Sunday, October 17, 2010

Computer 1, Computer 2, Computer 3: Three strikes you're out?

Gibraltar, UK---Today was a very bad day for me. My brand new, 7 day old, Acer computer I paid a fortune for in Cape Town, South Africa just stopped working.

This is the third computer. A review:
Computer 1 was my HP I brought from home. Heavy but durable, it was a good computer until as we were pulling up our dinghy to a cement pier, I grabbed the rope of the boat next to us, causing me to move forward and our dingy to move back. The end result was me in the water. Even after being warned to Zip lock my computer, and after doing it so many times, I had not that morning. Stupid I know. Overly confident traversing the dingy after a summer of doing so: yes. End result was me in the water holding my back pack above my head. Still, with the water that seeped in, my phone, camera and computer were damaged. The boy geniuses on the boat rescued the computer the best they could, leaving me with a computer with some quirks.

Computer 2: after sending an urgent email to my Sister and best male friend for help, they ordered and loaded a new amazing Acer with 12 hours battery and 1 inch thick while I was making the passage to Sicily. Timing was crucial as we had new crew joining us in a few weeks who could bring this computer. My Sister shipped it to Washington DC and the new crew packed it in the Boat Supply luggage filled with other things we needed. But on arrival, this piece of luggage was missing. It took us almost 2 weeks and many, many phone calls to have the luggage found and shipped to a future destination: Minorca. Once we got there, the crew picked up the luggage only to find my new computer stolen.

Computer 3: Thinking Gibraltar was the place to get a computer or at least have a set address at the Marina. I waited and waited for 2 months. After turning down my friend in the US's desire to ship me a new one (afraid of the custom's tax), I discovered the UK computers have a different key board than the US. They hide the @ sign low on the keyboard and replace it with their Pound $ sign. So, on my trip to South Africa, I found the computers there have American keyboards. Overly anxious to just get this over with, I bit the bullet and paid for a new smaller Acer at Incredible Connection, the largest IT store in Cape Town. Their electronics prices are three times higher than US, but I thought in the big picture, this was so important to me, I would sacrifice in other ways and buy this to get it handled and stop all my computer frustrations.  Light weight, small and with an 8 hour battery it was perfect...until day 7 when it just wouldn't turn on. Upset, I got advice from the marina office and headed to Gibraltar's Main Street in old town to a computer repair shop. The technician was called and the first thing I said with my large sunglasses on was, "please excuse me ahead of time if I start to cry." Which I did as I told him the tale of 3 computers. After an hour diagnosis, he regretted to inform me that is was a hard drive issue and I would need to send it back to Acer. Easier said than done since I have no set return address as we are always moving. America Acer says I must call South Africa and South Africa's web has a bad email form so you get bumped if you want to complain.

Meanwhile, Computer 2 is limping along, getting me by. My frustration over this had been insurmountable. But, (deep breath) I will figure it out. We leave tomorrow so it will have to wait. Again.

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