11/21/2008 9:59PM




I'm slowly emerging from a day and a half of computer hell that began when I installed the new PC game Fallout 3 on my laptop yesterday and settled in to play it. The game launched flawlessly, the scene-setting movie looked spectacular on the screen, and I was quickly drawn into a story where it was the year 2070 and I was a resident of Vault 101, a post-apocalyptic fallout shelter and....suddenly the screen froze. I waited and waited, then tried to shut the program down. No response. I turned off the computer, then restarted it and...nothing. Power on, but a blank screen and no boot.

I spent the next four hours on the phone with Dell Technical Support, a lot of it on hold, and agreed to pay $49.95 for a diagnosis from a technician. This involved my learning more about how to disassemble a laptop than I ever wanted to know, as piece by piece I removed possible problem-causers, including the memory cards, hard drive and optical disk. Nothing did the trick. Finally the technician said the culprit had to be my video card, so now my only option was to ship the machine to Dell to be repaired. He switched me to the Repair Department, which had to process the order for an Official Return Box I needed. After 15 minutes on hold, there was an announcement that the Repair Department was now closed for the night and to try back tomorrow.

I spent today trying to find third-party help. I've been using the laptop exclusively since Saratoga and not backing things up (I know, I know), so was getting panicky about possibly losing four months of files and data. I was quoted prices of anywhere from $300 to $600 to attempt to rescue my data, along with warnings that it sounded like my laptop was "fried" and the data might be lost. Finally I ran across an ad for a local one-man shop, a guy named Mitch who told me to relax and bring my laptop over to his basement. He took the hard drive out of the laptop, put it in an case with a USB cable attached to it, and sent me home to copy any files I needed on to the old desktop I reconnected and am now using. It worked perfectly and tomorrow he'll start working on repairing the laptop.

So long story short, that's why there's no Sunday column this week and that's why I didn't play the little $29k carry at Aqueduct today, where the results looked juicy enough (parlay was $64k) to double-carry into Saturday, but there was one winner at $92,444. A pity, especially because Aqueduct's Saturday card looks like about the best one so far at the meet, with three allowance races, four maiden-specials and the G3 Discovery. I think I'm still too singed from compuhell to attack that $251k carry at Hollywood later tonight, but if I rally I might take a look. Hmm, still two hours until the pick-6 starts.

Oh, and I'm giving up on PC gaming and getting an Xbox or a Playstation at the mall this weekend.

Jeff Tatus More than 1 year ago
Flipper Dawson... did you make a miraculous score or not? I cannot determine (from your post) if you did or didn't have the last two numbers reversed. Please provide the details in a clear manner... I'm guessing you hit big and decided to take a crack Down Under since you didn't care about money or have any valid racing data to use. What happened?
Flip Dawson More than 1 year ago
Greetings from Canada.very close to snapping up a super at WO, or a Super High 5 at Holly Park. My play for Sat. was as follows--at WO, played late Super (20 cents) and covered all horses that I liked on the front end. The Super came back at $26,027.00. Winning numbers were 7-10-14-2. I had 7-10-2-14. After I check to see if a Secret Play is there, I take all the suspicious DD Will-Pays, and put the top horse in the Secret Play on top, and run some random bets that have not been covered in my 20 cent play. So, I have 3 types of bets going--20 cent supers, $1.00 supers, and random bets with Secret Play horses on top. I checked my ticket and roared to The Duchess that I had hit for 26 grand. I wouldn't even check it and left it on my computer for 1-2 hours. After my lady (!?) went to bed, I perused my play and saw that I had the last 2 numbers reversed. I now have my account set up and can play 30-40 tracks at any time. Dickered with Australia, if you can picture that. ------------------------- My second play is at Holly Park, and I just love the Super High 5. Bets are one dollar, and usually just one winner. One thing I am sure of--the supers at WO are a lot higher than in New York. -------------------- Memo to Steve--what I do with my computer is to have a student on tap, and some of these guys can do anything. I recently had a list of 10 things to fix on my computer. I called him up (age 18) and over he came amd left 55 minutes later with a $20.00 bill in his hand. Oshawa even has a repair group of techy nerds called THE GEEK SQUAD. I prefer to use someone I know. I have done some favors for him and family, so we all know each other. All for now. a top jock is winning with longies at WO. No name, but an easy clew--he has an uncle who is a rabbi.
yuwipi More than 1 year ago
Anybody wanna be me? Had a $120 late P4 filled out on Saturday's Big A card. Didn't want to go for $120, so I AB'd my way down the ladder to half that. $50k latter all I've got is win bets on the Benzel and Reynolds horses, and three P4 tickets that dance deviously around the correct sequence. Sometimes the moron you look at in the mirror is the biggest handicapping problem you've got.
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
I hate to be one of "those guys," but I am one of those guys, so I'm not going to run from who I am. Get a Mac.
Brad L More than 1 year ago
Is Monterey Jazz running in the CIgar Mile????
High Limit More than 1 year ago
There is a reason that some people started a website. www.ihatedell.net.
Teresa More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the info, Nick--disappointing that it's not available here for Wii.
Prozac Jack More than 1 year ago
Steve, I feel guilty I raised a son that's a computer engineer(they call him in when their people can't figure it out) I wanted him to be a track degenerate like his father, but kids nowadays don't listen to good advice.........
Dennis More than 1 year ago
Steve, Buy a flash drive (sometimes called a pen drive). You can get a 4GB flash drive for about $20. I'll bet all your data files combined are very small. Save data to the flash drive. It's so convenient and you won't have too many anxious computer moments.
Nick Briglia More than 1 year ago
To Teresa, About the Wii's G1 Jockey 4 game, it is not playable on US wii's because the wii is not region free. It is only being released in Europe and Japan.(the Japanese version requires that you can read Japanese-there are no english translations in the game) I have the European version for my PS3 and it plays with no problem because the PS3 is region free for video games. For anyone that does read Japanese there is also the great Winning Post series from Koei that is only out in Japan.