Well, that was an expensive mistake [My Voodoo, Part 4]

This post marks the end of the “My Voodoo” series. Why? Because, after less than two years, my laptop is dead. And not just in the “died peacefully in its sleep” way, oh no, in the “I’m going to screw Andrea over as much as possible before I go” way. I haven’t been happy with this laptop (except for its awesome pink-ness) since the beginning, so in some ways I’m glad that the saga is finally over. But, then I think about how much money I blew on this piece of crap that didn’t even make it to half the current lifespan of my (still working!) Toshiba Portege and I just get angry again.

I. Problem 1: You didn’t need that screen, anyway!

This one isn’t entirely the manufacturer’s fault, but worse shit has happened to my Toshiba and the worst it has is a few dead pixels. What happened, you ask? Back in April 2007 some asshole dropped my laptop — I was going through airport security and some random guy (not airport staff) was looking at it (or trying to steal it; I never quite figured out which) and dropped it on the floor when he saw me. I probably should have yelled at him to stop, but I was so horrified that my laptop was on the floor that I rushed over to it and checked to see if it was okay first, and by that time he was gone.

Fast forward to July of that year. The screen started having problems and, after about a month, it quit. The warranty is gone, it would have cost me about $1,000 to ship it both ways even if the warranty was still good (because of the living in Japan thing), and the computer shops won’t touch it because it’s not Japanese and not even from a Japanese company. Since I’m not going back home to the States until December, I did the only thing I could do: I bought a cheap-ish LCD monitor and started using it.

II. Problem 2: Fail to boot

With the screen thing under control for the time being, I went back to using my computer. Which worked just fine until today when I went to boot it up and it froze before Windows even had a chance to load. Since then I’ve been able to get it to boot up to Windows maybe 1 out of 3 times and have been trying to get all my irreplaceable information off of it, but it isn’t working that great.

Frankly, I think when I had that problem last year (detailed in this post) they didn’t actually fix it. They didn’t tell me what had gone wrong, either. I say this because the two problems are strikingly similar, except that this one is much much worse.

While, technically, this might be a fixable problem, the truth is that I’ve had nothing but trouble from this laptop since I bought it and the only money I’m willing to sink into it at this point is if I need to pay someone to help me get the rest of the info off of the hard drive.

III. Conclusion

I just keep thinking what I could have done to avoid this. I mean, did my research on the damn company before I bought from them, but nothing like the various problems I’ve had turned up in any of my searches. Of course, if I had known that they were being bought by HP I would have avoided Voodoo PC like the plague, but it would have required psychic powers to know that during the time that I was in the market for a laptop.

The only thing that comes to mind is: don’t buy from small companies, buy from the large ones with good reputations. Which is why I’m looking to Toshiba and Sony for my new laptop. I’ll need to verify that they haven’t gone to shit in the time that I’ve been out of the loop, but chances are whatever I purchase from them will be a thousand times better than the Voodoo that crapped out on me.

What a waste of my fucking money.

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9 Responses to Well, that was an expensive mistake [My Voodoo, Part 4]

  1. Lake Desire says:

    It feels like you just got that computer. That sucks it’s already gone. That’s 2 for 2 with friends who have had gaming laptops died prematurely even for laptops.

  2. olwen says:

    I have so much sympathy for you right now – I’ve been really bitten in the past as well with laptops, and it’s just so expensive and heartbreaking when you make a bad decision.

    I have two Sony VAIO laptops, one personal and one work, and they are fabulous. The personal one I’ve had for 18 months with no issues and it’s been a joy to use the whole time. The work one I’ve only had 3 months but I *did* step on it the other day and it seems perfectly happy still… so they seem tough little beasts!

    … plus, the work one (SZ) has NVidia graphics and can play World of Warcraft. Win!

  3. tekanji says:

    Lake Desire: In terms of computer lifespan, I did just get it. *grumps* Although, you saying that about the gaming laptop makes me wonder if we just don’t have the technology up to speed yet to handle that kind of power… It wouldn’t surprise me that companies were selling unstable products in order to meet a market demand.

    olwen: Good to know that you’re happy with your VAIOs. My family mostly has VAIOs as well and they seem to be working fairly well. I’m leaning towards that because the model I’d get allows me to pick my colour so I can have pink or red (there are other colours too, but I don’t care about those). I have to double check the graphics card, but I’m pretty sure it should let me play my games without problem.

  4. I’ve had some close friends who had some trouble with their VAIOs, but it might be more of the tech support issue here in Chicago, or the people using them. :P Well, the thing that sucks with computers is that you never know what might happen. That really, really sucks about your Voodoo.

    I have a Fujitsu and I’ve been pretty happy with it. But whenever there is an issue (which luckily have only been mainly minor ones in the past 3 years) I do find myself wishing I’d gone with a computer from a larger company.

  5. Sara says:

    I’ve got an IBM and while it gets finicky sometimes if I force it to turn off (if, say, it’s frozen for some reason or another), otherwise it’s doing pretty well. I’ve had it for about three years now too and it just keeps truckin’, despite all the abuse it suffers when I chuck it into my backpack and bang that thing around throughout the day — slinging it into the car, flipping it under a seat, lifting it by its screen (I know, I know, bad Sara), plopping it onto the couch, etc.

  6. Brinstar says:

    When I was in the final two years of university I bought a second-hand Toshiba laptop. It definitely wasn’t for gaming, but it was really reliable.

  7. Rycuda says:

    First off I’d suggest laying your hands on an ATA to USB adaptor to get all that data off your hard drive. You can pick them up from ebay for about 10-15$. It’s worth making sure you get one that will cover 2.5″ 3.5″ and SATA connectors. A few minutes with a screwdriver and you should be able to plug the drive straight into any other computer and save all that data.

    A couple of Managing Director/CEO types at some of my clients use Various VAIOs and they seem to have survived being dropped, kicked, having coffee poured over them and a variety of other destructive events. The caveat to that is that both my sister, and one of my housemates have VAIOs, both are used more intensively for media and gaming than their business counterparts and both have failed multiple times inside of a year.

    Personally I’m using an HP Compaq nc6120 that’s about two years old. Has been dropped, in two car crashes, scratched, stood on, used to prop open doors and dropped down the back of at least one server rack. The key thing with the HP systems I think is to go for the business lines and make sure you get a care pack with them. The support from that tends to be swift and quibble free.

  8. tekanji says:

    Rycuda: Thanks! I will look into the ATA to USB adaptor ASAP.

    As for the VAIO’s, do you know which models the CEO types use as opposed to your sister and your housemate?

  9. MaggieCat says:

    I’ve had my VAIO (this one) for about a year and a half now and I love it. Hasn’t even blinked at being dropped, having many things dropped on it, or the fairly callous way that pets relate to competitors for the human’s attention and lap space. I don’t do any gaming though, it’s pretty much exclusively used for internet/music/television series.

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