Hewlett-Packard Laptop goes poof

About 11 months ago, I bought an HP laptop at Best Buy. I had previously had a Sony VIAO which was an excellent family computer. Laurie uses a Sony as well that other than being dropped too often has held up quite well. I started my laptop shopping sure I would end up with another Sony or Toshiba (which tend to be well rated). Once in the store looking at all the options the HP with the larger screen and lower price was irrestible. As well, Best Buy has its own repair staff (Geek Squad) that would fix it themselves if something went wrong. Staples send everything out for repair.

Last weekend the screen on the HP laptop stopped working.

Other then the screen not working the computer is working fine. I plugged in an external monitor. when I put it in dual screen mode I could get a flicker on the laptop screen but nothing else. So, off to Best Buy to get it fixed.

When I bought the laptop I declined to buy the extended warranty (as it no longer covers batteries). I figured that 12 months of manufacture's warranty would cover anything major. Right again! I bought the HP at the Merivale Rd. store, so at 8:30 last night back I went. The Geek Squad at Merivale said that they were so busy it would be at least a month before they could get to it. Their advice- go to the Vanier store. Off I go. The Vanier store was able to spend enough time looking at it to decide to send it back to HP. The Merivale store could have done the same of course.

So now the laptop is off the HP land. Nobody knows for how long or if there is anyway to find out.

Lessons learned. The Best Buy Geek Squad at the Vanier location means well and were likely as helpful as they could be. The Geek Squad at the Merivale location send me across town needlessly. Neither Geek Squad could actually fix my laptop or even diagnose it in house. Hewlett-Packard laptops, or this specific Hewlett Packard laptop, will not last 11 months of regular use (limited travel, no physical abuse) without breaking.

Highlights of the Ottawa Folk Festival

UPDATE: Take a look at Laurie's post with pictures. Here are some highlights from the 2009 Ottawa Folk Festival. I'm sure I'm missing some great things I saw and I know I missed some great performances at the festival. This list is likely to grow over the next few days. 

  • Bruce Cockburn put on a great, if mellow, show. He returned for an encore and played Toyko one of my all time favourites of his.
  • Charlotte Conrfield to Arrogant Worms on a workshop stage "You were the first band I ever illegally downloaded"
  • Vishtèn and Mr. Something Something jamming. All great horn sections deserve an additional fiddle or two.
  • Tall Trees, a (very) young local duo, winners of the Galaxie Rising Stars award, wowed the crowd and other performers at  the Moon stage and at workshops. I was very impressed with the songwriting and performances.
  • When you are folk festivaling with a younger kid its not all abaout the music. The Kids Zone was fun as usual, but it was great to see my six year old engaged with other parts of the festival including the Zen garden, building a cob house (playing with mud) and making an oragami flower.
  • This year's edition of the Common Ground Cross-Cultural Collaboration was really fun. I probably heard them do the same set of songs three times. Each time was different. When the artists are having fun it is infectious. Our final daytime show ended with the whole group getting off the stage and leading the audience dancing around the room. One of those special festival moments.
  • James Hill and Anne Davison are always fantastic. Their evening performance included a a chopstick/ukelele combo by James Hill accompanied by a modern dance/harmonica performance by Anne Davison. Not something you see every day.

Marketing Fail

I have recieved an excellent looking three fold glossy brochure for a sushi and noodle bar.The brochure includes a good looking menu, colour pictures and discount coupons. It does not include an address. Wherever they are, I know they are open late on weekends.

How does this happen?

I thought my computer was running a little slow.My IE process doesn't even show up in the top ten! [flickr-photo:id=3746572015,size=o] 


Another wonderful cottage visit, although colder and damper than I prefer.

We found another two geocaches near the cottage, but didn't even attempt to find Going UP! - Heading for the Back Country   GC128FP. I will find it one of these days.


geocache map

Recent Live Music- Reviewed

Over the last week or two I have seen jazz at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and at the Montreal Jazz festival. All the music I heard was fantastic.

First, I saw CMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten). Three bass players with drums and keyboard/synth. The concert was fun, with each of the players playing extended solos. The showcase songs were great, but the real strength of the group was playing together. This 'Supergroup' actually played as a group.

See them if you get a chance.


Second, I saw Brian Blade in Montreal. Brian Blade is a drummer who has played with a variety of performers, both popular and jazz. We saw him with his own quintet (drums, sax, bass, keyboards, and sax) playing mostly his own material. This was an excellent show. Blade has a unique drumming style and all the players really played well together.  Accessible and challenging at the same time. among the best jazz drumming I've seen.


Third, the morning (early afternoon perhaps) after seeing Brian Blade, we caught some free jazz. Belgistan are a band from Belgium (three saxaphones, trumpet, tuba type instrument, drum and percussion) that were right at home playing in front of (not on) a stage. They had the crowd bopping away. - a close approximation of the show we saw.


No Canada Day for Microsoft Canada?

While over at a friend's place yesterday (July 1) I received a call from Microsoft Canada. (I have my work number forwarded to my cell phone). The caller wanted me to check on our software subscription, nothing very important really. Now, I assume that these kind of calls are outsourced, and I assume they are outsourced to somewhere overseas. But perhaps Microsoft Canada should make a Canadian calendar available to the call centre.You know, the better to track statutory holidays and such.


I wasn't even wished "Happy Canada Day"!

Yay Paul Dewar!

From Glen Pearson's blog:

A very able parliamentarian who had been plagued by rancor and repeated defeats proved to all of us, and himself, that a public servant dedicated to our freedoms can be shining light that leads us into a better future. Well done Paul.

Friends of Lansdowne Park

More information about Landsdowne Park at


I have set-up a flickr group to collect images of Landsdowne Park. Please join and add images.




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