Thursday, September 13, 2007

Love/Hate Technology

The laptop I ordered arrived and I spent the better part of yesterday setting it up, figuring out things (and failing to figure out things!) and transferring some files onto it.

It was maddening to discover that no matter how simple the instructions seemed to be--online or in quick set-up charts--they didn't match the visual figures and they didn't work correctly. This forced me to (oh, no!) have to phone the support lines.

You can't find the support phone number of Netgear anywhere in the product materials or packaging--they reaaalllly don't want you to call them.

Microsoft's product key (required for registering the product) is combined of letters and numbers and printed in such tiny type on its package that certain numbers appear to be letters and vice versa. Only after phoning Bangalore and reviewing this with their Indian support representative did we figure that out.

The Netgear router problem turned out to be a hiccup in my Cox cable connection. When I phoned Cox, I followed their automated prompts which use voice technology to address routine problems like this. It was actually pretty impressive and fast working with what was essentially a robot. Problem solved.

Of course, I also phoned brother Bob, our family's resident computer guru. He has always been on top of the latest technology dating back to the advent of PCs in the 1980s when he worked closely with a man who conducted regular seminars enabling people to assemble their own DOS-based PCs in a classroom for a fraction of the retail price. It de-mystified the guts of the hardware and saved us a lot of money.

However, Bob told me to phone support or the Geek squad, saying that most of today's technology is beyond him now too.

Well, the laptop is up and running and I can connect via wireless to our home's main internet connection. My final task will be to figure out a way to have a real email account on this rather than using webmail--but that's for another day. No need to get frustrated and angry over setting this up two days in a row!

Until next time...


No comments: