Last week, my 7 year-old Toshibasaurus finally broke down (actually, it was the battery and power pack that died). I could just replace the battery/power pack, but truth be told, the Toshibasaurus was getting long in the tooth and slow in the CPU, which meant that it wouldn’t be able to run the applications that I’m contracted to write about. This means it’s time to go shopping!
So I hit up the usual places just for specs and general pricing like Future Shop and Best Buy. I don’t usually get my higher-end hardware in these places, having been burned in the past, but sometimes they have really good deals if you know EXACTLY what you’re looking for. There’s something about buying a computer in the same store that you can buy paperclips that makes me twitchy.
I found a Toshiba in Best Buy that had decent specs for what I needed, but when I checked the System settings in the Control Panel, the laptop in the showroom had seemingly different specs than what was being advertised.
Plucking up my courage, I approached a Best Buy Blueberry (that’s what I call the guys who work there) and asked him about it. He assured me that it’s normal that the specs say that the drive is 640 Gigs, but that the actual usable space is 580 Gigs. Why that was, the Blueberry wasn’t sure, but he somehow seemed to know that this is how it’s always been since the dawn of laptop typewriters. He said that this is how Toshiba does the math in terms of storage space and rounds it down (by 60 Gigs!). It sounded fishy to me, but after checking it out online, it turns out that it’s normal for the available disk space to be lower, but that’s because of the way the drive is partitioned: the tech geeks split the drive into sections reserved 60-80 Gigs for emergencies.
Then I pointed out to the Blueberry that there were only two USB slots when the advertising says there are three. After checking out the laptop, he assured me it was a typo. As it turns out, the eSata slot is a combo slot that accepts USB drives, but the Blueberry didn’t know that. Frustrated, I tried to suggest that since the tag was wrong about the drive space and the number of USB ports, that the price must be off by $100 (I too understood the concept of rounding down). The Blueberry looked at me dumbfounded and replied “I dunno what you mean.”
He then tried to sell me another laptop by asking me what I needed it for. I told him I was a technical writer and got a blank look from him. “Y’know… I write the software guides that come with the applications, so I need a laptop powerful enough to run the latest, cutting-edge software.”
The Blueberry was confused. “What do you mean? What applications?”
“The latest applications that are being developed right now, as we speak! I’ve written books about database management apps, military simulators, 2D animation tools, 3D graphic tools, music database management systems! I need a powerful laptop to be able to run those applications and be able to run the software I need to write about how they work.”
At this point, the Blueberry had pegged me for the hippy, fringe, outcast that I was. He waved my explanation away saying “Yes, sir. I know what blogging is. You can use this laptop to write your little articles, burn DVDs, and listen to music all at the same time.”
Instinctively, I reached for my sword to cleave this Blueberry in two perfectly-proportioned halves to answer this insult, but I forgotten it at home. Instead, I bid him a curt “Good day” and brewed a satisfyingly dark, stormy cloud over my head, and stomped out of the store.
I’m following other avenues to finding my new laptop, and in the meantime, I’m plotting my revenge on the Blueberry by either hauling in my portfolio of User Guides and forcing him to look at them all, or I may try to organize my own Blueberry invasion of the store.