Sep
09
2010
0

One Bad Mother – shut your mouth!

Youd have to know the theme song to really get it...

You'd have to know the theme song to really get it...

You’ll understand the title in just a moment…

For the last few months my laptop has been in bad shape.  Such bad shape I’ve been using a backup laptop. [1]  Something on my laptop’s motherboard went bad and killed the battery. [2][3]  I could still use it – but I had to keep it plugged in all the time.  If I needed to move it, I had to shut it down all the way, move it, then boot it up – since it had no battery life at all.

Well, Dell’s kick ass incredible customer service took care of me – once again.  I can’t thank these guys enough for going above and beyond.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my next laptop is going to be a Dell. Thanks to Lionel my laptop is sporting a totally brand-spanking new motherboard and power cord.  I’ve also just slapped in a totally new battery as well.

Anyhow, I’m beyond happy. [4]

  1. Trust me, the back up laptop is nothing to brag about. []
  2. You see, the motherboard – it went bad.  It was one bad mother…  Oh, forget it. []
  3. The photo does not belong to me and is probably the property of MGM. []
  4. Yes, yes, I’m a nerd – whatever. []
Feb
13
2009
0

400 Registered Users!

1955 Packard 400

1955 Packard 400

February has been a wacky month.  And, on Friday February 13th the 400th user registered for this website. [1] Since the 300th registered user, quite a lot has happened:

  1. Photo courtesy of atxbill []
  2. Trust me, its easier than it sounds… []
  3. I have several more of these planned []
Jan
09
2009
4

Dell Customer Service!!!

Dell

Dell Customer Service!!!

Dell’s customer service has been my single greatest customer service experience with any product, ever.

Let me break it down for you:

Here’s Lionel’s e-mail to me from just after midnight this morning:

“Jay:Lionel Menchaca, Chief Dell Blogger

That’s great news. I’m really glad to see it all worked out smoothly. I appreciate you being a loyal Dell customer. Feel free to tell any other Dell customers how to contact me directly if they need some assistance.

It’s customer’s like you that make this the best job I’ve ever had.

Sincerely,

Lionel Menchaca

Chief Blogger, Dell Inc.

www.dell.com/blogs

e-mail: lionel_menchaca@dell.com

Twitter: twitter.com/LionelatDell

phone: 512.728.8685″

If you’ve got an issue with your Dell, get a hold of Lionel directly.  He’s an incredible guy working for an incredible company.  Lionel and Dell took care of me.  This Dell XPS m1210 is my third Dell laptop, and my next computer will absolutely be a Dell too.

  1. It died within 1 year after my warranty expired, but by the time I talked to Dell it was more than a year out of warranty. []
  2. It was a very simple and short e-mail, so it took me forever to write. []
  3. The only way to fix a bad integrated graphics card. []
  4. Rock on completely, with some brand new components!” – CAKE []
Jan
06
2009
3

How to Buy a New Computer: Part I: Balancing Want and Need

Broken Laptop

Old Laptop

Out With The Old…

Unfortunately, its that time again.  When my laptop died for the first time I got it repaired.  When it died again, it had the good manners to at least do so within the repair warranty.

My trusty sidekick died for the third and final time on December 31, 2008.[1]

…And In With The New!

Now its time to get a new laptop.  I’m reluctant to buy another Dell.  Dell installed nVidia graphics chips on the motherboard.  Those nVidia chips have  a critical flaw in that they overheat and pull away from the motherboard.  Sound familiar?  Well, this was the exact problem I was having with my laptop.  Apparently this problem has spawned a lawsuit against nVidia.

New Laptop

New Laptop

I’m undecided what kind of laptop I want/need.  A netbook?  A basic laptop?  A high-end laptop?[2]

Figure out what you need, then figure out what you want

Needs

Its all about what you want and what you need.  I need a laptop that will let me program, surf the web, listen to music, and send e-mail.  This accounts for roughly 98% of my computer usage.

The last 2% of computer usage is comprised of processor intensive activities such as watching DVD’s, video games, video editing, DVD and CD burning, and manipulating large amounts of programming code.  For instance, the WCAB legacy number to EAMS number converter involved more than 4.6 million lines of code. [3] My previous laptop struggled with that one. I probably only do these things once every six months or so.

For what I need, a netbook would actually work very well for me.

Wants

As any computer user knows, its very frustrating to have a computer that will not do what you want or takes to long to do it.  My wants are a super slim, light-weight, battery efficient, computer that has the processing power to deal with large amounts of data and the ability to burn DVD’s and CD’s.

A netbook fulfills the wants of a slim, light-weight, and battery efficient computer.  A basic laptop would suffice for the processing power and CD/DVD burning capabilities.

Having it all

When it comes to laptops, sometimes you can have it all – it just depends how you’re going to compromise.

  • If money were no object, this would be a no-brainer: buy a high-end light and powerful laptop.  These cost $1500 and start climbing steeply after that.
  • The other compromise is not so intuitive.  A very decent external CD/DVD burner combo drive would probably only cost $75 or so.  If I’m only burning discs 2% of the time, this is a very reasonable solution.  The bigger problem is the underpowered processors in netbooks.  They simply do not have the ability to play new games, handle large amounts of data, or deal with too many simultaneous tasks.  The only possible work around here is where you use your underpowered laptop to remotely control a more powerful computer and use that more powerful computer to crunch numbers.[4] However, this won’t help with video games.  ;)

Decision Time

What am I going to get?  I’m going to run down the pro’s and con’s of netbooks, basic laptops, and high-end laptops next time.  Stay tuned!

  1. Photo courtesy of Just Us 3 []
  2. Photo courtesy of Ciccio Pizzettaro []
  3. Seriously.  4.6 million. []
  4. Scroll down to the part about TightVNC. []
Nov
10
2008
2

Laptop Woes – Part Deux

Technical Difficulties

Technical Difficulties

A little over a month ago my laptop died.  I took it to a shop in Contra Costa County named, “Paramount Technologies” who were able to fix up my laptop in record time. [1]  Apparently, the problem was the video chip which had loosened from the motherboard over time (probably through overuse).

Friday evening my laptop died all over again.  At least it was peaceful.  I put my laptop to sleep and it didn’t wake up again.

Its still under a repair warranty from Paramount Technologies, so I’ll take it back to them.  It has the same symptoms, so I hope its the same problem.  Even if it weren’t under warranty, my formula for determining whether I should invest in repairing or buying a new computer still dictates that I should probably repair.

No matter.  Be of good cheer: these troubles will have absolutely no effect on this website.  :)

  1. Estimate: 3 days.  Repair time: 3 hours.  Now, that’s what I call service. []

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