Sunday, 3 January 2021

Well...

It's been 11 days without a fully functional laptop... which has been.... uh... different (AND DIFFICULT!) Sigh.

I knew I had habits and patterns, and I even knew that they weren't necessarily healthy and that changing them would be positive, but things happening the way they did hasn't really been the positive change one might imagine... it's been a little bit more like taking away a junkie's vice, cold turkey... and them having to find worse ways to handle the ick.

I'm not making sense... that's ok.  I'll spell it out.  One of the main ways I've been coping this last (long) while with my mental health and especially the anxiety is to, what I call, distract.  So I go online.  I check social media.  I scroll through things.  I "like" things.  Often, I'll post some art (if I have some made) or something.  And so off and on through the day it's like these little mini bursts of attention.  I play games on and off on my phone.  While simultaneously watching a show on my laptop while popping in and out of social media sites, while messaging whoever.  And doing that has helped me distract myself during some really really bad times.  It has absolutely been a coping mechanism.  A survival strategy.  And it has become something of a habit, for lack of a better term.

I have been trying to adjust... to spend less time in front of a screen... in front of screens.  But yeah, some days it's hours and hours of it.

I think I mentioned a couple of years ago that my laptop was getting old and showing signs of not lasting much longer, so I ended up leasing a new (2018) laptop.  It wasn't what I wanted to do but financially it was what worked, as I wanted to be able to use digital programs like Photoshop and Capture One (art and photography) and keep working on my digital art and photography.  And I've never been one for buying used machines.  Call it a superstition if you want, but for me it's more like I believe a little bit of the soul of a person "gets into" a computer, and I prefer mine "clean".  Shrug.

When I got that leased laptop, it didn't work well from the start.  Apple's new at the time "butterfly" keyboard was a failure (they've since moved on from them) and had to be replaced pretty much right away.  There were also glitch issues with the screen (display) but they weren't able to replicate them when I took it in.  And let's be honest, taking your machine into the shop, even a good shop, means you don't have your machine for a while.  Usually around 10 days I find.  Which is a pain in the ass.  Normally I have an old (previous) laptop as a backup, but it was really starting to struggle.  Fairly significantly.

So when I got it back with the new keyboard and the still glitching display, I just started tracking the issues to see if I could figure out the problem on my own.  

And then Covid hit and I didn't want to have to a) go in to the shop and b) deal with a time without a computer, so I just... let it go.  And then the replacement keyboard started to be a jerk.  But I still didn't want to deal with it. 

A couple of months ago, I came to the point in the lease agreement where you were able to "exchange" (really just give up the current lease and start a new lease with a new laptop) and as I still don't have the ability to financially buy a new one flat out (or get a loan, etc.) I decided to start again with a new lease and try to (hopefully) save up enough to buy it out in a year (or two?)  So I called and arranged that.  

I then also contacted Apple to talk about the display issue and the keyboard.  The guy I talked to was awesome and said I was good for a replacement keyboard and he said he was concerned that the glitch I was seeing might be a logic/mother board issue (I can't remember) and he made a note of things and told me to go in and I said... well.... Covid....

And I didn't go in.  I figured once the replacement laptop turned up and I had to go in anyway, I'd have them fix the issues before they tried to resell the unit (or whatever they do.)

A few weeks ago I opened the laptop up from "sleep" and the screen went... grey?  Nothing "woke up" so I did a hard restart and... things seemed fine.  Must be that darn logic board I thought.  Oh well, new laptop will be here soon!

And then it was Christmas Eve.  I was already a little stressed by holiday stuff and pandemic holiday stuff and so my plan was to watch some Christmas movies and just zone out for the evening/night.  I liked this plan a lot.

I opened my laptop from sleep and PINK SCREEN NO GREEN NO GREY NOPE PINK PINK PINK PINK.

Uh....

Hard restart....

PINK PINK GREEN PINK PINK SCREEN WHEEEEEEEE PARTY ON THE SCREEN.

Um... shit.

I tried safe restarts, I tried all the tricks I knew or could google on my phone.  Party on the screen was all I got.  Jason is my Apple-computer-knowing-friend and he was busy and didn't have any advice with the texts and photos I sent him.

It was half an hour before the shop was closing, I figured I'd call them and find out how long it was going to be til I could get it in (as I knew they were closing for the holidays.)

I got an awesome young man and explained that "my laptop had just pooped the bed" (I'm sorry, I babble when I'm stressed and pretending not to be.)  He told me it would be Monday before they were open again (four days) and probably the Wednesday after that before the tech could look at it.  I explained that the screen was pink/green/flashy and he asked me if I had a tv or external monitor I could plug it in to... he wondered if it was a display issue (rather than a logic board issue, which is what I'd been assuming).  Well I do have a (used, older) external monitor but it stopped connecting with my laptop a couple of months ago.  (sigh)  But I thought I'd give it a try as I was chatting with the fellow on the phone.  Thanks to Santa or something, I plugged it in and IT WORKED!  IT CONNECTED!  I told the phone guy soon and he said that that confirmed it was a display issue.  I thanked him very much and said I'd be in on Monday and happy holidays.

So I was able to uncomfortably use the laptop while it was plugged in to this external display.  While desperately trying not to jiggle the cable just in case.  

I wasn't able to do my usual "lie or recline on couch with laptop on lap" but I was able to at least use it, and I was able to turn the monitor so I could see it from my couch and so I got to watch Christmas movies on Christmas Eve after all (which was lovely) and I really felt like I had made the best of my situation.

I know a bare sort of minimum about these machines and so I know that there's a cable that passes around where the hinge of the laptop is and I suppose it's a weak spot.  But out of habit, I closed the laptop up, ugh...

When I went to open it the next time, I noticed a pause on the flickering of the PARTY ON THE SCREEN pink.  Hmmm.... I thought.

I closed the laptop back up and opened it very very slowly... 

At first opening, and right up to about 30 degrees (angle) the screen was "normal" enough that I could use it.  It wasn't actually fully working, but it was working enough!  Enough that I could lie comfortably on my couch and slip my fingers to most of the keyboard and see enough of the screen to use it.  YAY!

Well, I mean not yay really but yay more than nothing.  You know?

So over the next few days I limped along with the broken display as best I could.  Sometimes carefully attached to the external display, sometimes physically relaxed, but with a barely open laptop.  It was... bizarre and less than ideal.  

And I tried to do other things.  Non computer using things.  (But I know my phone usage went up.... yep)

On the Monday, I took my laptop in right after they opened.  (After posting one last "uh oh" post here.)

I came home and pulled out my old (2012) laptop to see what I might be able to use it for.  I knew from earlier in the year that the video card (?) was done.  It had "broken" when I was attempting to use Netflix or something video heavy, and so I just decided to only use my phone for videos and just use the laptop for things like emails and checking (stupid) FB.

The old laptop has been puttering along valiantly.  I have not pushed it at all.  I haven't even shut it down just in case.

But yeah, now my phone usage has exploded.  And I don't think my head/eyes are particularly in love with this plan.  Watching movies and shows on a phone is less than ideal.  Although I am very grateful for it and very grateful that it's a slightly larger screen than the 5 I started the year with!

I did try to figure out if I could have the external display connect to the phone to at least make watching things easier on my eyes, but it's a strange sort of cable that's needed and I didn't feel like trying to find one that works just for a week or two.

Well you guys?  This has really thrown me off.  Not being able to multi task (I can't play on my phone while watching something on my phone after all... well I can, but not well.)  Not being able to be comfortable while I check in on social media or what have you.  Just... an unwanted shock to my routine.  To my habits.  And most importantly, to my comfort coping mechanisms at a very stressful time of year.

The shop contacted me on Wednesday or Thursday to let me know they were replacing the display and the keyboard (I'd told them about both, plus there was a record of me talking to Apple I assume).

They said they hoped by Thursday of the next week.  I knew things wouldn't be quick, what with holidays and New Years and Covid and even possibly shipping issues.

I also asked if they could tell me where in the world (literally) the new laptop was and they explained that there had been lots of delays at Apple but that it had just shipped and was somewhere in the Bering sea (which is weirdly not reassuring, all I can think of is giant waves!)

So I suppose there's a possibility that the new laptop will arrive before the old laptop is fixed, but I'm not counting on that.  And I'm glad things are getting fixed, even if it wasn't my favourite timing AT ALL.

I'm curious to see if (assuming I get it back) the other glitch still happens or if it was the display all along... we shall see.  Or someone will see... eventually.

I'm struggling with the current situation but trying to do the best I can with it all.  It's one of those things I don't really have much "control" over, so I can just try to manage, you know?

I would love to tell you that since I don't have a working laptop I've totally changed my habits and patterns and all sorts of good things, but that hasn't happened (yet.)

I'm anxious about the new laptop because it will likely kill the big programs I use (Photoshop and Capture One) and I can't really afford to buy any new ones outright and stupid Adobe has their stupid cloud stupid things that I also can't really afford and REALLY REALLY dislike on principle.  I'm fine buying a program but to have to pay yearly usage?  That ticks me off (to put it mildly).  Big time.  But I'm trying not to borrow worry as they say and just deal with whatever happens when the new laptop eventually is in my hands.

I am SUPER thankful that the external monitor worked when I most needed it (and holding my breath a little that it might work again with the new laptop?) and I am EXTREMELY thankful that this laptop (that I'm typing on right now on what may always be my favourite keyboard... sigh) is working as well as it is (knock on wood, fingers crossed).

I did, of course, make a backup of the laptop as soon as I realized it was a display isssue (and not an entire system crash) and I'm glad I make regular backups monthly.

Oh, and did I mention my tertiary backup died?

YEAH!  Fun, right?

So I also have ordered a replacement secondary backup external drive thingy because up until recently (this last laptop) I just kept all my files on my laptop.  Jason suggested this wasn't the best, so when I leased the laptop I also purchased an external drive and have been keeping all my photos and digital art (and writing) on it.

And since I know they fail, I'm kind of scared of losing everything.

So... another backup for files is coming.  And yes, I'm aware that they could both go and I could lose everything and that does happen.  But... I'm trying to do the best I can and hoping for the best and realizing this is the new reality of digital files.

I mean, artists and photographers can lose physical files in fires or floods or through theft so... it just is what it is I guess.

Anyway... I was sitting there last night thinking "I wonder if I can log on to my blog and type out a post?" and sure enough I can.

Because yeah... I can't log on to most things because my passwords are all stored on the laptop I don't currently have and I don't have any of them memorized and no, I don't use a password manager.  (yet?)

So there are a bunch of things I'm not able to do right now.  Like I realized and had to contact my therapist to let him know I don't have the ability to do our scheduled video session this week (cuz I won't have the working laptop back yet and this one won't handle it, plus I don't have the sign in info).

I can't sign in to my bank to look over my banking info and stuff like that.  It made me realize how much I rely on that laptop for a lot of things.

I know I could reset all my passwords and all that, but I'm trying to keep things simple and easy rather than over complicating an already ugh situation.

So that's my non update update.  Another week without a full laptop.  And then who knows how long until a completely new laptop and the bumpy transition I expect from/with that and seeing what works and what got borked.  I mean I'm two OS's behind as it is, just to keep things that I have now working.

My phone is sure going to appreciate the break when it gets to go back to just being a phone rather than a streaming tv service again!


2 comments:

Jason Langlois said...

That's a saga and a half. I really hope the laptop comes back soon.

My own PC up and died on New Years Eve, but luckily only at around 2PM, so I was able to run out and max the credit card getting a replacement desktop from Best Buy (thank you ongoing Boxing Day sale), and was backup online in a couple hours. Which was good, because I needed to be online for work for a big "go-live" happening that night.

So I think maybe it was just that planetary alignment thing in play or something.

Victoria said...

Oh geez, that's quite a saga for you as well!!!! Holy!

And yeah, probably the planets for sure!