Rabbit hole

It’s a house-husbandly thing to do to aid and abet your wife when she’s a Master Gardener having a plant swap.

But I didn’t expect to fall down a technological rabbit hole in the bargain.

Things went wrong when I juggled a plate of pot luck salad greens on top of a smaller faux crystal dish of paper clips next to a brimming chilled stem glass of sangria.

A forkful of greens found the plate’s tipping point, into the chilled glass, bathing my Toshiba keyboard, and for one shining moment, it enjoyed the most glorious cherry red glow.

After a furious damping of the keyboard, thank you Bounty, certain the mother board was on life support, I tapped a key, the letter, “I,” as a diagnostic, and the mute sound dialogue opened, and no text appeared on the screen.

The alpha numeric characters transmogrified into function keys and the chance for e-life recovery was dismal.  Shortly, the machine straight-lined.  The power light flickered out.  It was over.

What to do next?  Why  go to Best Buy and get an ASUS laptop to replace the terminated Toshiba.

Question for eager Geek Squad Member – “Do people normally tell you why their computers fail?”

Answer – “They say, it was working just fine, and then it wasn’t.”

Comment – “Not really believable?”

Answer – “No.”

Then we stood at the rim of the rabbit hole.  It wasn’t obvious.

As IT PCs come naked as a new born technologically and as we’ve all been horse-whipped into homogenous uniformity, I asked to purchase the absolutely necessary MSOffice 2013 – so this machine could do something useful.

But you no longer get a disk, containing the program.  Instead, you get a scratch and play lotto-like ticket that yields a secret number that entitles you to retrieve on-line from the MS (Microsoft) Kingdom (and this is nothing like a Disney ride) your entry point to a digital universe where your program lurks.

Unfortunately when I scratched the ticket at home, you couldn’t read the obscured alphanumeric algorithm that permits one to pass through the emerald gate into MS Office land.

So I went back to Best Buy to get a do-over I could read.

Shop Keep – “The best I can do is have you (snail) mail the (secret) card to the (bricks and mortar building in) Seattle and get a refund in return.”

Response – “Really?  Your receipt has a 15 day return provision on it.”

They made an exception.

I asked the shop keep to scratch the card so that we could witness together the legible letters and numbers – the key.

You may very well think that did it but when the card’s code was entered at the all-knowing all-seeing MS data app gate, the version I got was in Portuguese.

I must have missed a menu choice, right?

Amidst a myriad of endless hierarchical menus, it said “Uninstall and pull down the menu to get an English version.”

Incidentally, when you uninstall the Portuguese version, the “removal” prompts are in Portuguese.

More trouble, NO drop-down menu to substitute English.

I gave MS a cell phone number, prompting an e-response I would receive a call from a live MS techy in two minutes, and, amazingly, I did.

Frustrated Phone Patron: “I doubt there are five Portuguese speaking people in the community where I live and those few could never have found this ‘key’ to the Portuguese version because the retail package was entirely in English – with this ‘surprise’ for the unwary consumer.  So could you kindly re-jigger the all-powerful MS Mother of all Mother Boards, so that I may have a version in English?” (Said with passionate emphasis.)

Techy – “We can’t do that.”

Frustrated Phone Patron – “Really?”

Techy – “Our MS guidelines don’t permit that.”

Frustrated Phone Patron – “You must have a supervisor.”

Techy – “Sure.”

Three more rungs up and two departments later, I arrived at the inner circle of MS Hell, having been told that MS would refund the Portuguese version so I could buy an English version online.  All right.

Tanya at MS billing, however, said that’s never gonna happen.

Tanya said – “You can mail the (secret) card to us and we will by (snail) mail refund what you’ve spent.”

Thus, the technological devolution – MS’s version of Eeeek-commerce!

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