A Wealie Bad Case of Technitus!

Smashed TV ScreenLet me tell you a tale of my woefully bad case of Technitus.  ”What is Technitus”
I hear you ask?  It’s a terrible debilitating disease that doesn’t affect humans,
but rather the technology they own!

Technology goes awry, doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to and in terminal cases gets broken or doesn’t work at all.  I’ve suffered from this disease now for a few years, but it took until now for me to piece together the full story of my symptoms and understand fully the extent to which I suffer from the disease.

Here’s the evidence of my symptoms:

My Sony Vaio Laptop

I spent an obscene amount of money on a state of the art 19 inch screen Sony Vaio. Within 2 months of owning it the screen started to flicker and have either a white, blue or green cast at times. I suppose I should have taken it back to the Sony Centre, but by this time I had heard the scare stories of laptops not coming back for months and when they did, not coming back properly.  So, I decided I could live with the intermittent problem.

But that was not the end of my Vaio woes, oh no!  Then came Windows Service Pack 2 that wouldn’t load no matter how many times I tried.  From that point on things just went from bad to worse, especially when I realised that not only had I the dreaded Windows Vista, but the much maligned Windows Vista Ultimate!

I wasn’t able to use Adobe Bridge or even install Adobe Premiere because it turned out that the Vaio was full of Sony proprietary drivers, which meant that even when the latest drivers were available from the original part manufacturers I couldn’t load them as Sony hadn’t created their own version!  So, my nVidia video drivers were out of date for years.

Even restoring the factory settings didn’t fix all the bugs and I finally resigned myself to using a laptop that worked “kind of” most of the time.  Then the battery failed after only 1.5 years, so now the laptop was not so mobile unless you had a plug nearby.  After another 6 months working like this I came to the conclusion that Sony Vaios were not that great (after all a lot of people were saying that) and that I probably needed to get a new laptop that wasn’t made by Sony, but that’s another story.

At no point did I think that perhaps the reason was me…..

My iPhone 3GS

Ever since I purchased it synching my iPhone with iTunes has been a nightmare.  It didn’t matter whether I used the old HP desktop, the Sony Vaio Laptop or the Dell XPS, my iPhone did not like to synch.  It was never simple; invariably the synching would fail more often than it succeeded.  This meant I needed to restore from a backup which was often out of date because I didn’t synch as often as I should due to the hassles of synching. I took to copying all the files from my iPhone before I synched it just so any new content didn’t get lost.  Some days it could take 5 hours to get my iPhone synched just so it would work again, not counting the fun hours reloading content like music.

Then after about 8 months I started having an intermittent error message pop up telling me the device I was trying to use would not work with the iPhone, even when I didn’t have a device plugged in! It kept popping up on the screen and stopping the sound on the iPod and ruining games, etc!  Turns out it was the docking port, which apparently is a common thing to go wrong with iPhones :-/  You see the docking port is always exposed unless it’s being charged or synched – so you would think it would be a strong and well protected area…..  The reality is that it is highly susceptible to water damage, so if for instance like me you listen to your music in the bathroom the steam might damage the port!  Unfortunately whenever I took it to the Apple Store to get the techs to look at it that was when it decided to work perfectly and guess what – the moment I got home or sufficiently far enough away from the Apple store it would act up again.

Now I saw all the Apple adverts, I heard all the blurb about how much better Apple is than PC and I have to say my experience so far (including my iPad 2 below) leads me to believe that this really isn’t the case.  However, I began to wonder if perhaps I might also be part of the problem.

My Dell XPS Laptop

I kid you not I had a blue screen the moment I first used it; it hadn’t even finished loading all the set-up files and we had to do a system restore! Ben managed to get it working but then it started locking up totally, no key strokes or mouse movement would affect it and you could leave it all night and it wouldn’t resolve the issue.  There was no consistency to the error messaging and my fan was constantly on high!

I’d resolved myself to the need for a complete system restore, but I couldn’t keep the laptop on long enough to be able to initiate it! Luckily Dell was very helpful and sent out an engineer, turns out it was a bad motherboard.  Was it just bad luck? – no, definitely proof of a spreading infection of Technitus.

My Panasonic Plasma Screen

At the end of my last contract I decided to treat myself to a new TV/Audio system seeing as how my last TV/Video/Stereo combo was bought back in 1998 and was looking a little technologically tired.  It was a 28 inch Sony Trinitron TV and state of the art Video Player and a Technics 5 disc CD and tape-to-tape deck that I had been most happy with over the years, but didn’t really help with HD, Blu-ray and the impending doom of analogue TV.  I had a cheap DVD player and a cheap Freeview tuner, which then got replaced with a standard Freesat box, but I was far behind technologically speaking.

Ben did some sterling research into the pros and cons of Plasma versus LED and we came to the conclusion that to get the same picture quality as the Plasma TV we were interested in we’d have to pay an awful lot more for an LED.  Also I wasn’t interested in 3D; personally it gives me a headache, so once in a while at the cinema is enough for me.

We ended up buying a great ex-display Panasonic full HD plasma screen with Freesat HD and Freeview HD tuners from Waitrose along with a Panasonic Cinema surround sound system and Blu-ray player and a combined Blu-ray recorder and Hard Drive recorder with HD Freeview Tuner.  Ben had lots of fun putting the system together and although the 42″ screen looked waaaaaaaaaaaaay bigger in the living room we were tickled pink with the new system….That was until about a month after I purchased it I knocked Ben’s guitar and it hit the plasma screen in the bottom corner and cracked it.

We turned it on hoping against hope, but I’d been struck with a new wave of Technitus and all we got was a blank screen and a horrible high pitched whine.  This heralded a new TV search for Ben as the model we had bought was no longer in production and when we found anyone selling it at full price (remember we bought an ex display!) it was only £100 less than the new models.  So, on the plus side we now have an even better TV, although it is silver rather than black :-/, but it is even more suped-up technologically speaking (not that I know how to use most of it).

My iPad 2

Probably the worst case of the lot as I only got this working for about 10 minutes!  I had ordered my iPad 2 from the Apple website complete with engraving, the weekend that it was launched.  It took 3 weeks to arrive and I was very excited when I opened the package.  Everything seemed to be fine; it switched on and asked to be linked to iTunes – all as normal and expected.  I must admit to having some trepidation about linking it up to iTunes, but thought I was just being silly (ha!).

So the first synching went okay, but then when I tried to synch it to get my apps and contacts onto the iPad it didn’t work and it told me that a firmware update was required, which of course failed!  I tried to re-initiate the firmware update several times, I tried reinstalling iTunes, I made sure my windows updates were up to date, I tried synching it on Ben’s laptop and finally I gave up and took it to the Apple store.  As you’ve probably guessed the Apple store couldn’t do it either and I was told it was a fatal hardware error which meant I would need to get a replacement (AAAARRRGGGHH!).  Not only was the iPad 2 not working though, but the £60 red leather iPad 2 cover I had ordered was bent and had water mark damage on the leather!

The Apple store where I live is a reseller and therefore they were not able to replace my iPad, even if they’d had any in stock (don’t get me started on Apple’s crappy stocking policy!), which they didn’t.  However, they said that I should be able to exchange it at one of the official Apple stores.  Cue long conversations by my lovely sister Shelley and her boyfriend Jamie with the two stores close to home who both said they couldn’t replace it.  This was followed by Shelley speaking with the Apple care line who said the stores could replace it, but without the engraving.  In the end I had to get a refund from Apple Online for my iPad and having been assured that the store nearest to me had stock, was advised to go and purchase a new one direct from the store! When I went to the store, it turned out that not only did they have no stock, but wouldn’t receive any further shipments for several days at the earliest.

To add insult to injury, to replace the red leather cover I would need to re-order it online as it isn’t sold in stores :-(  My sister Shelley arranged for me get a refund on both the iPad 2 and the cover and bless her got me a £40 extra rebate for my troubles.

I’m now waiting on a new iPad 2, which I’ve ordered on a Vodafone contract, which is a lot cheaper for the device, but will not be delivered for another 3-4 weeks, so who knows whether that will work for me either!

Conclusion – I have Technitus!

And so you can see I have a rather pernicious infection and I never know when a new symptom will arise and affect my poor technology.  What’s worse is that this disease has yet to be fully diagnosed and there is no known cure :-(

Tread safely and keep me away from all your technology or suffer the dire consequences.

Wealie x

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