RE: Laptop Blues

Whoah. The system powered off part-way through streaming a video, and my left mouse button just quit working again. I’m starting to reconsider a very kind offer by Nancy last year to do a laptop exchange. I resisted then, and still do, because that seems an extreme presumption on her and Dell’s willingness to please. However, the current spate of problems is pushing us to that extreme measure.

 

I should clarify that it took extreme measures on my part to link up with Nancy in the first place. Level 1 support never could grasp my unique situation so I wrote to Kevin Rollins directly to appeal for help. We all realize that he probably never personally saw my email, but the important part is that Nancy was calling my cell not two hours later. That was important because it demonstrated that, for al its rapid growth, Dell still values individual customers. Not many companies actually do anymore so I have tended to tolerate certain ongoing issues in order to not abuse Nancy’s patience. It would be a shame if an exchange became the most expedient solution, but we’re approaching what I’ll politely call “the hassle threshold.”

 

Of course there are technical questions involved in such an option as exchanging laptops. I ordered my Gen2 about two weeks before the M170 and M140 were announced <insert gnashing of teeth sound>. I really didn’t want a 17-inch Godzilla mounted on my wheelchair, but it was the only one at that moment with enough computing reserve to last through a four-year tour of duty (one of many lifestyle changes compelled by losing my job). If we decide that an exchange is the best option (and I want both you and Nancy to speak your opinions here), we’re talking about either a M140 or the new M1210 totally maxed out in terms of hardware. I notice that my Dell Preferred Account is just about recharged to where I could almost buy either out-right, but I’m sure Nancy had other options in mind when she made the offer.

 

In any event, I still see the offer as a last resort, both because of the reason mentioned earlier, and because I’m not convinced that even a maxed-out M1210 would stand the tour length nearly as graciously. There’s now no doubt in my mind that this Gen2 will still be a decent machine in 2009.

 

By the way, I just discovered why my mouse is acting up. The mechanism under the buttons is simply sticking. That makes perfect sense, eh? Any computer that works 24/7 under various conditions will get filthy inside. That makes me believe that a big portion of our issues is due to the lack of a good, detail-oriented field tech. Can’t anyone remember what preventive maintenance is? Sheesh.

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 3:16 PM
To: ‘Lester_Nations@Dell.com’
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

 

At least we’re progressing. My little darling seems over the graphics phobia.

 

Btw, the fans are coming on a lot more often now.

 


From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 3:02 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

 

OK I will try and get that out to you today.

 

Lester

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:59 PM
To: Nations, Lester
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

As one of my favorite Sci-Fi characters would said, “indeed.”

 


From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:53 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

 

Glad to hear A03 is working normally. Do you still need the keyboard drop shipped?

 

Lester

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:49 PM
To: ‘Scott Royall’; Nations, Lester
Cc: Dorr, Nancy; Blog; Blaise; bradgsmith@mdanderson.org; Brandon Milligan; Carol McKinney; Dianne; DSloan; Jack Davidson; janis.nicol@nau.edu; John Royall; Marsha Anderson, DVM; ‘Michelle Luster’; Ming Zu; Mom; Richard Becton; Sakina Lanig; Tao Ju
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

A03 seems to work normally.

 


From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 2:04 PM
To: ‘Lester_Nations@Dell.com’
Cc: ‘Nancy_R_Dorr@Dell.com’; Blog; Blaise; bradgsmith@mdanderson.org; Brandon Milligan; Carol McKinney; Dianne; DSloan; Jack Davidson (jack_davidson681@yahoo.com); janis.nicol@nau.edu; John Royall; Marsha Anderson, DVM; ‘Michelle Luster’; Ming Zu (mzu@cs.uh.edu); Mom (lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net); Richard Becton (flight@flash.net); Sakina Lanig (sakinalanig@hotmail.com); Tao Ju
Subject: RE: Laptop Blues

 

Not really true. Here’s where we are.

 

That tech never sticks around while I do post-assembly QA. Yes, he did replace all the parts, and the previous issue is closed. The only anomaly visible was moderate dust on the GPU’s right radiator (I call them “radiators” because they are remote from the hardware they cool), so the previous re-assembly was normal after all. Apparently, something simply took that opportunity to die.

However, there are now new complications. BIOS A05 and A04 both cause the system to power off when switching between certain screens under DirectX (9.0c) control. A02 does not exhibit that abnormality, but XP Pro (SP 2, etc) is having to frequently restart Explorer (not Internet Explorer; Explorer is the actual user interface Windows relies on). Since last week’s debugging included updating all the system drivers, I suspect that they aren’t quite compatible with A02. In any case, Dell may be unable to help with this issue.

 

Another issue appeared during the last minutes of yesterday’s service call. The F12 and Right Arrow keys on this keyboard suddenly ceased working. The tech noticed the Right Arrow issue and failed to notify you. Not cool. However, if you can drop-ship another keyboard directly to me, I am pretty confident I can guide one of my caregivers through the replacement process. It’s fairly quick and easy.

 

Scott Royall

 

 

 

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