Wed 02 Apr 2003
Category : Commentary/catch22.txt
My customer's DELL broke down today and we had a DELL technician come change a hard disk. I've done this before and so I'm watching him. You format the hard disk, then load in Windows 2000, then restart.
What happens? Your fresh copy of Windows doesn't have the driver for that particular monitor and for that particular the network card. You can barely make out what's on the screen. There are so many drivers available, from so many vendors, stored in so many CDs, even the DELL technician doesn't know where to look.
It's on DELL's web site. But with the network card all but dead, tough luck. If you're lucky, you can use another PC nearby to download the monitor driver and copy it over. But, after spending gollops of time figuring which monitor driver's the right one and downloading it, you realise that file's too big to go on a diskette.
So the DELL technician, he's smart, he figures he'll download the network card driver first because it's small enough to go on a diskette, and then, when he's got the network working on the PC he's repairing, he'll use that to downlaod the monitor driver.
The network driver downloads alright. But this time, he finds the diskette drive is spoilt, so he still can't copy it out. The drive had not been used for so long, it's just not working anymore.
So he has to look for another PC and the search and download starts again.
Finally, the Good Lord takes pity on him and the chain of events is allowed to go off without any further hitch. The PC's finally repaired. But it's two hours since he started.
The DELL technician had two things going for him that a normal user usually doesn't have. He knows which drivers to use even though they had such unlovely names like 3Com 3C900B TPC. And he could use other PCs nearby that were already conveniently hooked to the Internet.
Any other mortal would have spent the whole afternoon doing this or most likely would have given up.
I watched the traffic flowing across Sheare's Bridge and the boats milling around Marina Bay. Life goes on outside.