10 March 2000

It's coming up on 4 a.m. and I just shut the back door. Again, not because of the temperature, but because the wind is kicking up. There's a warm wind blowing the stars around. Scorpius has blown free of the pine branches and is twinkling to the sound of my wind chimes. Earlier tonight, I watched a pretty golden cresent of a moon floating serene in the western sky. And between times, I walked home from Ma's on streets that sparkled like a starry sky because of a very briefly passing thunderstorm. It's been a beautiful night, weatherwise.

Otherwise, it has been a severe trial. The yoga class turned out to be very... daunting? Depressing? Humbling? I hadn't realized just how stiff I've become in the past few years. Tonight, lying flat on the floor with my hands clasped behind my neck, I couldn't get my elbows to touch the floor without causing severe discomfort in my upper back muscles. It's pretty bad when you can't even lay flat on a floor right. My only consolation was that Ma was even stiffer than I was.

After yoga class, I spent a couple of hours trying to track down and remedy a problem with my new computer's sound card software/drivers. Just a small glitch. The media file player allows one to save a playlist of music files and save the playlist for playback. When saving such a playlist, the program default for the file extension comes up .VPL, Voyetra Play List, I presume. Well, if you save the file with that extension, and then call up the file for playback, you get a message that the file type is "unrecognized/or corrupted." Odd that the program would suggest the file extension and then not recognize it, right? Right. I investigated. Of all the file types on this computer, there was no .VPL associated with any application.

So, I created one. I've done this before. But it still didn't work. My next step was to reload the software and hope that the glitch would go away. But first I had to find out what/where the files and backup files were...

The name and description of the main software program that the offending file player is associated with was buried layers down in the online support "documents." The documentation itself was... sketchy. I can read, but it didn't do me any good.

Not only does DELL not provide a install/backup disk for my computer's sound card, the driver files that are included on the Dell Recovery CD can't be installed because a) the driver files are in the wrong directory and can't be found by anyone who hasn't gotten the tech support memo; and b) the setup.exe file, once you find it, is dead. The tech support guy and I tried every way we could think of to get that sucker to install, but, no luck.

Bottom line: My computer is deaf and dumb until the new driver disk arrives. Rats.

When I call DELL tomorrow-- and call I will-- I'm going to ask to speak to one of the Vice Presidents, at least. It's like this: There have been some niggling little problems with my new computer, most of which could have been avoided/remedied easily if only DELL had attended to the details. God is in the details, they say. And I don't appreciate this very expensive headache, and I'm going to tell them so--

Ah, you think they're not going to care that I'm a bit put out by these little glitches I've run into. Well, last fall, the Cooperating Libraries Automated Network (CLAN), the outfit the library I work for belongs to, placed a bulk order for over $150,000 worth of DELL computers, four of which I installed only a few weeks ago-- without incident I must add, in all honesty. And just today, the tech support specialist from CLAN was over at our neighboring library installing the new computers which arrived in the second bulk order. And, let me tell you something, when I tell the tech support specialist, Rick, what's been going on, he's going to start looking very hard at how well DELL is supporting their products.

The Internet is becoming an important library resource now. No library in the state can afford not to provide Internet access to its patrons. And sound and video are media which the libraries' patrons are beginning demand in addition to plain old text pages. And, because the libraries in the Network are really all independent and very few have trained technical people on staff; and because the Network's technical support specialist is only one guy servicing over 50 library systems, he and the people in charge of the Network are not going to want to hear that there are "glitches," especially glitches that are a pain in the neck to cure. No siree, Bob. Rick ain't gonna want to travel around to fifty libraries with his little patch disk trying to get everybody's sound cards back because they can't do it themselves because the backup disks are junk. Nope. When he hears about this, he's going to start wondering if maybe, next time, just to spread the risk, they should take a look at some other vendors. I guarantee it.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, DELL.

On the up side, if a problem does manifest, I'll have a leg up on the fix and will probably come off looking like a friggin genius. Then I can ask for a raise. Mazeltov!

And now I'll go to bed.


Copyright © 2000 New Moon



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