Wednesday, June 10, 2015

So Long, Hewlett-Packard POS, You Will Not Be Missed

This is not the blog post I wanted to write today—believe me.  I wanted to do a real post, about something poker related, something that’s happened to me since I got to Vegas.  Well, this story did happen to me since arriving in Vegas, but I sure wish it had not.  And it’s only related to poker because it affects my work, which is in the poker biz.

I couldn’t do any real work yesterday—and certainly couldn’t write a blog post—because my damn laptop died. 

I want to give credit where credit is due.  My now ex-laptop was a Hewlett-Packard piece of shit.  I believe the model number was actually “piece of shit” or POS for short. 

The thing has been a piece of shit since the moment I got it. Ironically, I didn’t want to have anything to do with Hewlett-Packard       when I bought the shiny new POS.  I had my battles with HP years ago trying to get a printer to work and having to wait a week for them to mail me the software.  The software that came with the printer didn’t work and downloading the software from their site didn’t work either.  I had to get a CD with the correct software on it.

I only got stuck with this POS because I had just purchased a brand new laptop weeks before—from Acer, I believe—and that died on me while I was in Vegas.  That was a fun story I never told.  I called Costco tech support and they helped me a bit, but when I still couldn’t get it to run, they connected me with Acer support which I am sure is located somewhere in India and there was a language barrier to say the least. 

They ran me thru some recovery procedures—and of course they didn’t work.  I was fairly convinced the problem was actually minor and just some little software glitch that a real nerd could fix in five minutes.  Trouble was, the only option was to ship the laptop to Texas for them to take 3-4 weeks to repair and return.  As I had to do work for PokerAtlas while in Vegas, and also I had a column due for Ante Up in less than 72 hours, that didn’t seem like a very good option.  Note, I was actually able to get some things off the Acer machine before I was done with it, even tho it didn’t work right.  That’s what convinced me that someone who knew what they were doing—or could explain to me what to do in clear English—could get it running again and it might just have been fine.  Might have even been operator error.

I needed a new computer pronto and also knew that with Costco’s return policy, I’d be able to return the machine when I got back to LA (though I actually spoke to the store manager of the Costco where I had purchased the computer to confirm).  So I had to buy one immediately while in Vegas.

The problem was that by the time this happened, Windows 8 had just come out and all I heard about it was that this new OS was a piece of shit.  You might say it was the HP of operating systems.  Besides, since it was a total revision of Windows, I didn’t feel like I had time to learn it and still make my column deadline.

Of the three or so Windows 7 machines that I could find at the Vegas Fry’s, the HP I went with was the best of a bad lot, at least in my mind, at the time.

Since purchase, it’s already been in the shop three times.  It’s been sent to Texas at least twice.  I have never for one second not regretted buying it.

Upon returning to Las Vegas, it has been acting up more and more.  For a while, the “o” key has been sticky, which always slowed me down when I was writing a column or a blog post.  Monday, the right shift key stopped working, making it real difficult to type anything with any amount of speed.  Having to always use the left shift key was such a pain. I could get around that of course.  In fact, I do have a portable USB keyboard I could use, and indeed, started using it.

But then the whole damn computer just started slowing up and locking up.  In order to get any relief, I had to reboot the laptop, and it was like 3-4 times on Tuesday, with less and less satisfactory results.  Web pages just started crashing and crashing….got that message from Google Chrome that a web page was unresponsive—it was happening all the time.  Other browsers also had issues.

And then….I would type something and the letters would appear on the screen seconds later…..more than a few seconds.  It would be one letter every other second….I had already typed an entire paragraph and finally start seeing the first word of the paragraph on the screen.

I checked Task Manager and saw that the system was using 100% of the memory virtually all the time, and nearly 100% of the CPU at least 95% of the time.

I realized that this could be just a buggy software program acting up, or maybe even a virus.  But when you combined all that with the fact that the POS had already had several serious hardware breakdowns in its short life, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

It was either throw the damn laptop out my window in disgust, go to the nearest casino and start taking hostages, or buy a new laptop.  It’s not like I’m so flush with funds that spending money on a new laptop was a pleasant thought.  But I had to do it to keep my sanity.  If you are in Vegas, you may soon see me on one of the pedestrian bridges begging, with a sign that says, “Please help, I once bought a Hewlett-Packard computer.  Anything you can give appreciated.”

I went with Lenovo.  The reason is simple.  One of the times my HP was in the shop, I got a Lenovo as a loaner.  I absolutely loved it.  Even though it was Windows 8 and I hated that, I loved the computer.  In fact, I was praying that they wouldn’t be able to fix my HP and that they’d let me keep my loaner.  Sadly, that was not the case.

So far, I’m digging the new machine, writing this very blog post on it.  Windows 8.1 is a significant improvement on Windows 8 and after a while, I’m getting used to that.  And I know that Windows 10 is on the way. 

So I spent most of yesterday, after bringing home the new laptop, setting it up, no simple task.  And I’m missing my older versions of Windows Office that I use.  Can’t install them since the disks are back in L.A.  I was hoping to get by with Google Docs & Google Sheets, but after a brief trial, I don’t like that idea.  It seems like you can only use them when you’re on the internet and that’s not really a good option.  I need to be able to use the programs while offline.  So I am using the trial versions of the newest Windows Office products while in Vegas and that should keep me going until I am back in LA and can install the older versions which seem just fine to me.  Hopefully that will work.

Anyway, that’s why this post is just a sucky rant about a piece of shit laptop from….and don’t you ever forget this….Hewlett-Packard.  Remember that name, Hewlett-Packard.  When you think of shit, think of Hewlett-Packard.

Ok, clearly I need to cheer up.  I need something to put a smile back on my face.  I think I may just have thought of something that might cheer me up.  I think a good percentage of my readers might enjoy these pics too—though not all, I guess.


  1. Rob, I have heard that constant surfing looking for boobie pics gives computers viruses. Is this just a rumour conjured by the Chinese to scare people?

    1. You know, I don't think the ladies I display could be causing viruses....I seriously doubt they could ever get a chest cold!

  2. The 100% CPU and RAM usage sounds more like misbehaving software or a virus/malware than a hardware problem.

    As a computer guy I prefer Compaq over HP and IBM over Lenovo, but Lenovo's are decent too.

    1. Thanks, Jeff....I may have been more interested in trying to solve a software problem with the HP if I hadn't already had so many actual hardware issues with it. I did do a virus scan and even a scan with Malwarebytes....did find some things but the slowness kept getting worse even after that.

  3. Go eat a fried Twinkie -- it'll make you feel better. The say you're not yourself when you're hungry.

    1. Hmm....a twinkie, huh? That may help.

      I think boobies work better, tho.

  4. i bought a lenovo at frys before for i think $300-500 somewhere brand new in vegas, and its the laptop i still have

    1. Thanks, Tony....hopefully this one will last as long as yours has.

  5. You know Compaq and HP are the same company right ? And have been for over 10 years. Rob, you should of given me a shout if you were struggling for software. I have access to all sorts via the web.
    Lenovo's are great kit, but come with a lot of crap you really don't need, the main thing is, that you are happy with the device.

    1. I didn't buy a Compaq so not sure what that matters.

      Thanks for the time I have issues, you'll be in England but I assume you will drop everything to fly here to take a look under the hood, right?

  6. Might have even been operator editor.

    Operator error?

    It was either throw the damn laptop out my window in discuss

    in disgust?

    I am not usually the grammar police but fffs man you write for a living!!

    proofreading is good

    1. LOL...thanks for the corrections bill....I do proofread every blog post, at least once, sometimes twice. I was too upset to review this one a second time, I was just so anxious to post it and get out of my damn room and into a poker game.

      I'm always amazed at the number of times the absolute wrong word creeps into my text. I don't mean like "their/they're/there" but like the ones you pointed out. Usually I catch them in the proofreading, but I guess I was in too big a rush, and spellcheck was of no use since I spelled the wrong wrongs correctly.

      Alternative explanation...sometimes I write good, sometimes I don't.