I was excitedly waiting for the sunday morning. My office laptop got upgraded this week and as per the company policy, I could keep my old company laptop for myself and use it completely as my own personal laptop.
Post B-School I have always used the company laptop, and have stayed within its restrictions. The company laptop more often than not is a good configuration of some boring make and has genuine good computing power. But well, it is of little use personally as any attempt to install any software (even the innocent age old winamp) would prompt a window to open – “Please enter administrator password”.
The computer administrator is seriously the most powerful of the administrators in any company. He holds key to all the cerebral information being created and can potentially wreak havoc! Well, wrecking a havoc he was, with the geek within me being restrained and limited. I could not use any software on this laptop, and the only software beaten to death is MS Office.
There is a wonderful opportunity for computer makers here. Make a laptop which runs only MS Office – Word, Powerpoint, Excel and throw in a outlook for communication and la! You have just made the perfect corporate laptop. Majority of office goers do not use anything else am sure. Maybe a browser to access social media. Dread those companies where even that is banned on the official network.
With all these constraints, I was thrilled to get myself a personal laptop finally. The very thought of installing random software and games and throttling the CPU to its maximum gave me the high. I got my hands on the latest Digit magazines for all the software it bundles in the free DVD’s.
I still remember my engineering days when I looked longingly at the overly priced Digit magazine at the stands. At 100 bucks it was way out of my budget, and thus I relied on a friend who had a subscription. I would get to his home the second week of every month to borrow the DVD’s. The magazine I could read in the college library.
I was looking forward to the Sunday morning which I had scheduled to setup the laptop. Ah yes, forgot to mention here that the all-powerful Computer administrator emptied the entire harddisk before handing it over. So it had to be built from scratch. No issues baby. Get on the OS and ola! The machine would start galloping.
Installing an OS is a cakewalk, or so I thought. I got my hands on the latest Windows 7 OS. 7000 bucks? Really? Never thought of this whenever I used Microsoft. Anyways, now that I have all the tools in hand, it is time for the magic to begin. I switch on the laptop and press F8 continuously (ah! Now this is nostalgia at its best), wait.. a little more wait.. and then a little more. By now I hate this “ThinkPad” in bold letters screen. Come on.. move.. move.. you have an awesome config!
“Beep.. Beep” and the screen goes blank. Why is this beep sound? And what is this written on the screen – “2100: Detection error on HDD0”. What does this mean?
Thankfully I have my office laptop (the new one) where I google the error message. 15 minutes and two youtube videos later, am still not sure what to do. I try restarting the system (the best solution recommended by top notch IT technicians) and press a different function key – F10. Maybe keys have changed over the years.
Nopes! Still the same error message. I try restarting multiple times with various combinations of function keys. Nopes. That is not the solution. I get back to my new office laptop and google a little more and try different combinations again. No success. In the frustration and haste I end up permanently deleting a folder on my office laptop. And now I am googling “how to restore a permanently deleted folder”.
This is going nowhere I realize. The wife amusedly looks at my despair and comments, “Now you know why I profess that things are best left to the experts. Let people specializing in things do them for better time utilization and better results. Take it to a computer technician and he would do it for a pittance”.
“What about the curiosity” I try arguing, and “I am an engineer! I can sure install a damn OS on a computer!” I assertively tell her burying my ace again in google pages.
“And ofcourse I can get a system running on Windows. I have installed Ubuntu during my college days and got the same system running with it!”. She sighs and walks away. She clearly does not realize the difference.
An hour later I am still there where I started. The damn laptop just would not listen, and with a heavy heart, and more importantly, an empty stomach, I give up. I think I should listen to the wife. I Google for a computer technician nearby on my office laptop.
Now I know why we get a laptop from office with all functionalities locked. As they say in management, “Make it dumb proof”.
Evening, during my regular Sunday evening cuppa tea I introspect over a conversation with the wife.
Have I really become a Runied Engineer?