Max's primary computer system died, so he purchased a hot new system, but now he's having a problem with the loathsome Bing search engine appearing in his Firefox browser.
Unusually for me, I was not wearing my happy face yesterday, nor did I perform a single happy dance. The reason for this sad state of affairs started when I arrived at my office at the crack of dawn and powered up the main tower computer that drives the three 28-inch monitors forming my desktop.
Everything seemed to be OK at first. The various applications (Outlook, Firefox, Excel, Word, Visio, Notepad, etc.) appeared to open and run as expected while I was setting up my desktop the way I like it. As soon as I tried to do anything with any of these applications, however, that program immediately locked up. If I subsequently tried to use the ctrl-alt-delete key combination to access the task manager, the entire system locked up and then all three screens went black. Strange to relate, the only thing that continued to work was the lonely cursor associated with my mouse, and there’s not much you can do with a cursor on an otherwise blank screen.
I tried re-booting the machine several times to no avail. There were probably other things I could have tried, but I’d pretty much reached the end of the line. To be honest, this computer has been getting flakier and flakier recently, and I’ve been expecting this day to come for a few months now. We’ve run antivirus and anti-malware tools, and we’ve tried swapping memory sticks and running low-level diagnostic and intensive burn-in tests, but at the end of the day there’s only so much you can do.
I must admit to feeling a tad forlorn. This machine has been a true and faithful companion for several years now. It was actually a refurbished unit I purchased off eBay for around $350. The graphics card was a beast that could drive two high-resolution monitors. I soon discovered that a new card of the same type would have cost me around $450 (eek!), but then I tracked down a refurbished version on eBay for something like $30. Since that time, I’ve been working the poor little scamp into the ground, pounding away on my keyboard, orchestrating things with my mouse, creating blogs, editing images, and doing suchlike from dawn till dusk, day-in and day-out. I know how frazzled I feel, so I’m not surprised that my tower computer eventually gave up the ghost and shrugged off this mortal coil.
The thing is that I can’t survive without my big-boy computer. I can struggle along on my notepads – as I must do when I’m travelling -- but I can generate only a fraction of the throughput I manage on my primary setup. If you couple this with the fact that I am a man of little patience, who is not prepared to wait several days to obtain a new machine, you can see we have a problem.
Of course one can find computers at places like Best-Buy and Walmart, but these are pretty much generic boxes targeted at the masses. These machines may be OK for home use, but I haven’t had much luck over the years using them in a grueling professional environment.
Fortunately, I have a chum called Daniel Imsand who works at a local company called GigaParts. This is an interesting organization with two faces to it. On one hand it is the largest independent ham radio distributor in the USA (and possibly in the world). On the other it builds and sells kick-ass PCs. The GigaParts Zero Systems brand is divided into three categories: Zero Home PCs, Zero Gaming PCs, and Zero Workstations.
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