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. 23 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.
Besides being Friday the 13th, today has a very special meaning for the truly nerdy. Unix is a computer operating system developed back in 1969. For those of you who remember DOS, that kind of what it looked like. The up-and-coming operating system Linux is based on Unix. The Unix epoch, the time from which it starts to count “up”, was on January 1, 1970. On 2/13/2009 at 6:31:30PM ET the Unix epoch reached the time “1234567890“.
Less than 24 hours later I got a call from their local technician – James. He came to my home that very evening and swapped out my motherboard. 4
Here’s Lionel’s e-mail to me from just after midnight this morning:
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.
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.
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. [↩]
It was a very simple and short e-mail, so it took me forever to write. [↩]
When Dell had lost my prior laptop and replaced it with the XPS m1210 I purchased a warranty extension. I had spent a fair bit of change on that laptop and I was expecting to keep it around a while. However, that extended warranty lapsed a little over a year ago.3 I explained my problem with the bad nVidia video card. He responded telling me that I would be getting a call from someone soon.
Sure enough, less than a day later I received a call from Dell’s corporate customer service program. They told me that as a “gesture of good will” they were going to replace my computer’s motherboard – by sending a technician to me to do the repair.
Replacing a motherboard is so expensive its almost always cheaper to buy a new computer. Offering to repair an out-of-warranty laptop by sending a tech to me to replace the motherboard???
All I can say is WOW.
Two of which were under Paramount Technology’s repair warranty. [↩]
This is a number on a little sticker underneath the laptop. The service tag code is essentially a serial number they use to track your computer when its being repaired or you call for technical support. [↩]
Although, less than a year from when I first started having this problem [↩]
A netbook is a very small laptop designed to extremely mobile and portable. They are optimized for portability and wireless connectivity.
Netbooks typically have a display of 10″ or less. 2 They usually don’t have any CD or DVD drives. 3 They usually have very small solid state drives or mid-sized hard drives. On the plus side, they usually have bluetooth, media card readers, and WiFi. They’re typically between 2 to 3 pounds, depending upon brand and type of battery. They’re also relatively cheap – between $350 to $500.
My requirements may differ from yours. If I were to buy a netbook, I would want:
Minimum 2 USB ports, preferably 3
Minimum 100 GB hard drive
1 GB RAM
WiFi aka 802.11a/b/g, and preferably also 802.11n
Other things people might care about (but I don’t):
Keep in mind, I’ve never used any of these laptops – I’m just evaluating them based on their prices and my own opinions as to their respective brands and specs. Although, I’m enough of a nerd that I put together a spreadsheet to compare those five netbooks as well as about another dozen or so models and submodels. If anyone is interested in seeing the spreadsheet, mention it in the comments below or drop me a line.
Dell has a new netbook too, but it only has solid state drive options – which are too small to be of use to me. 4 However, I’m sure it would be perfect for some people.