Tina K. Russell

November 6, 2008

Don’t buy from Gateway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 6:12 pm

I sent in my beloved tablet computer back to its manufacturer, Gateway, on Monday, October 20th. I had no other choice; even though I depend on my computer, I take notes on it, I use it to make art, I keep track of my life on it, I use it to read, I use it to write, and so on, it was falling apart. The computer I bought from them, the Gateway C-140X, had a wonderful feature set, but its build quality was terrible. In the end, after less than a year of usage, it had accumulated these problems, all through normal use:

  1. The rubber feet had all fallen off
  2. The magnetic latch would not close
  3. One of only two USB ports had come apart
  4. A dead pixel had appeared on the monitor, or possibly a speck under the glass (somehow)
  5. The fan sometimes made a horrendous grinding sound
  6. The plastic swivel hinge had broken, meaning the monitor half could not stand up on its own in laptop mode
  7. In a month, the battery life had adorably plummeted from more than two hours to less than half an hour
  8. In a grand finale, the laptop had begun having the problem I like to call “proper alignment of the planets,” where charging the machine becomes harder and harder until it finally will not charge at all. In these cases, the machine must be repaired as soon as possible or the motherboard will be permanently damaged.

I delineated each and every problem to Gateway tech support over the phone; in fact, I called the following day and asked them to read the list back to me to make sure they had everything. (They did. Actually, I think they may have missed the dead pixel, but they assured me that they would check the machine top to bottom and fix any problem that appears.) You’d think that with eight individual problems, they would have no trouble finding things to fix; all you’d have to do is attempt to put it in tablet mode, or attempt to close the lid, or, for that matter, attempt to plug the machine in or turn it on, and you’d find problems to fix right there. And, with two weeks to work on it—I sent it in via three-day air, so they’ve had from Thursday two weeks ago to today—you’d think they’d be able to get it back to me in tip-top shape, or at least send me a refurbished unit while they fix mine up for somebody else.

Today, not having seen my beloved tablet for two and a half weeks, I called Gateway to find out what happened to it. They let me know right away: just today, they’ve sent it back to me. It should arrive on Monday. What’s more, he told me, they couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

They’re sending it back unrepaired.

Never mind the fact that I delineated each and every problem to them over the phone and made double-sure they had it all. Never mind the fact that it had so many problems, there’s no possible way you wouldn’t be able to find one. What really burns my pancakes is that they took two weeks not to find anything wrong with it. Apparently, blithely ignoring blatant, crippling problems takes time.

When I get my computer back Monday, I’ll try it out. If it, miraculously, works—if that fellow was wrong—and all eight of those problems have been fixed, I will made an addendum to this post and perhaps even revise the title. If it does not, I will ask for a new computer; I’m not sending mine back until I have a working one in my hands.

For now, I will advise you this: do not buy from Gateway.

June 24, 2008

On liberation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 8:47 pm

Q and A – Testing Linux With a Live CD – Question – NYTimes.com
Q. I am interested in putting Linux on an old computer, but not sure whether it is easy enough to use yet. I have heard you can test it without installing it. How?

A. You can give the Linux operating system a workout without actually installing it on your hard drive by running the system from what’s called a Live CD. With a Live CD, the computer boots from the CD drive instead of its own hard drive and runs the system from there.

Since you are new to Linux, you might want to try Ubuntu Linux (www.ubuntu.com), which has a familiar graphical user interface and a large amount of helpful documentation written by other users at help.ubuntu.com/community. The Ubuntu download is about 700 megabytes, so a broadband connection is helpful too, unless you sign up to have the site mail a free CD to you.

Linux is fun and free! Try it today! This is a good guide to trying it out before you make the big install. I’m sure you’ll find it to be worth it.

April 13, 2008

A better option

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Tina Russell @ 1:44 pm

Protecting Our Privacy Online – New York Times

The last time I checked, it was illegal to invade my privacy by tapping my telephone, or for that matter, to jam communication lines. This is exactly what is happening when my Internet communications are monitored, or someone jams an unwanted message or virus into my computer.

Why aren’t these activities treated as crimes? Furthermore, why do we tolerate software on our computers that allows this sort of thing to happen?

The next mega-billionaire will be the person who invents a computer operating system that is immune to these kinds of intrusions and gives control back to the user.

Ron Sheppe
Rochester, N.H., April 5, 2008

I heartily recommend an operating system that is immune to these kinds of intrusions and gives control back to the user. Enjoy!

(Yeah, I shouldn’t be so snarky. I’m just a little annoyed that there are so many users who would like to know of alternatives to Windows and do not because there’s too little reporting on the subject. Tell your friends! Ubuntu and Linux are great!)

(And it’s funny: Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, was already a mega-billionaire when he started.)

(So, please! Try Ubuntu! It’s much fun!)

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