Friday, August 29, 2014

My hate relationship with technology

As I have mentioned, the past week or so has been a nightmare when it comes to technology.

Last Thursday night, I took my laptop that I primarily use for work to a friend from church to look at. The signs currently point to a bad hard drive. I'm having problems with 100% disk usage that is not particularly unusual for computers with Windows 8, especially laptops that came installed with it when they first came out, like mine.

Whatever the case, I shouldn't be having that problem.

It's so messed up that the guy looking at it said, "I tried to run this, but I've never even seen that happen before."

After talking over the weekend, before he started taking it apart, I decided I would call HP and ask if there's anyway I could get an extended warranty that might cover a hard drive since my one year was out, but I still had it less than two years.

On Monday morning, I tried talking to some guy in some other country. I hung up the phone aggravated because they could not find my information from when I registered my computer. After work that day, I tried again once I had my serial number in hand.

Both times, I kept trying to explain that:

  1. My computer was not in front of me, therefore, I did not call to be walked through anything. 
  2. I tried telling them what was happening and what diagnostics said.
  3. There weren't enough hours left in my life to do whatever they were going to ask me to do, even if I was in possession of the computer. 
  4. Again, I don't have the computer in front of me.
  5. It is not currently a software problem - now it's a hardware problem.
I even asked to speak to a supervisor. The third foreign tech in a row. I hung up after getting no where angry.

Fed up with these people, I decided I would try to get someone else's attention. I took it to Twitter.


Within 5 minutes, I heard back from @HPsupport, and on Tuesday had a reply tweet from +HP.

Meanwhile, I had also emailed HP about a warranty extension, and an email from them says they will sale me a replacement computer. That person was not a native English speaker either, I could tell by how things were worded. I told that person I had no desire to buy a new computer when this one hadn't lasted two years. I got another incoherently worded email back from them. 

Here's the thing, I understand I'm really out of luck on a warranty, but there should be some kind of recall if there have been the problems I have seen on forums with computers at 100% disk usage with +Windows8. I read of people losing more than one computer to the same problem. 

What really got me fired up is that I could not have a normal conversation with their tech people. I want a conversation, not just being talked to on a script. Humans have to operate computers. Everything does not follow an exact script in life. Act sympathetic if all else fails. Heck, don't ask me the same thing over and over when I told you the computer was not in front of me.

Anyway, back to my Tweet. I have been having a conversation by way of Tweets and direct messages with a support guy. I told him I wanted an American who was not at the entry tier of support. I've explained in an email my issues and was given a case number. Evidently that was put up the chain on Wednesday at some time (I guess due to shifts, etc.). I was supposed to hear back within 72 hours (business days), but now it's going to be Tuesday that I am supposed to hear from them. I don't know if Sean on Twitter is just trying to appease me or what. 

I started this complaint on Monday and have been in limbo about the laptop for a week. Because of the holiday, it's going to be Tuesday before I hear back? Aye carumba! All this to make sure that I can't get something checked out by HP because of a hard drive issue. By the time I talked to him Wednesday, the guy who has my computer isn't so sure it isn't something else hardware wise causing the hard drive error. I'm going to have to connect HP and Terry when I hear back from them.

So, if all of this weren't bad enough, I'm working on my other computer. Thankfully, I have more than one because otherwise, I'd be up a creek. On Wednesday, I messed it up though.

For some reason, on this computer, when I send an email, it saves a copy of the sent email in the folder I emailed from. Very handy in most cases, but kind of annoying since I was trying to work out of this folder - my "emails that need to be handled" folder. I move emails to this folder because Gmail can't be categorized in Outlook. 

Anyway, I knew my computer was going to get hung up for a minute when I realized that I was moving a big attachment. I ended Outlook so I could get back in and not get hung doing it. You do something a million times and sooner or later it's not going to work anymore. 

I spent the rest of the day trying to reload Outlook 2010, but it would hang on loading profiles. I try to troubleshoot it by looking on +Microsoft support. Nothing was working. I tried to delete out profiles and data files. It would open, then hang.

After getting home from church, I decided to uninstall and re-install Outlook. I needed to get to my working email folder which I couldn't access unless I had Outlook. When I uninstalled, it took out part of my +Norton 360 software for some reason. I tried to reinstall my download from +Amazon.com, but came up with firewall messages. That's when I realized that it messed up 360. 

So, I had to get on tech support with +Norton because I couldn't get it to reinstall because it said all my downloads were taken up. I knew this was fixable because it had happened before. However, I had to restart my computer in safe mode because it was taking too long to connect with the +LogMeIn so I had to start all over again with support once I did that. 

At this point, I'm in tears, convinced both computers (this one is less than 3 years old) were going to die. I was going to swear off HP for life.

I finally got connected with the Norton team and told them to do whatever. I was at the point that I didn't care about their warning to close personal documents. The positive point of this night is that I got a good bit of reading done while my computer was under someone else's control.

I spent four hours after church trying to get my computer fixed. I left my computer doing updates and trying to open Outlook all night long.

I got maybe 5 hours of sleep, woke up an hour early, and my stomach was in knots because I needed my emails and was no closer to getting to them than before.

Then, I get on the phone with Microsoft. I tell them my problem, and I am told that since there is a version of Outlook newer than 2010, they no longer service that without a support fee. It would be $149 for a year of support or $99 for a one time fix. Knowing that would be a waste, I asked if I bought and installed a newer version of Outlook if it would take care of my problem because I could do that cheaper.

So, I decided to invest in +MicrosoftOffice365. At least I decided to try the one month free trial to see if it would fix my problem. It did, but there's more to the story. (I'll probably buy in because I think newer software would be a good idea if I get the laptop going again. If the laptop lives, I just have to decide which level and suck it up as a business expense of working from home.)

While I am trying to get the 365 download, I get a message "your internet connection is slow. This may take a while." 

I'm not kidding.

I call up +AT&T and complain that for the price I am paying, I should not have slow internet. I ended up getting a work order in for a tech to come out, complete with the whole, "if it is in the house there will be a service fee of $99, but no charges will be incurred without discussing it first." Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you know me, you know I've had this conversation with AT&T more than once before and am not the biggest +AT&T U-verse proponent there is.

Thankfully, the tech came right out. When he looked at my modem, he decided that was probably the problem since the type of modem I had has had a lot of problems. I know this to be true because after multiple calls out before, they replaced my last modem like that. 

So, after all was said and done, I am up running on one computer with a new modem. I had to deal with tech support at 4 companies. Four. If I had been on a cruise this week, I wouldn't have had to deal with three this week because I wouldn't have crashed Outlook when I did to go through the rest.

I have been flustered and tortured all week long. I was going to quit whining about it, but I really do need a vacation.

Regardless of how things shake out with my inquiry at HP, I sure hope I get my laptop back in working order. I never realized how much I would miss it until I didn't have it. I'm spoiled. 

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