Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What is Your Time Worth?

I actually have two whole entries waiting to be put up and I had gotten just a bit cocky yesterday thinking I could take it easy today by posting one and then going off and doing something else for awhile.  Ah, silly me, I should have known I would get sucked down the computer rabbit hole!

Recently, while my mother was organizing and paring down her clutter, she offered us an older model computer she had for one of my sons.  It was newer than his was (not by much, but still) and she thought it might work better than the one he currently had.  Thus began Justin's torturous route to working all day on Sunday for no pay to try to fix what started as a very simple "switch out the computers" task.

Several weeks ago, Mom sent the "new" computer home with me and Justin asked Ben, who is Microsoft Office certified, to set it up for Joey.  Ben went up and worked on it for quite awhile and came back later saying, "I can't get it connected.  I don't know what's wrong with it."  Which, for Ben, is pretty bad because he really does know his computer stuff.  He actually understands Justin when he talks techie talk.

So for a few weeks, off and on, Joey would nag casually mention that he had no internet connection.  Justin would come upstairs, work on it for a bit, come back down and fiddle with the router and the settings, go work on it some more, give up and go outside and do something physical like rip out a tree to burn off his frustration.  We finally decided that the "new" computer simply was not going to work with our home network setup and I told Ben to reconnect Joey's old computer back.

Simple?  Nope.  Because now the old computer wouldn't connect to the internet either.  And so the problem sat there with no solution for several weeks.  There was talk of building a second network (or something) with an old router which didn't pan out as a good idea.  And then it sat some more.

Finally, on Sunday morning, I innocently said something to Justin about how we simply had to get Joey reconnected to the internet.  It wasn't fair that he was the only one in the family who couldn't get to his online gaming sites.  (Because, really, what is life if we can't get to our online gaming sites?)  Justin went around and around with it again for hours and still could not get it hooked back up.

I finally, tentatively said (after seeing the ad for Best Buy's Father's Day sale), do you think it's because the computers are so old that they're not compatible with the newer equipment?  Bingo.  Apparently, this has been the problem all along and I was just not computer aware enough to understand what was going on.

Which led to Justin going to Best Buy to just look at new laptops for the younger boys.  Except that I was so frustrated with the number of hours Justin was wasting on this project and how frustrated he was getting that I told him to go ahead and get them.  He went, he ran errands, he came home without computers.  They had one of the computers he had decided on and we needed two.

I scurried around and found that they could ship to the store if you could find it in another location.  We went back and forth and finally he said, "I'm just going to go back up there and I'll buy one of that one and one of something else."  By this time, it was getting on into the afternoon on Sunday and the poor guy had not had a break all day.

An hour or so later, Justin came in with the computers, took them up to the ecstatic kids who were not expecting Christmas in June, and hooked them up.  I think it took half an hour or something like that because of course if you have brand new equipment, it's always going to be compatible with the other brand new equipment, right?  Actually, not, because Justin has a Mac and everyone else in the house has a PC and apparently Microsoft has made it as difficult as possible to make things work properly together.  But, whatever, Justin got the younger boys hooked up, got the game systems all turned back on and connected, and the project was finally done.

We now have this in our dining room:

Ben says they might be worth $50 total because the processing speed is jurassic, the memory is crap, and there are no video cards in any of them.  I might have to pay someone to haul them away.

Meantime, the woman who is trying to make her living as a writer now has the oldest computer in the house.  I'm not complaining, except that it took me over 45 minutes to get online this morning and my "2" key is sticking.  Justin is planning to wipe my hard drive clean and reinstall whatever it is that makes it run and get rid of all the crap that is slowing it down. Which is not a task I want to ask him to do anytime soon after what happened on Sunday.

Justin's fee to work by the hour for his real job is pretty high.  I think we owe him a lot of money for the time he put in trying to get things to work last Sunday.  Luckily, he'll be happy if I can just keep the dogs and the kids from annoying him too seriously while he does his real job today.  This is a guy that does not ask for much.

Why can't the technology just all work?  Why do they have to keep coming out with new and better and faster and sleeker and you just have to have this BRAND NEW THING!  It's no secret how much I want iPad.  Do I need an iPad?  No.  I am the victim of too much advertising and those clever executives who are trying to make me believe I need an iPad.

There are days when I really would like to go back to what it was like when I was growing up.  I love technology.  I just don't like having to repeatedly buy the same product in its newer and better format because the old one has stopped working.  I don't like it that it has now become mandatory that our children have computer access at home to do their homework, although I understand it because they are going to need to know how to use them when they get out into the real world.

Unless Jamie gets his dream job of being a helicopter pilot and blowing shit up for a living.  Of course, he'll probably have to write up reports about exactly what he blew up and turn them in to his commanding officer.  You just can't escape it.

And now, I'm going to do some non-technological things today, because frankly, the computer is giving me a headache.



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