The New Computer


I’m writing a second post tonight because I’m in the mood. It’s a fantastically cool evening and I’ve got the patio doors open as well as the one behind me, letting a nice breeze come rolling through.

So anyway, you might recall a post I wrote over a year ago about my being involved in a class action lawsuit that might yield me more than just a free month of service to [insert defendant here] or a measly five bucks. No, this class action lawsuit appeared to be much more fruitful which kind of made me a bit skeptical about the whole thing.

But as you will read in this post, it was anything but a scam.

About a few weeks ago, I received a letter from Lawsuit HQ informing me that a settlement had been reached and that I still had the option to take the $62.50 cash or redeem the voucher code on the letter at a certain website to get a brand-spanking-factory-refurbished item of my choice (up to $365 retail value): laptop, desktop, tablet, or monitor.

And being our computer had trouble mixing the ingredients and adding sugar while waiting for Candy Crush Saga to load, we opted for the computer.

Then the fun began.

The selection on that website is horrible to say the least. I literally spent hours at a time at the computer F5ing as often as possible in the hopes they’d get something better. Then one day, after refreshing umpteen times, one showed up that was most excellent. I added it to my cart and started the checkout process.

The item disappeared as I was at the last checkout step and I got a warning that the item was no longer available. Wait, how does that happen? Did someone really snag that thing out of my virtual cart and put it into theirs?

Grrr. It was gone and the mediocre selection of AMD-powered PCs returned but I didn’t want any of those. I wanted an Intel chip, more memory, and a bigger hard drive. The rest would be details.

So I spent another day – it’s a good thing I’m not working – hitting F5 and hoping for the best and once again, a decent model showed up. This time I ran with it like O.J. Simpson through an airport terminal getting to his Hertz Rent-A-Car.*

And it was mine – free of charge, no less.

free

Then a couple of days ago, it arrived and I was so happy.

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That’s the new beast in all its refurbished glory. Can’t you just hear the angels and harps? But along with the euphoria I felt with opening the UPS-delivered box I also came to the realization all new computer owners face: setup and transferring.

But being I’m constantly backing up my stuff** to a 2TB external drive as well as Dropbox and MegaCloud, transferring this time around wasn’t that much of a task. Once I installed Dropbox and MegaCloud, all of the files uploaded to those respective clouds downloaded to the new computer. Boom. Done. Like nothing happened.

Then a few essential things had to be installed: Chrome, Photoshop, Office, iTunes, etc. Of course, along with installing came the removing of bloatware (surprisingly, not a lot).

I wasn’t too concerned about pictures yet since they are on the external drive as well as the old PC, but music was another issue. Today I was finally daring enough to transfer the folder on the external drive called Music and along with that came duplicate and sometimes triplicate mp3 files. There was a total of 70GB worth of music including 20GB of duplicate files which I deleted today, and I know there’s more.

Along with this “new” computer being fast (it would never give you an indication it was refurbished), it came equipped with Windows 8 which I was not fond of at first but am growing to really enjoy. On the surface (see what I did there?) you can tell that it’s strictly an OS designed to be touched but Microsoft did a good job in transitioning Windows 8 into a PC format OS that works almost flawlessly. It takes some time getting used to how it works but it functions amazingly well.

As for specs, here’s what’s under the hood.

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As you can see it’s got a whopping 1TB hard drive so between that and the 2TB external drive, I’ve got more storage than I know what to do with. I kind of like that feeling.

For now, I’m pretty much done with the basic setting up of the computer. I’ve got enough of my most frequently used programs on there to do whatever I need to do and then some. I know there will be more stuff down the road but for the moment, I’m very satisfied with its performance.

And all of this for free because of a faulty floppy disk drive that the computer I owned well over 10 years ago didn’t even have.

Not too shabby. I’d say I made out alright with this deal.

*For you younger folks
**It’s a terrible habit, I know
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Blogging 365, Day 24: The Class Action King


emachines

It seems like every time I go to the mailbox there’s some kind of card in there informing me that I’m eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit against whomever for whatever reason.

It happened with ProFlowers, Best Buy, Sears, Sony BMG, Stamps.com and Classmates.com. Out of all of them, Best Buy’s proved to be the most fruitful with me getting a check for well over $700 in unpaid wages while the others were pretty much wieners offering a free month of service (I’m looking at you, Stamps and Classmates) or nothing worth writing about.

And as of now, I currently have two on the boiler: Radio Shack and the one I got today, eMachines. In the case of Radio Shack, they are accused for violating California Code Section 1747.08 and as a result of the deliberation since the judge couldn’t decide who was right, the settlement has come in the form of an $11 certificate that I can use at Radio Shack once the settlement has been approved. Now I have to wait until after March 27, 2013 to check a website that isn’t even active yet and see if everything is kosher. I’ll just be sure to pay cash this time.

The latest one is a little robust and it involves eMachines (now Gateway Computers). According to the lawsuit, anyone who purchased an eMachines computer after December 31, 1997 is eligible to participate provided they got this little card in the mail. Those who may think they are eligible can also check this fully functional website for more information.

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This is when it pays to register your stuff because if I hadn’t, there would be no way for them to know I would be eligible. I purchased my eMachines somewhere near 1999 when Ann and I moved out on our own for a bit. I remember the computer well because it was the first one I ever owned with a DVD-ROM drive – and it was laggy as hell. The first movie we watched on it was There’s Something About Mary, a complete snore-fest of a comedy that I can’t even recall with much clarity.

Either way, I did own one. And as you can see in the details above, by the time all of this goes down and is approved, I can either take the whopping $62.50 in cash money OR take the certificate for up to $365 to be used toward the purchase of a replacement computer from a place I’ve never heard of. (UPDATE: a new website as since been established). I think it’s obvious what I am going to do.

But you haven’t heard the best part of all of this: why they were being sued. According to the lawsuit, eMachines was accused selling computers “with a defective part that could cause the loss or corruption of data written to, or read from, a floppy disk.”

In case you need a refresher, here’s what floppy disks look like.

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That pile there? That’s got the capacity to hold a whopping 7.2 MB worth of data. Not just 7 but 7.2, PEOPLE! Can you imagine how I felt once I got my first Iomega ZIP drive? My God, one ZIP 100 MB disk could hold as much data as 70 floppies! Now we’re talking!

Oh wait. If I did the math right, the 32GB card in my phone can hold as much as 327.86 ZIP disks. You don’t want to know how many floppies that is.

But I digress. The bottom line is that I’m a-gonna get paid for a piece of “faulty” equipment that has been outdated since 1997. But alas, there is still some use for the fabled floppy disk.

floppy

It still serves well as the ubiquitous “Save” icon on just about every program you can think of, a reminder of the days when clicking on it would actually save your data to the floppy drive.

If it had the capacity to do it, that is.