Monthly Archives: March 2007

HP Customer No Service

After waiting on the sidelines and salivating over the beautiful Dell my colleague bought, I finally convinced my approver to grant me permission to buy a new laptop. My current Compaq is not Vista compatible and I want Vista.

Once I got the approval, I wasted no time in ordering one and I chose HP based on the current pleasant experience owning a Compaq. I configured an awesome machine with all the bells and whistles (Windows Vista Ultimate, Core 2 Duo 2 Ghz/4MB L2 Cache, 2GB RAM, 120GB hard drive, TV tuner, 512MB Video card, extra power 8 cell battery) and hit the “Confirm Order” button. Off went the request and somewhere in China, the laptop was being assembled. After waiting agonizingly for almost 2 weeks, I got the email confirming the shipment. Oh boy. I could not wait. I tracked the order to no end and fantastic FedEx brought the laptop all the way from Shanghai, China to Atlanta GA, USA in just 2 days. Oh boy. Oh boy.

I gingerly opened and put the beautiful piece of machine on the table. Looking at it gave me goose bumps. Booted it up, created a user account and checked the disk space. 89GB free. What?? My first thought was – oh they gave me a 100GB drive instead of the promised 120GB. Nope. Disk capacity is 120GB. Then I noticed the 2 10GB partitions for all the HP system recovery junk. I don’t want that. Let me reinstall the OS. I want to control what goes on here. Looked around for the Windows Vista Ultimate DVD. Could not find it. My old Compaq came with the Windows XP Prof CD. No Vista DVD here.

The fun begins.

Called HP support and was connected to someone in Bombay (I am not calling it Mumbai, Bombay sounds nice and that’s what I’ll call it). Asked for the DVD. After explaining the issue they promised to send me the DVD and transferred me to technical support. This call went to Madras (Chennai). And they flat out refused to send me the DVD. No. cant do it. You got to buy it from HP. After getting no where for 15 minutes I ended the call.

Called the sales again and this time I told them I want to return the laptop. They asked me why and I told them no Windows Vista Ultimate DVD, no laptop. Give me the DVD or take the laptop back. They said I didn’t have to return the laptop. They will send me the DVD and transferred me to technical support again. Deja Vu. 30 minutes wasted and got no where. This guy could not even spell my name. You are from India for crying out loud and mine is a very common name. They just would not give me the DVD.

Called again, got to sales and I flat out told them I am really angry and I want to return the laptop. Once again I was promised the DVD. I am not falling for that. They put me on hold, talked to the “supervisor” and said they could give me a $50/- credit for not returning the laptop. I said, no DVD, no laptop. They tried to sell me a printer, accidental damage coverage and what not. Just give me the DVD. Will you? No can do. So I said, I don’t care for your laptop anymore. I am returning it. My dream machine is going back.

No wonder folks in the US are frustrated. The outsourced support just goes by a script. They have no powers. Cannot solve the problem. They just offer the canned solutions and hope it works. Contrast that with the support here in the US. I talked to Sprint with an issue and I was offered all kinds of agreeable solutions. People can make decisions. I was contacted by a business manager and in the end my problem was resolved.

I just cant believe that HP is willing to eat the shipping and telephone call costs, but wont give me a DVD with a licensed software that I am entitled to. They could have solved this problem in 5 minutes. You need the DVD. Bam here you go. We will FedEx to you in 2 days.

Thanks HP, but no thanks.


Learning the English Language

Last week, my wife and I went to the Crabapple Montessori school in Alpharetta, GA, to check it out, so we don't feel guilty about shooing our 3 year old out of the house when we work. The director walked us through the school explaining things about the school and its teaching methodologies. And then, she pointed out something called sandpaper letters. These are square plates with shapes of the alphabets in cursive created using sand, glued to the plates. 

Now, English is a funny language. Unlike my native language, Kannada, which is a derivation or sub-classing of Sanskrit, a symbol, say "A" in English represents more than one sound. The director explained that teachers do not introduce the alphabets using their formal vocalization, but by the various sounds they represent. That’s when it hit me. This is why people whose first language is not English, especially those coming from the Indian sub-continent, the real Indians, have a hard time learning English. We (Indians), can learn our native language pretty quickly, but English is always a challenge. We have been taught incorrectly. We know our ABCs but don’t know the intricacies. Now, on top of that, we have been taught by someone whose first language is not English.

Just remember not to laugh the next time you hear a "funny" accent.

Truly Smashing

If you are a web developer, you owe it to yourself to check out SmashingMagazine.

What you will find is a collection of all things web. I was looking for a particular font, the one used on Jajah, for a web project I am working on, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I don’t know how, but I landed on SmashingMagazine, and while browsing the comments on one of the articles on free web fonts hit paydirt. Another article helped me land a beautiful CSS based design.