When we last left our hero, he had the impression that Dell was dealing with the support call by not doing the keyboard and was overnighting him a new disk. So I spent the whole day on Tuesday bothering the girl at the front desk asking if I had received a courier package, with the answer always being no. Then, just before I had to go for the day, I get a phone call from a tech who claimed to have a keyboard and hard disk for me, could he come see me right away? Being about to depart, I re-scheduled him for Wednesday.
Wednesday bright and early he shows up, bringing with him my keyboard and disk. Since I wasn't sure if there was confidential data on my old disk, he quick-formatted it so that casual browsers wouldn't see anything. This won't stop the technically competant, but it is better than nothing. It turns out that they don't make 20Gb disks any more and so I got a 30Gb disk instead. So for the two weeks I have this computer I have a ton more disk space, something I would have really appreciated back in the day. He also did the keyboard, something which was a lot easier than I expected -- one clip, three screws, and it comes right out. This gives you access to the memory slot.
The whole thing took less than an hour, including running useless diagnostics and fussing with a DVD drive that wouldn't run boot media, but it showed just how well engineered these things are for routine service. The tech commented that replacing the modem or the mainboard was a royal pain, but I can't see that being required very often.
So, two kickstarts later, I have my computer back and up enough that I can use it. And when I'm at home it should just be happy there, too. I'm not going to bother with XP for now, we'll have to wait and see how the new systems come.