Friday, May 25, 2007

God Wants Me to Dump Vista

I won't whine and bitch about how much I hate Vista. I have already shared those thoughts and don't want to be known as some kind of chronic belly acher.

However, all around me are signs that Vista must cease and I'm taking it as spiritual permission to dump this puppy and move on.

I was pretty pissed at Dell computers, Bill Gates, whoever invented Vista, and the PC world in general, but I worked hard at battling this evil force with grace and dignity. Yes, I admit, I wanted to tear the hair out of Dell's customer service department and worse, but I'm over it.

I am tracking comments by other people and taking their lead. A few weeks back I commented on Suzanne Falter Barns' blog while she was having hellish times with Vista. I sat on the fence deciding whether I should stick it out with Vista or go Mac. Different people told me different things. Then today I read Suzanne's blog and she's gotten rid of her Vista and is snuggling happily with her Mac.

Well world, I'm ready to make the jump. I have someone who wants the Vista (God bless her) and it's a win-win for us all. I know there will be a learning curve and also that the Mac version of QuickBooks is funky, but I have a PC laptop for all that.

Losing this PC will be like leaving an emotionally abusive relationship. I deserve love. I deserve a Mac.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Spiritual Sandpaper: Lessons Learned from People Who Rub You the Wrong Way

The other evening, right after dinner, the doorbell rang. My husband answered the door and it was a political canvasser. When he started into his spiel, my husband said, "Let me get my wife. She may know more about this."

(was that a ploy?)

I greeted the man and instantly noticed the blue tooth phone in his right ear. I don't care how far we go technologically, those things freak me out. If it's not the electromagnetic fields penetrating the brain it's the whole Cyborg look. Then he plopped down a portable bar stool and looked like he was setting up a new mobile office.

My friend Kristen had just shared her concept of Spiritual Sandpaper. These are people who come into your life to rub you the wrong way so you can learn compassion, tolerance, or just the ability to walk away with your serenity intact.

I remained very polite despite my trepidations with my doorstep guest, then discovered we did not see eye to eye on the petition he wanted me to sign. It's a hot local issue, complete with mud-slinging and expensive mail out campaigns. They were even hosting a free festival in the park with free food and entertainment. OK, so bribe my vote with hot dogs and line dancing?

He gave me a "up yours" kinda look and walked away to my neighbor's door, shouting a parting opinion of what he thinks will happen because I didn't sign his petition.

Note to the public: if the city of Anaheim, CA goes to hell in a handbasket you can thank me.

I'm feeling very Molly Ivins-ish at this point. Who woulda thunk?

Well, life dishes out its lessons to me in groups of three, so I knew 2 more challenges awaited me.

Not 24 hours later did I get an email from a guy (NOT a client) who was having a bad time with his marketing. Problem is, he didn't want to take any form of responsibility for it whatsoever. It was everyone else's fault, not his. It was a litany of bitterness, blame, and negativity. I had to step back and see underneath it all: it was about HIS fear, sense of failure, and zero humility. I just wished him well and advised him to stick with what he knows best. Hopefully he'll get busy with other things and leave me alone- the caustic whining was pretty vicious. I had to remind myself that ultimately sandpaper will smooth the surface.

And finally, to finish the list, I got a call from a friend on the East Coast who left a toxic job situation only to discover a dagger in her back. Ouch. Her replacement was far less qualified and now positioned herself as ALL THAT. Both the replacement and the former boss were making up ridiculous stories about my friend. That really bothered me and it reminded me that sometimes a whole ream of sandpaper can get at you at once.

Now let's get to the lessons learned part:

1. Spiritual sandpaper will enter your life when you least expect it. You can do like I do and try to find a pattern. For me the pattern was about me detaching. I had to detach from other people's frustration and anger and not get caught up in it.

2. Engaging in defensiveness never amounts to much. Know when to walk away, however keep your mouth shut when you walk away.

3. Stand by your friends. Believe in them but don't be afraid to ask if they had a part in anything.

4. Get rid of those blue tooth phones! You look like a freak wearing one and it's a health risk.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Microsoft Vista: The Hand of Evil

"Why didn't you get a Mac?"

My voice froze. My fingers went numb on the phone. No sound could come out of my mouth except for a mumbling response to the question.

"I... I... I... forgot to think about that?"

I wasn't even sure if I was answering a question or asking a new one.

I was talking to my brother, a dyed in the wool Mac lover, about the new bane of my existence: Windows Vista.

My friend Suzanne Falter Barns summed it up nicely on a recent blog post: Why Vista Sucks.

The highly intelligent and literate Suzanne really summed it up in the most poetic way possible. In fact, let me add some multilingualism and dare say that Vista is pura caca. Straight from the burro's behind, 100% crap.

I'm actually fearful of uttering such words after seeing The Secret a hundred million times because I don't want the Law of Attraction goon squad to come back at me with more PC misery, but I feel compelled to share this tale of woe in order to forewarn my fellow users.

A while back I bitched and moaned about my computer and how it needed to be replaced. So after tax time, I decided to take the plunge into the 21st Century with a computer that could keep up with my needs.

My friend's husband, an IT geek, highly suggested I purchase a Dell. So I called Dell and the nice guy on the phone walked me through a long assessment of what I needed and proceeded to ring up my order. I was just nodding yes to whatever he said, and just wanted a computer that worked.

"You really want to have Vista installed on this", he emphasized.
"OK, whatever", I replied. Little did I know!

We got the new computer and Vista was a nightmare from the get go. Internet explorer would just stop working all of a sudden. Then it would restart. In MS Office, I'd go to open a Word doc and a message would pop up saying that the document couldn't be found. Then I'd click again and it would appear. Crazy stuff like that.

Dell recommended I go through their knowledge base which was confusing (geeks writing for geeks), and I called tech support for help. Even the tech support guy told me he was having the same problems with his new Vista system!

The learning curve was fierce, the malfunctions rampant, so I made a major decision. I wanted to return the computer to Dell and start over from scratch. Get my money back, put it towards a Mac and all would be well. I even called Mac and they were happy to set me up.

So I called Dell and waited forever on hold to talk to someone in the return department. Finally I spoke with a woman, told her my story, and waited for her to gladly tell me all would be well and that a return would be no problem.

Her voice took on an overly empathetic tone.
"I'm so sorry you have had to go through this. Please know that I understand your frustration."

Red flag alert, red flag alert! I feel a "too bad you're stuck with the piece of crap" coming on.

I agreed that yes, I am frustrated and what could she do about it?

She continued to empathize. "Oh yes, I can understand how frustrating this must be."

In my mind I'm thinking, why isn't she answering my question? When will I get my money back?


OK, here it is. The stroke job. The total too bad-so sad- your dad response.

"... our return policy is 21 days and it appears you've gone over 21 days."

I think I was at day 31. She didn't seem to care.

I could go on and on, whine and cry some more, but here's the score so far:
Dell got my money. I got this crappy system.

I either have to learn to live with this evil Vista, or find a way to sell my computer. I could donate it to charity, but then some organization would be stuck with the bane of my existence.

Personally, I think it's really unfair. Vista is full of bugs and by the time you get over the first hump of many learning curves, your 21 day return time is up. That's lame.

Can't they make a Lemon Law for computers? Must we be at the mercy of Microsoft? Why is Dell being so damn rigid?

I think I'm going to dump PCs forever and get a Mac. Figure out what to do with this creature I'm now on and try to bless whoever it goes to. Maybe the kinks will work out eventually but me personally, I have better things to do than wait around.