RE: Continuing the quest

Well, I see why Lester didn’t respond on Friday, I couldn’t read the screen
well enough to get his address right! 😦

Lester, I just received a HUGE bill for the parts you didn’t install. I
presume I can safely ignore it, right?

Yes, I urgently need a screen (see below). Suggesting that I could use an
external monitor was a bit silly since I can’t drag one of those around with
me. The laptop is mated to the wheelchair for good reason. I know, you
simply didn’t think the idea through. Able-bodied people frequently have
trouble grasping my reality.

An idea formed as I wrote the email below on Thursday. Once I have enough
information to select another laptop, I don’t feel Dell should need to its
entire cost. Instead, I’m going to offer to let Dell only issue a partial
credit for it to my Preferred Account of approximately $1,000. The actual
amount credited would depend on the laptop selected and how much credit my
account has accrued at that time. The goal would be to keep my monthly
payments affordable.

The reason why I’m willing to make such an offer is really two-fold. First,
a good working relationship with Dell does have definite monetary value to
me to it’s in my own best interest to not cost Dell more than necessary.
Second, such an offer creates a situation similar to what worked so well
while I was with Shell (again, see below). Having two working laptops
creates much more flexibility for service. if the primary machine develops a
problem we can’t pin down in the field, sending it to Round Rock becomes
quite feasible if we have the Gen2 ready to pinch-hit.

One thing though, we also need Manufacturing involvement to insure that my
next laptop comes with those darn "media control buttons" already unplugged.
I no longer have access to the nice field tech who was willing to come make
that change to the Gen2 on his own time.

Nancy,

You should read this one.

Lester,

First, it was good to meet you and Brian yesterday. Please forward this
email to him for comment.

Yes, I agree with you two that replacing my Gen2 is the best option for both
sides. As you said, the Gen2 is obsolete. That bothers me slightly, because
the 8aptop is barely 15 months old and still holds the on-going record for
no total failures. But, we don’t have much choice. I agree that replacement
is the only long-term course open to us. I also agree that I, as the
customer, need to select the replacement. Still, I think we agree that I can
only do that with good information. I don’t yet have that data, and I think
we realize that email is the only way I’m going to get it.

Therefore, I am requesting and recommending that we bring Nancy back into
the process. Her normal method of helping me has been to act as a
facilitator. That is, she puts me in touch with the Dell people who do have
the answers. That’s why we need her "magic," because we need help from
Manufacturing and possibly Sales to get firm answers to the questions we
discussed yesterday. And yes, Nancy is aware of one of the questions, that
regarding the keyboard layout.

Nancy and I have joked about that the keyboard size and layout in high-end
Dell laptops hasn’t changed in ten years. Well, I just did a side-by-side
comparison on the company website of the 1710, 1706, and 1210. True, the
photos aren’t very good, but they do seem to be on roughly the same scale.
Guess what. The keyboards appear to be identical for the 11th year. Only the
color is new. The different laptop sizes come from the amount of space on
either side of the keyboard. I put an ancient Latitude C800 on top of the
Gen2 today. Although it has an identical keyboard and template, it was
dwarfed by the Gen2.

That means the keyboard and probably the power question will easily resolved
just because Dell likes to standardize. The heat issue may be a lot tougher.
The predecessor of the Gen2 for me was an Inspiron 8100, and it did exhibit
the very same overheating symptoms as the Gen2 during its last few months.
In that case, the symptoms appeared right after the bottom half of the
plastic case was replaced with one without side vents by the radiator. The
fact is, though, that laptops are running hotter and hotter with each
generation. We (meaning Dell and I) have to understand what started the
overheating in the Gen2 or we’ll be in the same trouble within a year. This
is why I think we need to involve more Dell brainpower.

Clearly, I don’t expect–or really want–another laptop within a week. I
think it’s important that we take the time to understand the things about
the Gen2 that work well for me, and what hasn’t. That and the heating issue
will take weeks to understand well enough by email to pick out the
replacement, agreed? The holiday and Nancy’s other workload will likely mean
it will be at least a week for her to find the right people. Meanwhile, I
obviously need to have a usable Gen2. Would you agree that justifies sending
out another transflective screen while the Gen2 is still under CC? Not only
would that get me a fully working Gen2 (almost), but that can become a hot
spare once I do have a replacement. That’s actually how we did it when I was
with Shell. I had a primary and a secondary laptop, which was really good if
the primary had to run to Round Rock! Does that seem better for Dell??

Scott

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:26 PM
To: ‘Lester
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Oh boy. The news just keeps going downhill. The hard plastic screen has
crazed, making it about useless, I doubt you can get another in time, but
give it your best shot, please . this has become a nightmare, and I’m typing
basically blind.

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:33 PM
To: ‘Lester
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Damnit! I just cracked my second screen. (Sigh. Doorknobs have it out for
these True-Life screens. You’ll see the damage tomorrow. Things like this
make the 1210 even more appealing.)

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 6:07 PM
To: ‘Lester
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Lester,

Ok.

No Lester, I wouldn’t have blogged this anyway, because it’s not part of the
story that could help others in my position. That’s a big part of what the
blog is about. I did correct personal info leaked in the last entry.

One big difference between us is that I’ll say the same thing in email as on
the phone, just in greater detail. Shell’s establishment also struggled to
understand that reality.

I have looked up your location on the Internet, and you’re not far from a
location I try to visit semi-annually in Belton. However, I won’t be
surprised if we circle the building a few times, knowing my driver.

I didn’t even know Dell did whitepapers. Can you point me to them?

I have EVDO so hopefully you will be able to reach me all the way there if
needed.

Scott

—–Original Message—–
From: LesterSent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 3:37 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Mr. Royall,

My ext is 7268446

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message is intended only for the named
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—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:29 AM
To: Dorr, Nancy
Cc: Nations, Lester
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Ok, this may be interesting.

—–Original Message—–
From: Nancy_R_Dorr@Dell.com [mailto:Nancy_R_Dorr@Dell.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 7:51 AM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Scott,
Lester and his manager will need to address your issue.

Thank you
Nancy Dorr
Dell Inc.
Care Resolution Center
Executive Offices
Austin
Nancy_Dorr@Dell.Com
Visit our website at dellcustomercare.com

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 5:07 PM
To: Nations, Lester; Dorr, Nancy
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Nancy,

Please help me help Lester to understand the seriousness of security needs
in this scenario.

Lester,

I understand what you’re saying, but it wouldn’t be a valid test
necessarily. You see, I’m quite good with software, and I’ve installed
utilities which greatly reduce the overheating issue. I’m essentially
overruling the SMBIOS at this point. This is not a perfect solution, but it
could easily fool a tech who doesn’t know my laptop intimately. True, going
to the diag partition with Speed Step enabled should reproduce the problem,
but that’s not certain either. If the system starts out cool enough to
survive the Pre-boot System Assessment phase, I don’t know that anything in
the diags will stress it long enough.

Lester, please don’t argue, ok. I’m making a special trip and effort to work
with Dell to understand and resolve the issue. Please work with me here. I
appreciate your usual methods, and I understand that you don’t work directly
with customers normally. Yet, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not the normal
customer. My special needs have translated to about $50,000 in Dell sales
over time (not trivial for one person). I cannot allow an "active duty"
laptop out of my sight for ANY reason. It knows too much about my world, and
would be an instant security issue. Most people aren’t as dependent on their
computers as I am, that’s why I pay the extra for NBD support. If it helps
you to understand, think of my laptop as my Cerebral Cortex. Would you want
a doctor taking yours away to work on? No. so don’t ask me to allow it
either.

To be very clear, AN "ACTIVE DUTY" LAPTOP NEVER LEAVES MY SIGHT UNTIL IT’S
DECOMMISIONED. "Decommissioning" usually means I still have its hard-drive,
or I personally wiped certain data out to DOD specs. Please understand that
this matter isn’t open to discussion.

Scott

—–Original Message—–
From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 3:44 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

I will need to remove the system from the wheelchair and bring it up to my
work area to perform the work.
After I have replaced the parts, I will need to test it by it’s self to see
if the problem happens when it is not attached to the wheelchair. We will
then put it back to the wheelchair and test to see if it only happens when
connected to the wheelchair.

Lester

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 3:24 PM
To: Nations, Lester
Cc: Dorr, Nancy
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Hmm, you’re not going to be able to know if you’ve resolved anything without
the rest of the laptop’s environment (i.e., the wheelchair it’s mated to).
Perhaps you should just plan to work in the lobby. This job doesn’t require
more than a couple of screwdrivers.

—–Original Message—–
From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2006 1:39 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Mr. Royall,

Just wanted to be sure you plan on coming up Wednesday the 28th. I have the
parts order to be delivered to me here in at Dell. Although I will not be
able to get you upstairs to my work area I will be able to get one of my
co-worker to stay with you and/or take you to our café. Please give me an
estimated time of your arrival.

Lester

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 5:26 PM
To: Nations, Lester
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

I think you’re right. Let’s plan on Wednesday the 28th. I would appreciate
it if my caregivers and I weren’t confined to the lobby after the three-hour
drive. Also, my service dog (and the namesake of this laptop) will be with
me. Don’t worry, Lilly the dog is the best behaved of the four of us. Even
Shell reluctantly came to accept her; she’s a lady with four legs.

—–Original Message—–
From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 4:19 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Mr. Royall,

My schedule for this week is Monday thru Thursday 8am to 5pm central time.

With the weather being what it is, me having a short work week and the fact
that I would need to order parts to be sure I had them here. I would suggest
trying for the middle part of next week. However if you would like to try
for Thursday this week (weather is forecasted to be clear in Austin/Round
Rock by then). Let me know and I will get the parts ordered.

Thank You,

Lester

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message is intended only for the named
recipient(s) above. It may contain information that is confidential and/or
privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified
that any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail and
any attachment(s) is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error,
please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete this e-mail
and any attachment(s) from your system. Thank you

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 3:51 PM
To: Nations, Lester
Cc: Dorr, Nancy; ‘Lourez Bullock’
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Round Rock might be a bit of a day trip, but it’s doable. Let’s see what
your schedule and the weather is for the week. The latter could be really
iffy for a road trip. We’ll see.

One thing though, if I were still at Shell and a customer from Round Rock
(or New Orleans) asked to see me, protocol would be to get them clearance to
my work area. Yes, I did work for Shell post 9/11, and Shell was far more
paranoid than Dell could dream of being. Yet, leaving customers stuck in
lobbies was still considered extremely rude and actually a greater risk.

Well, enough of that.

As you and I well know, Dell will have no clue if I put this 100 GB
hard-drive in a 1210. I was just making sure there wasn’t some stupidity in
the BIOS. The 1210 is probably the direction I’ll go in at some place in the
future regardless of whatever we do in this case.

Remember that the whole idea is to have a tech who really knows the XPS
Gen2 see it run on my chair. The sudden change of behavior is baffling to us
both and needs to be understood before we decide what to do.

—–Original Message—–
From: Lester_Nations@Dell.com [mailto:Lester_Nations@Dell.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 2:08 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Mr. Royall,

I trying to figure out the best way to get your system to me here in Round
Rock or to get a different onsite tech to come to your location to get your
system fixed. One issue is if you bring your system to Round Rock for me to
fix, is that you will have to wait in the lobby while I bring the system
upstairs to fix it. If you don’t mind waiting in the lobby I could bring the
system up and replace parts as needed. I would of course need to order some
parts and have them here to be sure I get the system fixed. I could also
setup another onsite service and request a different onsite tech (as I can
only request a different onsite tech.
I can’t guaranty one, but I am pretty sure I could get a different one).
I would normally just send you prepaid shipping labels to shipped the system
to me so I could fix it. I know that is not an option in your case as you
use the system on a daily basis and can’t go without for that length of
time. Please advise how you would like to proceed and then we can figure
out the details.

As for the Max Hard Drive size for the 1210 I have not been able to find a
published size. I would guess it would support any currently shipping
portable SATA Hard Drive. Dell will only support HDD shipped with the
system. Since currently the largest internal hard drive that ships with this
system is 100gb. I have to say the largest supported hard drive is 100gb.

Thank You,

Lester

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message is intended only for the named
recipient(s) above. It may contain information that is confidential and/or
privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified
that any review, dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail and
any attachment(s) is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error,
please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete this e-mail
and any attachment(s) from your system. Thank you

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2006 12:37 PM
To: Nations, Lester
Cc: Dorr, Nancy; ‘Lourez Bullock’
Subject: RE: Continuing the quest

Ok, where are we?

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2006 1:50 PM
To: ‘Lester_Nations@Dell.com’
Cc: ‘Nancy_R_Dorr@Dell.com’; ‘Lourez Bullock’
Subject: Continuing the quest

Lester,

I gather that you’re off helping other customers while you ponder how we
might actually get together. That’s fine. In the meantime, I’m limping along
in low gear as it were. Of course there’s a real performance penalty, but at
least it’s keeping me going until we can find a real answer.

I’m curious, did you check out the maximum hard-drive capacity (not just
what’s offered, but what the BIOS can handle) in the 1210?

Scott

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