Thursday, January 07, 2010

Graphics Where Are Thou ?

Last Friday my screen went black, then the laptop rebooted and then I got the dreaded "blue screen of death" which normally precedes a noise not unlike that from a 6 yr old girl who has been told that Miley Cyrus shoots dope, hates music and is really 35. If that's too subtle for you, I screamed like a little girl.

I took the option to come up in safe mode but apart from the screen being covered in brightly coloured bar codes, Windows itself was working just fine. So I returned to the normal configuration and did a bit of surfing to try and find out the extent of my problem.

This wasn't easy given that I had to read text through lines of bar codes. It was like looking at the screen through a net curtain.

That's an example of a web page, the one for the graphic card as it happens. See what I mean ? Those yellow bar codes shouldn't be there !

I surfed for hours and grew more upset as the evening wore on as it seemed that I had experienced a hardare fault from which there was no recovery - well apart from buying a new card or more likely, a new laptop.

Then I came across a forum site that mentioned Sony putting out a press release in June 2008 admitting there was a potential fault with the NVIDIA graphics cards in a small number of their models. Was this a "get out of jail" card for me ? I surfed deeper.....and found this article buried deep in the bowels, nay in a dark recess of the small intestine of the Sony support site.

I checked my laptop model number against the doomed list and voila, there it was. I rang the special number and felt that I'd woken up the poor lady who had the unenviable job of manning this phone for the times a Sony user with a duff graphics card would find the webpage and thus find the number. I'm sure I could hear a pissed off spider scuttling off to start a new web.

After some back and fro with model numbers, serial numbers and inside leg measurements (and a mild ticking off for not having registered my laptop when I bought it), I was sitting with fingers tightly crossed that she'd give me the green light, followed by instructions for posting my laptop off to some service shop in Omaha, Nebraska and I'd get it back in March. Maybe.

I got the green light and thought I'd won the national lottery. I NEVER get breaks like this.

Then things moved on a pace and she made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I could dump the national lottery winnings and upgrade to the Nigerian Inheritance millions if I wanted !! She told me someone would ring me within 3 working days to arrange a home visit when the graphics card would be replaced and the new one would be given an extended 3 year warranty. Would this be acceptable to me ?

Lady you got me at "someone will ring you".

A HOME VISIT to repair my laptop...woohooooo. Yes please.

We exchanged phone numbers...well actually I gave her mine as obvously I already had hers..and we left bestest friends ever.

Then over the weekend, something strange happened. I came to the laptop on Saturday morning and the screen was fine. I was able to watch the Leeds game (won 1-0 by the way...hehe) but the graphics problem was still a ticking bomb so I wasn't going to cancel the call/visit.

A local computer guy representing Sony rang me on Tuesday to arrange the visit the next day. I told him we were going to Miami on Wednesday so could it be Thursday ? Fine said he. He'd ring me Thursday morning to arrange a time.

Sure as eggs are toffees, he did ring me, all apologies as he was 100 miles away on an emergency call but would try and make it to me later. I told him my screen was fine now so not to worry trying to make it this evening. Videos were a bit jerky so things weren't right by any means but the screen was fine and we agreed he'll come tomorrow (Fri) at 10am. He kept calling me Sir and apologising for the delays. Sweet.

Of course you just know what's happened now ? Yes, although I started this blog post with a clear screen, it's now banjaxed again. Got my lovely bar codes back and they've brought along some colourful friends too. Oh deep joy and I WAS going to watch 2012 this evening.

That's the disaster movie where everyone is attacked by bar codes. Well they would be in my version.

I wish I had Avatar. It seems it's mostly in blue already !

Is it 10am yet ?


Anonymous said...

Being a techie and technology coordinator/teacher....this blog today leaves me speechless. Puters have minds of their own...they really do.

Daphne said...

I agree with Anonymous - I've always been deeply suspicious of the idea that they work by logic and electricity. I think they work by intuition, magic and mischief - - - a bit like their owners, really. I hope Graphics Man turns up and sorts it out fast.

Punctuation said...

You really didn't expect us to get the laptop back to you by March did you? :-P

For the others: computers work by magic and hard-working leprechauns who push the data around inside the machine and draw the pixels on the screen. Sometimes they get sick and that's why the screen *sometimes* works and sometimes doesn't.

The "word verification" at the bottom of the comments box is actually a complement in leprechaun language - if you get it wrong it can sometimes look like an insult and this makes them really cross and they refuse to listen to anything else you've said for a while.

I thought everyone knew that.

Love and kisses, The Wizard of Omaha.

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