Just a short post this evening, as it’s late and I’m tired and kinda out of ideas. Tomorrow I don’t have a lot on the calendar, so I’ll try to write more.
Yesterday, I spend another frustrating 3 hours in online help sessions trying to troubleshoot my webcam problems. This laptop has an integrated webcam, which I don’t use very often. But the client I’m picking up at Aero-News.net does a lot of videoconferencing, as the staff is literally spread out across the country.
For some reason, as I wrote before, the computer has forgotten it was installed, or that it even existed. Even after installing Service Pack 1 for Vista, upgrading to the latest BIOS, and re-installing the latest drivers from HP … the camera doesn’t even show up in Device Manager. It’s just gone.
HP’s solution … format “C:/” and lose all my data. I could back it up and restore everything, but what a pain in the ass. And you never get it all back. Ever. I don’t think formatting the hard drive should be my only option for mending what should be a simple webcam problem.
Turns out, it’s not. I could send them the computer for repairs. The minimum charge is $400.00 … plus tax. And they’d probably format the hard drive. A new computer is $600.00, with upgraded bells and whistles, faster processor, more RAM, etc, etc, etc.
Plan “C”, which was MY solution, was to go buy an outboard USB webcam. $50.00, and a much better quality picture than the internal cam.
It all goes to planned obsolescence, I suppose. The computer is only warranteed for 90 days or something, and Sandeep, the first person to try to help me, obviously had English as a second language. The only options are to pay by the hour for guys to talk to you on the phone, or spend the price of a new computer for an off-site repair that could take weeks. I can’t afford to be without my computer for that long.
So, it’s the USB cam and that seems to be just fine. But I don’t know if I’d buy another HP laptop. Overall, I like the computer, but apparently the service leaves something to be desired.
Sadly, I don’t know if it’d be any better anywhere else. I know, my Mac friends are screaming “Apple, Tom, Apple”. but those start in the thousands rather than the hundreds. Maybe not so much.
I’d have preferred a quick re-load-the-driver solution. It didn’t happen.
Some days you gets the bear … some days the bear gets you.