Geek Rants

The more complicated things get…

  • January 28, 2010

First off, don’t get me wrong: I love my new Alienware laptop. It rocks in so many ways I haven’t found them all yet. Still, some things are just too damned fancy in my godlike opinion.

For instance?

Instead of clicky-button controls for things like volume control, CD ejection, media control (what? your laptop doesn’t have play, fast forward and rewind buttons?) and all that other stuff, mine has touch-sensitive capacitance controls. It’s the same idea as the ubiquitous touch pads, taken to another level of fancy-it-up-because-we-can. Well, today mine suddenly stopped working. About the same time, the tap-to-click function on the touch pad also went south–though at the time I didn’t realize the two events were related.

I got on the phone with Dell tech support (well, I’d been told my model Alienware machine had to go through Dell for such things, though in the end that turned out to be a load), and here’s a side rant: I had to run the gauntlet of no fewer than three obsequious functionaries, each one of whom asked me for the same damned information. Why don’t these people type in this stuff and pass it along to the next obstacle on the course?

Anyway, once I finally got to the Alienware guy with the tech-related flow chart to read from instead of the administrivia one, we went through a ritual of remove battery, unplug, hold down the power button, and so on. Reverse, rinse, and Glory Be: that fixed the problem.

Which was?

It seems this laptop, over time, can build up a “residual charge” in the frame. That translates to screw-with-capacitance in how-can-this-annoy-me parlance. By discharging everything, the balance was restored to The Force and all was again well.

So, tell me again why we can’t just have buttons?


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