Saturday started off as a great day. The reason being that, shortly after breakfast, I got a call from the local Best Buy store. Chris, the voice on the other end of the line, informed me that the store had received an E-mail saying that the Geek Squad was not going to dump any more money into my laptop and had authorized a full replacement at their store. You can imagine my excitement at the prospect of getting a new laptop, and for FREE no less! So, with all of the fervor of a six-year old, skipping down the sidewalk on the way to the local candy store, I got dressed, and with Kim in tow, headed for Best Buy.
Upon our arrival at Best Buy, we entered the store and went straight to the computer department. There, laid out in row upon row, were laptops of all sizes and configurations. Gleaming wonders of metal and acrylic, each more powerful than the room-full of computers that sent the first men to the moon and one of them was going to be mine! Josh, the salesperson in the department, soon narrowed the selection town to two models, each with the same capabilities as my defunct unit, but much more powerful in calculating power. After 15 minutes or so of questions and answers, our decision was made. Josh, Kim, the new laptop and I all headed to the service counter and, ten minutes later, the exchange was finalized. Joy of Joys, I have a computer again!
On the way home, we stopped off at the neatest little restaurant for lunch. GRINDERS CAFE, on Atlantic Blvd, in Jacksonville, is home of the best sandwiches in town. If you can imagine it, Keith, the manager, will put it on a 12” sub roll; complete with really great fries or home made potato chips, made fresh with each order. Jay, our waitress, who’s a native of South Carolina, took care of us like royalty and made our stop at GRINDERS an unexpected treat.
From GRINDERS, it was back to the boat, where I cleaned off my desk and made ready to boot-up and load up my new laptop. I took it out of the box, read the directions (yes, a guy who reads the directions) and was suddenly overcome by a feeling of sheer terror. Why? Because I realized that almost all of my computer add-ons and software might not work. You see, all of the new Windows computers on the market use Vista, which is a 64-bit operating system, to run their programs and add-ons. Everything I own in the way of software and extra equipment was built for a 32-bit system (Windows XP.)
Without proper 64-bit drivers, printers, scanners, GPS units and software become worthless. Heck, I couldn’t even get my “Signal Seeker” working, so I’d have Wi-Fi, which is essential for setting up a laptop these days. So, using Kim’s computer (she doesn’t really like loaning it out, even to me; and I can’t blame her) I sent off an E-mail to Signal Seeker and first thing Sunday morning (Yes, they actually responded on the weekend) they had E-mailed me new drivers and I was connected to the Internet in no time.
It took another three days to finish the software and hardware installations on the new laptop. The final score was:
· I lost the use of my portable scanner (a new “compatible” model runs $179.00.)
· I lost the use of my Maptech “Offshore Navigator” navigation software (they require you buy a new version at $499.00 per copy.)
· I lost the use of several small programs; chess, board games, card games, etc. (no replacements.)
· I had to upgrade my Virus Software (for a small fee.)
· I had to upgrade my Adobe Acrobat Software (for a small fee.)
The bottom line is, I have a new laptop, which is faster than one can even begin to imagine, but somehow, I can’t help feeling like a guy who’s been given a high-dollar, stereo turntable to play his old, 78 rpm, ceramic records. We’ll see!