Bel Gets Real: Laptop Debacle


Today’s blog post marks a first for the Aggronaut.  In the past I have made mention of various bits of my actual non-digital life, but never actually written about anything on a detailed level regarding what happens in the game of life.  Since this is a new kind of post, I made it a spiffy title.  I will attempt to use it from now on when I make a very reality laden post.

This Laptop’s Gone to Heaven

bgr_angelfx I realize that a lot of the readers out there have to make the choice between either playing on a laptop, or playing on a dedicated gaming pc, but for the last several years I have had the best of both worlds.  While upstairs in my office, I use my gaming desktop and when downstairs hanging out with my wife I play from a laptop.  It wasn’t until I lost this ability that I realized what a privilege it really was.

It was an ordinary Saturday afternoon several weeks back, I was hanging out downstairs in my comfy chair with my wife catching up on school work when the video froze on my laptop.  I had seen my machine get hot before, but this was positively steamy.  The video on screen looked like one of those checkerboard wipe effects that were so popular during the 80s.  I powered my machine off thinking initially it had just over heated.

Several hours later I tried booting up again only to find no video on the screen, just a combination of white lines on the screen that looked much like a UHF test pattern.  Long story short, the laptop was toast.  After further diagnosis determined that the video was pretty well fried.  Since video is on the motherboard, that meant a new motherboard and for a 3 year old laptop, that was pretty much a non-starter.

Hello Craigslist My Old Friend

Being the cheapskates we are, my wife immediately began looking on craigslist to see what was available.  In the past we have both had phenomenal luck getting good deals on Craigslist.  In fact, three years ago I purchased this laptop from a local individual at a bargain basement price, and it had performed admirably until now.  There was nothing really in our city, so my wife being the craigslist aficionado that she is extended the parameters to include some of the nearby areas.  After some hunting we found a few good deals roughly a 2 hour drive from the house. 

Flake 1: The Veteran

gi-joe-11 The first deal we found was an Asus G73JH reportedly months old, and $900.  Looking at the specs, it had everything I needed and wanted so we made contact.  Turns out the guy was enlisting in the Army and bouncing around to jump through the various hoops dealing with entrance.  I definitely understood the idea that he really had no control over his time, so I left it in his hands to tell me a time when it would be good to meet up.

We exchanged texts back and forth for about a week, each time he was uncertain of when he could meet.  He finally tried to find a friend that would be willing to meet up with me to sell the laptop.  Problem is, apparently his friends were assholes, since after several days he couldn’t find a single one willing to help him out.  Finally after several days, he said that he honestly didn’t know when he would be back in the area, and it would be better for me to find another option.

I appreciate his situation, but he still gets scored as the first flake of many that I have had to deal with.  I appreciate the fact that he was honest in the end instead of stringing me along for weeks.  However all the time spent dealing with him, cemented my desire to get an ASUS G73 series laptop.  So basically at this point I knew what I was looking for.

Flake 2:  The Meth Head

crack_ho_barbie_doll In the same basic area as the previous posting, there was a new one.  This time it was even better, the same exact laptop as the Veteran, but this time they only wanted $600 for it.  If I was willing to buy it for $900 I absolutely leapt on this one.  This was on a Wednesday, and after a few texts back and forth we agreed to meet up Saturday morning.  I considered this a done deal, and went on with my life, making plans to drive up on the weekend.

Thursday night I got a text about 10:30, saying that someone else had offered them $50 more and they were going with that.  Needless to say this pissed me off more than a little bit.  I was raised with an ethic that when you agreed on something, you had a verbal contract that you were honor bound to fulfill.  On top of that, the fact that they were willing to flake out on me, for only $50 more just added to the frustration. 

A series of texts back and forth, ended up with me giving up on this one.  Each time I would say I would match the offer, and they would text me back saying that the other person had raised theirs.  Basically as I came to realize the Meth head as I have dubbed them, needed as much money as they could get as fast as they could possibly get it.  So whereas I needed to plan my trip, and as such could only really do it on the weekend, the other person bidding against me could be there at 9:00 in the morning.

Basically I figured it was one of two things.  Either they needed to make rent, as it was the first of the month, or they were just an unethical schmuck.  Either way I was basically out of another laptop option.  So back to the drawing board, and back to Craigslist.  You’d think I would have learned my lesson after two of these incidents, but at the suggestion of my wife I dove back into the cesspool once again.

Flake 3:  The Runaway

FU2106lg Early during the process, we found this posting for what would be basically my ultimate laptop.  Solid state main drive, GeForce 460m 1.5 gig video, Bluray drive, etc.  The only thing that kept me away from the positing initially was the fact that it was $1150.  Like always we were trying to get most bang for the buck, but considering that $1150 is pretty much top dollar for Craigslist, I figured surely this one would be legit.

I sent the user a text message on Friday, and after a brief exchange we set up a time on Tuesday evening to meet up.  The timing was pushed out because the poster was on a business trip, and would be flying in on Monday.  I went on to explain that I had 2 other users flake out on me, and I wanted to make sure that since we had made a deal that it would be a done deal.  Poster said he understood, and far as he was concerned as long as things went as planned on Tuesday it was a done deal.

Here is where things start to go off the rails.  On Sunday evening I got a text back from the poster, saying that he was about to board a 9 hour flight, and was considering not working Monday.  Wanted to know if we could meet up.  Since I had arranged to drive my wife’s vehicle on Tuesday (better for longer trips), I responded back saying that if at all possible I needed to keep it to Tuesday.

This is the last communication we received from the poster.  Each day I texted, trying to verify whether or not the meeting was still good.  I tried to give the poster the benefit of the doubt, there are a lot of things that can happen to keep you from being able to respond.  Tuesday came around, and still no word.  We gave him an hour and a half past the time I normally would have left town to get word to us as to whether or not it was still on.  Since it was a 2 1/2 hour drive, we opted not to go since we were never able to get in touch with the guy.

I tried texting and calling, but to this day I have yet to receive any form of contact back.  Initially my wife and I were concerned that something tragic might have happened.  But since then, the same phone number has posted other items on Craigslist and removed them as well.  Basically this guy is a schmuck, and has been ignoring us.  Who knows why, but currently the laptop is still posted on craigslist, I am guessing the guy was trying to make another deal on the side.

The Compromise

bgr_g73jw One of the biggest frustrations I have encountered with the Asus g73sw laptop is there are thirty bazillion different configurations and each and every retailer seems to have their own flavor.  Over the course of these weeks of annoyance I have torn apart each and every major online retailer, trying to figure out what each one has over the others.

Best buy for example has one of these that is available in store.  However, it is gimped in many ways including the fact that while most of the g73 configurations can run 1920×1080 the Best Buy flavor can only run 1600×900.  The lower resolution could probably be dealt with, but turns out that to further add to the limitations their models only have 1 gig dedicated to the video card and use a 128bit bus instead of 192bit like the other models.

Then you have issues like Amazon, that for some reason only give you a 1 year warranty, whereas most Asus laptops have a 2 year warranty.  Since navigating the features of the various models, and figuring out where the shortcoming of each has been a massive undertaking a compromise was proposed by my wife.  Locally there was a Gateway p-7811 FX laptop posted for a couple hundred, that was the upgraded big brother of my original p-6831 FX laptop.  While this is not what I wanted for the long term, it did solve the problem of me not having a laptop anymore.

Luckily this fourth person was not a flake, and was an MMO gamer.  Very nice, in fact they attempted to convince me to going back to WoW, and playing on their server.  Funny how ALL wow gamers are instant friends.  Anyways the basic idea is to use the laptop until I get things sorted out in my head as to which model I am planning to order.  Then rebuild the laptop with a fresh OS and pass it off as a hand-me-down to my wife. 

Her laptop is more than a bit dated at this point, and what was a relatively beefy game machine for its time will do all the office applications and web surfing that she will ever need.  I got things up and running yesterday, and after about 2 hours worth of tweaking got the settings at a happy medium of performance and pretty.  Rift looks far better than it did on my previous FX, and I am able once again to enjoy hanging out downstairs and gaming at the same time.

Back to Digital World

2011-04-11_064816 This was my first real, reality based post so hopefully no one is running to remove me from their RSS feeds at this point.  I promise we will be returning to Rift news, and gaming features this week.  However since this epic hunt for a laptop has consumed most of my personal processing cycles over the last few weeks I felt it warranted a post.

In Rift news, today the iPhone version of the Rift Mobile authenticator has been released.  I have the software already on my iPhone and will go through the process of binding it to my account this evening.  Having an authenticator again is like a warm blanket of security.  At this point, Rift honestly is one of the most hack proof games out there, and we are already seeing the effects of this. 

The frequency of classical gold farmers has increased massively, and while I still don’t like them, they almost feel quaint and old fashioned compared to the horrific gold hackers we have gotten used to dealing with.  Not saying I am willing to welcome them.  But I would far rather have to deal with farmers in zones, than hackers trying to invade my account through viruses.  The only way we can ever be rid of either is to remove the demand for the virtual currency in the first place.

3 thoughts on “Bel Gets Real: Laptop Debacle

  1. Oh. My. God. What an ordeal.

    At least it wasn’t ALL because of Arkansans 😉 Glad you got it all worked out eventually.

  2. sorry to hear about your laptop man, and good to see that you got a temp one that works for you.

    If you really want a wizbang one though I would go with a company like Malibal, where you can build the thing to specs you want and care about.

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