Next Installment – The computer saga carries on

So things have taken another turn today with the computer saga. When I last left this situation the computer was at London Drugs and the data was going to be transferred to a new external drive. I had asked the tech there to see if he could figure it as I was not really convinced that the other store was right. He was able to tell me that the mother board was working.

He called me tonight to tell me that it is the video card for sure. Initially I was quite sure it was the video card to begin with. I have called the other shop. The manager answered the phone and tried to put me off until tomorrow even while I was complaining their customer service! I him know the story and he said he would get back to me. I guess we shall wait and see.

Part 4 of the Great Computer Saga of 2010

I went last Saturday to pick up the computer. The first thing I noticed when I arrived there is that the place had been renovated. Given the bad service I had been receiving I asked them if there had been a change in management. The guy who was there (who moved at the pace of a snail*) said no and asked why. I told him that the service that been not been great.

He brings out my computer and all the component cards had not been put back in their place! I could not believe it to be honest. He offered to put them back into place but I figured we would be there for the next millennium and declined. I paid the $50 diagnosis fee and left.

I took the computer to London Drugs. They are going to transfer the data to an external drive for $60. After talking to their tech we also decided that he would check out the mother board and see what exactly is wrong. I think I will be writing a letter to Prime Time computers. Or maybe I will just put the blogs together and send it on over.

*Actually, that would be giving snails a bad rap.

Part 3 of the Great Computer Saga of 2010

The Quote

This is the quote they provided me with. Remember, I wanted them to build a refurbished system using as many of my parts as they possible could. To recap they could have used:
1. The power supply
2. The 250 gb Western Digital hard drive
3. The 500 gb Seagate hard drive
4. Ram
5. Video card
6. TV tuner card

They did add the parallel card and the modem card. However, for some odd reason, they want to put the video card in when there was already one on board? Plus the slots were limited in this case and I had expressed an interest in having the TV tuner card installed. I am not even sure the guy who did it was even listening to me!

Then the kicker! They were going to charge $100 an hour to transfer data! How hard can it be? You plug-in some cables and start it. Why on earth would they need to charge so much!

After looking at the quote, I decided I didn’t want to do anything with it at all. I wanted my data off of the drives though. I asked them if they could dump the data on to a 1 terabyte drive. He said yes they could. I asked how much the drive would be and he quoted a price and then added: “$45 for a case.” He then said what they do is sell internal drives that are then put into cases in case you wanted to put them in your computer at some point. I advised him that I would not be doing this and I preferred just to pay for an external drive. Apparently, they don’t sell regular external drives!

Then there is the terms and conditions. I have never seen anything like it. Especially the fact that they add 3% if you pay with a credit card! Plus a re-stocking fee? It is absolutely ridiculous.

Finally, I told him that I would do nothing more with them and to get my computer ready and I would pick it up on Saturday. One more installment to come!

I am so done with PCs part deux

The computer shop finally called me on Friday. They told me the problem with my computer was that the mother board was not working. He wasn’t exactly sure but thought it might have died because of dust. They could not swap out the mother board because the CPU was on it. I was not surprised that the mother board had died. This was the original mother board in the computer when I bought it in 2004. There were always problems with the CPU overheating and in fact, it ran hot from the time I bought it until a friend diagnosed the problem in 2006. From then on it had big honking fans on it to try and keep it at a reasonable level heat-wise. Long story short we determined the computer was not really fixable.

On to plan B. I know they build refurbished machines at this shop and a lot of the parts had recently been replaced and/or upgraded recently:
High-end video card
500 GB Seagate hard drive
1 GB of RAM
Power supply
What I wanted them to do was to poach parts from mine to put together a working system so that I could give it away. As we went through the parts of my PC he pretty much had an answer for why they could not be used. I will refer to this staff member as the Officious Asshole who Lacked Creativity (OAWLC for short).

Me:         I think we can use the case. It was a very high-end case at the time,         it had several extra fans and the ability to open up the front of it to get more air    in*.
OAWLC:     Our new cases are better. Your case has a bar inside it that makes getting at the components more difficult.
Me:         So? Why does that matter?
OAWLC:     Our cases are new and state of the art and because they are open it is so much easier to get at the components.
Me:         My case has extra fans and a couple of layers at the front so that you can adjust how much air gets into it. This computer will be going where there       are a lot of dogs and ventilation is very important.
OAWLC:    Your case only has 2 bays our case is better.**
Me:        Moving along, the 500 gb hard drive is relatively new and I am sure it can be salvaged.
OAWLC:    No, not really. It is a Seagate.
Me:        Why does that matter.
OAWLC:    Well we used to use Seagate hard drives but we stopped because they  don’t have a long enough usable life.
Me:        (sounding incredulous)You put the Seagate hard drive into that computer!
OAWLC:    Well that was before we knew they weren’t very good.***
Me:        The hard drive was fine. I am sure you can put it in.
OAWLC:    Well we would have to adjust the warranty then.
Me        Whatever. I am sure you can use the power supply.
OAWLC:    I don’t know about that it might be what blew your mother board.
Me:        You put the power supply in! (snorting back a chuckle) Besides, I told you before the computer had been sitting since September, so I doubt the        power supply had anything to do with it.
OAWLC:    Let me check your mother board to see if there are blown capacitors on it. (I am put on hold with advertisements about TV tuner cards and putting up a mini disc to get HDTV for free).
OAWLC:     (Comes back on the phone and says) the capacitors look fine.
Me:        Out of curiousity – how does the mini-disc thing work with the TV tuner  card?
OAWLC:    Huh?
Me:        I heard it on your hold announcements.
OAWLC:    Oh, I don’t know a thing about that.
Me:        The RAM, can the RAM be used.
OAWLC:    Depends what kind.
Me:        Can you check?
OAWLC:    Please hold. (I hear about the HDTV mini-disc thing again)
OAWLC:    It should be fine as long as it is not blown.
Me:        The computer will have to have a parallel port because I have an old HP laser printer that needs one.
OAWLC:    That is not possible. Mother boards don’t come with parallel ports       anymore. Besides, printers are cheap – we can sell you one for $60.
Me:        I know they are cheap. The ink costs a fortune though so why would I       want to replace a working printer?
OAWLC:    Well you can get a parallel card for $25.
Me:        Ok. It also needs a modem because there will not be access to         high-speed internet where it is going.
OAWLC:    That is another $25.
Me:        Fine. There is also a TV tuner card in that computer, I want that put in         too.****
OAWLC:    There are not enough slots for all of this.
Me:        What about the high-end video card?
OAWLC:    It would take another slot.
Me:        Does the new mother board that you use in your systems have video and sound on-board?
OAWLC:    Yes.
Me:        Fine then don’t worry about the card. Can I get a quote of how much a     system would cost using the parts of mine that are salvageable?
OAWLC:    Sure. What about an OS? That is another $170. Do you still have the serial number for this one?
Me:        If you look on those drives you will find it in a word file.
OAWLC:    We can’t do that. We don’t know if those drives are ok.
Me:        They were fine when I shut the PC off 6 months ago when I got a mac.      Never mind, I will see if I can find it. (which I did in under 5 seconds using         spotlight on the Mac)
OAWLC:    Ok. I will do the quote for you.
Me:        Can you email it to me?
OAWLC:    Ummm.
Me:     Of course you can email it to me! Here is my address:
*I bought a case like this as I was always having problems with my PCs overheating. I don’t know if it was bad design or overuse on my part but it kept happening and it annoyed me because they would start to scream. I hate errant noises especially when I have no idea where they are coming from.
** Sensing that I was once again talking to a broken record I gave up.
***I am beginning to get very frustrated now…
****I will not bore you with the discussions of drivers and such.

Edited to Add: Sorry about the odd formatting in this post. I wrote it in pages and it looked really pretty there! Not so much here! Plus the wonky formatting is not showing up in the WordPress window!

I am so done with PCs

I wanted to give my old PC away but it had some data on it that I wanted to retrieve. So we went to fire it up last Saturday and nothing came up so I asked Angelina to take it into the local computer shop. I had taken that computer there before and I had found their service to be good and prices to be alright. They said it would be ready in 4-5 days.

On Thursday, day 4, I called. I had been used to receiving very good service from this shop and thought it odd that I had not heard from them. I ended up in this bizarre exchange with a somewhat robotic-like talking head (RLTH):

Me:    Hi, it’s me calling I am wondering what’s up with my computer?
RLTH:    We haven’t diagnosed it yet.
Me:    How come? It’s been there for 4 days.
RLTH:    We have been hit with a lot of priority machines which moves others behind.
Me:    What? My machine has been there for 4 days that hardly seems fair.
RLTH:    Well if you want you can pay an extra $20 and your machine will become a priority machine.
Me:    What? You want me to pay an extra $20 after my computer has been sitting there for 4 days?
RLTH:    Yes, if you want it to be a priority machine.
Me:     (feeling like I am caught in an anti-service loop I ask) How many more machines are in front of mine?
RLTH:    About 5.
Me:     So feasibly you will have looked at my machine by tomorrow then?
RLTH:    Unless more priority machines come in. We can bump your machine up to a priority machine if you want to pay additional $20.
Me:    No I am not going to pay $20 more after it has already been sitting there for 4 days. Call me when you know what is wrong with it.
RLTH: I will. Have a nice day.

I was infuriated! How could they offer such horrific service! Stay tuned for part 2.