Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Hello, My name is Bob. Bob Smith. Yes, that's it."

Yesterday was Part Two of "Can This Computer Be Saved?" over at my best friend Patti's house. Last week's episode featured a busted DVD-RW drive, 2 un-syncable iPod Nanos, a universal remote control system for the house that hinged on said DVD-RW drive NOT being toast, three yelpy kids and a ride home after a missed train that hands down had to be more fun than I've had in decades.

And for the record, Makenzie (Patti's 11-year old daughter), it was not Jesse Jackson who rode his horse along the tracks to rob trains. It was Jesse James. What are they teaching kids in school these days?

I'm far more technically inclined than my cool, hip facade would ever admit (and the readers all laugh in an uproarious "We're so sure!") so Patti trusts me to install, program and troubleshoot most of the electronics in her sprawling suburban nest. Well, that and the fact that since I did most of her homework for her and cleaned her room all the time when we were kids, I'm historically competent, dependable and hard-working. (So why is it I can't find a job to save my life???)

Thus Luke and I took another Metra out to Patti's little town and embarked on a trip to Best Buy to procure a new DVD-RW drive. Yippee, I was smart enough to bring along the specs on the old one to make sure the new one would be compatible with her desktop. Yippee, it was! Got home and I rifled through her husband's tools to find itty-bitty screwdrivers since I left my computer-repair tools at home.

I'm not totally familiar with the Dell Dimension B110, so I sat there temporarily befuddled trying to gauge how to open the tower on the CPU. I certainly didn't want to unnecessarily unscrew a bunch of stuff, so to be on the safe side, I blew another call into the friendly technical support staff at Dell USA.

Last week's tech support call, where the guy remotely diagnosed Patti's computer as having an irreparable hardware issue cost us (well, Patti) $39.99, since her warranty had expired just weeks prior (naturally). No way I was falling for that shiz again, so I told the technician this time that I had but ONE QUICK QUESTION and then I'd be good to go...that whole "how the fuck does the tower open?" one.

Dell Guy, in insanely thick Indian accent: "Hello, thank you for calling Dell USA Technical Support. My name Bob Smith. How may I help you?" (I think last week's tech said his name was J.R. Ewing or some such nonsense.)

Me: "Hi, I just need to know how to get the cover off of the tower on my Dell Dimension B110. That's all I need to know."

Bob: "Yes, ma'am. I'm happy to help you with that. But first I need to ask you the cacophony of questions to verify both yours and the computer's identity that will take upwards of 20 minutes and are a direct repeat of the information you provided for us last week."

Me: "Fine, blah blah blah."

Bob: "Now, ma'am, turn the CPU on it's side to your right. You will see a black plastic lever that shifts from side to side. Do you see the lever?"

Me: "Yes, Bob."

Bob: "Yes, ma'am. Now, do you see two black indentations on the cover on either side of the CPU?"

Me: "Yes, Bob."

Bob: "Yes, ma'am. Now I need you to take one hand and use it to hold the black lever shifted to the right. Take another hand and use IT to lift up the left side of the black cover and your other hand to do the same on the right."

Me: "Bob, that would imply that I have three hands."

Bob: "Yes, ma'am."

Me: "Ok, just wanted to make sure we're on the same page here."

Bob: "Yes, ma'am."

Me:"Yes, Bob, thanks, I got it open."

Bob: "You are welcome, ma'am."

Me: "Keep sailing, Bob."

Bob: "What was that, ma'am?"

Me: "Bye, Bob."

That ended my Dell Technical Support Love-In for the day, and I swapped the drives out in under 10 minutes. And the new drive worked. And the iPods synched. And we ate really yummy food. And giggled more and had a ton of girl talk. And Luke and I made the train home and enjoyed getting soaked in a summer thunderstorm en route back to our car at the station.

Life is good. Keep sailing.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Bob Smith? Did you ever work at Hughes Aircraft as a Tech? email me at if so