, so if we have to, we can buy parts and put them together into a computer that is designed to do exactly what we want it to.

-Tsira

16 comments:

  1. It's so hard because computers are essential - or we make them so. Sorry you had so much trouble. That must have been beyond frustrating!

    Michelle
    www.michelle-pickett.com/blog

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    1. No kidding. But I'm trying to be optimistic. And the last person who we talked to at Best Buy has been really good about letting us know what they're doing and trying really hard to fix the problem (he told us it Blue-screened four times while he was running the diagnostics...) I think he feels sorry for us and honestly wants to help, so, it hasn't been all bad.

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  2. I'm sorry, that really, really sucks. Especially all the time you spent without your computer and the data you lost. My husband, daughter and myself are gamers and last year all three of our gaming computers died within the same week (they were identical machines bought at the same time so it's not surprising, but man...) and the week we were without machines while the new ones we bought got shipped to us was long and lame.

    I feel for you.

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    1. Wow, that's awful! I hope you got your money's worth out of those machines!

      That's one of the reasons I love Steam so much, because all of the games we've bought online can go onto any computer even when it breaks down like this one did...

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  3. Ok, Rachel, I'm gonna talk geek, so any time you'd like to bail on my uber-techie comment, I'll understand.

    The thing is, sometimes it's not the hardware at all but the drivers. Uh, software drivers are little programs the device manufacturers create to support their hardware for the operating system. It allows the operating system to talk with the device. If the manufacturer puts out a faulty driver, the hardware will go belly-up.

    An example of this is the video card, either built into the motherboard or as a separate peripheral. In the old days, no certification existed to prove the device driver functioned safely in the environment it was designed for. So what used to happen was the device would throw and exception and the operating system didn't know what to do with it and throw a blue screen.

    Nowadays, there's all sorts of certifications the device manufacturers have to go through to get their drivers working for the operating system (usually this is with Microsoft). Even then, sometimes the driver may have been tested properly but my have an incompatibility with another driver (even though they are certified to work independently). In those cases, you may run into the problems you experienced where no one knows which device is the culprit. But in reality, it's not the device but the software driver.

    The only advice I can suggest the next time you purchase or build your own system is thoroughly test it during the first week of warranty. If something was bad, it'll show up then. This means loading up the machine with all the software you're expecting to use and just taking it through its paces. During that first week you'll know if somethings busted.

    Anyway, I think I may have written my Friday blog post in this comment! lol

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    1. Yeah, we've talked about that. It's just hard for me to believe that because we had updated all the drivers and were running everything we were going to run within the first couple of days. We bought games for it right away and were leaving it on for like 16 hours a day for the first couple of weeks. So I was really surprised that it started crashing after three months, when nothing had changed...

      We were fed all sorts of stuff, like "it's prolly a virus"--when, how could it be, it was crashing at the BIOS screen--and we tried switching out the graphics card, so we knew it wasn't that. I think at this point, we really just want to buy our own parts, and put them in one at a time. We already have a nice graphics card, and we're pretty sure the next thing we'll replace is the processor, if it's still broken when we get it back. Even if the processor wasn't the problem, we'll still have something nicer than what we have right now.

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    2. Crashing at the BIOS screen? Definitely hardware. At this point it could be anything. I'm wondering if something's overheating and shutting down the system. My old comp used to do the same thing after periods of playing RPGs. I found out later the graphics card would crash because it overheated during heavy battle sequences on screen. I could hear the fan whirring loud while it attempted to cool the machine down. Frustrating though when trying to play a good game! ;)

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  4. I think I've heard every explanation under the sun for this problem. It's amazing that even though computers are built by people, nobody knows how to fix them when something goes wrong. If robots ever decide to take over, they're going to have a really easy time of it.

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    1. No kidding. We've built a monster.

      Or, you know, they might bluescreen, and then we won't have to deal with them anymore.

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  5. Sorry to hear about your computer troubles. I've had similar problems with my old computer. It's really on its last legs.

    All the best
    Jack

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  6. Computer problems are the worst! Sorry that you had to go through all that. My husband built his own PC and it's probably the best computer I've ever used, so I suggest going that route, if you can.

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    1. Yeah, that's what we're planning on. ;)

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  7. Computer problems are no fun! I'm sorry you had to go through that. My husband went through something similar when he bought a new desktop at Best Buy. It broke after a month. Luckily his replacement has been fine for over a year so far.

    My family has used Macs all my life and we've never had any major problems! My current Mac laptop is 8 years old. It's moving slow now, but still it does what I need it to do. Building your own computers sounds like an awesome idea, though. I know a couple people who've done that with terrific results.

    Good luck with everything and happy A to Z!!

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    1. Yeah, Apple has really tight control over their products, and I hear they take good care of their customers. But there are some things about it that bother me, little design things, and the way that a few of their programs run, mostly. I do think building my own computer, designed to do exactly what I want it to do, is going to be better for me.

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  8. My husband has worn out a couple laptops; he bought me the same model he has but a newer one so he can fix it when/if it breaks. He built me a desktop awhile back that lasted awhile, but it's amazing how much faster and awesome my laptop is. Technology advances so fast it's almost easier to get a new laptop every couple of years (if you can afford it, obvs!)

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    1. It's true... the tech gets so much better so quickly that once you buy something, you're already behind. I just wish we had money to update stuff all the time. Our old computer is reliable, but it doesn't have the RAM to support any of the newer programs we use or even run the internet very well.

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