Saturday, 2 July 2011

Desktop back in use


It took three days to get my desktop computer working again, which was longer than I expected. So it’s great to have it back again.

I am one of those people who know absolutely nothing about computers, or indeed cars. I can operate both, but when either goes wrong I have to call in the experts. Fortunately I have very good experts in both cases. Both are British and both do house calls.

My computer was built for me by my son six years ago. As he keeps reminding me, that is a long time for a computer. In addition living in Spain is very hard on computers. The very cold winters and very hot summers are not good for them. Nor is the uncertain electricity supply, which can result in damaging power surges. Finally during the winter lightening can also do a lot of damage.

Before we left UK I was aware that I would need a good surge protector, and it was one of the first things I bought when we moved to Spain. Within four months we had an electrical storm, and my router was burnt out. When I took it to the local computer shop I was advised that this often happens, indeed it makes their day when a really good storm arrives. Apparently a lightening strike can move through the telephone lines, right into the router. We soon heard horror stories of phones blown off walls.

Worse still a house down the road was hit by lightening a few months later. It destroyed all of their electrical instruments, including computers, TV and a fridge. So now at the first sign of thunder or lightening everything is disconnected and we sit in the dark watching the lightening display.

All of this is very wearing on the poor old computer. It made two or three visits to the computer during our first year, and early in the second year they declared it BER (beyond economical repair). Fortunately I had my laptop. As I was looking around for a replacement desktop I heard about Paul. I rang him and described the symptoms, and he assured me that it could be repaired, and would not cost a fortune.

He was true to his word, and it was soon up and running again, and all for about 50 euros. He has been my first port of call for any computer problems since. Over the years he has replaced “bits” as required, and has never charged me more than the original 50 euros.

My latest problem was caused by heat, assisted by cold! During the summer months it gets very hot here, and this can cause the computer to overheat. But apparently the real damage is done during the winter, when the very cold weather causes more damage. Something about extremes of heat. He takes a lot of trouble to explain these things to me, and he hardly seems to notice when my eyes glaze over.

Anyway he has brought it back to life. He called at the house on Tuesday and spent almost two hours working on it. Then he took it away and retuned it on Friday. All of this cost just 40 euros.

Apparently the compact case, so much easier to handle than the previous heavy tower case, does not work so well in the hot weather. Not enough room to circulate the air. I had been told this before, so I placed my desk fan behind the computer. Apparently this may have done more harm than good, as it stops the hot air circulating out of the computer. Anyway the fan is at the side now, which I am told should help a lot. Time will tell.

Meanwhile I have been working on the campaign on my laptop. We have completed move 20, and I am setting up the fifth battle of the campaign. More about that in my next post.

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