Technology on Tap

Having technology on tap can make life very much convenient. They say when it rains it pours and in recent months I have found it to be true, especially in the case of various kinds of technology that have become quotidian necessities. But my non-relationship with technology needs a little bit of background. Over the summer, I moved from a quiet cottage to an apartment in a remodeled Victorian on a well-traveled street in the third largest city in California in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Soon after moving, the screen on my trusty laptop went a pixelly green and then black. Absolutely nothing. Although I am not a hardware savvy, I could tell the screen was at the end of its life of useful function. So, I put it away and just pretended it did not exist for a couple of days. After letting it rest, I again tried to boot it up and got the same blank response from the display. When I had done this a couple of times, I slowly awoke to the reality that this computer needed some serious attention. However, as I was still in the throes of moving, I did not have the time or energy for it at that moment.

Busily settling into my new-old home, I was intent on finding just the right spot for each thing, and in many cases the right spot was the Salvation Army donation center just a couple of blocks away. However, in the process of moving furniture around late one evening, I ended up with my well-used and fairly elderly tablet falling about four feet and landing with a resounding boom from the impact of its metal cover against the historic hardwood floor. At first, it went all red and white stripes and black screen that were sometimes scrolling and sometimes static. In one moment of thoughtlessness, I was not just down one laptop, but one laptop and one tablet!

The good news is that I was busy unpacking, cleaning, and settling in. As a matter of fact, I was so occupied with pressing household tasks that I practically quit eating. While it was a pleasant surprise to accidentally lose weight, that is a subject for another day.

For a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, I didn’t miss my ailing technology much at all. But, as I settled into my new-old home, I found that not only were my laptop and tablet kaput, but my cell phone received an inconsistent and weak signal and my little television did not receive even one local station!

By now, I felt like things were getting out of hand! With life readying to move into high gear, I decided to take my laptop into a nearby repair center to ask what it would involve to repair or replace. After a big move, my budget for replacement was non-existent, so I hoped for a simple, economical repair. The tech at the service center confirmed the display that was in fact faulty, not the hard drive or motherboard or anything related to information processing. However, it would still cost $500 to replace what I call the screen. I suppose the screen is pretty important since the display of data on the computer is indispensable. Well, I already knew I could buy a new tablet for $500, so I simply had to decide which option would work best for me.

In the meantime, with desperation for technology and the ready connection it brings to people far away starting to set in, I decided to look into tablet repairs. Since the aging tablet was no longer under warranty, I learned the cost of the repair would be as much as a new tablet. Armed with the knowledge that the tablet was not worth fixing, I conveniently started gently and strategically banging it around trying to get something inside it to reconnect and give me a decent display. Finally, one of my frustrated taps against a solid surface resulted in a grainy, green pixel display. I was over the moon. Finally, I could reconnect with the 21st Century world!  My tablet green pixel display tablet went with me everywhere and before I knew it, I had knocked it off of a counter and it had landed glass face down on the stone tile floor. With apprehension, I picked up the tablet and held my breath as I turned it over to look at the display. Not only was the picture still discernible, but it was the clearest display I had seen in months!

The good news is that tablets provide much of the functionality of laptop computers, so there was a lot I was able to accomplish with my trusty old tablet. Life went on and I developed a new normal as I limped along with the combined efforts of my resurrected tablet, an old, fossilized laptop, and a hare-brained mini notebook. Each one provided a slightly nuanced function in my newly emerging technological world. Somehow, it worked. It was neither efficient nor enjoyable, but it worked and life moved along–tediously, but at least we were moving along.Technology on Tap

After more than two months of making this tedious ensemble of technological wonders work, I found a shop, Friendly Computing, in Redding where I could have my laptop repaired for less than half of what it was going to cost in the third largest city in California. Although I had to leave it there and return to life as I know it in the city, over the weekend I was reunited with my laptop and its beautifully crystalline display.

Suddenly, life is quite a bit less tedious and infinitely more clear! Now that the majority of my productive technology is back in working order, perhaps I will find the desire and creativity to solve the issue with my lack of television stations or maybe I will just give the television a good tap!