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Mpls, MN, United States

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Failing

So remember how in Be Kind, Rewind Jack Black's character gets magnetized and thus wreaks the havoc that propels the film? Well, recently I've been wondering if I may have stumbled into some sort of unfortunate field that is currently causing the failure of my personal electronics.

The first to go was my cell phone. For months its battery life had been steadily diminishing, until a brief phone call or two and a few text messages were all it could handle before beginning to beep at me. Last week, however, the screen began to go out. I could receive calls and text messages, but until the screen decided to reappear (which could occasionally be prompted by plugging it in, unplugging it, turning it off and on, removing the battery, or having someone nearby call me) I could neither place outgoing calls nor read my text messages.

I loved my Red Razr (I knew it was cool, because my junior high students who had to use it to call their parents last summer told me so, or breathed its name in a sort of awe), but Sprint doesn't seem to offer it anymore. Yesterday I bought the only other shiny red phone they were offering, the Samsung Rant. It's slightly bulkier and heavier than the Razr, but it does have a nifty slide-out keyboard, and should have a longer battery life than the Razr did even at its peak. Hopefully I'll even be able to figure out soon how to stop it from defaulting to speakerphone on incoming calls.

Next up was my camera. I've mentioned before that the flash stopped working a few weeks ago, but on the trip back from Santa Rosa it started doing a new thing where the display--and resulting photos--are smeary blue and purple blurs. Thankfully, I've discovered that a smart tap on the side returns it to normal; I hope that this solution holds.

Finally, the ailments of my beloved Lappy have been well chronicled here, from its asthmatic wheezing and fuscia-tinged screen to its mouse drift. Even in its top running condition, the letters are still worn off the keys, a sizeable patch of the touchpad coating has worn off, the screen is scratched, and the plastic around the power button likes to snap out of place and gape alarmingly. ("Hasn't your computer been in hospice for the past year and a half?" my sister asked.)

Yesterday, however, I thought I had lost it for good. The screen flashed off and on as I was booting up, and I eventually encountered the Blue Screen of Death (I gave my camera a whack and took a picture). I was able to get back in after starting in safe mode, but only managed about ten minutes of work before the screen went black in the middle of attempting to Google, for my dad, the new version of NEWSTART.* Thereafter, I couldn't get back in at all...

...until this morning! This morning my computer let me boot up in safe mode, and I transferred a few files to my flash drive. I wanted to burn a back-up CD, but my disc drive didn't seem to be working. I thought I'd try restarting in "safe mode with networking," but it wouldn't turn on again. It remained locked up this afternoon, but later this evening I was able to get back in in safe mode. I am, in fact, typing on said Lappy, having transferred the last of the files I wanted to be sure to save, and having downloaded Nvidia drivers in the hopes of installing them and eking a few more useful hours or days from this very old, very tired machine.

I don't think there's a moral to this story. I'm thinking about buying another Dell laptop; thoughts or suggestions?

*This is one of those things that's basically impossible to Google; can any of you Alert Readers answer this question? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just ignore this.

14 comments:

Ellen said...

I don't know...I kind of like the new feature on your camera.


tridast

Heather said...

I think you should consider a Mac, but whatever you're looking for, bug the spouse because he usually keeps an eye on computer deals.

David said...

I like the new phone and I'm with Ellen on the camera. You'd pay big money to do that to your photos with Photoshop.

Ern said...

You know...the new Macbook is completely recyclable...also unquestionably awesome...no pressure though...

nmrboy said...

it's got to be the macbook wheel! everything is only a few hundred clicks away! so jealous.

n.

Nothing said...

You know, I have been very happy with my netbook (Acer Aspire One). Perhaps you should look into getting a small laptop/netbook to replace your old system?

strovska said...

is this what you were talking about?

http://www.newstart.com/

it surely can't be because it was my first result (bringing back somewhat shudder-inducing memories of acronyms on whiteboards in front of large groups of preteens).

slessmas!

Voth said...

While not being good for the environment, the Sony Vaio has done me well. It was very cheap ($400), and does everything I need a laptop to do. It has yet to crash on me, which is saying something.

Ellen said...

Although I wouldn't buy anything other than a Mac I'll agree with Voth that when I had a Sony Vaio it was awesome. Not only was better designed than most PCs at the time it was supersolid. It still runs too.

Ben said...

I've got to recommend a Macbook to you. Doesn't have to be the newest version. Does have to be a Mac. All these computer problems you've shared here will not be a problem. They're the best computers ever. That's my belief, and I'm sticking to it.

Larissa said...

Yeah, I have recently started using a mac too. I must say, a lot of the software is just amazing. I like my mac a lot but I can understand your hesitation.

I would keep the camera and sell your artsy photgraphs at your favorite coffee shop....

Hardboiled said...

My vote is for a Mac too. I love mine!

CëRïSë said...

Wow, thanks for the input, everybody! I feel like I would need another post to address everything here.

Except that Strovska, yes, that NEWSTART link is on track; we were just thinking that they had updated the acronym in the past few years.

Misty said...

I vote for Mac, too. We have a Macbook and it just works, all of the time.