Thursday, December 13, 2007

Computer Addiction, Withdrawal, and Repair Service

My usual morning ritual consists of a cup of instant Maxwell House coffee, a few minutes of the early news on Channel 7, and most important of all, a check of my email, followed by visits to several web sites, including my own two blogs, plus eGenerations and Elders Tribune.

Imagine my dismay a couple of days ago when my computer started acting up, making strange noises, and worst of all, failing to access the Internet! I was devastated.

It's not that I hadn't had trouble before. My computer was apparently jammed with too many programs at startup, and my cable modem was showing signs of unreliability. However, I had developed a regular turn off-wait-turn on again routine that usually got things running again. Not this time.

I spent all day trying to get on line, without success. I finally decided to call my cable service provider. Have you ever tried that? Perhaps it's just RCN Cable, but I got one of those endless automated lists of numbers to select, and when I finally managed to get a human being, it was a woman, probably in some third world country, whose English I could barely understand. I couldn't get a local phone number for the company at all, either via telephone or from the phone directory. All I wanted was a technician who could exchange my old modem for a new one, and of course I was resigned to the idea of paying big bucks for a service call. However, without a local number, I couldn't really do that.

I finally gave up. For the rest of the day, I unrealistically dreamed of urgent emails demanding my attention (the reality is that at this time of year, I receive mostly spam [well-handled by AOL] and ads from companies I've ordered from on line, and I'm not in the mood for any more "bargains.") I was nervous, restless, and tempted to eat huge amounts of candy. I surely must be addicted to computers and the Internet, and I was apparently suffering from withdrawal!

I was dismayed to realize how addicted I am, and I hated that helpless feeling. I am not and never have been a "techie," and I have no friends or relatives nearby to help. Wisely, I decided to consult the local Yellow Pages under Computer Service and Repair, and lo and behold, there were a few companies listed that sounded promising. I chose Home Tech Computer Solutions on the basis of their ad, called, and wonder of wonders, they promised to send a technician out the next day! He came as scheduled, and he did a wonderful job of analyzing my computer and modem problems, advising me what I needed, and actually getting me back on line, at least temporarily (he will install a new modem soon). Thank you, Michael.

So what did I learn? My computer addiction is a reality, and it's a relatively benign one for a senior citizen. The computer is my main connection to the outside world. I need it. I also learned that my brother's adage, "Nothing is a problem if you can fix it with money," has some value. I now know how to keep my computer lifeline open. I've heard a lot of complaints about poor service, so it's reassuring to learn that at least in Chicago, there are entrepreneurs willing to help for a fair price. To me, it's worth it to be back on line.

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne


Paul @ Elders Tribune said...

May I recommend purchasing your next computer from a local, respectable, and "long-in-business" computer shop? Local shops often provide in-person servicing at a discount if you bought a computer from them. It's best to shop around.

In any case, I'm glad you're back online.

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Paul, but in my neighborhood, the "local computer shop" is Best Buy. The Geek Squad is O.K., but they, too, have an annoying national service number, and are often too busy to come when needed.

For me, I think an independent repair service is better. Gateway (contacted through the Internet in those days) did a good job of installation few years ago, by the way.

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