Thursday, July 23, 2009

Turn in your geek card!

Ok. I've had my Toshiba a305 notebook for 16 months and it has been rock solid. I even bought a 2nd hard drive and installed WinXP on it (after hunting around the 'net for 3 months to find drivers) It's been the most reliable notebook I've owned so far. And while the clackety-clack of the glossy keyboard was a nuisance, the entire thing was one big shiny fingerprint-smudge magnet.
CSI could use this thing for training agents in fingerprint recovery.

Those issues plus not wanting to be stuck with a notebook that died suddenly (like my previous 2 did), I figured that it was time to get a new one. I seriously toyed with the idea of a Macbook Pro. The style is great. The size was perfect. But the price was insane. Exactly twice the price of my solidly built Toshiba. And it only had 2 USB ports! Even though I have a copy of XP to load on it, I couldn't see shelling out $1700. So after some shopping around, I chose a Sony Vaio... bronze/brown colored body, matte finish with a woodgrain texture. It even sported a Macbook-like chicklet keyboard. Perfect.

The only problem was that it was the last one at Best Buy and it was pre-prepped by their Geek Squad. Before I could tell the clerk that I didn't want Geek goo on it, he offered to "remove it". I agree. (although I watched everything he did with it and he didn't do anything)

Well, I get it home. Although it is slightly smaller than the Toshiba, the wider aspect ratio of it makes it look bigger. I boot it up and Vista is already configured. One of the features is an "instant web" button that will turn on the notebook and have a full web browser up and running in under 15 seconds. (it is a highly tuned Linux distro with Firefox) When I tried the button, the system complained that it wasn't set up and to run the install.

I boot up Vista and attempt to look for an instant web installer. Nothing. A few things that I try to run act a little flakey. So I build some recovery DVDs (a good idea) and rebuild the system from factory fresh. Lo and behold, once I did that and pressed the web button, it installed and configured itself! The Geek Squad had deleted the "splashtop" executables from Vista. Ugh.

Oh well, after losing 6+ plus hours due to their ineptness, I had the whole system tuned, all 40+ applications installed, 50GB of music, photos, and videos restored. I hate getting new systems... too much to install and tweak. But at least it is done now and I can start USING it. :-)