Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

A sad and sadder tale

Elaine told me this story about a friend of hers.

Her friend's computer started shutting down randomly, for no reason. Elaine suspected maybe a virus, suggested some checks. The computer was still under warranty, so she thought L (friend) should send it back for repair.

L thought it would cost her more to go with the warranty, I guess because of shipping costs or other limitations. She has a "techie" friend who said he'd take a look. He told her it needed a new hard drive!

How in hell could a hard drive be responsible for this symptom?? I cannot grasp it. But L went ahead and had this friend replace the hard drive. Of course the problem was not fixed. She called on the friend again. He said positively it's the motherboard. By this time, the computer is no longer under warranty, it has run out. She gets the motherboard replaced, at considerable expense.

Now, I could see the power supply. Or a virus. I'm nowhere near being a computer technician but I have known more than one who has not got a grain of logical thinking in his or her head, and I have to wonder what the hell these people are doing this job for. I would do it better without any of their training just because I can think some things through.

Elaine also told me about a consumer company, perhaps Consumers Union, she didn't remember, conducting a test. They cut a small slit into one of the ribbon cords to a hard drive and brought the computer to various places for repair. As I recall, NONE of them figured out the problem. Yes, it is unusual for a ribbon cable to go bad, but it does happen. In one case, the technicians replaced the motherboard and a slew of other things and in the process obviously replaced that ribbon, so the computer was working again, at great expense. When the computer company revealed what they had done, the tech said, "I don't feel badly about it because the end result is a working computer, and that's what we aim for".

Not only did they miss the problem but they didn't give a shit.

It is stories like this that keep me from bringing my computer in to anyone I do not personally know for repair or upgrades. Instead, I suffer through it myself, in my home, making all the mistakes possible. Yet my friends are subjected to this kind of thing when they need help.

Back to the basic issue, though. Why should so many of us need help when we have not done anything ridiculous? Why, by installing a Windows Update, would you destroy your operating system?? Why why why? Does this happen on a Mac? An Amiga?

Oh, I know the answers. The competition, the rush to market, the huge software programs that, because of size alone, always have bugs, and especially - our acceptance of this situation. Now that we are in this mess, is there any way out?

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