Thursday, February 4, 2010

More than you wanted to know

But I needed to vent. This is my scary pre-tax season technology update. Not that the update is scary, just the tax software, and getting it up and running.

In my first post on this blog, I talked about moving from PC to Mac, hoping for more stability (less crashes!) So how's that been going? A couple of weeks ago, I awoke to a laptop making ominous sounds. With thoughts of "here we go again," I turned on my computer intermittently during the day, backed up my data and scheduled my appointment with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. Fortunately, only a fan, not a hard drive, had to be replaced.

So I'm ready to start my first tax season running Windows on a Mac. (But just in case, I've bought Windows 7 to put on my pile of crap Windows Vista computer. If programs are operating smoothly on both computers, I'll breathe a little easier and also have a work station if I get some extra help later on.)

I installed my 2009 tax software - everything was looking good and I rolled over data from 2008. I went to the web site to download the license and encountered "Error Code 4-0, Call Technical Support." Without my license working, I could use the software, just not print anything. That's a slight problem. I called the number, estimated wait time twenty minutes. No thanks. Later in the afternoon I called again.

Fernando, the technician, was very nice. Best of all, he was in Tucson, Arizona, not India, and spoke in clear, unaccented English! If you have had many technical support issues, you can understand how refreshing that is. He worked diligently and knowledgeably on the problem. At one point he took control of my computer. That is so weird, to watch the cursor moving on your screen and files opening and changing while you just watch.

Sixty-five minutes later, he reached a conclusion. I had a "corrupt" User profile on Windows. It's the first time I've been accused of corruption. He gave me a case number, suggested I call my computer technician to correct that issue, then call again if I still had a problem.

I stopped for dinner, exhausted by the phone call. Then I called my computer tech support guy, the same guy who made a great dinner of cheesy chicken and rice followed up by homemade Rice Krispie treats for dessert.

I repeated what Fernando had said. Ricky went to the web and found instructions for how to fix a corrupt user profile in Windows XP and got on my computer. He fixed it fairly quickly once I left him alone and quit distracting him with my verbal hand-wringing.

Ten minutes later, I'm up and running, printing forms and emailing them to clients.

As far as I'm concerned, it's all magic. Fortunately, I married a magician. Thanks!

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