Ouch (again)

Yes folks, it's yet another instalment from the Stupid-Accidents-I've-Had department. This time, I was out walking the pooch late last Friday night and managed to trip over a curb.

Yes folks, it’s yet another instalment from the Stupid-Accidents-I’ve-Had department. This time, I was out walking the pooch late last Friday night and managed to trip over a curb. Falling stupidly flat on my face – for the record, I was not bevvied – I managed to break the fourth metacarpal (the bone between the knuckle and the wrist) in my right hand and thus defer the start of my hockey season by four to six weeks. Sigh.

Arriving home on Saturday morning with my arm in plaster and being incapable of effectively undertaking any domestic chores my beloved and I decided that it was finally time we organised getting a cleaner. Calling a large and supposedly reputable franchise with a 24-hour 0800 number I was not exactly surprised to find myself talking to a nice lady at an answering service who assured me that the local franchise-holder would be calling me back soon. I assume that “soon” was meant in geological terms because I’m still waiting for a call.

Other times businesses are so proactive it’s just damned scary. Imagine my surprise and delight when I answered my cellphone at about 6pm the other night and found myself speaking to Lars Norman (global sales manager for Ericsson Enterprise). Lars was phoning from Stockholm to have a chat about what the folks over in Europe are doing to fix some issues we’ve been experiencing with an Ericsson VoIP system we installed late last year. We didn’t really cover much new ground – mostly we just talked over stuff that I’ve already hammered out with the local guys – but it was really nice to feel like someone actually cared about small customers on the other side of the planet.

While I’m being all warm and fuzzy, something that’s been a constant source of delight to me over the last couple of weeks is my new TabletPC. Having been unable to source a laptop for another user at short notice (see Hockey makes the rest easy, almost), I surrendered my own laptop to the cause. Our trusty reseller just happened to have a few of those snazzy new Compaq TabletPCs in stock so, in the absence of being able to get a new “proper” laptop, I tried one. For what I need, it’s completely brilliant. It’s not quite a full-powered laptop (sometimes I feel like it’s a bit under powered) but it’s incredibly small and flexible, which more than makes up for that. Mostly I use it as a laptop but it does equally good service as a (somewhat large) pen-driven palmtop. The built in Wi-Fi makes connecting to my new wireless office network a no-brainer and it’ll run for hours without needing a recharge. If, like me, you spend most of your time doing email, writing documents, modest-sized spreadsheets and reading stuff on the web, one of these babies could be just what the doctor ordered (especially if, like me, you have a broken hand and don’t want to have to carry a big fat laptop bag around with you).

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Sons in South Auckland. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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