Sunday, September 16, 2007

What Windows Vista Does for Users (or, why Linux doesn't need Marketers)

by Ken Houghton

(The following true story is posted due to What Windows Vista Does For Me.)

UPDATE II: Chris at MSFT, who is either one hour ahead of me or 11 hours behind, was wonderful yesterday in getting the laptop back to where it should have been all along.

He was also far too honest. Me: "How much RAM do you need to run Vista?" Him: "At least a Gig. Probably two."

Shira's laptop has been fairly useless for the past couple of weeks, claiming that the OEM copy of Windows Vista is "not genuine." We've used workarounds for a while, but this weekend was Time To Take Action:

Act I, Scene 1

Saturday late afternoon:

Attempt several times to use the links suggested by MSFT. After searching through multiple screens, find the Technical Support number.

Call MSFT Support. Surely this is an easy issue to solve, and they will Know What to Do.

Three to six menu options later: "Our Technical Support line is closed. Our hours on weekends are 6:00am to 3:00pm, Pacific time. Please try your call again then."

Scene 2: The Manufacturer

HP/Compaq takes a while, but at least tells you from the start they they offer 24/7 service. It takes a while to figure out that I'm calling about a Compaq C2500. (Compaq no problem; model numbers should be hidden, apparently.) No wait time indication on the line; several suggestions that I should be thrilled to buy their Total Care Package, their Television sets, and possibly a stray bugging device or two. Roughly six Total Care ads, three television set promotions, a couple of random moments, and several Gene Hackman imitations later, the obligatory Subcontinent-accented "support" person comes on the telephone.

A roundelay ensues in which he tells me to keep tapping F8 while rebooting the machine. I attempt to make it clear that this is a Vista machine with MSFT-spec'd memory, and that rebooting therefore lasts only slightly less time than a Ken Burns "documentary." But he has a script, and I keep trying.

Me: "The screen is blank."
Him: "What do you see?"
Me: "A blank screen."
Him: "Keep hitting F8. And try turning the machine off and on again." (I have, by this point, pulled the battery twice.)

Finally, we get to the right screen.

Me: "There are multiple options. Are we running diagnostics?"
Him: "How about Safe Mode."

I silently note that I have tried bringing the machine up in safe mode several times in the past few weeks, and it doesn't appear to have helped.

Him: "When you bought the machine, did you register it and call MSFT?"
Me: "We registered it online, yes. What do you mean, call MSFT?"
Him: "You were supposed to call MSFT and register your copy of Vista."
Me: "There's nothing in the registration or the documentation that said that."
Him: "You were supposed to do it. You'll have to call MSFT."

By this point, I'm wondering why he didn't tell me this fifteen minutes ago, not to mention being rather irritated that it's now being described as my fault.

Him: "I'll give you the number."
(He gives me a different number than the one called in I, i)
Me (encouraged): "Thank you."

The number turns out to be Microsoft SALES. When I get through to where I need to be, we are again at "Our Technical Support line is closed. Our hours on weekends are 6:00am to 3:00pm, Pacific time."

UPDATE: Credit where due: HP Support recognizes that they have an issue, and they set up a Case Number and follow-up calls to ensure it is resolved.

Act II: Sunday afternoon

MSFT Technical Support, whose motto is "We're a monopoly, so we can afford to provide the worst service and call ourselves the best company."

Several moments of information being given to the suport person. After gathering which she finally says:

MSFT Rep (cheerfully): "You need to call the MSFT Genuine Advantage Support Team. But they're not available on weekends."
Me, irritated: "So you can't provide any support?"
MSFT (even more cheerfully): "No. I'll give you their telephone number."
Me: "When are they open?"
MSFT (approaching orgasm): "The number is..."
Me: "And what hours are they open?"
MSFT (having climaxed, through her cigarette): "They're open from 9 to 5."
Me (having dealt with the MSFT telephone system): Is that Eastern or Pacific time?"
MSFT (taken aback, as if it shouldn't be an issue): That's Pacific time."

The chance of my buying another Vista machine, or any hardware from HP again, is fading by the day.

Labels: , , ,

Is this a bad time to suggest that you get a Mac?

[ducking and running]
If I were a better developer, I would have already.

As it is, with StarOffice now part of Google Pack, we're very likely to become a Linux household until the kids (are old enough to) understand the value of a well-made GUI.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?