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Acers Up! As in Up Yours! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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Acers Up! As in Up Yours!

I don't remember a lot of things. Like what, exactly, I'm going to be arguing about in court tomorrow morning (it's been postponed a half dozen times since late last year and came within a hair of settling without my involvement, but hey- that's what files are for). Or how long five minutes are after Eleanor pre-treated a stain of cat hork and asked me to clean it up in five minutes:P

But I can easily, and almost literally, remember a reference that William Safire made in an On Language column in 1990:

Ace, rooted in the Latin as, ''unit,'' ''single item'' and the ancient Roman unit of weight - originally about three-quarters of a pound - has a variety of modern meanings. In Amslan, the American sign language of the deaf, the sign for No. 1 is sometimes used as the sign for the playing card ranked higher than a king; the noun ace means a lone, brave pilot with a record of shooting down many enemy planes, and in tennis, the verb to ace is to blaze a serve past an opponent on the first shot.

As a name, the word has a less heroic quality: Sid Zelinka, the comedy writer for the Marx Brothers and other zanies, told friends that whenever he wanted to spoof a company, he would name it the Ace (Whatever) - the Ace Detective Agency fell asleep on the job, the Ace Laundry lost the pillowcases, and so on.

(I suspect the "Acme" products of Roadrunner cartoons and Roger Rabbit fame riffed on the same theme.)

Why this history lesson? Because Groot, my backup laptop, is an Acer. And today, he has essentially proven the theorem.

----

Groot replaced a laptop that had been my main work machine up until 2014.  That laptop dated to Vista days, and I replaced it before its inevitable crash so I wouldn't be totally SOL if there was one.  I kept it for programs that didn't play well with my replacement Windows 8.1 machine, or would've taken up too much space on it.  In the past year or two while my main replacement laptop was still good, its monitor failed, and my Rochester guru figured that replacement was quicker and cheaper than repair, so its data files all migrated to a used Acer he had lying around the la-BOR-a-tory.  "Groot" stuck as his name, because we'd seen Guardians either in cinema or on DVD around that time, and I even replaced the wake-from-sleep .wav file on him with the only three words that Treeboy ever says.

Groot did his thing well, if only occasionally. His power supply was (still is) wonky; about 15 percent of the time, the power seizes up out of sleep mode and he needs to be hard-rebooted, once or twice or many times; and his battery is (and this is a technical term) shit.  But he came with Windows 7, which had most of 8's (and even 10's) better features without the swipes and charms and Metro-style boxes of the failed 8 experiment.  For months starting in July of 2015, Microsoft was begging me to upgrade him from 7 to 10 for free, while simultaneously telling me I couldn't- because Groot didn't have a compatible networking driver.  Finally, though, in February or so, a 7 update of that driver hit the spot, the update took, and until about a week ago, Groot, minus his wakeup .wav file but otherwise running fine, ran fine.

Then came late March.  All of a sudden, that laptop's touchpad went dead.  We have an even older XP-era desktop with a USB wireless mouse, so I transferred it to Groot and got him back running using that, and tried all the tricks to update drivers, install updates, generally beg Microsoft to give me back my touchpad.

Nothing worked; and the external mouse workaround was annoying, because my hands are trained to work toward the center rather than the right of the laptop where it was residing. (If I'm using a desktop, I'm differentially trained enough to know the mouse is off to the side, but see the "can't remember shit" discussion above.)

That's when I surrendered to my local guru.  Lisa's been an all-time friend and one-time co-worker the whole time we've lived here.   She became my go-to when her Rochester counterpart fell down on the job and left a laptop fan so full of cat hair it was pumping kitten-hairballs into the motherboard.  She needed some advice from me; I gave her Groot in return.

Her initial diagnosis: the 10 upgrade never actually happened. She'd have to roll him back to 7. Unfortunately, by the time I even got him to her, the built-in Easy Rollback Option had expired, and we'd be looking at a total wipe of the hard drive and a clean 7 install. When I saw the list of programs I'd need to reinstall, I said fuck it, I'll buy a new mouse and glue it to the touchpad. She told me I could pick it up this afternoon.... and I did, but with the problem nailed, rather than glued down.

Turns out, there's a weird button to the left of the main power switch on dat dere Acer 5532. It's not labeled, and does not light up for on or off- there's only an icon next to it, which only makes sense if (a) you've been through this shit or (b) you have Superman's visual acuity.  It's an icon of a finger touching a touchpad.

Yes, the geniuses at the Acer Detective Agency   Laundry   Computer Company put an unlabeled button in the heart of the power-button territory that disables the touchpad. Likely it was a cat who decided to conduct this experiment. She (Lisa, not a cat) toggled it; the touchpad magically came back on.

So thank you immensely, m'dear, and for you folks at Acer, I only have two words:

Meep Meep.

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Comments
tilia_tomentosa From: tilia_tomentosa Date: April 8th, 2016 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Ouch! :)
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