Thursday Feb 22, 2007

Return of the Ferrari

The saga of my Acer Ferrari drew to a close today when the FexEx (Ground) guy dropped it off around 4:30 PM.

Not exactly what I would call stellar turn-around time.  What's worse is the "repair" slip noted that the work was completed on February 13th, so for that past nine days it's been held up somewhere in the shipping process.  I highly doubt it was a hold up on the FedEx side, more like a hold up getting it to FedEx.

Not that Acer is all to blame.  Sun's Asset Management team for some reason feels it's a good idea to register the notebooks to a person on their team.  That includes, email, addresses, etc.  While that might seem like a good idea when it comes to proving actual ownership, it's a huge hassle when it comes to support.  What they probably didn't think about (or care) is that it renders Acers Online Repair Request system useless.  You then are forced to call the 1-800 number to arrange for service.  This 1-800 service frequently has wait times in the plus 2 hour range.

When you do get through to speak to a human and after you sit there and pretend that you unseated the RAM, took the battery out and all the other brain dead troubleshooting, you have to be extremely clear that you do NOT want the laptop shipped to the address that they have for your laptops serial number.  Even though your name gets on the service record, an extra special touch is that the unit is returned to customized (including logins and registered owners name in Windows) to be the person that it is registered too in the system.  Hola Maria!

All in all, over 30 days to get a hard drive replaced.  I kept thinking to myself, what if I was in an administrative role at Sun and this was my sole machine.  What if I didn't have a Sun Ray?  I'd be totally unproductive for a month.  Huge thumbs down.





Monday Feb 19, 2007

Have You Seen Me?

Last seen on February 7th dressed in cardboard and bubblewrap and wearing a FedEx Logo heading to Temple, Texas to get its hard drive replaced.

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

The cost of PC Support

Just a personal example from when my Acer died

Time spent on phone on hold:  Roughly two hours in my four attempts

Days without my computer: 20 (and counting)

Cost of shipping supplies: $15

FedEx with insurance: $40

Cost of lost data:  Unknown but high

First moral of the story:  I should have just gone down to CompUSA and bought a new HDD and ate the cost myself.

Second moral of the story:  Stop doing work on the laptop and do as much as possible from my Sun Rays.  Something I've been doing for 20 plus days in a row now and loving it.  I just need to get one of the new Sun Ray 2 based laptops from Accutech. 



Sunday Jan 21, 2007

Ferrari Crashes, Owner not happy

For the second time in less than 8 months, my Acer Ferrari is toast.

The first failure happened the same week I got the laptop and was caused by an improper suspend.  It failed to suspend properly prior to me sticking it in backpack moments before boarding a flight to Dallas.  When I arrived in Dallas a few hours later and grabbed my backpack from the overhead bin, the whole bag was hot and you could hear the fan spinning its heart out. 

Not good. 

It was still "on" (telling my that it couldn't end some process normally and would I like to kill it) when I took it out of the bag.  Upon trying to reboot it,  it was beeping post codes at me.   End result is that the RAM got fried and I had to replace the two 1GB sticks.

Fast forward to last Friday.  After having so much fun with the latest OpenSolaris on my U40, I decided to blow away CentOS on my laptop and go with Solaris.  Had a whole blog series envisioned "My week with out windows".

The OpenSolaris install went smooth as silk.  Even got Vista and OpenSolaris to play nice together.  Only problem I had was grub got the Vista partion wrong.  Gerald has a good easy to follow post on it, but I didn't have to any of the manual commands.  I let Vista repair it's partition automatically then I fixed grub and I was off to the races.  Sort of.

I did not know all of the drama surrounding the wireless broadcom.  Long story short, there isn't one, there won't be one.  You can use the ndis wrapper with the windows drivers, but only under the 32 bit kernel.   Bah!  That blows.

So I unplug from power, wander out to my office where I can plug into the network directly.  Whoohoo, on the net.  The fan is incredibly loud, not quite v20z loud, but pretty loud for a laptop.  Hopefully the latop community @ has some good stuff for me.   Find out I need to grab frkit, and of course a bunch of other stuff I use from sunfreeware and blastwave.  Fan is getting louder, and the laptop is getting hot.

I walked back into the house to grab my cup of icewater because my tooth is still killing me.  Come back and the laptop is powered off.  Hmmm...The battery had a full charge, that's pretty crappy and not going to be very useful if it only lasts about 25 minutes.

Hit the power button, nothing.  Go grab my power supply, plug it in, laptop fires up.  Get grub loading message, but the unit is hanging then I get "read error" being displayed.  Reboot and it hangs forever at the Ferrari bios splash screen.  Then the unit goes right into PXE boot mode.  That's not good as it's the last option to try to boot from.  Reboot, go into bios, there is no hard drive shown.  Noooooo.....

This failure was costly as I had a lot of work that I hadn't backed up lately.  Not happy and not looking foward to having to send in my machine as unlike places like Toshiba who sends you a laptop box to send your unit it, Acer does nothing to ensure that you laptop arrives safely.

I'm also not happy, broken or not, to have to send out a hard drive with confidential information on it.



My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


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