Friday, December 11, 2009

Michael Dell is the second richest man in America?

Or so I read somewhere. This happened, I believe, because his company made really good computers back in the day. Now, not so much.

My latest, purchased just a bit over a year ago, has some kind of problem with sound. Dell, of course, gives no customer service. You bought it, you took it out of the box, you're on your own.

The first time it ceased to produce sound, I took the speakers back to Best Buy. They tested them and declared them good. Dell, of course, was silent on the subject--as silent as my computer. But I did manage to find a bit of advice online somewhere: just restore the computer to an earlier point. I did, and the computer spoke again.

Lately, I have had to restore it on an average of every two weeks. But there is a new problem. I bought a new camera and tried to download the software. The CD drive doesn't work. I went to the Dell website and tried to download new drivers for it, but no success.

The damn computer is not two years old yet, so I don't want to replace it. It's too expensive to discard, but it costs too much to fix it. Mr Charm's new computer, on the other hand, is inaccessible because a password and username are needed to access it, and he has forgotten them, understandably, as he has been hospitalized or rehabbed for six months.

My family has had about eight Dell computers in the last 5-7 years. Small beer for some, I know, but for us, impressive. Now I am going to switch to HP for my computer needs, because they have good customer support. For now.

The situation reminds me of what happened to domestic cars a couple of decades ago. American auto companies got complacent and decided they could fob off any old thing on the public. They had a rude surprise when people started buying Japanese cars.

I sense a niche market here, for an idiot-proof computer. Surely there are more idiots like me around than there are techies?


Anonymous said...

This post couldn't be more timely.

I need to buy a new computer, and was considering Dell or HP. The problem is, nobody can answer a simple question: what model within limited budget should I buy if I need to work on 4 graphic programs (that take a lot of operational memory), often simultaneously? I immediately get responses full of numbers, various "cards", "gigs" and such. But nobody can give me a guarantee that certain model computer will not stall after every command or freeze when I'm in the middle of one. The usual answer I get is " yeah, this one should work for your purposes".

But I'm not inclined throwing a grand on the strength of such vague promise!

miriam said...

That's a lot of money. I found any information I got about Dell from their support groups. That's how I learned that "restore" would fix my speakers--temporarily.

All I know is that HP tech support have gone to great lengths to help me with printers, but I don't know about their computer support.

I am quite disappointed that my electronic purchases are so shoddy.

Joe said...

Have you considered a MAC?

miriam said...

I have considered it, and used Macs owned by relatives. Some of the things I want to do do not support Mac.