I'm finally almost back to normal in my re-re-installation of Vista, but that "almost" is a huge qualifier.
See, the first thing you want to do when you start in on a fresh Vista install is to turn off all the "security" features, and it's a race to do that before they drive you completely nuts. And even when you turn them off, they're never completely turned off; you still get a question every time you open a new .exe file which asks you if you really, really want to open it.
I turned off the firewall, and the "defender," and UAC, which if you don't know what that is, you're in for a treat when you do get Vista because that's where all the fun begins.
And I discovered that some programs wouldn't run after I turned everything off. That's because when you do turn off UAC, it apparently turns off in the state it was in when it was last on, so if it had stopped something from running, well, it's still stopped.
Except that when I tried to turn UAC back on, I couldn't. And what's even more irritating are the messages you get to 'contact your administrator." I did – he's me! And I didn't know what the hell to tell myself, much less do anything to correct it.
So it's hello Indians.
One hour later, the problem was seemingly solved. I mean, I got UAC turned back on, shut everything back off again "in the proper order," and the program I'd wanted to run but couldn't before now ran like a charm. All it took was a registry hack.
Most everyone probably knows now that a registry hack is something no average person would ever think of much less know how to do, but in this case, all it took was to change a 1 to a 0, and I was good to go. As long as you realize that means there was no control panel applet that dealt with the problem, so if I didn't have the Indians in the Dell, I'd be rampaging around the Internet reading technical forums where those idiots think everyone knows as much as they do, so they literally write in a foreign language that consists of English words arranged in such a way that Chinese would make more sense.
Anyway, Now I was on to setting my email accounts back up, and …
I want to get this exactly right…
"Windows Mail can't be opened. A software restriction policy is preventing Windows mail from opening. Contract your system administrator for more information."
Do you think if I had an administrator cap specially made it would make a difference?
So I headed back to Dell, where I got an Indian named, interestingly enough, Julie, with whom I spent twenty minutes on the phone and got absolutely nowhere. In fact, I don't think I was ever completely successful in getting her to understand the problem, and so she finally uttered those most dreaded words…
Wanna guess what they are?
That's right, "You should contact Microsoft."
As a reasonably knowledgeable Vista user and Microsoft shareholder, I can tell you without reservation that you should never attempt to contact Microsoft, and it's not just because they don't want to hear from you. No, it's because if you ever do get through, that's where your problems really start, beginning with proving that you actually own a Microsoft product.
Anyway, I told "Julie" that if she couldn't help me, she should just say so, and I would call back later and hopefully get someone who could. That's when Julie began to explain the limits of their training and how this is not a Dell problem, it's a software problem.
And that's when I lost it.
I informed Julie that it was Dell who sold me the computer – which included the operating system, and so it was their problem, and I demanded to know who told her to say what she said. She responded by asking me to detail the exact problem again, and rather than swear at an Indian maiden, I hung up.
So Windows Mail still won't work, and I had to download Dream Mail as a temporary solution, but it lacks some of the nuances I had in Windows Mail, and so I will be calling Dell back – once I've calmed down.
Now the question has been asked, "Why do I put up with this?" And the answer for me is threefold, but I'm no scientist, so I'm open to suggestions…
First, there are a boatload of programs, including tiny utilities, that do what Mac and Linux operating systems apparently cannot. Second, Dell computers are half the price on Macs, and third, as I mentioned, I own Microsoft stock, and I probably will forever because it's at about half where I bought it at.
Plus, I learned that if you yell loud enough and you have a legitimate beef, Dell hands you money. For example, when I bought this computer, a woman talked me into opening a Dell preferred account. I figured, why not? Then if something went wrong, I would actually have leverage since I would owe Dell directly.
But what she'd neglected to tell me is that my $100. Dell gift card was not redeemable with a Dell account, so when the bill arrived, it was precisely $100. more than I'd expected – which, one way or the other, I wouldn't be paying.
Of course, that's easy for me to say, since I used to be a credit manager and I have long experience in consumer related matters, and to prove it, I'm going to dig out a conversation I had with the wife regarding a local grocery store and that will be my next entry.
But first, I called Dell customer service, and after going through a few people, I again explained the details to one fellow about how I hadn't gotten credit for my gift card, had it explained back that the gift card was a nonentity with Dell accounts, and it was then I asked the big question: "Is there any way the representative didn't know that when I gave her the card number?"
And the guy I was talking to simply said, "No."
Now I've long demanded that businesses be accountable for their mistakes, especially when they create needless nuisance and even damage their customers, and in this case, I was damaged to the tune of hours on the phone trying to get to someone who understand the problem – and near as I can tell, this is it:
Dell reps get some sort of bonus for opening Dell accounts, so that was of paramount importance to the woman who took my order. And in fact, she hadn't even taken my order. I had already placed the order online and put in on a credit card, so my Dell gift card had been accepted. But I had to call Customer Service because I discovered that there was a deal I discovered after I placed the order that allowed me to get more and better memory for a mere twenty bucks.
When the woman made the correction, she actually made two in the course of "converting" me to a Dell account.
But the guy I was speaking to got it. he ended up crediting me the hundred bucks – and telling me to keep the gift card for another purchase.
See, that's why I put up with this. I used that card two weeks ago to buy my wife an MP3 player that ended up costing the same as a player with a quarter of its capacity would have if I didn't have the card. So my wife has the player she's long wanted, and which has now sat idle since she opened the package ten days ago.
So all is well… and usual.