April 17, 2012

Until the Hardware Fails!

On March 6, as I had assumed the temporary role of taking notes at the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership Board meeting, my 10 month old ASUS Laptop failed. I lost two hours of note-taking; and began a slow meltdown that culminated with a total hardware failure the following week.  Eventually, the machine was shipped off to theGeekSquadHospitalinChicagofor major surgery….with an expected return last week.

So I limped along….with my phone as my only connection to the world – and only resource to frequent phone numbers or frequently used e mail addresses.  Inconvenient, but manageable for about a week…and then the final week before an event delivery became a little stressful…but we survived.  Event day came – we set up; we had an audience for two hours; we tore down…in spite of no technology.

The arrival of April 1 and all new challenges:  how does one check balances, pay bills, etc….when access to all the data is via a sick machine in Chicago or in a single file on an external hard drive (with nothing to plug it in to except a pay per minute of use computer at Kinko’s?)  Ugghh.  But after hours and hours, I figured it out, and I THINK I met all obligations on time….except for a credit card bill…which was having its own technological hitches.

 Yes, in the midst of my own challenges, in late March, my credit card company in an attempt to make our data safer, asked us to change passwords and update security questions  –  Ok, handled via phone, and let’s move on…..well, not so fast.

I got the e-mail – payment is due….for two days, I could not get into the system because  it thought I was using the wrong password, but eventually it worked….until it started insisting I had answered the question “In what city were you born” incorrectly.  Three more days of trying intermittently without any luck, and now I was pretty frustrated.  After all, who was right – me or them on where I was born?!!! But chalking it up to perhaps I typed it wrong when I updated the security question, since all I had was a tiny phone keyboard, I kept trying, to no avail.

Time to move on and try to reach a real person, as I don’t know my balance nor an address for the credit card company.  I prepared myself for a long wait….but did not prepare myself for after 15 minutes, a recorded voice would come on to report that no trunk lines were available-call later, and then would disconnect me…over and over and over again.

 Eventually, I persevered. I talked to a real person, trying hard not to take out my frustration on him…and he shared that there was a glitch in THEIR system when they switched to the newly input security …and NO cardholder that had updated passwords or security questions could get access and ALL OF THEM had been calling!  Oh my.  No wonder the Trunk Lines were unavailable!  More joys of the new world in which we live! 

Nevertheless, I have been limping along; trying to be patient until last Friday when my machine was scheduled to be back in Mpls.

No so fast…parts on order; could be another two weeks.  But don’t worry, if total time in theGeekSquadHospitalexceeds 30 days, I win!  I get a NEW 2012 model ASUS off the floor at Best Buy.

Somehow that is little consolation when here I am – a month after the problem started, still without a machine and another week or so to go before I can go pick up something new.  

The good news is that I am not in the middle of project.  The BAD news is that I am not in the middle of a project…as I will soon be out of money and among the destitute because without that miracle little machine, how does one market, find new opportunities and keep the cash flow balanced? 

So that’s my excuse and sticking to it for why you cannot reach me, have not heard from me or even seen me!  Hope all of you are alive and well….and I will be, once I can figure out how to triumph over the hardware!

April 17: A GOOD ENDING:  The patient is home from Geek Hospital and doing well…the operator is being challenged a bit, but finally, this morning, I made a connection to internet and am in business…the home page is changed; the search engine is changed and all is well.  Now if only I could figure out why the PRINTER is still asleep, all would be good in my world.

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