Tech Talk, Part II

As you may remember from Part I of our saga, I obtained a Blackberry earlier this year, and used it successfully (if not quite with a full sense of satisfaction) for many months. But a couple of months ago, the touch pad started acting a little funny; it seemed a bit hypersensitive, and would occasionally select things at the slightest touch. Sometimes it was annoying, but it didn’t seem like a big deal.

Fast forward a few more weeks, and we had a major problem. Suddenly, a brief tap on my touch pad opened a variety of random programs; attempting to select anything on my phone was like using Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” function. After a while, it became difficult not only to use the touch pad, but also the buttons to the side of the touch pad, as they would set it off. My Blackberry became a very expensive phone-only handset.

At the same time, a second crisis loomed: the impending demise of my laptop. My laptop was purchased in 2003, and it has served my incredibly well for the past several years. However, it has become sluggish as computers do over time, and I’ve been considering a laptop replacement for about 2 years. Unfortunately, life transitions – like, you know, quitting my job and going to grad school – required my funds to be expended elsewhere, and so I’ve been putting off my purchase again and again.

My computer, though, was longing to be released to the great computer recycling center in the sky (not China!). The early warning signals came about a year ago, when in the middle of the fall semester my laptop screen just went black. I had a massive freak-out, followed by desperately trying to peer into the barely visible image of my screen so I could log in and backup all my files. Thankfully, another reboot made my baby feel better, and I made a backup promptly thereafter (not to mention, a couple of times since). But I knew my time was running out.

As I put off the purchase again this spring, I think my laptop decided it was losing patience with me. So it gave me a second crisis warning, this time by refusing to recognize that it was plugged into its power supply. This is actually the culmination of a long-standing battery/power supply issue, where my laptop battery no longer holds any charge and the power supply cord sometimes had to be positioned in just certain ways in order for the laptop to acknowledge its existence. (I never bought a new battery, BTW, because I kept thinking I’d be replacing my laptop in just a couple months anyway.) Change that “sometimes” to “always” and the “just certain ways” to “just one very specific way” and you arrive at our current situation: my power cord ghetto-taped to the back of my laptop with the screen at the exact right angle to serve as the anchor for the adhesive bundle, and me afraid to even shift my laptop a few inches on the table lest it bug out for good.

Suffice it to say, I’d reached a critical point for both of my primary devices, and something had to be done tout de suite.

The penultimate chapter: Part III – Why I Should Never Second Guess Myself When I Already Know What I Want, and What Really Drives My Computing Choices

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