Skirmish one with the HP folks in India. Score = Eugie 0: HP -1

Spent 2.5 hours doing an online chat with the HP tech folks in India. I flummoxed the first two to the point of hanging up on/disconnecting me, and the last one finally tossed a free piece of hardware my way to get rid of me.

I’m nice. Really, I am! I never shouted, or swore, or got impatient, or said mean things. I just wanted to know why my laptop was shutting itself off, and what the “solutions” they were suggesting would accomplish, and why they were suggesting them. Also, the directions (obviously pulled from an online procedure manual) for some of them were incomplete, and I wanted clarifications (for e.g. one of them listed a series of steps, including removing the battery, but never said when to put the battery back). When they endeavored to explain what these solutions did, it seemed to me that they were unlikely to solve my issue, so I voiced my concerns and asked if they could address them. Apparently, that stumped them.

Well snartleblast.

After the second one disconnected me, the third one decided that it was an A/C adapter problem, despite the fact that I’ve never lost power or gotten a low battery error message, and the shut down is completely different from a “you need to charge your battery” automatic hibernation–which I explained to him several times. Also that it’s not a power surge because I’m plugged into a surge protector. But he decided that it was indeed a problem with the adapter, and he’s sending me a replacement.

Amusingly, when each one first started their chat with me, their English was flawless–obviously taken from a script. But as I asked harder and more in-depth questions, their grammar and vocabulary skills took serious nosedives. The poor things. Their spelling was still better than most Americans’, though.

So after two and a half hours and three help desk folks, I get a free A/C adapter. Um. That’s nice and all, but I’m dubious that this will fix my problem. I did do the steps they suggested: Power Drain, Reset the BIOS Defaults, Reinstall Power Management, and Disable “restart on system failure.” However I think it’s unlikely that will have accomplished anything–aside from wiping out any BIOS setting changes I might have made.

Well, a new A/C adapter will be nice. I can have one upstairs in the library and one downstairs in the living room. And I don’t feel like I totally wasted a huge chunk of my afternoon.

Oh yeah, my laptop shut itself off again this morning, about ten minutes after I started it. That implies to me that it’s not an overheating issue. I also tried to install a CPU temperature monitoring utility as per dude_the‘s suggestion, but I don’t think my laptop has the appropriate motherboard sensor that the utilities check and report on. And I can’t for the life of me figure out how to find out what make/model, etc. my motherboard is.

Hardware problems make me twitch.

   


Writing Stuff

New words: 600 on “Rue and Ruin.”
The time spent flustering the HP folks ate into my writing time. I also discovered I needed a bridging scene. Wrote that, and I still have one more scene to go. Getting there. Slowly . . .

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
11,424 / 12,000
(95.2%)

Club 100 For Writers
      53

500/day
      104

Post-gluttony-day

Feasted on a very traditional T-day dinner of faux bird, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, and cherry pie. Stuffed to my eyeballs, yep. Hobkin even got a bit of the cranberry sauce, which he was quite enthusiastic about.

After dinner, I embarked upon my great Doctor Who burn. Visit to the post office to commence today or tomorrow.

I think cyber_pagan‘s hypothesis is right regarding the cause of my spontaneously shutting down laptop issue. The thing turned itself off twice when I was working on it yesterday. This strange behavior started after I began my “I need to act like a professional writer, dammit” kick and commenced locking myself away in the library every day and doing writing jags for ten+ hours straight. I think I’m overworking my poor system. The fan comes on regularly–too often?–but I’m wondering if it’s not able to keep the CPU cool enough. Plus, the library is a much smaller room, with little ventilation when I have the door closed, which I usually do when I’m writing. I’m thinking of lugging the flatscreen monitor and a keyboard upstairs, and hooking them to my laptop. That ought to ease the heat output . . . I think. Plus it’ll be a nicer station to work on–bigger keyboard and monitor. Err, except I don’t have a USB mouse, which would make functionality awkward. Damn, I need a docking station!

I wonder how well those lapdesk thingies work–the ones that are supposed to help distribute heat.

Maybe it would help the thing stay cool if I scheduled a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day, letting it hibernate and cool off for a bit? That would be annoying, as I really don’t like taking breaks, but I suppose it’s better than giving myself minor heart attacks when my computer suddenly turns itself off.

   


Writing Stuff

Heard back from Faeries, the French ‘zine that reprinted a translation of “The Storyteller’s Wife.” They said they sent my contrib. copies a couple weeks ago, and are puzzled why I haven’t received them yet. And they need a BIC/SWIFT number, which is some sort of international bank ID, along with my bank/account information in order to do an electronic transfer of my payment. Unfortunately, I have no idea what my BIC/SWIFT number is. I probably need to call my bank to find out. Sigh.

New Words: 800 on “Rue and Ruin.” One scene down, one to go. It’s possible that I may be able to get to zero draft on this one today. Maybe.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,781 / 12,000
(89.8%)

Club 100 For Writers
      52

500/day
      103

Laptop anxieties

My laptop has spontaneously turned itself off a couple times in the last few days. The first time, I thought I’d accidentally hit the little hibernation switch which activates when the lid is closed, but the second time I wasn’t anywhere near it. And even if I had toggled the switch, it ought to have put itself into hibernation, not turned itself off. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any data–I hit SAVE like someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Word’s automatic recovery snagged the files I had open both times–but my anxiety levels are spiking.

   


Writing Stuff

Got the interview questions from Aberrant Dreams. For the most part, they’re the normal fun/fluff/quirky silliness I’d expect, but there’s a couple notable exceptions. There’s one question asking my opinions on Kafka and de Maupassant with regard to their modern marketability, and one asking me to deconstruct several works with regard to the psychological impact of their literary technique. Erm. When I read those, I suddenly felt like I was back in grad. school during test time, or maybe filling out grad. applications–you know the kind where they want you to answer a couple essay questions to evaluate your knowledge and writing ability. I’m not sure if I should try to compose a treatise of “Eugie’s Literary Theories”–which I can’t imagine anyone would want to read–or blither about what I think of Kafka, the works in question, et al, or if I should just try to come up with something funny. *blink* It’s certainly an interesting set of questions.

If folks want to see what I come up with, the interview should come out in their January issue.

Received:
- Final approval from the editor on “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy.” Woohoo!
- My contrib. copies of Fantasy Magazine #1. (Still awaiting payment, though.)
- An email from Story Station two months after I queried them, letting me know they’re still considering my submission. Going on a total of six months that they’ve held that story. Their GLs say they aim for a one month turnaround and to query after two. Grumf.

New Words:
- 200 or so on the requested editorial changes on “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy.”
- 700 on “Rue and Ruin.” I’m beginning to get anxious about the sprawling word count on this one. I’ve still got at least two scenes to go before the end, and less than 1.5K to do them in. Miss Muse is apparently feeling verbose, the contrary floozy!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,659 / 12,000
(88.8%)

Club 100 For Writers
      50

500/day
      101

New notebook and “ten things” meme

So I’ve got a new laptop on order, an HP Pavilion ze2000 to replace my IBM Thinkpad. We went out yesterday with the intention of buying a Compaq Presario from Circuit City which was having a phat sale. But when we got there, we learned they were totally sold out, with no backorder, and had been for a week. Disappointed, I went to Best Buy to see what they had, and saw a similarly phat deal on an HP machine. Since HP and Compaq merged, it didn’t take amazing powers of deduction and observation to realize that, for all intents and purposes, the Presario and the Pavilion are functionally the same. My new Pavilion should arrive next week, and will have integrated wireless LAN! Sweet. I need a laptop to write on, but I’ve putting off buying a new one while I could still use my Thinkpad. Plus I can deduct my new laptop as a business expense, which makes the splurge a bit less extravagant.

I frightened Hobkin with my big, scary coat. I wanted to give him a cookie because I felt so bad about leaving him for the afternoon to go computer shopping. But when he saw me, he fluffed up his tail and scampered under the hutch. Unfortunately, the new blanket he has (which is the nicest blanket in the house), is bulkier than he’s accustomed to, so he couldn’t get past it like he could with his old blanket. He lodged between it and the hutch opening with a *thump* and then flailed his little hind legs trying to work his way in. Eventually he managed to get under cover, but not before I got a stitch in my side from laughing so hard. The silly chicken-nose. I still gave him a cookie.

And Ten Things I’ve Done That You Might Not Have:
Click for meme-ness