The only time I will use staples will be in a stapler.

I have been very busy lately. I have to use a PC for work because the software I use in my job is only windows-based. As is the case with PCs, the damn thing started running really sluggy and slow. I knew it needed a cleanup and defrag and all that crap, but I just didn’t have time to sit around and stare at it while it wound its way through all that stuff.

One day while in Staples purchasing my latest round of toner and paper, I saw a circular advertising PC tuneup services for $9.99. Ah, I thought. Good deal. I’ll let them stare at the stupid thing for two hours. It would be worth it not to have to. I called and was told that if I dropped it off on Wednesday I could pick it up on Thursday morning. Even better. Wednesday after work I headed on over to leave my non-trusty-computer at the store.

It should have been clue one to me that there would be problems when, contrary to the information I had been given over the phone, I was informed nearly immediately that it would be three days to get the computer back. Oh no, that won’t work, I told them. If it was going to take three days, I was going to have to do this another time.  The salesman hemmed for a moment then said it could be done the next day.

Clue one, Lara.  Clue one.  You weren’t paying attention…

I then said I had to get going because I had an appointment.

Clue two, Lara. Clue two.  Mr. Computer Fixit guy kind of sauntered over to look at something else another Computer Fixit guy was doing, then went behind the counter and got a little widget to insert into my computer. He inserted it and stood there talking to me, telling me how my computer was the nicest he had seen come through the tune-up station in a while. He looked like Napoleon Dynamite, only without glasses. He kind of sounded like him too. In the end I spent a half an hour in there, in spite of my constant assertions that I needed to get going.

I explained that my computer had been running slowly. I explained that on vacation, my colleague had used the computer and claimed it had been infected with malware, but our office computer guy and she had removed this malware with some program from the web.  I explained that in spite of this, the thing seemed to be running slowly.

Do you use Norton?  No, I don’t like Norton. I have BitDefender. Bit Defender? Never heard of it.  Well, it was top-rated on PC Magazine’s choice for virus protection, and I bought it based on that review, and I haven’t had any problems with it. (Incidentally, since all this went down, I perused the web and saw that PC Magazine had again rated it in their top three.)

Well, I have never heard of it.  Okay, so that makes you a superstar.  Can you just take my computer and let me go now?

They told me they would call me when my computer was done and sent me on my way.  I wasn’t kidding that I needed the thing the next day for work.  It is all I have for work and all my work is on it.  Without it, I can’t do 99% of my job.  Well, more like 85%, but you get the idea.

The next day, Staples had not called me by 7:30 p.m.  I was beginning to worry, because I had a big response due on a file in less than five days and could not afford to be without my computer.

I called Staples and was patched to the computer center. The guy on the phone informed me that he hadn’t been able to get it to update. He had tried two times and it failed at the end each time. Okay, yeah well, I need my computer. I don’t care about the updates. I’ll get to them later. I need my machine. He said I could come pick it up.  It was late and baby was going to bed, so I said it would likely be in the morning. Okay, fine.

The next day I got busy with a bunch of other things and since I didn’t have the computer, I waited to pick it up until after picking Milla up for school. When I went in, I was told it had three viruses, and that if I wanted them removed, I would have to pay $200.  I asked what the viruses were and was told that they didn’t know, but it would cost $200 to have them fixed. The guy told me that the Staples tuneup hadn’t even detected BitDefender (See?  It’s such a horrible program!) He said I should have gotten the Norton antivirus software, and was told that Norton had picked up the three viruses on my computer.

At this point I began to believe this was all a scam to get me to pay Staples 200 more dollars. Whatever, I said to the guy.  I needed my computer yesterday so can I have it now? It was frozen in update land because, in spite of the fact I told them the night before that I was going to come and get it and to forget about the updates, apparently they had tried again multiple times anyway.
That evening I sat down to work. The computer had seemingly passed through its updates, although this proved false. Later when I had to shut down because of the other issues that arose, it turned out the thing still wanted to keep updating. I finally had to go in and manually choose updates, leaving off the last one. It’s still screwed up and every time the thing shuts down, it tries to install the last update and fails, freezing and requiring a hard reboot.
The machine ran slower than it ever had before I took it to Staples. Frustrated and worried I wasn’t going to be able to finish my work, I did something I should have done this in the first place, and called Costco support. Remember though, I was up against a deadline and out of time, so it did not occur to me to call them sooner. In this, please cut me slack for my lack of foresight.
After 45 minutes on the phone, the computer was running speedily again. However, there was one problem that the tech could not figure out.  I now have to log into my wireless by going through the control panel, going into network preferences, and re-entering my security key every single time I log on. I used to be able to right click on the now disabled icon on my taskbar, click my network, and voila!  Logged on. Not any more.

The worst thing though, did not appear until I sat down to finish drafting the response due in five days. My Adobe Acrobat did not work. Every time I opened it I received an error message letting me know the registration had been corrupted and I needed to uninstall and reinstall. I ran an uninstall repair, but this did not fix the problem.

Frantic, I called my office to see if they had a serial number.  The only serial number they had for me was one for Adobe Standard. I had Pro and needed Pro. The Standard would not work. I kept trying to do my job around the error, but it wouldn’t work. I optimize scanned text. I insert and delete pages. I enter in text boxes and rectangles. I used Acrobat. A lot. No more. Finally today, up against the deadline and sobbing in frustration, I uninstalled and reinstalled a trial version. Unfortunately it doesn’t allow the user to do any of the functions I use. In tears, I called my friend Debbie. She took my documents, made them into PDFs, stuck in the Exhibit words, and bundled them all together, then emailed it back to me to file.  I wasted so much time on this problem, the response wasn’t nearly as tight and good as it could have been, and I filed it near 4 in the afternoon.

During this, I called Staples. I have a salesperson online who helps me with purchases. I had written him an email on Sunday after wasting two hours slogging through computer problems. He called me Monday. We played phone tag until today. He said the store had told him I said the computer had viruses. No, I never said that. He wanted to three-way call with the store to get this straightened out, so we made an appointment for tomorrow, after the big monster response was turned in.

Today, during my frustration, I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. He knew my case. He said the techs told him I said the computer had a virus. I never said that. He said my computer was “riddled with viruses.” That’s funny, because that’s not what they said and if their “tune-up” was supposed to clean viruses, why didn’t they do it? Why did they say it would be $200 to do that or give me any information at all? He said the “tune-up” had failed. That’s interesting, because my receipt says it worked just fine, that only one update failed. Well, your computer is riddled with viruses. So you’re telling me that my computer, which worked just fine and dandy until the day I got my computer back from Staples, magically developed viruses that only affected Adobe after I got it back from you? No answer? And are the viruses the reason the internet hookup icon on my taskbar is disabled and that no amount of tech support with Costco will bring it back? Yes, it must be. No apology, only an offer to bring the computer back and let the trolls get their hands on it again. Not on your life. Kick me once, shame on you. Kick me twice, shame on me. I’m not G.W.

What a load of horse pucky. Seriously. These yahoos want me to believe that my computer was riddled with viruses and that these viruses worked their magic only after my computer was left in their store. That, my friends, is a pile of steaming poo, a lie, a foulness, a thing most unclean.

I decided then and there to tell my story. My hope is that even one other person will read my words and decide that staples are for staplers, not a place to shop in. Take your business elsewhere. I’m going to. Office Depot is right across the parking lot.

I Hate Windows

I’ve switched to mac. However I still own a pretty decent PC that I keep because of WordPerfect, the best and only word processing program, a program that makes stupid, counterintuitive Word look like the mangled piece of shit that it is. If only Corel would make a WordPerfect for mac, things truly would be perfect.  Anyway, I digress.

I have not had the PC out for about 7 months.  It’s been packed away in Oregon.  I used it yesterday to work on some documents in WordPerfect.  I forgot just how hideously obnoxious windows is.  I hate the constant updates.  I hate the stupid little messages telling me stuff I already got 4000 times ago without the stupid little message.  I hate that I have to give “Supervisor Permission” to do anything, even though I’m the only one using the damn thing, and even though I told it I was the only one using the damn thing.

Windows-based computers are called PCs, for “personal computers,” but the truth is they are anything but.  They are completely designed for work in an office with some IP nazi who wants total control of everything you do.  There should be some way to shut that shit off, but there isn’t.  I called HP when I got the thing new and nope, can’t do it.  Annoying.

Just now I came into my office after taking a shower.  The PC had turned itself on and was sitting there wondering if it could install updates.  Um, no.  Go away. I don’t want to have to sit and wait and give you permisssion and then hang out while you reboot and do all your foolish things. Leave me alone.  I’m going to go use my mac.

Settling In To Our New Home

I live in an apartment where the previous occupants must never have cleaned.  It is easy to draw this conclusion based on the grime covering nearly everything, the sort of grime that requires years to accumulate.  Now, I completely accept that I am tidier than a lot of people.  I have higher standards than others when it comes to dust and whatnot.  I do not say this with any sense of superiority, but only to point out that I know I am pickier than a lot of people.  But seriously, the filth in this apartment takes the cake.  Even Boyfriend, who probably dusts twice a year, has been appalled at just how disgustingly filthy this place is.

Getting the apartment clean, and getting us unpacked and settled has been slow going.  As we have moved in, we have had to clean each place before putting anything away.  We left the rugs for each room for last.  The floors were so grimy the mop would catch on the goo in the first couple of runs over it.  Vacuum, then mop, rinse, mop, rinse, mop, rinse, sometimes six or seven times before we would get to clean wood.  Needless to say it has been slow going.

The windows easily qualify as the most dirty part of the apartment.  The outsides were so unclean, it was difficult to see through them near the edges.  The sills inside were so black with grime and filth that rags used to wipe them would be completely black.  I don’t mean a bit of dirt, but actually black as if they had been wiped through soot.

The other day I set out to try and clean these windows.  We had wiped down the inside in an effort to allow some natural light, but the outsides were so disgustingly filthy, with streaks of black grime, that every day appeared to be cloudy, even in bright sun.

We live on the fourth floor.  The windows in our bedroom are next to a fire escape, so I figured I could climb out there, although the prospect was not exactly appealing.  The living room windows, however, were another matter.  There is nothing between them and the cement below except air.  I decided I would reach outside with a mop and keep at it.  I did this, bringing the mop in every few seconds to rinse the soot-like blackness from the mop’s edge.  Then I reached out and up as far as I could in an effort to remove some of the streakiness.  The result was far from perfect, but a vast improvement.

In the meantime, Boyfriend had gone down to the basement to dump some recycling, then to the mailbox to pick up our mail.  He was gone a bit longer than I would have expected, but I was busy and did not really pay much attention.  A few minutes later, he came into the apartment, walked into the living room, and popped the bottom window down, exposing the outer face.  He then clicked some buttons on the top pane and lowered it.  Voilà!  Access to the outside of the windows!

It turns out he met a neighbor while checking the mail, a nice man who had welcomed us to the building the day we were moving in.  He saw Boyfriend and asked him how we were settling in.  Boyfriend mentioned the windows and wondered aloud whether the management company ever cleaned the outside, and the neighbor showed him how we could do it ourselves.

We are finally settlling in for real.  The windows in the living room and our bedroom are so clean, you can’t tell there is glass there.  Milla’s room and the kitchen are on slate for this week.  Curtains are up in the living room and our bedroom as well.  The rugs are on the floor.  There are only three boxes left, two of which are full of donation items we’re trying to figure out how to get rid of.  Overall, it seems our little home is coming together.

Welcome Back, Dear

My mac died on Sunday.  It turns out the hard drive was bad.  The funny thing is, I was so pleased with mac over windows I did not realize some niggling things were the result of a bad hard drive.  Now I have a new hard drive and the niggles have gone away.  Mac is even better.

While I realize it isn’t great my hard drive went caput after five months, I am very happy that I have a mac and could simply walk into a mac store and they would fix it.  No sitting on hold for 8 years with some techie somewhere to prove what I already know.  No waiting to ship it off, then shipping it off, then waiting for its return.  My mac was back to me this morning.

Another lucky thing for me was that the mac people were able to recover just about all the things that had not been backed up.  I literally had my external hard drive sitting here on the desk next to me ready to hook up and back up the day my drive finally quit on me.  I was on the phone with a friend trying to send her an email and it just stopped.  I couldn’t shut down properly and had to turn it off with the button.  It never recovered.  It went to a blue screen with a little flickering question mark.  Awww…..

My kind housemate allowed me to use her old windows computer while I waited for mine to return.  This was good for someone so tethered to the internet and the need to dump useless thoughts (like these).  I am quite thankful to her for allowing me to use it to check my email and to post on my blog.  However, while using this computer I was reminded of all the reasons I left windows in the first place. I do not miss the constant and ubiquitous popup messages giving me some piece of information I either already know or do not care to know. I hate those little messages.  I do not miss the constant and ubiquitous updates that are always on the ready to install, freezing things up, making the machine click and clatter and rattle.  I hate those updates.  I do not miss the random desire of pc’s to freeze for no apparent reason as they click and clatter and rattle.  Perhaps they are thinking up new little messages for me.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am SO glad to have my mac again.  I wrote my boyfriend a text message when I got my baby back.  It said I have three major loves in my life:  one is in school, one is asleep in Oregon, and the third is sitting here next to me in the car. Yes, I’m silly enough to count my mac as one of my major loves.  Welcome back, dear.  I missed you.

You Winner Lottery National!!

You winner in lottery national!

Ooooh!  Excitement!  I received an email today that said just these words.  Can you believe it?  Yeah, me neither.  Somehow I think if I won the lottery, several things would be different.  First of all, I would have had to have actually played the lottery, which I don’t, so it would be difficult to win.  Second, wouldn’t you think they would notify me in some other manner than email?  And finally, would the email really say, You winner in lottery national? Call me a fool, but I would think it would at least say You are a winner, not just You winner.

I hope I haven’t lost out by deeming this message junk and deleting it.  I really hope I have not done some serious damage or something.  Geez.  Oh well.  I have to hope I’ve done the right thing.

Tonight my computer acted like it had Windows installed.  Eeewwwww yuck!  Damn thing.  It kept freezing when I tried to do a find on Firefox.  I had to do forced shutdowns twice and had to just use the button to turn the entire computer off twice.  It was all very annoying and Windows deja vueyish.  I was finally able to restart properly and things appear to be on track, but that Windows behavior, it gets me all sketchy.

Land of the Stupid People

I am the QUEEN of the Land of the Stupid People! I love being a QUEEN! It is so much fun. Do you want to know why I am the QUEEN of the Land of the Stupid People? Because I am, that’s why. Because I have had trouble after trouble after trouble after trouble with my cussword computer and my internet connection. I finally ascertained that it is something to do with my wireless so I went on down to the handy dandy computer store and purchased myself fifty feet of ethernet cable with which to connect via wire. I plugged it all in and viola, it still didn’t work that great. It did at first, but then it went back to the same old crap. I troubleshooted. I rebooted. I thissed. I thatted. I still had problems.

So tonight I was sitting here trying to do God knows what on the internet and my computer kept up it’s usual blather, quitting, running slow, running quickly for a minute to get me all excited, then slowing to a crawl or stopping altogether and on and on. I decided since it is near eleven, I would call Qwest yet again. There wouldn’t be a wait at eleven at night. I know this. I know the timing for getting a human rather quickly because I am an experienced Qwest technical support caller. I have called them MANY times. I know their number by heart. I know the words to say to the automated system in order to get to a person in the fastest possible manner. Something to note, saying Fuck You to the computer automated voice makes the voice say, I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that. It’s funny. Something else to note. Qwest hates me. I have called them and gone through every troubleshoot possible. I’ve had the wire replaced to my house since the wire came from 1945. I had the wire in front of my house replaced since it was frazzled and needed replacing. I have been through four modems and three computers. Over the last several years, I’ve had many technicians in my home. Sometimes they fix things, sometimes they don’t. It’s hit or miss. I have not called them in some time since I decided that the latest issues are my computer’s and related to this wireless issue.

Anyway, I called the little techie tonight. I went through the rigmarole of proving I’m me, verifying my address, verifying my phone number, giving my permission to access my account, all of this even though I am the one who called in and asked for help. Tell me, why would I call in and ask for help then tell them No, You don’t have permission to access my account? Who would do that? Actually, I might call in and try it just for the hell of it. Give some techie some fun. Just wondered what you would do if I said no.

The techie had me check some things. Actually, I was already where he wanted to send me. I went to the network connections place and saw that I was connected by wireless and not by wire. This even though the wire is strung across the middle of my house. The techie had me troubleshoot several things. No matter. The light for ethernet cable would not light up on the modem. Then he suggested I reverse the wire. This means taking the end from the computer and plugging it into the modem and the end from the modem and plugging it into the computer. Okay, sure. If you really want me to crawl under the desk and behind the computer and do this, hell, I’m willing to try it. I even keep a flashlight under there for rooting around in the back of my computer.

Guess what I discovered upon my visit to the back of my computer? Guess? You know. The ethernet cable was NOT plugged into the back of the computer. How long it has been this way, I could not tell you. How it became unplugged, I could not tell you. I plugged it in and waited a few more minutes to pretend to the tech that I was indeed switching the ends. Then I got on the line and said, It worked! What a miracle! Imagine that, switching the ends made the internet work.

For Christ’s sake, sometimes I have to wonder about myself. How many nights have I cursed this thing since getting that damn ethernet line and it’s all been because I’m the QUEEN of the Land of the Stupid People? Amazing. It is amazing I graduated law school and passed the bar. It is amazing I got an undergraduate degree with honors. Hell, it’s amazing I was able to complete KINDERGARTEN because a FIVE YEAR OLD could figure out that if you don’t plug in the cable, the line isn’t going to work. It’s as simple as that.

I’m going to go make a crown now and wear it with pride. That’s about all I can do.

Windows Needs to Fly Out the Window

Insomnia is sucking my brain dry.

I would like to warn any readers who are offended by cussing to stop reading right now.  Because I am writing about the product designed by Bill Gates et al, I cuss quite frequently in this post.

Fucking Windows makes me want to throw the computer.  Someone recently suggested Linux and once I figure out how to do everything, I’m switching.  Fucking Windows bullshit.  I bought this computer brand new last summer.  It came with Vista.  I wasn’t terribly pleased with this, wanting to wait to get Vista until after the bugs were a bit more worked out, but the damn stores charge you to keep XP so I went ahead and kept the Vista.  I have actually been quite pleased.  Compared to all the other annoying versions of fucking Windows, once I got used to navigating it, I liked it.

But of course you can’t have a fucking Windows computer without putting up with virus crap, so I bought McAfee.  Well, McAfee is a pain in the ass and seems to interfere with my wireless configurations.  After months of fighting with Qwest on the phone because my DSL would operate like a faucet shutting on and off, they sent out a tech.  His computer ran on my line just fine.  No water shutting off, just straight streaming.  We ran every troubleshoot in the book, to no avail.  Then something happened that caused me to turn off the McAfee protection to my wireless for some reason.  I can’t even remember why I did it.  But lo and behold, the problem went away.  At that point I did some searches and discovered others had this issue as well.  Since I had paid for a year of the stupid thing, I was stuck with it.  I just took it off wireless protection.  Then I got a virus.  Luckily I had Vista, so Vista would ask me if I wanted to download the virus.  Uh no.  Do I look stupid?  But it was annoying.  Every time I turned on a browser or turned it off, there was that message.  And I was afraid I was going to accidentally hit the go ahead and install button one of these days.

All along, I thought the virus came from the lack of wireless protection.  Worried I would get another virus, I turned back on the McAfee protection.  However, after spending a half an hour typing a WordPress post, then having it disappear into the ether when I hit save and continue because McAfee turned my DSL to shit, I decided I was done with the whole damn mess and decided to reinstall fucking Windows.  I have now spent an hour backing everything up to my external hard drive, then another hour and a half reinstalling fucking Windows, then another two hours waiting for it to configure all its crap and run its stupid updates, and another hour moving everything back from the external drive only to discover the damn virus that neither Norton nor McAfee can seem to get rid of was actually attached to a goddamned video file my brother downloaded even after I told him never to download anything to my computer because he has a knack for downloading shit like viruses.  And the thing I can’t friggin’ figure out is why neither virus protection pack can locate this shit and annihilate it.  I paid for the super deluxe we find anything and kill it version of McAfee.  The computer came with the entry level crap version of Norton.  You’d think between the two they could locate the thing.  I tried running just the Norton.  I tried running just the McAfee.  I tried running them at the same time (they won’t let you).  Neither one found the virus.  Useless.

Thanks to the kindness of Vista in asking permission before downloading the virus, I am able to see the file it wants to install.  It was because of this I was able to google it and determine what it was.  I tried all the steps involved for removing it from my computer, but they did not work.  Even after deleting it then shredding the deleted files with McAfee, it kept coming back.  I am hoping that my deletion after detection on the video file from Derek is successful.  If it isn’t, I’m going to have to go through the whole pain in the ass again, only this time with the thing not saved on my external hard drive.  Again, I just don’t get why the virus programs don’t find it during their scans.  I’ve updated the latest software.  I’ve gone through all the steps.  What’s the damn problem, anyway?  The virus shows on google searches.  People know what it is.  Why is it that Norton and McAfee don’t?  I just don’t get it.

So Linux here I come.  I need to do some further research.  I need to read the stuff my friend sent about it.  But I’ve had it up to here with fucking Windows and its bullshit.  If I don’t post anything again for three more days it means I wrote something and lost it then got sick of it all and reinstalled fucking Windows and went through all this crap again.  But no.  I won’t.  This is fucking Windows’s last chance with me.  Piece of crap.