Sunday, October 19, 2003

Old meat, too much heat, and a TiVo treat

I went shopping today. Ordinarily that's not a big deal, but when it was time to put my frozen stuff in the freezer, I found I was running out of space. So I had to get rid of some stuff. Rule of thumb: if it's been in there for a year or more, or if you can't tell what it is (was), throw it out. I'm not going to say how long those spare ribs had been in there.

I got my laptop back on Friday. It's a Dell Smartstep 200N, and I got it last summer right before I left for Australia. They don't make that particular model any more. It only took a month to get fixed, slightly longer than the 3-5 working days I was told when I sent it in. With just a couple days left on my warranty, I called in a service request to complain that the laptop was overheating and shutting down. It had been doing that pretty much as long as I owned it and it wasn't getting better on its own, so it was time to send it in for free repairs. As the weeks went on, I called a couple times a week and couldn't get through to anyone who knew how to talk to me about the problem (including people in India and the Philippines) - misrouted calls, people who said they could see my info on the screen but they couldn't talk to me about it because it wasn't their department, etc. Over the month I must have talked to a hundred different people. The worst was when I'd call the service department, who said "no, that's sales", and then the sales department would say "no, that's tech support", and then the tech support department would say "no, that's the service department." Irritated the fuck out of me. Several times I got the "we're waiting on parts" spiel - only to find out that the parts were a CPU fan and a heat sink. The repair depot in Kentucky didn't have any and I had to wait a fucking month for a damn CPU fan and heat sink, which I could have gotten and installed myself in a couple hours. Someone at Dell customer service is going to get a nastygram this week.

But yay for my laptop anyway. Now I can watch TV (via my TiVo) from my kitchen table or living room and do my daily surfing at the same time. In the last month my TiVo filled up since I lost an hour or two a day of watching time while I had to go upstairs to the computer. Maybe now I can get back on track. Fortunately some of the shows will be in reruns in the next couple weeks against the World Series, and I have to have room for Sweeps in November. At least my new TiVo (my second) has lots of room - now I can record four things at once and have Season Passes on two machines. I got it a couple weeks ago when Circuit City had a $99 sale with a $50 rebate.

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