Friday, 14 September 2007

Technical Fault

Technical FaultThere are some people in this world who will tell you that if something gets broken it is always better to fix it yourself. There are other people who will tell you that they have learned from bitter experience that trying to fix it yourself only makes the situation ten times worse. Naturally, I fall into the latter category.

Our reliance on technology in this modern-day world means that we have lost the instinct to survive when something critical to our lives – a television set or electric toothbrush, for example – breaks down. We apparently live in a ‘throwaway society’ which advises us to ‘just buy a new one’ when the old one’s last legs finally give way, often increasing the size of our carbon footprint in the process.

Modern-day struggling writers like myself rely on technology – technology to write with, technology to format scripts with, technology to pass the time with when either of the previous two activities become monotonous, pointless or physically impossible. In days gone by, writers also relied on technology – but it was a much simpler case to replace a piece of broken chalk or blunted goose feather (depending on which age you lived in). And the only footprints they needed to worry about were the kind they’d simply get their servants to clean up afterwards.

These days, the personal computer can bring one’s writing practices to a complete standstill when it develops a fault. Either that, or it’s a useful excuse to avoid writing which sounds better than the usual ranting about writer’s block. During an unusually productive few hours the other day, my top-of-the-range MESH computer started making funny noises from somewhere deep within the bowels of its huge metal case. I had no idea what it was, except to say that the machine was noisier than usual.

Within seconds my concentration had been demolished, so I pulled out my original invoice with details about my on-site hardware repair warranty and found the number to call so I could get an engineer to come to the flat. MESH curiously-named Technical Support department is, in this context, an oxymoron. There are two reasons why this is the case:

1. They have limited technical expertise
2. They are not very supportive

The man who answered the phone didn’t speak very good English and the first thing he asked me was to tell him what the problem was. I explained that my computer was noisier than usual, and after he had rambled on at me without me understanding a word of what he was saying I gathered that he wanted me to turn the computer off and on again. I obeyed dutifully and the computer ended up being noisier than it was before.

I told Mr. Mesh that his solution hadn’t actually helped, nor was it very technical, so he said that he’d send me an address label to pack up my computer and send it back to the workshop. This is where I became very confused as I had paid for a service where repair technicians come out to your house. I explained to him that I had on-site warranty and he said he knew, but they would need to examine the computer in the workshop to find out what the problem is.

I fail to understand what MESH on-site warranty actually means and argued with Mr. Mesh that I’d paid for an insurance service which sends out engineers on-site. He said that they would only be able to send someone out if I could tell them what the specific problem was so ‘they could bring the right parts’.

Realising it was an argument I wasn’t going to win, I went out and bought five miles of bubblewrap and a roll of tape to pack up my computer. When I got home, I hoicked out the old vintage typewriter my mother once loaned me when I first told her I wanted to be a writer, only to discover that the ribbon needed replacing. Trying to find a shop which stocked a replacement is, of course, another story altogether...


kellypea said...

You should've bought a mac. =)
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I do have a coffee grinder that broke some time ago, however, and instead of throwing it out (the motor works just fine) have gotten used to inserting a toothpick into the small hole that will start the motor. How pathetic is that?

Keli Garson said...

What I don't understand is that when I call for tech help from my internet provider, I reach some one in India. Is there no one in the United States capable of fixing computer problems? Or are the Indians just genius'?

Forest Parks said...

I really wish these computer companies would actually start taking the blame for providing shoddy service.

I hope you get your machine all sorted :(

Ellis Nadler said...

A pleasure to read your prose. Sorry for your distress. I had a MESH....faultless for 3 years then nasty noises. I foolishly got it repaired at great expense (could've bought a new machine for the money) and it still makes a dreadful racket. Luckily my main machine is a Mac which is superb in all respects.