Saturday, August 16, 2008

When gadgets go wrong

With me, it’s always something.

Before you start, what follows is not whining. It’s not really complaining, although my run of luck is something I’d just as soon see end.

I guess it started at Indianapolis. I was riding down the street, talking to Sirius NASCAR Radio executive producer Daniel Norwood on my Blackberry. I said something and Daniel didn’t answer. I said something else and he said, “Hello?” I kept talking, he couldn’t hear me.

Dropped calls happen, but this was odd. I could hear him. I was actually on a headset, since I was driving, so I took it out and dialed him back. Same thing. I could hear him but he couldn’t hear me.

I was on the way to the hotel to check in, and when I got there the room wasn’t ready. So I looked up the location of the nearest Sprint store and took it over there. The guy took it apart while I waited for like 30 minutes. “Yep,” he said when he was done. “It’s broken.”

So I let the Sprint folks at the race track look at it. They said my Blackberry was toast and swapped it out with a new one. They transferred all my contacts over and everything, but until I could get it to the folks in my office I couldn’t get e-mails on it through my Observer account. A Blackberry without e-mail is a cell phone, but there you go.

Then there was my car. I had to get a state inspection the other day and there were four light bulbs – a headlamp, the third brake light and two lights on either side of my license plate – not working.

They were all replaced and the car passed inspection. But the next night when it got dark, some of the perimeter lights that stay on when you turn the car off until you can get inside came on and stayed on. I mean stayed on. We came home in my wife’s car and I thought someone was waiting for us in the driveway. It was my car.

Now this had happened once before. I took some of the fuses out so my battery wouldn’t die and when I took it to be looked at it stopped doing it. And it hadn’t done it for weeks, a couple of months actually. But it’s back and for three days this week it sat in my yard with about 10 fuses pulled out and laid in the driver’s seat.

I put them back in today and the lights worked fine. So I couldn’t go get it checked. Tonight, my lights are flickering on and off as I write this. I’m through with the fuses and the battery in my 1998 Olds Aurora is – I swear – located under the bench of the back seat in a place you can’t get to with an act of Congress. If the car’s dead in the morning I may just shoot it – or me. One of us needs relief.

I also discovered that somehow in my recent move I have lost my iPod. It may be here in an unpacked box, but I can’t locate it. OK, I needed an excuse to get a fancier one anyhow. And it came.

So when I went to put my music library on it I had to reclaim that out of old files on my wife’s desktop. I decided to back up my songs to CDs, and spent much of last weekend doing that and then putting them on my laptop.

So naturally, I killed my laptop on Monday.

It started with something stupid that I did. I spilled some soda into the keyboard and fried the hard drive. Yes, I am an idiot. But I paid for the warranty and they sent me a new hard drive. I reinstalled the operating system and all the stuff I could, and got a very nice person from Dell tech support who did a lot of things I never could have figured out how to do. I thought I had it back on the road to recovery.

Until today.

First, I had to take it to the office to get some Observer software put on it so I can link to the system there. While they were at it they put the e-mail on the Blackberry, too. So I brought the laptop home and tonight the little touchpad thing stopped working. The thing that allows you to move the cursor around? Kaput. I went to Wal-Mart at 9:30 to buy a mouse and it seems to be working as I write this.

So by morning I could have a car with a dead battery, a laptop that I can move the cursor on, a cell phone that might dial Tibet on its own and an iPod that interferes with air traffic controllers.

Saturday’s job? Hooking the TV in my office at the new house to cable.

Cover your ears, folks.


Anonymous said...

This may not be whining but really... isn't this more than we need to know or care about?

And it damn sure isn't what you're paid to write about.

Anonymous said...

Should have Verizon Wireless and a Toyota David

David said...

Marc, it's a blog...this is exactly what he's supposed to be writing about. If you want news, read the Observer.

And I enjoyed reading it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "technology" grand??

I only partially agree with "fan #5" ...make that a Honda!

An Olds Aurora?? are there any others out there?? Maybe the location of the battery is an example of why GM killed Olds.

...and "Marc": >Easy there
cowboy!< ...even someone as old as I [high school class of 1967] knows what a 'blog' is!

Anonymous said...

The FOO fighting continues. David, miss you on TMD,when will you be back? From Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike -- Thanks. I'll be back on Sirius Monday morning. I was originally scheduled to go to the beach with my wife this weekend but that kind of fell through and we stayed around the house.

Marc -- Buddy, I have had the past two race weekends off. My next one off is after Homestead. I just thought it was odd all this stuff has piled up. That's part of what a blog is. If you look back on the past year, I've written dozens of racing blogs. I will probably do one in the morning on this Joe Gibbs thing with the chassis dynos. If I bored you, I am sorry.

Crabber -- I bought this Aurora cheap with about 130,000 miles on it. It's transportation. It's a pain in the ass, actually, but it's a big enough car for my big ol' butt to run around in. I am gonna hate it when I finally do have to give it up for dead.

Anonymous said...

That's truly a blog there. Was entertaining and I admit I laughed at a ya.

You (and I) are breaking a rule:

You've got to be smarter than the equipment you're trying to operate.

Anonymous said...

crabber1967 - "Easy there
cowboy!< ...even someone as old as I [high school class of 1967] knows what a 'blog' is!"

You only have me by 3 years "old man," and yes I do know what a blog is, in fact I write 4 of my own and contribute to 3 others and have for just short of five years.

Too labor intensive to hover over my name to see that?

David - "Marc, it's a blog...this is exactly what he's supposed to be writing about."

Really, on a blog that is 99.999% racing with the only deviation is rumbling and ranting about the food in the press box.

BTW I hear the menu was changed in the MIS press box, how was the chicken and mashed potatoes Poole?

Mike Hutton said...

David, just ignore Marc. Looking forward to Monday when you're back on TMD...between this topic and, the JGR situation, and the continued slide of the #24 team that you cautioned them to be very concerned about last week at this time, I'd say you've got show material for most of the week, especially since the Bristol stuff starts Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

mike hutton - "David, just ignore Marc."

Easily done, but I see you couldn't accomplish the task given you just had to comment about me yourself.