Tuesday, April 28, 2009

True Tech Support, And the Power of Blogging

This past week, I found the power of the blog affirmed mightily. Within hours of writing this post about Norton 360 and my problems with Symantec Tech Support, I had a comment from a Symantec Public Relations agent hoping to resolve the matter. Wow, who knew the power of a simple grievance post. I first made sure the post was legitimate - someone would have to be very bored to impersonate Symantec PR, I imagine - and then waited for the promised tech support contact.

I had an email from a senior tech within a day. I did not feel like going in to work on the weekend to work on the problem, so I asked him to contact me Monday or Tuesday. He said he would call me at 2:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, and he was punctual. I explained my problem, and he quickly initiated a remote control session on my server to diagnose it. He checked the version of the product (something the prior tech's never even asked) and discovered it was not the latest available. He explained that anyone with a subscription to a Norton product could upgrade to the lastest edition of that product for free, and then he downloaded the upgrade I needed.

Voila, within thirty minutes of the initiation of the call, I had a resolution. The latest version did not have any of the conflicts the prior version did. It almost seemed too easy, but before I even had a chance to cast any doubt, he assured me he would check back in a couple of days to verify that I was still satisfied with my situation. He made some additional suggestions to help my server's performance and let me know he planned to follow up on those as well.

I retract any complaints I had about Norton, save one: I am sorry it took me writing a blog post to get this kind of help. If I could have had that kind of help from the beginning, the post would never have been necessary. That said, I am highly pleased with Norton 360 and with the tech support agent who helped me with my problem.

-- Robert

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tech Sup... Well, Maybe Support's Not the Right Word

So my server's back in place, but with a very different problem. We can't leave the firewall on and still get to the files on the server. At first, I thought it was being caused by a change in some settings that my software provider recommended to work with their software. They spent two hours trying different ways to fix the problem, and in the end they determined the firewall was causing the problem and it had nothing to do with settings they created (for the record, I agree with them, so I am leaving their names out of this rant... I mean post).

So, I went to the "contact us" link on the Norton 360 product, which runs the firewall in question. The first tech support agent - using lots of hot-keyed phrases with my name inserted to look like he was really paying attention - suggested a couple of ideas before offering to remote in to my computer and change the settings "while [I] sit back and watch." Before I could even try to say yes, though, he'd closed the chat window.

So I tried to use the link he provided to get him back in case we got disconnected. No luck. So I went for tech support agent number two, one Priyadharishini Mohan (I saved his name for posterity... or for a future complaint filing). He offered the same remote session - with the hot-keys again, because it was if I didn't log on and immediately ask "Hey, your other agent was about to remote in, and I would really like you to do that." Which, of course, was exactly what I had done.

This tech did get the remote session going. He changed some settings on my computer, which was not the one causing the problem, and said "Check the issue now." I showed him I still could not reach the files on the server. He said he would need to reach the server, so I tried several ways he offered, only to finally suggest, "How about I remote in to my server from this computer, then you can control the server here?" I did and he proceeded to do exactly what I already knew how to do: he turned off the firewall. Then he said, "Check the issue now." So I turned the firewall back on and showed him the issue was still there. He said, "You still have the issue with the firewall down." I said, "No, I don't, I turned the firewall back on because I already know how to turn the firewall off to get in. You just watched me do it when I created this remote session. I don't want to have to take my firewall down every time I want to log on to my server's files from another computer." The next phrase I saw, I swear (I can even copy it from the transcript as proof) was Priyadharishini Mohan is rebooting your computer...

Rebooting the computer solved the problem for him very simply: it got rid of me. He did not ask if he could reboot the computer. He did not suggest it first. He simply did it, and then his connection was severed. I had unsaved work on my computer. It was lost as a result of his reboot, but no matter. At least he no longer had a problem to deal with.

So I got on my server to get tech support agent number three. He changed various settings, fortunately he made no effort to reboot my computer or just turn off the firewall to solve it. He actually tried to change a few settings. I realized as I watched him that he left several things undone in his process, so he was sloppy, but he at least tried. Still, in the end, having started at ten that morning, by three I was still not able to do the one thing I needed: to leave my firewall in place against everyone but the computers in my office. If my co-worker had not given me some of her lunch I might have been in really bad shape, but instead I was just very annoyed. I gave up for the day, since I actually had other work to accomplish (no, seriously, I had work to do, honest, I was not playing "prank the techie" or anything). I got a case number and a phone number to contact Norton again, and I logged off. Nothing having changed about my problem. Well, that's not exactly correct: I now had a deeper problem than just not getting to my files without turning off my firewall. Now I have a problem with the firewall creator not even knowing how to set it up correctly to protect my server.

In short, I'm not sure when I will ever buy another Norton product again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


A I started to title this post "Why aren't we all one color?" or perhaps "White Man's Burden." It would get attention, I'm sure. What I am referring to here, though, runs deeper than race or color. The idea behind "white man's burden" was that whites felt (or feel) superior to non-whites and tried to civilize them. This concept was carried out by militaries and missionaries to Africa, southeast Asia, and parts in between. My problem with it, though, as I still see it today is simple: treating anyone as if they are too stupid to accomplish a task for themselves denies the opportunity to grow and learn.

Sadly, many of the philosophies I see in socialism are based on the idea that some people are incapable of helping themselves. The fastest way to make them incapable, though, is to do it for them. As I have reflected on the book my wife and I have been reading, I see so many truisms that relate to my own philosophy of life. I believe that people, barring extreme handicap, tend to be capable of providing for themselves. I have seen the blind, deaf, and dumb work quite proficiently. I have seen those in wheel chairs, with down syndrome, and those without limbs outwork those with no such infirmity. I have also seen people with capable minds and bodies claim they couldn't work and instead take assistance from others. What I generally see in that latter case is someone dejected, who looks and acts like someone with no self esteem or sense of self worth. Is that person truly being lifted up by the aid being given him? I say no.

I see many of the philosophies of "helping the less fortunate" as "I am better than these fools." I am glad to help those who are down on their luck. I do not see the accompanying need to treat them as incapable of eventually helping themselves. I would much rather "teach a man to fish" than bring him his daily bread for eternity. How much better would our world be if we quit looking at those who don't have something with pity (i.e., from a perspective of superiority) and focused instead of what they do have, what they can do, and how we can all move forward with their skills and ours working together.

Rodney King's phrase, "Can't we all just get along?" comes to mind. Perhaps a better version might be: can't we all just be brothers and sisters in the human family and work together? Can't we quit trying to look out for others' needs as if they are children and instead help them meet those needs themselves?

Oh, wait... I quit talking politics here. Forget I said anything.

-- Robert

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Server Crash

This work week did not start well. That is to say, Monday morning, I came in to find I had no access to my main files. After repeated attempts to resolve the problem - okay, I'm oversimplifying, after an entire day of doing my own checks and finally calling tech support for my main software - it was apparent that the server was not well. Fortunately I had the foresight to back up the file with all the day's work sometime before the last crash that seem to completely disable it.

Seemed is an important point here.

For all the problems I was having, each time I attached a monitor to it, it would appear to go down. What I discovered when I had a more capable computer tech work on it, though, was that the problem was not the computer itself, but the video card. I had a blown DVI video card. Because of that blown card, though, I had been repeating rebooting a computer, unaware it was probably booting fine - just without a picture. The repeated reboots slowly corrupted my mirrored hard drives, which led to the other problems I was encountering. The computer tech also helped me learn that I actually had a VGA card that worked on the server, but it was disabled early in the boot process (before my monitor would wake up) when I did not "press F1 to run in VGA mode". Without the DVI card in, though, it automatically booted with the VGA working, and now it should be fully recovered and back in place tomorrow.

What have I learned? Even triple backups can't automatically overcome something as simple as a blown video card. At least not right away. Within a day or so, I could have a new server in place, or this server with new hard drives, and have all my files restored. But the triple backups did not help me realize the real problem.

I feel myself beginning to wax philisophical, pondering what I might learn from this experience. What we see is not always as it appears, for one. I thought I had a blown server, when all I had was a computer that wasn't showing me a picture. Sometimes we have to look deeper. I might not have caused the other problems with the computer if I had considered the video card.

-- Robert

P.S. My wife did think it was just a video card after I took the computer to someone else. Hat's off to her for considering what I didn't. Important lesson number two: men, listen to your wives.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This weekend, as my wife and I were driving to Atlanta, we were having a discussion about the parenting book we've both been reading. Being the introspective (some might self-absorbed) person that I am, I commented on what I saw in the book about my own childhood.

And I had an epiphany. Before I explain, I want to be clear: I am not trying to pass judgment on my parents for what I'm writing. I simply realized that one of the ways my mother responded to my efforts had a profound influence on my entire character. I was, and in many still am, insatiable. One reason this book would suggest as to why was the way my mother was never complimentary to my grades. If I got a 93, she would ask, "Do you understand what you missed?" If I got a 100, she asked, "Was that the highest score possible." These were neither preceded or followed by any form of of the phrase "job well done."

I have no sour grapes over what she helped make me. I became a child who wanted to always do my best and even then I wasn't necessarily pleased. I was a very successful student as a result. I looked for new and better ways to improve myself and my outputs. I was able to use what I learned and what I became to pay my way through my Bachelor's on scholarships, and then get paid to get a Masters and now to get a Ph.D. I see no reason to complain about my psyche in this regard. I would say I did teach myself to deal with doing less than my best, but it still involved coping rather than being satisfied. I have never liked grades below A for myself. At least not in subjects I care about. So yes, I am grateful that the desire she instilled helped make me a success.

The problem is, my insatiable nature was not limited to school. I am overweight. One reason I am overweight is I do not have something in me that says "I am no longer hungry." I wonder if one reason for that is the fact that I was treated as a disposal by various family members (not always my mother) as a child. If there was just a little left of something, I was expected to eat it quite often. If I had not broken my leg at four and been more involved in sports in my early years, then it might not have resulted in my becoming overweight. Still, I can see how some elements of my weight stem from the same insatiable personality. If I had learned to stop myself, I might not be so big. It's something I will struggle with for the rest of my life, I am sure.

So what am I saying? No, I am not saying "it's all my parents' fault." What would I be blaming them for, exactly? I have a wonderful family, I am generally successful in life, I am a happy person most of the time, and I am about to pursue a lifelong dream with the support of a wonderful wife who has urged me to do it. So maybe it is my parents' "fault" that I love education, and their "fault" I am so successful. They certainly deserve a lot of credit for the good in me, so this is not a negative post. It was just something that I've thought about many times in the past - how I was raised - and I realized a lot of who I am could be tied to that one word. I'm not sure I'd change it, either. I just need to be aware of it, and manage it wisely in the places where it can hurt me. As for it helping me in my career... I can't say I will try to rein it in at all.

-- Robert

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Be All You Can Be

In the comments of my last post, I had a request to make a full post on something we were discussing. It has been a while since someone actually asked me to blog on a topic, so I am glad to oblige. We were discussing human potential, for lack of a better simplification: what can people become? I believe, as an integral part of my faith, that human beings have the potential to become like God. The scriptures show us that the Savior taught us in Matthew 5:48 to do so, "Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

To be clear, we can never become Heavenly Father. We can never be him, no more so than I can become my father here on Earth. I can follow in my Heavenly Father's footsteps, take his guidance and teaching, and in the course of eternity I have the chance to become a god. I believe it, but I admit that even as I write it, I struggle to comprehend it fully. It was the last great stumbling block for me in accepting my faith. Yet again, I read the scriptures to find that in John 10:34 Jesus quoted Psalm 82, when he said, "Is it not written, ye are gods, and children of the most high?" In other words, he made it plain that he understood and believed what human beings are, and his teachings reflected that.

Human beings, simply put, are therefore gods in embryo. No, we will not become gods in Earthly life. Mortal life is a testing ground, a chance to learn and grow - in a simpler way, like school is to a child - before we reach beyond this life into the next, into eternity. To those who question the possibility of becoming a god, I ask a few questions (and have asked them of many and have not found a satisfactory answer short of what I believe): what do we do after we die? Do we reach our full potential in life, and in death we can never grow? If we can grow in eternity, then at what point do we stop growing? If we are not held back, then why can't we reach a point where we are a god?

The most typical answers are blunt: because that's just not true, because that's not possible, or because that doesn't make sense. I know because I had the same answers to those questions once upon a time. But then there is a simple follow up question: if God wanted us to know that we could become gods ourselves, how would he tell us? Or better yet, what more could he say than is said in those verses already quoted?

I agree that it sounds quite amazing, even beyond reason. But everything is possible with the Lord. And he wants everything for his children. So what can we become? His children in every sense of the word, since that is what we are.

When I look at history and mythology, I see so much that clearly came out of this truth: the pharaoh's of Egypt believed they became gods (and some believe their gods were in fact early pharaohs). Greeks had stories gods and demigods that seem clearly linked with the idea of the human potential to become a god. Many cultures had divine kings who were believed to be gods among their people.

So many Christians have come to believe that Christ taught of a monotheistic religion. It is true that God the Father is one being, but Jesus Christ is another being, and also a god. The Spirit is another god. At the very least, Christianity is a belief system centered around a triumvirate of gods. In truth, though, there is a clear message in the gospel: we can be all He wants us to be, which is to become gods. What an amazing opportunity, and what a great goal. I know I am a long way from being worthy to even be considered for such a lofty state, but knowing what I can be helps me believe more in myself in this life, which really improves my state of mind. Each trial is a chance to learn and grow, and if I follow the guidance of the Spirit - which comes direct from the Father - I can get closer to what my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

-- Robert

P.S. My post about potential kept coming to mind as I wrote this, and I see my calling to become a professor as very linked to helping people find their full potential. I hope I can help people realize all they can be in that process.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Common Interest

To my post yesterday, my wife asked, "What about on a small scale, such as each family? What if a family ran for what is best as a whole instead of just each for himself?"

Certainly, I think certain elements of society can definitely run for the interest of a subset group. A family is a great example where individuals sacrifice their wants and needs for the sake of the group - such as a mother sacrificing career goals for the sake of being home with a child, or a husband working fewer hours at the office that might advance his career so he can be more available to his family. I think that's a fine example where communal interest can be worked toward to achieve a greater whole.

The problem not addressed in socialism in general, and not addressed in Galaxia effectively, is the need for a common goal or cause. Simply wanting a better world doesn't work for a lot of people. If that better world means that someone must have a smaller house, drive a smaller car, eat less, work harder, or myriad other things, then that someone is likely to shirk. Shirking, simply means failing to do one's best in this context. If working harder (or generating more, however that is best described) will not directly benefit the person putting for the effort, that person is less likely to continue the extended effort. Karl Marx certainly overlooked the key element of the society he based the Communist Manifesto on: he studied a monastery and how well it functioned by working for the sake of the whole, but then he removed faith from the equation, which was the glue that bound their efforts together.

In the novel, the reason for Galaxia was to create a system that removed waste as much as possible, or more correctly removed excess. By removing the waste, the system would achieve a higher state (I believe the scientific term is entropy). At the very end, a reason that might justify the need to work together is presented, but it felt very tacked on to me (not to criticize a master, just my observation). Removing that onerous threat from the equation - a threat which most would deny or ignore anyway - I have trouble believing people would subjugate themselves to such a system willingly.

So, once again, socialism sounds wonderful in the ideal. "We're in this together!" is a great slogan. Or Rodney King's famous "Can't we all just... get along?" The problem is, the selfish nature of humanity is involved - and I am not convinced that it is a bad thing to have in the equation. Throughout the series, the characters acknowledge that society begins to decay when greatness reaches a level at which no one feels compelled to strive for "more" - whatever more might be. Scientific innovation tends to come from a need observed. If society is perfectly satisfying - or extremely satisfying with few shortcomings - then why would anyone worry about improving it? Certainly the world today is far from perfect, so people will continue to work for a better tomorrow. But if they cannot hope to reap the benefits of that "better" and that "more" then why should anyone expect them to try for it?

So returning to my wife's point, I can absolutely see sacrificing my own needs for the sake of my children. I can eat less to provide more for them. I can drive a minivan for their comfort instead of cramming their little legs into the back of a sports car I might want (or in my case, perhaps a small pickup). I just have trouble believing anyone else will necessarily sacrifice for them, and I have trouble asking them (my children) to sacrifice for someone else who may or may not be putting forth their best effort. I have trouble believing anyone else is willing to sacrifice for me and for my family. Instead, what we get is a lot of shirking.

Pure capitalism may not be an answer to any of these problems, but from an academically economic standpoint, it is hard to argue for socialism in practice - at least when practiced on a large scale, and whenever it is put in without a common goal. Correction: a commonly accepted goal. Without the agreed focus, the smaller players in the system are more likely to work in their own interests (to quote Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that...").

-- Robert

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

When Academic Reading And Pleasure Reading Mix...

I have been reading the book A General Theory of Competition around the Asimov Foundation series. I noticed something as I was reading Foundation And Earth, where the concept of "Galaxia" is discussed. The idea of all parts of the galaxy working together for to remove waste and improve the whole. That theory sounds somewhat like an idealized socialism, but it mostly reminded me of the theory of perfect competition, which is all through the first book I mentioned. The idea is that the market reacts to any changes with minimal costs related to changing the equilibrium price of the market.

Imagine, for instance, that the market being discussed was corn. If the market responds perfectly, then when a late freeze destroys a large percentage of a given area's crops, the equilibrium price would move rapidly - if not automatically - to a higher price given the decreased supply and continued demand. That tends to happen in commodities markets like produce where products are generally the same. If, however, the market being discussed were the automobile market, or the small sedan market (a lot of discussions could be brought up about how a market is defined), then how might news of a strike at one automaker's facility effect that price? It is hard to believe that it would respond rapidly in some obvious way. The information is fairly ambiguous, for one thing. The problem, though, is if it's not even clear HOW a market should react, how can we believe it will react immediately without costs? Will there not be a momentary confusion?

And that brings me back to how I saw Galaxia tied in. If society truly knew what was "best" and everyone reacted accordingly, that might mimic perfect competition. The problem, though, is that what is "best" is never that clear. As such, the expectation of sacrifice in a concept like Galaxia, or in socialism, ignores human nature. In Galaxia, everything (humans, animals, plants, even non-living things) communicates to convey all that is known by the whole so that some equilibrium state can be met, which sounds wonderful until it is actually applied. Even if people know that someone else would benefit more from their possessions than they would themselves, it is hard to imagine most people simply giving up what they own. A lot of people share with the less fortunate, and I'm all for doing just that, but the idea that everyone must do what is best for everyone... it simply doesn't pan out.

This post is quickly spiraling out of control, I can see. I'm simply trying to formulate my opinion about these ideas in practice. I have trouble believing humanity - at least in this life - could ever approach something so close to Galaxia, or a perfectly competitive marketplace in all ways, or a socialistically ideal state. I also have trouble seeing that approaching those - not even achieving, but simply trying to get there - would actually be a good thing. What I see in those ideas is stagnation. If no one is trying to get ahead, then who is trying to improve things? Who is bringing about transformative change for the better if everyone already believes they are living in what is "best"? And that is what it all comes down to: I have trouble believing a society run by mankind that is all for the "common good" will ever work - nor should it. Better that we communicate ineffectively, struggle, obfuscate, strive, persevere, share, judge, help, learn, grow, and generally find our own way in the world.

-- Robert

Monday, April 6, 2009


This weekend, my church held its semi-annual General Conference. On Saturday night, one of our leaders, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, himself a retired pilot, told a story about an airplane accident some years ago in the Everglades near Miami, FL. Then plane crashed despite fully functioning engines, wings, and landing gear. It was not out of fuel. The pilot and co-pilot were both alive and well. In short, nothing was wrong with the plane that kept it from being able to take off, fly, or land properly.

So what went wrong? A single green bulb had burned out: the one that signaled that the nose landing gear was down. Because the pilot did not see that bulb burning, he put the plane into a holding pattern while he investigated the bulb. He did not have anyone check to find out that the gear was down (which it was). He became so obsessed with the bulb that when someone noticed they were speeding toward the ground, it was too late to pull up. He let his focus get off of the important task of landing because he was obsessed with something that, in the end, was unimportant and even incorrect.

How often do we do that in life? We obsess over a television series, the next American Idol precedings, Spider Solitaire, EA Sports next new game,blogs (oops), or whatever else. Meanwhile, important things like spending time with family, accomplishing work, exercise, prayer and scripture study, and so much else in life goes by the way side. I am as guilty as the next person of letting little things distract me from what truly matters. I just appreciated the reminder to reconsider my focus and to make sure I find balance, even with the good things of life, so I don't crash and burn.

-- Robert

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sunshine Again

The last three days here it has rained. Let's be clear: it has rained to the point that people preface most phone calls to this area with, "So, have you washed away yet?" We haven't, but our quicksand driveway seemed like it might. The today school was cancelled because some bridges were taken out or made unsafe by flooding - and the sun came out on Spring Break for the kids.

What a lovely metaphor for how my days have gone. I was sad and gloomy over my favorite laptop's demise. Instead of enjoying the prospect of a new laptop - which we had budgeted and saved for and planned for over a year to buy right before heading back to school - I had to buy because my computer was broken. I started to see a taste of sunlight when I optimized a machine through Dell and then a different one through HP that would positively blow away any computer I've even been in the presence of. But I decided it was not wise to spend that much one computer that in a year (or may be two) might seem pedestrian by comparison. So, instead I decided to scrap the idea and work with my laptop as a desktop. It's much harder to do that when children want to watch Bob the Builder for the 95th time on the same screen I need to use, though, but I could make due. I actually let the HP phones salesman help talk me down from wanting the super laptop. Then towards the end of our conversation - having steered me to a much more economical machine that could still perform quite nicely - I commented on one of the "accessories" laughingly.

"Why would anyone get a Mini along with a laptop?"

"Oh they're very nice if you don't want to carry your big notebook around. They're really nice, actually."

"Yeah, but my big hands wouldn't be much use on one."

"Oh, their keyboards are 92% of regular keyboards, so they're quite comfortable."

A light came on: what if just got a Mini? So I batted that idea around for a while and another email came from Dell: get a Mini for $50 with a Dell Latitude. So I checked into it, and a great Latitude was reasonably priced, and with two upgrades that made the Mini slightly more expensive than a big external hard drive might be, I had my deal. I bought it, feeling at peace with my decision.

And then my brother-in-law showed me a $99 new LCD that would fit my broken laptop! It was like seeing a rainbow after the storm. Suddenly, instead of every computer in our house being on crutches (my wife's power cord broke the day after my laptop took its dive), we could have three working computers! So I practically leapt for joy. It will be nice not to see my HP turn into a paperweight. Who knows, it might be my daughter's computer some day. The Mini might be hers or my son's. Whatever the case, I've gone from wanting to cry for my laptop to seeing a chance it will work again. How wonderful.

Yes, as I said in my last post, I am a nerd.

-- Robert

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Amazon Recommends...

Yes, I have arrived as a geek. Sure, I got accepted into a great doctoral program. Yes, I can use "exogeneity" in a sentence and know what it means. But the moment I truly knew I had arrived as a complete nerd?

When Amazon started recommending books on probability and economics to me. I guess that's what happens when you buy about a dozen academic texts in a span of a week. Barnes and Noble does it, too, for the record. Yep, instead of "Check out the new Mary Higgins Clark" I get "Amazon recommends Principles of Economics, Abridged Edition." Sadly, I think at least one of the books they recommended like that, I now already own!

Ah, this is the life. At least I've found my calling. And apparently, I can buy books for it for as little as $10.35. Who knew?

-- Robert

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Farewell, Old Friend

Last night, I lost a great friend. We shared a lot of memories, watched a lot of movies, and played a lot of games together. We travelled across the country several times, avoided many pitfalls, and survived a few bumps and bangs. But not this time.

Yes, my laptop's screen broke. It landed on the corner of the screen and slapped shut, never to show a pretty picture again. Some might laugh. Some might say, "It's only a computer." But they don't understand. It was my favorite laptop ever. I liked it enough to ignore the missing arrow keys my son ripped off in Texas on our road trip. I knew that was the beginning of the end, I guess, but I was still holding out. I didn't want a new laptop. Certainly not yet. I had just bought the third or fourth power cord for it, I liked it so much. Now.... now I have to get the data off of it, and then hope to somehow turn it into a desktop computer. Or more likely, simply recycle it somewhere. It was a sad day for me.

Okay, so yes, it's April Fools, so I wrote this a little tongue in cheek, but honestly, isn't that how it feels when a great computer breaks? It's how I felt when someone broke the one before this one, but this truly has been my favorite laptop ever. It was light, fast, functional, and had a great screen. What more can someone want? I just hope... OH HOW I HOPE... I just hope I can find an adequate replacement. Preferably without Vista.

Goodbye, my little HP.

-- Robert