Sunday, August 1, 2021

Another Year, Another "Why do I do this to myself?"

A year ago, I participated (kinda) in Blapril, which was the Blaugust blogging event moved to what we considered then to be the height of the pandemic. It seemed a good idea at the time, and my goal was to blog about every other day or so. I managed 18 posts, but I also went kind of bonkers trying to keep up with it. Therefore, when 2020's Blaugust went around, I took a hard pass.

Well, here we are in August 2021, and Blaugust is once again upon us.

(Don't worry about the link, Wilhelm. I don't have that many readers, and most of them overlap between the two of us.)

I kind of hemmed and hawed about it, because I've got other things on my mind*, but I decided I'm going to participate in an informal manner. There are things on my mind, and some fiction to finish and get cleaned up for posting, so why not?

I'm not going to formally sign up or anything, and if nothing else I'll invoke my Rogue nature and just follow along in the shadows. That allows me to not worry so much about the 'formal' topics for each week, and instead talk about what I want to talk about. 

Such as laptops.


I've been doing my "second" job of being the IT resource for the family the past week or so, which has entailed looking for a replacement laptop for my mom's Mac. She only wants a laptop for basic finances, but she wants a fully functioning machine, so why spend money on an iPad or even a Macbook when an inexpensive Windows 10 laptop will do?

But I do draw the line at inexpensive vs. flimsy. (I'm looking at you, HP and Dell.) I can't believe I'm saying this, but Acer laptops feel more solid and less flimsy than either HP's or Dell's basic offerings. Of course, the Acer I wanted wasn't in stock at Microcenter, so I had to fall back on another laptop option, which ended up being a Lenovo. So I got the job of purchasing the thing, bringing it over to my mom's house, and spending the evening configuring it. 

I then turned my eye to her "other" laptop, the one that she does all of her other computer oriented stuff on, and... the thing crawled. I mean, really seriously crawled.

"Mom," I called to her, "you're going to need to replace this hard drive with an SSD."

"What's that?"

I groaned and spent a few minutes explaining the difference between an old style hard drive and an SSD.

"Okay," she replied. "How long will it take to replace?"

"I'll take this laptop home and get it done over the weekend."

So I did. I got a replacement SSD, the Samsung EVO 870, and installed it.

I thought that was that.


"Dad, my laptop is generating graphics errors."

Oh. Shit.

My son had come downstairs to inform me that his laptop, whose fan sounded like it was a jet engine chewing through ducks, had begun throwing graphics errors and crashing. Just what I didn't need.

I mean, I knew there was a likelihood that he was going to need a laptop before he went back to college, and I was moving in that direction, but I didn't need this just now.

So back to Microcenter we went.

The salesperson gave me a look and said "Didn't I just wait on you recently?" 

"Yep, for a laptop for my mom."

"Need another?"

"Yeah, for my son." Having spent the morning looking at options, I'd narrowed it down to an Asus based on its upgradability and spec sheet, but I wanted to actually see and feel the thing before we pulled the trigger.

So we pounded on the laptop for a bit, kicked the tires, that sort of thing, and then nodded and went ahead and bought it. I then got the job of configuring THAT one too, which wasn't too bad. It's now busy downloading FF XIV, which will be an all night affair. The only drawback is that the thing will need another m.2 drive added, as the primary drive is only 500 GB.



After this week, I'm significantly poorer, but at least I have some happy (?) customers. Now, please, no more IT surprises.



*Including two kids to send to college, resist set creation for SSC to organize and farm badges for --"Hi, Zargala!!" ::wave::-- and spreadsheets to keep track of. And that's not counting all the documents at work I have to look over. But I'll be frank, the latter isn't that thrilling, while blogging is a lot more fun. And the former, well, I'm seriously invested in getting my friends' geared up for SSC.


  1. Ah, the 'IT guy' syndrome, when everyone in your family, and neighbours, people you work with.... see you as an 'expert because you're always on your computer'.

    I used to be, had a lot of fun building stuff, in those heady pre-Windows XP Dos 6.22 days. Construct an autoexec.bat or config.sys to mine the last few k's (not m's nor g nor, heaven forbid t's) out of a memory on bootup so you could run Doom II or F-15 Strike Eagle III.

    Used to build computers. Buy stuff, put it together.

    Used to.

    Now? screwit, buy em put together and pre-loaded. Always easier to strip them of the bloatware than to start from scratch. Cost-wise, sure I could save some money, but

    So, when someone calls me with a computer issue, the reply now is "Nowadays it's so different, best you take it where you bought it".

    All that to say, I feel your pain.


    1. Oh yeah. My mom used to know a lot about computers, but now she just punts and lets me deal with it. When my dad was alive, he was infamous for finding new and inventive ways to nuke a computer, so I guess having to deal with that over the decades wore her out.