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Computers and Dell

For nearly 25 years, I have been buying computers. I have been trying to buy the high-end computer so that I can use it for 18 – 24 months because I become frustrated with its being slow and I have to buy another one. If you are trying to get the almost-latest technology you have to spend about three grand. It has been this way since the mid-’90s. Computers have changed. Programs have changed but the price points haven’t. And that brings me to my latest pet peeve.

dell xps 18

I was wandering around one of those computer stores and I saw the Dell XPS 18. Now, most of the computers in these large stores are overpriced low-end computers. I liked the design of this Dell XPS 18. I liked the size. i was thinking about buying it. It looked like something that you could keep in the family room. You could do some work on it or play on it while you were watching TV or listening to music. Cool. I was kinda thrown by the price. $900. This is nothing more than a big tablet and Dell wanted significantly more money, but it seemed to be a real computer. It runs Windows 8. But I looked again and saw the Intel i3 processor. What the heck? That’s Intel’s slowest processor. You really can’t do work. If you have Outlook and three or four email addresses tied to it, the i3 processor would grind to a halt. Sure, you could surf the internet, but don’t have too many windows open with 4 GB of memory. So, if you upgrade the processor and the RAM Dell is asking for $1500!

Sigh. (I didn’t buy the XPS 18.)

Oh, and if you are looking for after Christmas sales, you are out of luck. I haven’t seen any from HP/Dell or Apple.

By |2013-12-28T12:08:53-04:00December 28th, 2013|General|2 Comments

News Roundup – Leaks, Edward Snowden, Jobs (Update – Chad goes to jail)

Edward Snowden

Leaks and who gets to leak – Snowden and many others have now said that these leaks are important and justified because the public needs to decide whether this is being done in their name. Basically I disagree with that (the justification for the leak). But it does raise a basic point that it is inherently difficult for the public to make fully informed decisions about intelligence work done in its name. Yet, who gets to do this? Snowden says it’s up to the public. But it’s really more like Snowden and Greenwald have made that decision on the public’s behalf.

Edward Snowden is the source – The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said. (more…)

By |2013-06-12T22:11:59-04:00June 10th, 2013|National Intelligence, Sports|4 Comments

Why I have trouble with Big Business

(play that nostalgic American music, softly)

I have no trouble with anyone who wants to make money. As a matter fact, I kind of like having money. Yet, if you’re a business, there should be a balance between making money and customer satisfaction. Currently, the balance is out of whack. From time to time, on this blog, I have talked about the fact that customer service is dead. It isn’t any one company, it’s almost everyone. In the mid-1990s, I switched from Gateway computers to Dell because of service. Once Dell gained market share, customer service became an afterthought. I’ve had problems with AT&T, GMAC, American Express and probably a few others.

Hey, let’s be honest. The calculations have already been done. If we scale back our customer service and ship our call centers to India, how many customers will we lose and tick off? Do we make more money compared to the amount of money we lose for ticking off customers? This is the big business calculus. Big Business is saying that it is okay to piss off some number of customers. That’s okay because they’ll will make more money in the long run.

The following is a tale that I’m sure you and I have lived through way too often.

From WaPo:

This column was written entirely while on hold with eBay customer service.

John: My name is John. What is the nature of your problem?

Me: The nature of my problem is that I’ve been on hold for one hour and 11 minutes, listening to staticky Beethoven. Every 30 seconds a woman’s voice has told me the call was important to her and then a man’s voice has told me that someone will be with me “in just a moment.” So eBay has been serially lying to me four times a minute for a total of 284 lies. It was in the middle of the 285th lie when you picked up and told me your name was John, which I am thinking, from your voice, is a 286th lie.

John: My name is really John.

Me: Where are you, John?

John: San Jose.

Me: I don’t think so.

John: We are located in San Jose.

Me: You are not. Admit it.

John: Okay. We are an offshore center. Calls are routed through San Jose.

Me: Two hundred eighty-six!

John: How may I help you?

Me: You can admit your name is not John.

John: My name is John.

Me: It is not. Is it? Is it?


Me: Two hundred eighty-seven!

John: What is the nature of your problem?

Me: My original problem now seems so trivial, compared with the length of my wait that it no longer matters to me. If that is eBay’s business plan, it is brilliant! But now I’m just so angry, I am going be totally unhinged. I am going to ask you, for the record, if eBay embraces the Big Lie as an homage to Joseph Goebbels, or is your policy just similar to, but independent of, actual Nazi ideology?

“John”: We’ve been trying to accommodate members as fast as we can. …

Me: By subjecting your customers to this sort of wait, is eBay actually trying to exasperate people into cerebrovascular accidents, otherwise known as strokes?


Me: Okay, I will now tell you my little problem. (I do.)

“John”: Let me look into this.

Me: Whatever you do, don’t put me on … (Seventeen minutes of staticky Beethoven, and 67 more lies.) (more…)

By |2010-11-20T07:00:46-04:00November 20th, 2010|Business|Comments Off on Why I have trouble with Big Business
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