Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mr. Fix It

Every appliance or gadget you have - TV, cellphone, PC - conks out once in a while. It's an inconvenience that comes along with modern day living. It's a nuisance that people a century or so ago did not have to deal with. My PC breaks down again this month - twice in a row - with just barely a week from the day it was repaired. Everytime this will happen I can almost foresee hardearned money fly from my wallet 99% of the time. It can also mean lost productivity on my part because I use my PC for work. As I unplug all the cables connected to the CPU, I dread the thought of bringing this bulky piece of equipment to the repairman five kilometers away from me - a 4-km jeepney ride and a gruelling 1-km walk (I don't ride tricycles because they charge me almost triple the amount of my jeepney fare). By the time I reach the repair shop I am already drenched in sweat and panting not to mention that my arms feel like I did a hundred reps of straight barbell curls in a gym.

For work-at-home people like me using the PC and internet there are four horsemen of Apocalypse to watch for. First is the unexpected power interruption that can happen anytime. Once the electricity is out there is virtually nothing I can do to start working again unless I have a generator at home. I have no choice but to wait. Power interruption here in our place usually happens with a bang - either a transformer explodes nearby or an insane driver rams his truck to the Meralco electric post. Thankfully, the Meralco guys can restore the power supply in no time.

The second is no internet connectivity. This can paralyze my work just as much as the first one. It all depends on the length of time the net connection is off and once it is back then my work resumes. I'm just grateful that even though my ISP is a little slow at times, these incidences are rare but nevertheless counterproductive if it strikes.

The third is more subtle and insiduous. This menace inflicts damage over time without you noticing it. I'm referring to computer viruses, worms, and spywares. My first line of defense against these malevolent creatures is of course an antivirus software that is updated regulary on my PC, but take note that it cannot hinder all potential viruses out there in cyberspace so utmost diligence and care must be put in place to make sure my computer programs are running smoothly. It is recommended you run an antivirus check at least once a week. If left unchecked, you might end up replacing your hard drives, reformatting your PC, or losing all your precious data altogether. The best defense is to have backups of your sensitive and important files.

The last is the most menacing which is a complete PC breakdown - This is when you feel like selling your computer to junk shop because nothing appears on screen at all and your PC is next to useless. When this happens, you know for sure that there is something wrong with your computer hardware parts. "PC repairman here I come." This is the worst that could happen to you. More often than not the PC technicians don't really "fix" the problem in your PC as I have observed. Yes, they check and diagnose your PC's problems but after some screwing here and there, wiring connections and all that, I bet it will all end up with you purchasing a brand new part from them - a video card, memory card, hard drive, or motherboard. Trust me I already bought these things from them. So, now you know why this is the worst - because it's time to say goodbye to your hard-earned money at a blink of an eye - plus their service charge.

But today was different. Instead of bringing my massive CPU to the technician, I did some troubleshooting myself. I found out that I had a defective video card which I just purchased a week ago. I did not bother about availing the warranty because the videocard looked like a substandard one. To avoid a noise barrage, I just figured out how to install and uninstall a videocard all by myself. This morning I bought a new video card from a reputable store and installed it to my PC and now it is working fine again. This act saved me from traveling 5 kilometers to the repair shop, some money that I would pay the technician for his services, and all that sweat and trouble of having my PC overhauled again. Just for this day I became Mr. Fix It! Hurray!

Lesson: In every situation that confronts us, we can choose to be upset or we can choose to act. We can also choose not to act. I'm glad I did the right thing. Maybe I can have a career fixing computers in the future! (LOL) I'm actually contemplating of taking up a short course on PC troubleshooting. Well, why not?

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