Judy Kay-Wolff


Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries and we are prone to forget the joys of life and dwell more profoundly on our losses.  In the Jewish tradition, mourning the passing of a loved one is known as “Sitting Shiva” — a recognized observance of bereavement which continues for seven days.   Very fortunately, my recent loss was not of a loved one — but rather my ‘best friend’ — my Dell Inspiron 6000.   My hard drive crashed and died.   If such a tragedy has ever befallen you, you can sympathize with the feeling of abandonment and hopelessness.   It is like you are bound and gagged and have totally lost your independence, usefulness, sociability and contact with the world at large. (Whatever happened to that old fashioned device called the telephone)?

When the beautiful bright blue screen with white lights repeatedly appeared as I tried to get online, I became bewildered.  But — it didn’t take a rocket scientist to soon discover that my computer was in trouble and headed for certain death.  I first called AOL who referred me to Dell.

In this age of cyberspace, few major service organizations are based in the United States and in the past I have experienced frequent language barriers!   I find it cumbersome to keep stating, “Please repeat that,” or “We have a bad connection,” or “I am not quite sure what you are saying.”   However, those making the S. O. S. call are not in control and deciphering the native tongue of the person on the other end only added to my misery and deepening depression.

I learned that the gentleman assigned to my case was based in India and after endless clicks of F1s, F2s, F12s and other assorted and sundry keys, it was confirmed my hard drive was no longer in the land of the living.   The procedure seemed routine to them:  I was asked to ante up $50 in advance for the specialist’s diagnosis of my computer’s illness and then another $150 or so for replacement parts (hard drive plus additional memory components and four discs).  Before I concluded the call, I posed the $64 Question!

I innocently asked, “How long will it take to install everything and is it an involved process?”   “No!” enthusiastically replied, my technician.   “You can do it yourself and it should take about ten to fifteen minutes.”   Phew!  What a relief.  I authorized the purchase and much to my delight, all three items arrived by noon the following day.  I was extremely impressed with their efficiency.

Beware of Greeks (or Indians) bearing gifts.  Though I was enthralled to learn I could resolve the problem myself,  I made a safety play — calling my computer guru (one of the best in Vegas) and requesting he come over the following day (though I added I was told I could handle it myself).  I probably jumped the gun — but I was not anxious to swim or drown  in uncharted waters — and decided to splurge and have it done professionally and put the nightmare behind me.   Good move, Judy!!!!

The outcome:  Three hours and $300 later my computer was up and running (with several programs not yet installed and countless other minor glitches and unresolved issues which will necessitate another house call).

My assessment of the convincing “ten to fifteen minutes” installation estimate by my Dell agent:  I would venture an educated guess that if starting from scratch as a bridge novice, it  would  take less time to become a Life Master than for an ordinary lay person like myself to install the necessary hardware and get it up to snuff!!!!

Besides — at my age — time’s a-wasting!


PegJanuary 26th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Judy – you’re the second person I know whose hard drive went to the Great Beyond in the past month. Ergo – I have ordered a new Dell Inspiron 1525 3 days ago!

What I’ve always done with my laptops is this. I get a service contract for as long as I think the thing will be up and decent – either 4 or 5 years. I spend roughly another $80 or so for the last 2 years of the contract … but, Dell truly does fix anything and everything that might go wrong for no extra cost.

I had something major go wrong with mine about a year ago. The Dell repair guy said that the company spent MORE fixing all that was wrong than they would have spent had they sent me a new laptop! Of course, I would have preferred the latter – but, the rules are the rules. At least I got one more year of life out of the thing than otherwise for only about $80 more.

Very excited about my soon to be new toy, though! Glad you got YOUR baby repaired, too!

JudyJanuary 26th, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Hi Peg:

It is not so much the money expended as the time in limbo. My computer was over three years old and has gone all over the world with me — and it was in use about 18/7. So, it wasn’t so much about the cash outlay as the idle time off line. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with your newborn.

PegJanuary 27th, 2009 at 5:52 am

Judy – part of why I ordered the new computer (time off line.) I reached the point where it was worth not having to worry about various items going “kaput”.

JudyJanuary 27th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Peg — I had a similar experience. I had some warning signs but I was too distracted by other happenings to pay it much mind as it was up and running again. I should not have waited for the second atom bomb to drop and gone to Dell earlier. Of course, I would have had the same installation downtime and costs — but would not have been out of commission for three days.

I guess one is never too old to learn (just too stubborn)!