So, I've been a Mac computer user for several years now. This won't be a post to attempt to convince anyone about why Apple™ computers are far superior to anything made to run Windows. I could devote an entire blog to that effect, but I won't.
This post only deals with the most recent experience I've had with a windows running GATEWAY™ notebook. The student ministry at our church has a GATEWAY™ notebook computer. Actually, it now technically has two GATEWAY™ notebook computers - but that's an entirely different story. The "new" one, which we got as a replacement for the "old" one when it died - was having problems relating to something called "drivers."
Now, even though I much prefer Apple™ Computers, I am sort of a tech support guru at our church, so when there are problems with computers, I try to fix them. Fortunately, I am able to fix them more often than not.
For whatever reason, when we installed Windows XP Pro on this laptop a bunch of the "drivers" (little pieces of software that make hardware work on a computer) were lost. I gradually installed them as we noticed problems, but for some reason, I couldn't get the internal wireless card to work.
Apparently, depending on whether your GATEWAY™ notebook computer has either a Pentium M or Celeron processor, you get one of two different wireless cards. This notebook is an M320. It has a Celeron processor which means it has a "Broadcom 54G 802.11g wireless card." in it. I downloaded the drivers on the GATEWAY™ support website, but it would not install correctly. So, I'd uninstall it, check a bunch of random things that might be causing a problem and re-install. It still wouldnt work, so I'd repeat the process 8 or 9 times.
Finally, I called GATEWAY™ Technical Support for assistance. Okay, I hate calling for tech support, because often I either cannot understand the individual on the other end of the phone, or I know more about their product than they do. While that can be an ego-boosting thing, it's pretty sad when you think about it. If I call for technical support, I really would like to talk to someone smarter than me - because I assume that you have to be smarter than me to fix the problem that I couldn't fix!
Anyway, I digress.... So I called. I spoke with "Brad" for almost 50 minutes. It's frustrating to me that it took me that long to realize that "Brad" wouldn't be able to help me. Perhaps my faith in mankind made we want to believe that he'd be able to help - I've since lost that faith. At some point, after recommending several potential options to download driver's for hardware that wasn't on my computer (seriously, he suggested that I install a driver for a video card that is only available on desktop computers), I realized we had a problem. He thought that I might not have "everything I need." I thought he was probably missing something also.
It was obvious to me at least, that I didn't have "everything I need," or I wouldn't have called. I did not, however, need to fix problems with hardware I didn't have - I only wanted to get the wireless card to work. After about three such suggestions, I realized that all "Brad" was doing was looking at the exact same web page I was looking at and he was just making guesses about what I should maybe do.
Is that really the best that GATEWAY™ can do? It seems like their Technical Support people aught to offer something that I can't get for myself. I would have hoped that they would have had experts that could walk me through solving my problem, not just guessing at a website.
I hope you never have to call GATEWAY™ for support. Actually, I hope you never have to use a GATEWAY™ notebook or desktop, but if you do, I hope you don't have problems with it.
In case you are wondering, I was able to get it to work about 20 minutes after hanging up with "Brad." I don't really know why it works now, but it does. That's actually more frustrating than it still not working, because it makes no sense that it works, which means it will probably fail at some point for what seems like no reason. I guess that's what you get when you buy a GATEWAY™.