Thunderbolts and lightning

I'm sitting outside writing this, watching the typhoon rain pour down and the dark grey clouds flash with sheets of lighting. It's strange, after having my laptop virtually bolted to my desk for the longest time, the last few days I've wanted to take advantage of the wireless network I set up and use it around the house. Why the hell was I thinking about buying that Mac mini? Out here the breeze is cool and although the rain falls a few feet from my own feet, I'm dry.

How things change.

The day before my birthday, now more than a month ago, the extra RAM in my computer fried. After I finally worked out why my computer wouldn't booted (and what had probably caused all the crashes I'd been having in preceding months) I took the RAM back to where I bought it. Although I didn't have the receipt any more and I'd bought it over two years ago, a check on the manufacturer's website revealed it had a lifetime warranty. Unfortunately the guy there was anti-helpful, mumbling in such a way that I couldn't understand anything he was saying, although I did manage to glean that I would be expected to pay for some kind of shipping costs. Fine, I said, how about I just buy a new one?

"Oh, we don't have any."

Well what about if I go to the computer market?

"I doubt you'll find any, they don't make DDR RAM anymore. It's all been superceded."

What! I know my computer is already a couple of years old, but seriously, you can't get the RAM anymore? I gave up, went home and checked online. Of course I found a ton of DDR RAM... then realised I need MicroDIMMs which are apparently quite hard to get.

In the meantime, the computer is practically totally useless. XP Pro doesn't let you do much with just 256 meg of RAM. God forbid you do anything intensive like edit images or video.

In the hope of at least being able to get an idea of their return policy, I took it back to another branch of CanKun. Success! The guy behind the desk was friendly and helpful. He took it and didn't ask me to pay for any shipping.

After the first couple of weeks waiting, with no communication, I went in and asked. Sorry, sorry, it's still at the factory, they're really busy right now but they're on it and it will be back soon. Fine. Call me when it's done, please.

Another week. I go in and say, where is it? It's been a month?

Still friendly and apologetic: "Oh I'm really sorry, I just got off the phone to the factory... it was a girl... I really wanted to tell her off but I dunno, she's a girl... she said that the offices had moved or something and everything was in chaos and I told her you'd been waiting so long so please hurry up."

Another week. Come on... this is ridiculous. "They called and said they're testing it, and it will be here in one to two weeks.

By this point, I figure another week or two isn't going to make a difference. In the time I'd been waiting I'd gotten so sick of crappy performace I actually got off my ass and backed everything up, reformatted and did a fresh install, only to find that really, by the time you add anti-virus, all the laptop software like battery monitors and whatnot, 256MB doesn't cut it, if if your registry is clean. I was sort of getting used to not being able to do anything because I didn't have the apps installed. I installed a program called FreeRAM XP Pro which is supposed to monitor RAM and "free" it periodically. Unfortunately it runs like suck with only 256MB available. When free RAM gets low it automatically tries to free it - and with 256 the process is painfully slow. About every 30 minutes your systems freezes while it frees - a major pain in the ass. Fuck this, it's time for a new computer, I thought. Time for that Mac mini.

Then yesterday, five weeks and two days after I put it in for inspection (and over six week since it actually died, and incidentally about three hours after I was telling my girlfriend about how I was planning to pay off the Mac over six months) I got a text about my RAM. I could pick it up.

As it happened I was close by. What happened? I asked.

"They replaced it with a new one."

Great.

"I'm really sorry about this. If you ever need your computer fixed, bring it in. We won't charge you."

Thanks for the offer, I thought, but if I ever need my computer fixed I'll need it in less that five weeks.

I spent yesterday night making as many tweaks to system services and background programs to extract the most speed before I put the RAM back in. I finally got it in tonight. The difference is amazing. Hell, even FreeRAM doesn't take forever to free up the RAM. Still haven't decided if I'll keep it, but for the time being it stays as I like to see how much RAM is free when I run various applications.

Next time: How Things Change.

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