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Sony Vaio, we hardly knew ye

Apparently Sony has stopped production and sales of all Laptops and Desktops. Even if they may still sit on store shelves you now have to dig through the archives of Sony’s site to find any mention of these devices. Tablets will likely fill the void as the world moves to a more mobile future.

My history with Sony goes back many years. My first laptop was an HP. I had it for 2-3 glorious years until one day the screen went black with just a flashing cursor. No blue screen of death, just black darkness. With 3 months left on the warranty I took it to Best Buy to get it evaluated. A few months later I got the solemn news. It’s gone, hardware failure, no hope of recovery. They acknowledged they were sorry for my loss and asked that I pick out a new laptop. My sorrow quickly faded as I became a kid in a candy store.

I was happy with the HP, it worked hard and was without trouble until the day the screen went dark. I was planning on getting another one. As I looked over the potential candidates I found that none matched the Pentium 4 horsepower that my previous model sported. So I went to the employee and explained my dilemma. The original HP I got because of it’s powerful processor and I wasn’t about to leave with a lessor model.

After a brief discussion with the manager they adjusted my price range and picked out the only 2 options I had left, a Toshiba and a Sony. Now I have no problems with Toshiba, in fact, I am now temporary guardian of one. However I had heard no good nor bad reviews about anything Toshiba. Sony however I considered a quality brand by pure reputation alone. So I went with the Sony and never looked back.

The Sony laptop was twice as powerful and had twice the amount of memory as my former HP. It even had a DVD writer which was a bit of a novelty in laptops at the time. The service plan paid for itself and so much more. But that’s not where this story ends.

Not long after I got a job as an Engineer and was starting to make bank. A few years in I realized I needed something more powerful for work travel. So 7 years ago I purchased a new laptop. Because of the great results I had with Sony I went with another Sony. This time customized with more memory, more hard drive space, faster processor, DVD-RW, etc. Exactly what I wanted. It cost me, but it was a powerful machine, which I needed. 7 great years with that laptop came and went.

A few weeks ago my laptop started showing signs of video processor issues. Lovely red stripes emblazoned my screen. I found plenty of YouTube videos explaining how to fix the problem, but I knew it was only a matter of time. Apparently there was a recall but I was 3 years too late. I had already added a new high speed SD card with ReadyBoost enabled to crutch my minimal memory in Windows 7. It was time to move on. I started to look at the new lot of Sony laptops and eyeing my bountiful Sony Reward points which I started saving the day I bought that second Sony laptop.


Not a stylish wallpaper, but a video processor problem

I had a conference a few weeks later and was worried about finding the right one, hoping I could get along until after the conference and make a solid decision and not have to worry about how long shipping would take. I managed to fix my laptop, but the fix did not last long. I attempted to stress test it, but it couldn’t stand the heat. I was back where I started, no usable laptop for the conference. I pondered trying the fix again but time was short, and potential for success was minimal.

Halfway through the repair process

Halfway through the repair process

To pure chance, my lovely girlfriend was going on a long trip and entrusted me with her older model laptop, a Toshiba. This was the stroke of luck I was looking for. I didn’t have to borrow one or share one. Everything was going great, I got through one presentation at the conference with no issue. Started working on preparations for the second presentation and POP. The off-brand replacement laptop power supply blew. With one hour left on the charge, and an hour long presentation a few hours away, I was essentially doomed. I could have tried, but when have you ever known a laptop battery estimate to be accurate?

I tried using the laptop someone else brought from work but I couldn’t log in. Security at it’s finest. So secure no one can use it. Fortunately my co-presenter brought her personal laptop and we were saved. Of course the video I had planned to kick off the entire presentation wouldn’t show on the projector, but at this point I was so beaten down by events that it didn’t matter. Coincidentally, the whole presentation was about disaster recovery of files, which included mentioning hardware failure. Let’s just say Murphy and I are really close and I know him all too well. The gremlins were not happy with me giving away secrets.

So now I’m on the search for a new laptop. Supposedly Vaio is going to still exist as it’s own company under the new owners. Companies in transition are always difficult to predict though. Just as when HP and Compaq merged, though HP was the primary name, their laptops were never the same. So in closing I’m off to look at company reviews to see which is the next contender for my mobile computing provider. If you have any suggestions let me know.






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