Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Computer problems

It seems the only things I have to write about are problems and that's not really what Belize is all about.  It's beautiful here with wonderful people, but our reality right now is dealing with problems.  I haven't been posting for a couple of reasons.  First, I hate to be negative all the time, but the real reason is the computer.  In the 5+ years that we've lived here full-time, I've lost three laptops.  The first was a Dell, which I bo't especially to have here with it's 17" screen and lots of bells and whistles.  In less than a year it died and I got absolutely no help from Dell because I had the nerve to take it out of the US.  My wonderful cousin then shipped me a new ASUS.  I did get a couple of years out of that one, but it also failed.  Last May, when we went to Oregon I bo't a refurbished HP.  It gave up the first of November.  The humidity here is killer on electronics.  I cover the computer every night with a thick towel to try to help and have it on a tray for air circulation, but to no avail.  The problem with all of them is that if one part fails it takes the whole system with it.  The Dell had a design flaw with the webcam, but it was all necessary for the initializing process.  They all have one large circuit board inside, so the problem area can't be bypassed or replaced.  Pooh!

My dear friend, Diane, is in Florida right now, but she is letting me use an old Dell that has been in her closet for a bit.  It's so old it actually had Vista as an operating system.  I've had a lot of trouble with it too (maybe it's really just me).  It took it to Sergio, who has a place in San Ignacio and is terrific with computers.  He's the one who tried to resurrect my HP.  Besides being so slow and unable to connect, the keyboard went wonky and started typing on it's own.  Freaky!  He literally stripped it down, took off Vista and installed Windows 7 and disabled the keyboard.  I bo't a USB keyboard and am limping along.  I suspect my router is also giving up the ghost.  When I want to use the computer I plug it directly into the repeater.  When I want to use the Kindle, I plug in the repeater.  Go figure!  I'm definitely technologically challenged, but am making it work.

I'm really missing the DVD drive on the computer as our little stereo also quit working, so I can't play Christmas music.  There are definitely some disadvantages to living in the bush on limited funds.  

With all our car repairs and limited funds, I've been searching for a new computer.  Sergio suggested an ACER, as they're the only ones that seem to be effectively sealed against the humidity.  He hasn't had one in his repair shop for these problems.  I looked at Amazon and BestBuy and checked the reviews.  For every great review, I'd see someone saying that they got their new computer home and it didn't work, right out of the box.  Living in this tiny country, where it can take months to get something here, that wasn't very reassuring.  I ended up taking a huge chance.  I went on eBay and found exactly what I was looking for a about 1/3 of the price I would pay for a one new.  Actually this one has more storage and speed than I needed.  It's from a pawn shop in Detroit.  Scarey!  I ran it by Sergio and his comment was that they don't lend on a computer that doesn't work, so I put in my bid and won.  I had it sent to a friend in Colorado who is coming down in January.  She isn't any more adept at computers than I am, but she said she plugged it in and it connected to the internet just fine, so I'm crossing my fingers that in January, I'll be good to go again. 

I suspect that my problems aren't all the fault of the computer.  This repeater is less than reliable, so may have to reactivate the satellite and probably get a new router.  My internet connection is as important as food as I couldn't stand being so far away and not be able to connect with family and friends. 

Anyway, I'm delighted to be able to get and receive emails and even Skype with this old computer, so my holiday spirit is surviving.   Blessings and Merry Christmas

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