I’m so frustrated that I’ve gotta take a few minutes and vent. I rarely air my work laundry here on the personal site, but at the moment, I’m so angry it just doesn’t even matter anymore.
Seven months ago, when our company decided to move development to Java, I found out that my personal laptop didn’t have the CPU power or memory required to run Sun NetBeans, our development tool of choice. Sure, Netbeans would load, but things like code completion and syntax checking didn’t work. As a new Java programmer, those are the things you need the most. I wasn’t surprised – it was a vintage 2000 Thinkpad T21, and even though I liked it tremendously, it was indeed getting pretty old. I asked my managers for a company laptop, and they said sure.
That was seven months ago. I still don’t have a laptop. I’ve heard every excuse in the book: it’s delayed in shipping, there was a goofup in the order, we don’t have the money, we can’t order without a PO, somebody didn’t sign the PO, you name it. I would have given up on it, except that since my manager quit last month, I’ve been driving back and forth to Dallas every week, lugging my home desktop back and forth in my trunk. I’ve planned a trip up to Michigan for four months, and I can’t take the desktop computer up to Michigan on vacation, so this week I really started pressing for answers.
I got the closest thing to an honest answer this week when the network admin admitted he’d ordered it but he’d messed up the order, and had to place the order again. He still wouldn’t give me a tracking number or ordering information. I said if it’s not ordered, just be straight with me and tell me so I can go buy one myself. He insisted it was ordered and that I shouldn’t get my own, I’d be crazy, yadda yadda yadda. He offered to let me use a laptop from a member of the network crew who’d just started, an ancient P3-800 (even older than my old one) that at least had a 1400×1050 screen – pretty much a requirement when you work with Dreamweaver. I figured why not, can’t hurt, etc.
This weekend, as I’ve been trying to install programs, this laptop has shown itself to be a real pig. The CD drive doesn’t read most CD’s, there’s a bootup error for one of the memory chips, and it keeps giving me CRC errors when copying files across the network. Total junk. I’m troubleshooting with a couple of different memory modules, but things ain’t looking good for my vacation.
So now I’m between a rock and a hard place: I can call off the Michigan trip, or I can go up there with this flaky laptop and hope it works well enough for me to get some work done. I know if the laptop dies while I’m up there, or if various parts don’t work, my boss will be furious that I’m not functioning 100% while we’ve got an important client demo going on. I’ve been frustrated enough with work lately, but this totally pushed me over the edge. I can’t rely on anybody to do anything they commit to, and now it’s come to the point where it’s intruding on my personal life.
Funny side story: the two guys who had this laptop before me both quit the company after years of service. This was the last company laptop they had before they called it quits.
I suggest you go to Costco and buy a laptop for your vacation. You can return the laptop up to 6 months after you purchase it.
The problem is that Costco’s laptops are all very low-resolution. I tend to work with several things open at a time, and tools with a lot of toolbars and menus that need to be displayed simultaneously. (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, SQL, etc.) The bare minimum resolution that works for me is 1280×1024, but even then it’s cramped compared to my dual-display desktops, so I like at least 1400×1050.
And it’s not like I need it just for vacation: I drive back and forth to Dallas, wireless coffee shops, people’s offices, etc. Dragging around a desktop computer and two monitors is getting a little old.