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2nd of March, 2024



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When Tech Support Meets Classic Television

Woof! Woof!

Well, hey Lassie! What’s the trouble?


What’s that you say?! Rube’s trapped under a Dell Inspiron 5100?! We’ve got to help him! I’ll get Paw!

A customer just brought this abomination of a clunker to me for fixin’. I’ve become such a smug Mac fanboy that I almost refused. This thing is a Cadillac among computers: Weighs about 11 lbs., creaks and squeaks when you type on it, and most of the little rubber feet have fallen off the bottom. The visual design is tasteless and obvious, made with cheap materials, something like a Trabbi with metallic-blue plastic wheels (which actually complements XP quite nicely). The track pad is squirrelly, and clicks and drags and jumps and springs like a dusted-up ferret.

Speaking of which, it also required a repair-install of Windows XP, which just served to sweeten the mixture. You’ll never see such a dismal, patronizing display of wrong-headed tips, hints, and Are-You-Sure? stubbornness as the re-loading of a Microsoft operating system. It looks like a Warhol painting reproduced by a color-blind retard. Well, another color-blind retard. Everything is painted in primary colors, with enormous window controls and constant beeps, bloops, and blips that only distract you while trying to crack the activation scheme. And was somebody really so impressed by that over-saturated meadow photo that they decided to make it the default desktop background in perpetuity?

Bliss Xp

I’ve never understood how Dell can constantly be rated tops in support. This machine has a well-known problem, judging by the comments at ZDNet or just about anywhere else you check: The heat-sink isn’t protected from dust in any way, and so the desktop-version 2.8GHz P4 that’s sitting on the motherboard just overheats and shuts off the computer every 5 minutes. The customer spent the last 5 days talking to Dell support about this, and the first solution was always to re-install the operating system. That’s always Dell’s solution, it seems. Apparently, they’ve moved that troubleshooting tip up to the call center, instead of back at the repair shop where it belongs.

All you need to do to ‘fix’ this problem, is blow really hard into the fan vent on the backside of the computer. It may not be a real fix, in addition to looking rather silly, but it works. Then, to get around the poor design decision of putting the fan on the underside of the computer, where something as simple as missing rubber feet will cut off all air flow to the processor, you just slide a slim cd jewel case underneath the front edge of the computer. Asuming it isn’t crushed by the sheer weight of the computer, it should give just enough room underneath for air to get in.

The next problem was that, after all the damage done by the Dell support guys, including the wholesale deletion of the C:\Windows directory, none of Dell’s hardware worked correctly. USB ports? Forget it. Dell’s answer: Re-install. My answer: 1 minute with Google to find the solution (thanks, Mr. Greene, nice work). It was this way with almost all problems the laptop had, and it’s a story I will repeat inexhaustibly the next time I’m explaining to them why a $2000 P4 laptop is a worse choice than a $2500 Powerbook. Looks great on paper, but brother, the shit just...don’ It’s made to the lowest standards, and the tech support solutions you receive are actually worse than the problem. I don’t blame them: I wouldn’t want to support XP either. But that was their decision. They should start developing to SkyOS.

I’ve never like Dell. I’ve always found their combination of stodgy, Warsaw Pact case design coupled with pimp-of-the-minute detail work disastrous. They can’t give effective support for their products, and often border on destructive ‘troubleshooting’ tips that are obvious time-buying ploys to get the customer off the phone. I’ve had my differences with Apple tech support, but not once did the first support-o-droid on the phone tell me to reformat my hard drive to fix an overheating problem. Over-priced junk, the whole line.


Thunder And Roses

<strong>Rube versus Dell</strong>

He claims it went like this....but the sad reality is that it went like this.

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