Lately I'm commonly referred to as Mr Grumpy. You can sort of see why with my car stories, but I can also see why I act the way I act: Unlike others, I have aspirations. Well, here's a story on how false aspirations can lead to additional grumpiness.
After spending three years working with a much loved Pentium 3 700MHz utilizing a CPU eternally stuck at 100%, I finally got an upgrade to a laptop.
First some clarifications:
- Performance was acceptable until I had to install Office 2003 following some virus attacks.
- The only reason why my desktop was replaced was in order to use it as a replacement for some server with a dead motherboard. The server used a similarly speced machine, and as P3 700s are rather rare nowadays, mine had to donate parts.
- The laptop is not a new one, god forbid, but rather a leftover from a colleague who did get a new one. I really didn't have much of a choice: It was the only piece of hardware available for me to take. That said, it's not a bad laptop (or so I thought): A P4 2Ghz with 1GB of RAM can't be that bad.
- As far is work is concerned, I am not a laptop man. I'll take pen and paper any time, and I made that very clear when laptops were pushed towards me in the past.
I got the laptop on the Friday and immediately started fantasizing surfing the internet on the couch, in bed, in the kitchen, and out in the backyard while eating a recently barbecued steak. Chatting with relatives using Skype in the toilet! The sky's the limit!
Wasting no time towards the fulfillment of this wet dream, I started installing Windows and everything during the weekend.
The bright visions were shuttered come Monday afternoon, when all attempts to make the laptop's "wireless" LED shine in bright orange have failed. Eventual browsing through the documentation have confirmed the inevitable: The f*cking laptop does not have built in wireless!
Now I know I can get wireless cards for about $40. But what I didn't know is that manufacturers still make laptops sans wireless. And what I can't fathom is that there are people who would actually buy them! Let's look at it carefully: Laptops suck compared to desktops in everything - price, performance, capacities - everything. Their one and only advantage is in their mobility. So how can anyone sane give up on the one ingredient that turns a laptop into genuine artifact?
The answer is simple. I won't state it directly, but I will say that my company's stocks have gone down by a third or so over the last month without anyone being able to say why, the board has already announced that redundancies are on the way (an announcement surely aimed at improving morale), and that yesterday we got an email from the CFO saying that gas rebates for travel during work will be reduced from 62c per kilometer to 30c per kilometer in order to "reflect the real costs". Everyone knows that gas prices have gone down lately, of course.
What am I trying to say? That both the laptop's selection and the things going through the organization lately show that this is a company in decline with a board of directors that's in a panic to find creative ways to adjust the bottom line. Yet they still buy expensive laptops instead of much better performing desktops that would do a better job at a third of the price.
To conclude: For now, the laptop is gathering dust at the office.
P.S. The newly purchased laptops don't have built in wireless as well. And don't ask about bags to carry them in. USB 2? You must be kidding.
Disclaimer: I love what I do at work and I would like to keep my job. I have even turned down a much better earning job offer lately. Consider the above as constructive criticism, please.