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Monday, June 13, 2005

Mobile Again

I wouldn't wish hard drive failure on anyone. The hard disc in my laptop failed, so I had to get a new one. The worst loss was digital pictures, a lot of them. Thankfully we still print all our pictures (there's still a little bit of old school around here), so it wasn't a totally loss. However, the down time was frustrating, as is having to reconfigure the machine. The worst part: having to install windows twice. That's right. The machine originally came with XP Home, but for remote access purposes I needed XP Pro. Of course Pro is only the upgrade so I had to install Home first. To be fair, the recovery discs from HP work exceptionally well. I just put them in the drive, selected all the drivers to load, and didn't have to anything else. The biggest problem came when I tried to activate Pro. It wouldn't let me. So, in order to register it you have to call Microsoft. First, you speak with a interactive recording where you have to recite a 54-digit (at least) installation id. Of course that didn't work, so I was transferred to a technician at one of their overseas support plants. Thankfully there was no hold time. After reading only the first six digits of the installation id (thankfully I didn't have to read it twice) I was asked a couple questions about why I was installing it, and if it was installed anywhere else. She then read a 42 digit code 3 digits at a time, and I'm finally up and ready to try and recreate all my custom settings. The whole thing took around two hours, and The Order from Comcast onDemand just isn't that good.

I've learned a couple things from the hard drive failure experience. First of all, backup policies aren't just for the office. Time to figure out how I'm going to back stuff up at home. Second, know what your warranty covers. I got a one-year warranty on the laptop, an HP Pavilion zd7000. The hard drive is a Toshiba, that if purchased separate from a system comes with a 3-year warranty. But here's how it works: if you purchase the equipment as part of the system, the warranty policy of the system manufacturer trumps the policy of the part manufacturer. So the 1-year HP warranty overrides the 3-year Toshiba warranty and I'm left having to buy the new drive myself. It certainly doesn't make sense from an HP perspective since all they have to do is handle the drive replacement, and all it costs them is time. They send Toshiba the bad drive, and Toshiba sends them the replacement which they forward on to me. That makes sense. What they're left with instead is a former customer (although I'm not ready to give up their printing products yet). I don't know if other system manufacturer's work the same way, and hopefully I'll never have to find out.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Checking Out Ann Arbor

No, not me. I haven't been there since the Wolverines made a huge comeback to defeat MSU. Probably one of the best football games I've ever seen, and I was there live and in person. But I digress, it's Google who's checking out Ann Arbor.

It Really Works

I joined Blingo a couple months ago after reading about it on a blog somewhere. (I'd credit the source, but I can't be sure who it was.) Anyhow, I try to use it as my primary search site since it uses Google's engine, only you have the chance to win prizes such as a PSP, an iPod or movie tickets.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it appears that what they say is true. Today, one of the people I signed up won movie tickets. Since I signed them up, I did too! How can you join, just click the blue "Blingo" button on the right hand column of my blog and join. Soon you'll be searching for prizes too, and just maybe you'll be a lucky winner.