Saturday, September 26, 2009

Help line

It's Saturday and I was on the phone today for about 4 hours. Two reasons: my Internet browser stopped loading and my computer won't burn dvds to an RW disk.

I have a Mac, and the help people were very nice and helpful. Though, actually, people on help lines are most often saints, whether they work for Mac or not. But you expect more from Apple, what with the price, so maybe one is readier to decide they're sterling quality.

I was nice too, as is my way. I did get a little dispirited and bedraggled because the help people had to lead me up one hill and down another. The next-to-last fellow threw me. We were waiting for the computer to start up, and he asked me where I was from, what I did for a living (freelance copy editor) and then started telling me about his business as an Internet marketing consultant, then about the book he had just finished writing, then about the medical theory on which his book is based, then the amazing cures it has effected. He made me feel a bit odd.

In the end I decided to hell with the no-burn-to-RW problem. My computer has never burnt to RW disks, just R disks, and now I have decided to live with that.

Then I went to the nearest wifi cafe for a last-hope retest of my browser. And I found that, as long as I stay away from one particular site, my browser keeps working just fine. (The site is Memory Alpha, an excellent compendium of trivia about Star Trek. I hope that I'm the only person whose browser suffers from Mem Alpha stickiness.)

So I'm going to cancel my appointment with the repair guy at the Apple Store. I can live with no-burn-to-RW and I can live with restarting my browser every time I visit a page from one one given site, and it may be that the site will eventually stop jamming me. Who knows?

But here's the kicker: Last night, when I discovered my browser problem, it did not occur to me to see what happened if I did not start out by visiting that one site. Every single time, I visited that site and then tried to visit another. 

Why should one site screw me up? Who knows. But as long as I'm subject to such random hazards, I should remember some common-sense procedural solutions. Like if you do the same thing three times with bad results, just change what you're doing and see what happens.

Four hours today. Fuck, I feel dumb.


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