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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-07-2006, 07:52 AM   #81
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Sometimes when you tell them the password, it is wrong because your call center support staff in India translates it incorrectly. Make sure you transfer Dell to your "call center" (Gabe slobbering and yelling into the phone). Then hang up on them.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 04:25 PM   #82
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Well I had a brief flirtation with an Averatec machine from Sams Club. The 12" 3700 for $799.

Specs looked great with an 80gb hard drive, 512MB ram, a dvd burner, lots of ports and 4lbs. And an AMD chip, but I kept a glass of water handy at all times just in case. Not bad specs for under $800.

It was way too small for me to use, although it was sort of fun to carry it around in one hand like a deck of cards. I ended up getting an old repetitive strain thing in my right hand start to come back from half my hands hanging off the edge of the thing while I typed.

While they did a nice job on some parts, going with a toshiba hard drive and an NEC dvd burner, they used some el cheapo touchpad and wireless chip from companies i'd never heard of. The touchpad company appeared to be out of business. No new drivers since 2004.

Touchpad would work with some apps and not others, the wireless chip kept losing the wireless connection and taking 3-5 minutes to reacquire it, the keyboard froze a couple of times requiring a cold boot, and the keypad layout wasnt too friendly...needed to hit a <FN> key to access page up and page down. A really weird thing was that it hooked up to my wireless router no problem, it never appeared on the routers wireless access list. Never had a problem like that with another wireless card before. So I couldnt restrict access on the wireless end as I couldnt actually see it and select it.

You'd have thought little things like wireless 802.11 compatibility would have been worked out by now.

When I took it back, the guy from the electronics department who came up to the returns desk to "check" it (ie, see if I had stolen anything out of the box) said they get a lot of returns on the unit, the problems are not specific to the one I bought.

So Averatec seems to be out as a provider.

At this point I'm stumped. Anything I like costs more than I want to pay, and anything in the price range I want to pay is a piece of crap or full of compromises.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 05:03 PM   #83
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Maybe you should try Dell. Great prices, and their customer service isn't too bad, so I've heard.


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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:13 PM   #84
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

<emoticon for vomiting>

They owe me ~ 3 days of my time. When they pay up, I'll consider being a customer.

Anyhow, I emailed averatec regarding the touchpad problem. There were a bazillion postings all over the internet about the problems with their touchpads, primary problem being the driver is hardwired to work with just a few apps and not others.

Of course, the company is blissfully unaware of the systemic problem with their products and suggested I reload the system to its factory state after reloading the (bogus) drivers, after which they would RMA the system for repair or replacement.

:P
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:25 PM   #85
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Did I mention that I love Dell? There are just a few rules to follow when dealing with them:

1) Never pay more than 50% of their list price.

2) Never deal with their CS except to finagle concession coupons out of them and return stuff.

3) Never deal with their tech support except to ask them to send you parts so you can fix it yourself.

Have you been following the Lenovo thread on FW? I think there still might be some deals to be had.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:27 PM   #86
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

I just picked up a Compaq 2000V from Costco for $899. It's got a HOT AMD chip (Turion ML32), 512MB memory, DVD R/W dual sided, 80GB HD (probably 4200), IEEE-1394, a small 6cell battery, ATI shared memory graphics (works fine for online Bridge), and a nice 14" widescreen display. At first I was planning on a 15'4 widescreen, but after visting the store I came to realize that they are way too big (the lappie is for mom). Nice thing about Costco is that she can return it for any reason for up to 6 months. She is very happy with it. I've only had remote access (not physical access) so I can't say much of the specific components. It did come w/ a lot of bloatware which I'll be removing.

I was going to consider a Dell when my trusty old Inspiron zapped both batteries simultaneously, not it it'll only run on AC!
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:28 PM   #87
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

I'm tempted to buy a replacement battery for my 600X and another 128MB stick and call it even.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:35 PM   #88
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Wab -which lenovo thread...everything I see thats active is well over a grand.

I've decided to bag replacing the desktop and the notebook with one machine. Anything that'd actually do the job is $1500+ and I have no doubt in my mind that sometime in the next 12 months Gabe is going to grab it by the power cord and yank it off the counter...
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:43 PM   #89
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Cute Fuzzy Bunny)
Wab -which lenovo thread...everything I see thats active is well over a grand.
This one has some good deals in it (goes from dead to undead often):

FW Lenovo

Quote:
I've decided to bag replacing the desktop and the notebook with one machine.* Anything that'd actually do the job is $1500+ and I have no doubt in my mind that sometime in the next 12 months Gabe is going to grab it by the power cord and yank it off the counter...
I found that we can get a cheap rider on our homeowner's policy to cover the kid destroying computers.* *It was much cheaper than Dell's Complete Care.* *I think $1 per $100 value per year.

I'll put one more good word in for the 9400 as a DTR, and then I'll shutup.* * *I think there's a $650-off coupon right now, which makes it a not-terrible deal (but nothing that would entice a dealmeister like me).
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 06:53 PM   #90
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Dell wont ever get a dollar from me. Anyone who sells me something and delivers something lesser and then tells me to suck it when I ask them to honor the deal is done for life. Period.

I didnt see anything in that lenovo thread...its a student purchase for ohio state university and the cheapest system is 600-ish with a celeron, 256MB, 40GB and a cd-rw. Not bad for a stinkpad but thats a lot of dough for a limited system. And I dont wanna go back to school!
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 07:57 PM   #91
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Maybe you should try Dell. Great prices, and their customer service isn't too bad, so I've heard.
(forgot to tag it with <this is sarcasm> )!
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-08-2006, 08:16 PM   #92
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Dangnabit Justin!
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-09-2006, 02:55 AM   #93
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Quote:
Maybe you should try Dell.* Great prices, and their customer service isn't too bad, so I've heard.
Justin, you are wicked.

Bun, I want you to sincerely calculate the time you are spending on all these great "bargains".

I expect you are having fun buying, unwrapping, and fiddling (see! I knew you were a born fiddler!), but I kinda don't get what the point is of saying: I want X, Y, and Z specs... but I only wanna pay $900.. but there are parts of these that are cheesy and don't work well, and their CS sux!!!*

I'm rethinking my offer to pay you as a hw consultant for my computer purchase in 2017; you've already put way more than $900 worth into this debacle beyond your initial research, I dare say. You know what my advice is: a lightweight model to pretty much just do mobile surfing with.
$999 (4.9 pounds) and $1299 (5.9 pounds)

And, no.. I don't even own their stock (more's the pity!!).

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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-09-2006, 10:44 AM   #94
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

You see, I've been trying to avoid overpriced, underperforming systems that you spend an extra $300 for the 'cachet'...so you arent helping at all!

My time has no specific value, so nothing lost...

I've locked onto a clearance toshiba...unfortunately its from one of the "office supply" stores that doesnt give refunds on notebook purchases; just same item exchange if defective for 14 days, then you get warranty.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-09-2006, 03:43 PM   #95
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

I think we have a winner. Well, we definitely have a winner as I cant take it back...

Office Depot is clearancing the Toshiba M55-S3292, $799 after $50 rebate.

Pentium-M 1.6Ghz
512MB RAM
60GB 5400rpm hard drive
Dual layer DVD burner
6 cell lion battery
sd card slot
wireless b/g built in
14" 1280x768 wide screen
~5 lbs

Anything I found that was cheaper had a celeron or simpron, less memory, a smaller hard drive, no dvd burner (or no dvd at all), a 4 cell battery (good for about an hour), or a 4200 rpm drive. The 1.6GHz P-M is roughly the same performer as the 2.4GHz pentium 4 in my old desktop, and a lot faster than my old laptop.

I had to go up and over a grand to get anything really functionally "better" for my needs.

Its neither too big nor too small. Good feel on the keyboard. Nice screen.

Touchpad is a little too small but usable, and the case has a little more 'flex' in it than I really like.

I think these are sold out online, but my store had about 6 of them left. These were selling for over a grand not more than a couple of months ago.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-09-2006, 09:55 PM   #96
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Yep, its a keeper. A bit of a warm spot on the bottom near the memory sticks, and a bit of a warm spot on top near my right wrist, but that feels kinda nice. I think they made the case a little too "slim" and needed a little more ventilation space. Far from a biggie though.

Good buy for anyone who wants good power, good memory, good disk, a dvd burner, and plenty of ports...for under $800.

Also...

30 Reasons why PC's are better than Mac's

The above is a link, but you have to 'right click' on it to see it.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-09-2006, 10:22 PM   #97
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

So, when are you going to call Toshiba support about something? Just make something up. We need the 360 view.

Support is always the weakest link. IBM used to do a pretty good job.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-10-2006, 08:08 AM   #98
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

Well so far I havent needed to call them for anything. I noted they dont list an email address, although email support on anything seems to be worthless. They have a one-step process: whatever it is, tell you to call the 800# because it cant be answered on email. Then go eat another donut.

The only thing that was squirrely on this machine was the buttload of crapware installed. I spent a couple of hours scraping it out and I still have about 12 tray icons, half of which I dont think I need.

The "free AOL" was interesting. Machine came with 6 free months. I could run the program. I could see it in 'remove programs'. But when I told it to remove it would say there were no installed versions of aol on this computer. Pretty tricky, those AOL guys...

Hmm...almost a support call there, but I downloaded the newest, latest version of aol, which removes any old versions as its first step, then I whacked 'cancel' about a hundred times until it stopped, removed the intermediate files, and the aol crapware was gone.

During the few minutes I spent, I noted a 30 day, 50 day, 60 day, 90 day and my installed 6 months free offers between the aol web site and the software itself. :

Thats one thing I can say about the Averatec that was positive. No crapware at all.

Took another pass at finding anything like this machine; best I could come up with was a Dell XPS 140 that would have been about $150 extra out the door.

Only thing about this one thats taking some getting used to is the keyboard layout. Almost reminds me of one of the old IBM desktop layouts. Page up/down/home/end in a row top to bottom on the right side of the keyboard, delete and insert down on the bottom right between the space bar and the alt key. Takes a little getting used to.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-10-2006, 09:30 AM   #99
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

I am VERY impressed with the wireless in this laptop. Its using an Intel 2200BG chip, which is very good, but they must have done something at least a LITTLE bit exotic in the antenna department. We have a local wireless broadband company (succeed.net) that sells a service where you drop an antenna on top of your house and run that down to a connection on a special wireless card. Theres a guy about 1/4 mile from me that has the larger of the two antennae they offer, which includes local signal rebroadcast to everyone else that uses the small antenna. I'm sporadically picking up the succeed.net main hub, apparently through his rebroadcast, without the external antenna. One or two out of five bars and it comes and goes, but very impressive. On my local net, I've been able to get full signal walking down the driveway and halfway across the cul de sac. My old Cisco 11b card (pretty good for its day) would peter out at about half the distance.

Very cool little toshiba tool that shows you a radar-like map of your machine in the middle and all the AP's it can see, with zero configuration...you click on the AP you want to connect to and it does the work and asks the questions. Shows distance and signal strength graphically. Much nicer than the cisco and 3com tools I've used.
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Re: Bad year for electronics...
Old 02-10-2006, 09:46 AM   #100
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Re: Bad year for electronics...

And it looks like Office Depot is clearancing a Sony 15.4" system today for under $900 if they have them in stock. They had it at $1099 at my store yesterday, down from $1200ish.

Nice machine, but all it supports for flash is memory stick and I have no memory stick devices. Havent heard the greatest things about the reliability of sonys laptops lately either.

Looks like they also have some HP/Compaq closeouts as well.

Good day to take a trip to OD if you need a laptop and dont mind a 14 day exchange only policy on returns...
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