Even a Good Comedian Cannot Fix a Comedy of Errors!

Posted on August 22, 2008. Filed under: General, Software | Tags: , , , , , , |

Microsoft hires Jerry Seinfeld to improve the image of Vista!

But know where near as funny or damning as this Apple ad!

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It is not so…

Posted on August 19, 2008. Filed under: Software, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

…easy to understand PC warranty.

If you own a computer with any Microsoft product pre-installed on it usually you are recommended to go to the OEM for support on the Microsoft product. It even says so here:

If your Microsoft product was installed on your computer when you purchased it, the computer manufacturer is your primary source of technical support.

In the case of Vista this is patently NOT the case. The moment you mention Vista to a Dell tech support technician they won’t support you unless you are willing to pay an incident fee. If not they direct you to call Microsoft. Support for Vista Service Pack 1 is currently free (and was very good and thorough) but there is a disconnect between what Microsoft says and Dell:

Dell’s┬álimited hardware warranty does not cover:

  • Software, including the operating system and software added to the Dell-branded hardware products through our factory-integration system, third-party software, or the reloading of software

This issue hi-lights one of my pet peeves with the PC industry. Just who is responsible for software support? As far as I am concerned if a PC manufacturer REQUIRES an OEM licensed copy of the operating system to be installed in the computer you own then they have a responsibility to support it. The brand recognition is a Dell computer with Vista…not it is Vista on a Dell computer.

The end-user’s perception does not seperate the two entities and nor should it. But, if you call Dell and do not purchase additional support services they will only address what THEY determine to be hardware issues. If it is a Vista issue you get directed to their software support group and that support is fee based.

Luckily Vista Service Pack 1 issues are currently covered at no cost by Microsoft.

Remember though, there is an interaction between the hardware a computer manufacturer provides and operating system. If a manufacturer delineates a clear separation of these two areas of support there may be a tendancy for the manufacturer to “blame” the operating system and direct issues that clearly are related to the interaction of the two systems that make your computer work. Most end-users cannot delineate what and where the problem lies. They count of the manufacturer’s tech support to tell them and this knowledge could be leveraged by support to direct the client to other support options that may not be appropriate.

I have seen this before. In the days of DOS WordPerfect there were several technical problems related to printing and WordPerfect tech support would ALWAYS blame hardware when, in fact, it was the interaction of their program with video and printer drivers.

A good hardware and software vendor knows this and works with ALL parties involved to solve the end-user’s problem. The bad ones generally pass you off to another resource. After those resources are exhausted then they may help.

See this issue in context of Vista and Nvidia…

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Vista Versus XP Restore Points

Posted on August 14, 2008. Filed under: Software | Tags: , , , , |

One of the tools to recover from a software problem is Vista’s Restore Point utility.

I had cause to do a restore using it recently and was SHOCKED to see only 5 restore points. With Windows XP you on my main computer I can see back 2 weeks. The number of restore points is dependant on the disk space you reserve for it. It would stand to reason that the restore points for Vista are bigger but in some cases you may want to go back more than 5 (or whatever number of days) to do a restore.

This problem is further excacerbated by the fact that any software install or update, likes a service pack, necessitates the creation of a restore point which could mean that if a service pack fails 2 or 3 times your restore point is now only 2 or 3 days old.

So, Restore Points, if not properly configured, can cause problems because it may take several days before a computer user realizes the need to do a restore.

For reference you can download the Vista SP1 Service Pack here.

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Customer Service Revealed

Posted on July 18, 2008. Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I have always had a strong customer service orientation. I have worked many extra long hours to do what is best for my clients and I have done a lot of it above and beyond the call of duty. (more…)

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You never know when…

Posted on May 20, 2008. Filed under: Consulting, Hardware, Software | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

…your computer may fail.

I had the privilege of having a client that was interested in best practices and I created a document for his use and today I got the call…the call that I am sure my clients dread to make.

‘My computer was making a funny noise and when I went to boot it up today nothing happened.’

The good news:

  • My client was backing up his valuable data regularly.
  • He has a laptop to fall back on.
  • We can get him running much sooner and with less hassle because he did what ALL users should do. Back up their data at the very least and their operating system if practicable.

If we had implemented the use of a Sandisk Cruzer USB drive he would be golden. But we had planned to do that in the near future but fate reared its ugly head and struck at an inopportune time. But with planning it is not as inopportune as it could have been.

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