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Technology Is A Jerk

geekgirlWarning: uber-geeky rant ahead.

This has NOT been my week with machines. My phone, which is new-ish, decided to randomly go to “Do Not Disturb” mode. Every time I turn it off and on, it goes to DND mode. Midday, it goes to Do Not Disturb. Overnight it goes to DND. It’s not a setting, and I did a factory reset and removed all my apps – after which it actually got worse. I’ve now missed a few important calls, which drives me insane, including one from SSD. Going to call tomorrow – wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t sent me a follow up letter saying, “Hey, we tried to call you and you didn’t answer. This is kind of a deal breaker.”

During an online search, I discovered that the random DND thing appears to be a known bug and there’s no fix for it. I just changed it so phone calls will still come through in DND mode. Hopefully.

Yeesh.

And my also-newish laptop has decided to randomly kick me offline. Now mind you, this isn’t either my modem or router, both of which are acting fine for other machines in the house, and this has been going on for a while. It’s also been getting worse – we went from one or two times a month to one or two times a week to five or six times a day. Gah! Every time it crashed and burned I would troubleshoot and get that I was missing a network protocol on the computer. For non-geeks, Windows was randomly turning off its ability to take a walk on the Internet side and couldn’t find its feet. Yay, Windows!

There’s a relatively quick fix for it in a DOS window, but it’s annoying because it requires a reboot. Every. Single. Time. Therefore whatever I’m working on gets put on hold while I wait for my computer to get its proverbial head out of its ass and work again. Lately sometimes it took 2-3 reboots to get it working again, adding insult to injury.

I have automatic Windows updates setup on this machine (which requires me to swear several times at my computer each week because it slows to a crawl during the updates.) I also have automatic updates setup for Dell drivers and whatnot. So tonight I finally kept digging until I figured out what was going on.

Dell never updated. I got no notifications, it didn’t automatically download and install. This little monster was several versions out of date on some critical Dell updates.

Isn’t’ that special? (Y’all can read that in SNL’s “Church Lady” voice. I wrote it that way.)

Sooooo… I went to the Dell site and had to install Dell’s auto-detect software yet again, because it can’t find the one you just installed five minutes ago, and then I installed the updates it said I needed. Except a couple of updates had to be downloaded and manually installed. Since one of those was a six-version update to the BIOS, I’m not surprised it required manual updating. Again, for non-geeks, this is the gutsiest guts of your computer. If the BIOS ain’t working, your computer ain’t working. It took me a while before I was able to get all the updates done. Hopefully they’ll take care of all the bad habits this machine has acquired over time.

With all the core functions affected, it doesn’t surprise me that my wifi was wonky. I’m amazed the computer was working as well as it did!

It was pretty frustrating that I had to jump through those hoops. I could’ve called Dell’s help desk and I’m betting they would’ve had me mail this thing in (at my expense) and taken a good 2-3 weeks to get the driver updates installed. Uber-geek me had no problem getting them done, but what about someone who ISN’T uber-geek? Dell’s known for its customer service, but I won’t buy another of its products. This kind of crap is why they make a fortune for their support programs. It’s probably actually a GOOD thing for most people, because in all fairness I wouldn’t expect Joe the plumber to update his BIOS.

But for me: no thanks. I’m going back to Lenovo if and when I can.

Just with a keyboard condom, given my propensity for well-placed spills.

Oh well. I’m within the time frame the SSD office gave me to contact them – barely – when I call tomorrow. The laptop – so far – has stayed connected since the updates. (Knock on wood.) We’ll see how my phone behaves when I use it tomorrow. If it keeps this up I guess I’ll have to look at buying another phone. I hate spending money on a phone when this one is just barely a year old, but if I can’t get phone calls, it kind of defeats the whole purpose of HAVING a phone.

End geek rant. For now.

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