29 October 2006

Bad tech luck

October is the month of bad tech luck.
(It is also the reason why I haven't had much of an online existence recently...)

First, poor Macbook (4 month old) started having the sudden infant death syndrome - it would suddenly flick itself off and would do it repeatedly. To prevent permanent death, I sent it in for maintenance just before I left for Singapore. It is quite timely too since I had been wanting to send it in to change the polycarbonate surface of the Macbook (the earlier batches used a material which discoloured too easily - perils of being an early adopter).

Now, if there is any silver lining to be seen about having to send your laptop in for maintenance, it is that the Mac customer support folks - both in Singapore and in China - are so polite and undefensive. They recognize a problem when it happens and don't just try to talk around the issue or shift blame. I would be hardpressed to name another manufacturer who would be willing to change the plastic surface of a product due to cosmetics reasons.

In any case, the sudden infant death syndrome has since been diagnosed as an immune over-reaction to the heat, so hopefully Macbook will get to come home soon once the replacement component is in stock.

In the meantime, I have been relying on the Dell laptop at work, which is such a clunky industrial piece of machine, but which works. I call it The Farmer (a la The Farmer in the Dell). I like Macbook very much, but have to concede that there are still those few things (China internet banking software and the wonderful Picasa and Mindful Clock programs) which depends on Windows and hence, The Farmer.

To Dell's credit, their newer lines of laptops are less farmerish now, due in part to their Mac-like glossy, elongated screens. The other parts of the hardware, I am not sure. The touchpad buttons were too soft for my liking when I tried Ms Q's, and I sure hope they updated their bluetooth connectivity. I spent an entire Saturday night trying to configure the bluetooth on The Farmer to work with my headset, only to find out after intensive googling that Windows SP2 does not support bluetooth headsets and manufacturers have to provide their own stack update. Dell duly did this by copying from the Toshiba stack, but which specifically didn't provide for the Latitude D610 - the exact model of The Farmer.

In short, I can't skype with a bluetooth headset on The Farmer, which made me miss Macbook even more.

But I thought, never mind, maybe I can still blog with The Farmer. I did manage to set up my wireless again after it was knocked out. But voila, exactly on this Sunday that I brought The Farmer home, the Chinese govt put out their censorship tentacles - the Blogger site was blocked.

Grr grr grr.

Someone tell me where I can buy a good-luck tech charm, will ya?

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