Checked, Not Operable

[Go over to O’Ceallaigh and The Quill.  That post is much more fun then this one.]

I am online with my own computer.  I have been since yesterday afternoon.  I hesitated to say anything because I am not certain how long this will last or what will go wrong next.

Some of you will recall that the hard drive died on my brand new computer when it was just a few weeks old.  The crash took with it a truckload of awesome photographs, some of which were posted online, thankfully!  Those not posted are with Clemintine, “lost and gone forever.”

So, I sent my computer back to Gateway and in just 11 days they returned the machine to me with a new hard drive and a notation on the invoice (no charge) saying all systems had been checked and were operable.  Except when I plugged the machine in and started it up, it said I had no wifi.”No wifi!”  I shrieked, “Why not?!”  And the utility quite happily told me that my machine had been returned sans drivers. 

Checked and operable my ass!  If all systems were checked, then my wifi would have drivers, right?

So I called Gateway.  Some dude answered the phone.  Probably a stoner judging by the amount of brain cells he employed in my aid.  I told him I had no wifi drivers.  He told me to go online and download them.  Hello?!

So, I read to him the little paper about all my systems being checked and operable.  He responds, “Well, if that’s what the paper says, then that’s what was done and your machine is in optimal working order.  Thank you for choosing Gateway.”  Click.

What the — ?  I went to bed.  Time enough to haggle on the phone in the morning.

So, the next morning I again call Gateway.  A young woman answers the phone and walks me through the system utility.  We try to reinstall the driver.  No go.  She transfers me to a gentleman who takes me through the same steps she just did, plus several others.  No matter what we do, we get a “Code 10” message — which I was told, means there is no driver to access.  After several attempts this gentleman says, “We need you to make a back up system disc.  Do you have any CD’s?”  I tell him I have 4.  He tells me I need 7.  I ask what good backing up the system is going to do.  He tells me that we will use the system disc which I make — from my system — to reinstall the drivers.

Uhm, hello?!  “My system has no drivers!”  I said it right outloud — loud being the operative word.  He said, “It only seems that way.  They’re in there.  Your machine just doesn’t recognize them.”  I want to know, “So how will it recognize them on the disc?”  He says, “Trust me, it will.  I know you don’t understand this stuff but I am a pro.”

Okay.  I get CDs and call back.  Oops.  I don’t need CDs.  I need DVDs.  Lovely.  I call my sister Jackie and ask her to bring DVDs to the island when she arrives for her visit.  She arrives having forgotten the DVDs.  She said she’d mail them as soon as she returned home.  No problem, I was going camping anyway and wouldn’t be needing net.

I returned home from camping and found a phone message waiting from Jackie.  It seems there are several types of DVDs and she didn’t know which one my machine needed.  Neither did I — and without net I couldn’t even look in my online users manual.  So — again — I called Gateway.

A young woman answered. I thought I heard gum popping as we talked, but in retrospect I am thinking it may have been her brain misfiring.  I brought her up-to-date on my trials and tribulations.  She told me my machine would work with either type of DVD, plus or minus.  She also told me I need 7 DVDs.  I said, “Why so many?” She said, “You are copying your entire system.”  “Well, yes,” I answer, but my comp only has a 1 gig memory and a DVD is 4 gigs.  Shouldn’t I need only one?”  She answers firmly, “You will need 7.”  Okay.  It doesn’t make any sense, but okay.

I then ask her the missing driver question.  I still do not understand how a driver not in my computer is going to miraculously show up on a disc made by my computer.  The girl tells me, testily, “Before we can do anything else you have to make the back up disc.  Without that, we can’t help you.”  She assures me the driver will be on the disc and that she knows what she is talking about.

So, I make the back up disc — one, ONE DVD – and try the reinstall.  No go.  I still get a code 10 error.  Big surprise, huh?  I call Gateway.  Yet another tech answers — named Mike — I brought him up-to-date on my trials and tribulations.  He immediately said, “Of course the disc didn’t work.  You didn’t have the drivers in your system in the first place!” 

Well, duh.

I said, “I mentioned that to the other techs.”  Mike tells me one of them actually noted that in the log!  He also said, “They were following the proceedure manual, not using their brains.  If they had actually stopped to think … oh, never mind.”

Then he asks for my address and says he is sending me an email with a link to the necessary drivers.  I tell him that without wifi I can’t check the net.  I ask if I can download the drivers onto a disc.  He tells me I need to hook my machine up to a land line.  I explain that we don’t have such a critter.  He says, “Look, you’re at a college facility, right?  Go to the computer lab and ask their tech for a land line.  Access your email, click the link, and your driver will reinstall inself, no problem.”

He was correct.  I followed his instructions and here I am online.  So, where was he three weeks ago?  Charley says they don’t haul out the intelligent trouble-shooters until you’ve called in about seven times …

As we ended our conversation Mike said, “Thank you for choosing Gateway.”  I responded, “You know, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t.”  He said, resigned, “I understand.”

It’s Back — Sort of

My laptop returned home from the Gateway fix-it folks. The hard drive is fine. Now the wifi won’t work.

The laptop was returned to me with a note that claimed all systems had been checked and were in good working order. I find that highly suspect since my wifi has no drivers. How the hell could they have possibly checked it?

You’ll be happy to know that their automated system — the one you have to go through before you actually get a live person — assured me that the problem was wholly fixable. All I have to do is log on to the internet and download the drivers. Hello?!

Finally, I got a real-live person on the phone — several of them. They all exhibited less personality and compassion then the automated system. I spent almost $700.00 on a laptop that crashed, destroying all my files within just a few weeks of it’s purchase. The laptop was repaired and returned promptly — sans my wifi drivers. A phone call to that effect left me speaking to no less then 4 people over 7 hours. None of them were kind, considerate or compassionate. All of them were condescending and spoke to me as if I were short on intelligence. Why shouldn’t they? I obviously am short on intelligence. I bought a computer from them, didn’t I?

I would strongly advice you not do the same. I am still borrowing computers to check my email and post.

Don’t Forget

O’Ceallaigh & The Quill

After you’ve visited here, don’t forget to check there!

Before you go, here’s a bit of something to whet your appetite:

As you know, O.C. plays his horn on the point almost every night. Usually when we walk down the hill, one ferry is already in port for the night. However the other night, it wasn’t so.

Me: The ferry is missing.

He: It’s on a training run.

Me: That’s silly. Why would they need to train the ferry? It was built to do its job.

He: Well, sometimes they need to put it on track.

Me: [clueless] Huh?

He: They need to put it on a track to train it.

Me: Oh. Of course they do. I should have realized that. Thank you for explaining, Honey.”

He: No problem.

Me: [sweet & dreamy] You’re so smart.

He: [dryly] Oh, yeah.

The Missing Carrot Mystery

Last week I bought two carrots.  One for the chicken soup — which I used.  And one for the split pea soup, which I would like to use today, but cannot seem to find.  I know I didn’t use it for any other dish.

I’m thinking that my mate put it in that tasty salad he made for dinner the other night.  This is what happens when one person plans the menus, yet two people cook.  Still, it is the worst problem we’ve had to date, so I think I will accept it in good cheer.

A Booming Tradition

It is 6 AM on the 4th of July, 1975. On the 48th parallel, North latitude, the sun has been up for nearly an hour, but in the San Juan Island town of Friday Harbor, Washington, there are few signs of human activity. The streets are deserted, no ferry will arrive for two hours, and the tiny marina is silent. In the rickety, World War II era dormitory complex of the Friday Harbor Laboratories, which is held together by the trails of the burrowing ants and the fervent prohibitions against stray sparks from the wood-burning stoves, the students are following through on their plan to honor the holiday by sleeping late. The horn that summons the marine-biologists-in-training to breakfast will sound at nine instead of the usual 6:45.

At the stroke of 6, all plans for a morning of uninterrupted quiet are exploded.


The blast rattles the ant colonies in the dormitory and reverberates across the harbor. Throughout the dorm, heads pop out of sleeping bags and blankets. “What the [insert favorite delete-able expletive here] was that?!?” Some of them peer around anxiously, listening for the sirens of emergency vehicles, or tuning radios in an effort to hear what sort of dire calamity has just been visited on their über-peaceful corner of America.

Nothing. No one seems to care except the rudely-awakened labbies. The silence following the explosion is as deafening as the explosion itself.

It is much later in the day when one of the lab’s veterans explains the mystery; a man familiar with the ways of the place, with Friday Harbor as a town of fishermen and farmers, of salmon canners and quarriers of sand and gravel. One of the quarrymen (he said), probably the owner, decided one year, no one could say how long ago, that he was going to be the first to announce to his neighbors the dawning of the American Independence Day. Fireworks he didn’t have, but he did have the dynamite he used to blast the hills on his land into the piles of sand he shipped away on trucks and barges. So he rigged a keg of the stuff at the bottom of one of his pits, and, at 6 AM on the Fourth of July, he set it off. Evidently, he could show his face at the town’s one tavern thereafter without getting it ripped off, so he did the same thing next year. And the year after that. And so on. It became a tradition …

It is 6 AM on the 4th of July, 2007. The sun has been up for nearly an hour, but in the town of Friday Harbor, there are few signs of human activity. The student who, in 1975, bolted out of a sleeping bag desperate to know who was bombing whom, and why, lies in a bed in one of the apartments on the Laboratory grounds that has appeared since 1975 (the ant-infested firetrap of a dormitory is no more; the horn that once summoned everyone to meals is silent) and awaits the stroke of the hour …




Hey, waitaminute …


Who the hell are all these other guys lighting off dynamite? Haven’t they heard of not gilding the lily?

Oh well. Friday Harbor’s a tourist town now. The sand and gravel quarry is still there, but the fishermen are gone (along with most of the fish), so are the canneries and the farmers. The marina that was once so tiny now stretches halfway to Seattle. There are yachts tied up to the docks that would have filled the entire harbor in 1975. The fireworks display tonight will rival anybody’s anywhere, and right up close and personal too. I hope these people are impressed.

I wish to return to a time when one blast was enough.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2007 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.