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Saturday, September 14, 2013

We don't have a lot to laugh about in this family...

But we do have access to cheap bubble mixture, which is enough to keep us going. Lisa's a bit of a killjoy, obviously, but we can always lift our spirits by playing with a cardboard box...

That's a package from Approved Food, the internet's leading purveyor of out-of-date comestibles. Lisa's currently working her way through twenty-four expired Snickers bars for a pound, and I'm drinking a lot of tea from the last century. It's a miracle we're still alive.

The good news is that Amelie's now started school properly, and has taken to it like a duck to water. She's already received two commendations from the teacher, and has moved up a couple of clouds on the classroom wall chart, meaning she's progressed far from the sad raindrop and is now just one good turn away from the smiling sun, and the reward sticker she so desperately craves. Lisa, on the other hand, is struggling to cope with the daily trek up the steep hill, pushing an overweight baby in a buggy, and would be considering home-schooling if it didn't involve seeing more of her daughter.

In the meantime, I've been wrestling with a computer problem we've had since Wednesday evening, when our PC finally decided it had had enough of Toby constantly pressing the on/off button every five seconds, and announced that it didn't want to boot up any more. Probably because it knew he'd only come along and turn it off again. My attempts to fix it were met with only limited success, so on Thursday evening I took it over to PC World in Hove.

Four or five years ago, I had a similar problem with my last PC, so I took it over to the same branch of PC World, where the Tech Guys (as they were known in those days) looked at it without an appointment, identified that one of the memory chips was faulty, sold me a new one, and fitted it there and then.

The Tech Guys are now called 'Knowhow', and the PC World website says this: "Bring your desktop base unit into one of our stores with a Knowhow service bar any day of the week and we'll diagnose the problem for you, for free". That was perfect for me, as I really just wanted to know what the problem was, and whether I could fix it myself.

So I drove over there on Thursday, plonked my PC on the desk, and explained the problem to the Knowhow guy. He nodded sagely, entered the model number of my PC into his computer, said "Yes, that's one we can repair", and then asked me for fifty quid. So I quoted the website, and said I'd like him to diagnose the problem for free. To which he replied that unlike a few years ago, they're no longer allowed to open up a PC in store, and can only diagnose problems on computers which boot up successfully. Or, in other words, computers without problems. It's not so much Knowhow as No-how.

Instead, he told me that I could give him fifty quid upfront, and he'd send my computer off to someone who was actually allowed to look at it, and in 12-15 days time, they'd contact me to tell me what the problem was, and I could decide if I wanted it fixed. They would then charge me extra for parts, and the job would be sorted. Sometime in October. For an indeterminate fee.

This is clearly why no computer is futureproof. By the time you get it back from PC World, it's become obsolete and is like surfing the net on a ZX81.

So needless to say, I declined. In a slightly huffy manner. I would have e-mailed PC World and asked them to refund the money I spent on petrol to get me to Hove on a false promise about diagnosing my problem for free, but my computer wasn't working, so I couldn't.

Instead, I spent 24 hours researching the problem on my own and running various tests, and on Friday night I finally got it working. If you want something done, you need to bloody well do it yourself. I've saved myself fifty quid and a fortnight, but I'm now slightly scared to turn the computer off, in case it doesn't restart. I also need to keep Toby distracted so that he doesn't break it again. I think I'll head down to Asda for more bubbles...


Lisa said...

'A killjoy who struggles to get up the hill!' You don't see that on many dating profiles. No wonder there's so many single people around.

Phil's Mum said...

At least he didn't say you were 'over the hill'!