Sunday, April 11, 2004

Built Under A Bad Sign

Eric's too kind to implicate me in his current sorrows, but I'm afraid I'm duty-bound, at least for the sake of comedy, to implicate myself.

The cheap computer company which he dare not name is Compaq. And the horrible machine whose origins he dare not speak of came from me. Well, it came from Staples first, but then he got it from me.

It's a sad story of woe and pain, but it bears retelling for the sake of the kids.

The wife and I (marking five years last night), having been married for six months or so, decided it was time for our own computer. We had moved out of my parents' house, but to get online, I'd have to drive back to Kaysville, where they used to live, from Clinton, where we used to live.

At the time I worked for Staples. I was new to buying computers, so I thought that a Compaq on sale at Staples was a good deal. What it turned out being is a good deal of trouble.

The OEM copy of Win98 that came with the machine crashed repeatedly and spectacularly, and with the slightest provocation. I became a member of Microsoft's Resellers program while at Staples, and while at a training meeting, received a pre-release copy of Windows ME.

As horrible as Windows ME turned out to be, it was better than Compaq's copy of Win98, and the world hadn't yet figured out that WinME was a scourge upon the earth, so I was grateful to have an operating system that I could depend on. Sort of.

This is where Eric comes in.

Crystal and I were tired of the stupid computer's shennanigans, and decided it was time for an upgrade. I had been upgrading the Compaq and began to know my way around the inside of that computer. It was all pretty basic, so I declared that our next computer would be built by me.

That was my first PC build. After that, my build history gets complicated, because I've built lovely, custom systems for myself, friends and family, but I also spent some time building cookie-cutter machines for two local OEMs. So there have been, literally, thousands since.

By some miracle, I built the new machine well enough that it ran, and Eric, also due for an upgrade, bought our Compaq.

I honestly didn't realize that I was subjecting him to treachery. Through the years since, as various components have crapped out in that machine, he's made me aware of the betrayal and even forgiven me openly. That's what good friends are made of.

Later, when I knew what I was doing, I help him build a really nice machine for himself, and now it's his main system. But I know it's a meager penance for selling him the infamous Compaq.

Sorry again, Eric. Perhaps one of these days, when you feel you can part with it, we'll have a proper pagan burning for that calcubine of yours. She's going to silicon hell anyway, so we may as well get her nice and warm for the journey.

It's true that Compaq's machines may be much better now than they once were. Even so, I haven't bought another off-the-shelf desktop since. I think Eric will be self-building from here on out, too. I just hope he always lets me help. I'm always learning useful new tricks.

I do have a Dell laptop and a Toshiba tablet, and they're both great. But the idea of building laptops just doesn't turn me on, so when I need those, I'll keep buying them from trusted dealers.

And now you know my life's story! Fascinating, wasn't it?

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