Friday, February 25, 2011

Follow-up comments on some products I've purchased

I was perusing some hit stats for my blog and I saw some search terms that pointed people to my most awesom thoughts. The ones that meant something to me were the ones where I purchased an item and I didn't follow up with what I thought about that item. What an injustice to my readers. So, I thought I would follow up on a few products that I have purchased within the past year or two. I'm not going to link to the original posts as they are searchable and will be found quite easily.

Anyway, here it goes:

Remington Dual Flex Cordless Shaver—This this is a complete and utter piece of shit! I didn't expect much from the $19.99 price tag but I expected something a little better than I got. The dual blades/shavers are worthless. I felt like I was using an old cheese grater on my neck. In fact, after using this once and only once, I had nicks and cuts near/around my Adam's apple. Talk about BURNS! I thought maybe using this as a fuzz buster instead but I'm sure it would have shredded my clothes as it did my neck. Again, I didn't expect much but a new rechargeable and portable shaver would have been very nice to replace my very old other one (I forget which brand and model). I washed the Dual Flex very well with soap, water and Sea Breeze then promptly returned it to Walgreen's.

ASUS G50VT-X5—This is one beast of a notebook. I purchased it as a desktop replacement although I had no intention on replacing or foregoing having a desktop. This thing is heavy. It's not overwhelmingly so but it isn't a thin portable like some of these other notebooks and netbooks. I purchased knowing this in advance. This thing is pretty fast. It runs Vista which after having 7 afterwards on my machine at work, I would upgrade the G50VT if it was near-free for me to do so. Since it's not, I will stick with Vista for now. I've had this for a little over a year and have not had any problems up until about a month ago. I think I posted about it crashing on me. After I got a new hard drive and reinstalled my software (this machine came with restoration software and disks...a big plus in my book for ASUS!), I focused on the seemingly bad hard drive to hopefully get my files off it. I back up every night to multiple hard drives but the one thing I didn't back up was my Outook.pst file. I keep all my email that matters filed in different folders within Outlook and this hadn't been backed up since maybe a month or so before. The nice thing about the G50VT is that it has a spare HD bay for expansion. I had a 500 GB in there before the crash which was one of my backups locations. When the crash happened, I thought I'd use the 500 GB to replace the failed 320 GB. For some reason I couldn't get the 500 GB to recognize for re-installation. Luckily, I had another 500 GB that I used. I was able to insert the "bad" 320 GB into the expansion bay and get my files. In fact, the 320 GB was not bad at all. It was fully and properly functioning. After some tinkering and swapping, I found that the 500 GB I originally had in the expansion bay was bad and it was causing the notebook to not boot or anything but turn on. Yippee for me as I didn't have to take it in for service! Since the reinstall though, I think I've noticed that the machine runs a little hotter and the fan runs more. I'm not sure why or if it was the same before and I just didn't notice. I use this machine every now and then because I decided to purchase the Alienware M11x to be my portable powerhouse notebook for school and personal use.

Alienware M11x—I got this thing for a really good deal a month or two ago. I probably could have waited a month or so and gotten the better deals on the i5 that I am seeing now. My thought is that I really wasn't going to use the M11x for high-processor-requirements like gaming as much as just simple things such as school, email, and Internet. I say that but I am sort of disappointed about not waiting a month or so to get the faster speed at basically the same price. Oh well! The M11x is a pretty nice machine. I like how it is zippier than my Samsung netbook and occasionally it'll open a browser window or Office file faster than my ASUS-G50VT (which is sort of weird). I'm digging the slightly larger than a netbook screen and the backlit keyboard. The casing is slick and appealing but definitely prone to fingerprinting just like the LCD screen. I haven't played around a lot with all the features like overclocking and the Aliensense because I don't need to overclock right now (and don't have the time to play around right now) and I prefer to type in my password than wait for the camera to recognize my mug for no-typing logging in. It works but my typing is faster especially in low-light situations.

I've been pretty happy with it up until the day that I could no longer use it. One day, I took it out of my bag. Hit the power button and it turned on. I got the cool LEDs to light up around the computer base and keyboard but nothing else. No boot up. No Windows loading screen. Nothing. I thought this could be a hard drive issue so I removed the bottom cover and removed the hard drive. I connect the HD to my ASUS via USB to SATA cables and the HD shows up in My Computer. I am able to copy, paste and remove files without issue for a few hours. I decide it must not be a HD issue. I put the HD back into the machine and turn on the power. Voila! I have boot up, Windows logon and I am able to see my username's desktop and all. I work on it for a few hours and go to bed. I wake in the morning and turn the M11x off. I wait a few minutes and power it back on. Same as before: no boot up, no Windows loading, nothing! I repeat powering down, uplugging the power cord, removing the battery, replacing the batter, plugging in the power cord and powering on many, many times with the same result: Nothing!

A few days later I am finally able to call Dell/Alienware support. I don't know if all Dell machines are like this but it was VERY nice to have the Alienware "brochure" that had all my machines information on it like customer service phone number, specs of my machine, the customer support tag, the type of service plan I have, along with other information. It was beneficial to have all this in one place. I call from my work around mid-afternoon on a Friday. I get some Middle Eastern person who's name I could not understand and could barely comprehend his English speaking. I was polite and told him I was having trouble hearing/understanding him and he made effort to be more clear. After some time, he "asked his supervisor" some questions and they said I needed to have the machine in front of me so they could troubleshoot some more to make sure they ordered the correct part for service. WTF!? When did I become part of Dell's technical support team? The way I see it is that they should send someone out (I have next day home service as part of my plan) to assess my issue and then if they have to take my machine or return another day with parts, that's what THEY should do! I paid for the service to be done for me not for me to be part of the service I'm paying for! Anyway, I told them I'd have to call them back when I got home from work or in the next day or so. He gave me a different 866 number to call and said it would be direct to their department and anyone would be able to help me due to the notes he has placed under my file on their system.

I was finally able to call the 866# he gave me this past Tuesday (Gimme a break! I've been busy with work, kids and school). When I called the first time, it rang about 10x and then it sounded like someone picked up the line and hung up. I didn't know for sure until a recording came on that said, "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again." I called the number a second time and a recording came on that said something about "Thank you for using [something]" and my call was forwarded through some phone system, I guess. Finally, a woman picked up and I told her I was calling about following up with getting my Alienware serviced. She responded confusingly, "I'm sorry what were you calling in reference to?" I repeated and she said, "Sir, you have reached [so-and-so] Apartments." I was like, "This is NOT Dell Computers customer service?" "No sir." "Okay, thanks!"

That's as far as I've gotten so far because I had some more homework and shit to do the past few days. I may go home this evening and try again but I might have something to do. I will definitely follow up Friday evening or sometime Saturday because they are available 24/7. It's just my schedule that's fucked up.

I can say that 1) I'm not impressed with the stability of the M11x since it's been two months and something is wrong with it and 2) Dell/Alienware customer service so far has has somewhat solidified all the negative comments I've read online over the years about their poor service. Hopefully, it will get better when I have time to call them again.

Tachyon XC HD Helmet Cam—I've tried to get my use out of this little toy. It's a toy to me because I really didn't need to buy it. I just thought it was cool and had to get it.

Anyway, I have posted a short video before so you can just search "Tachyon" on my blog to find and see it. It's nothing spectacular since it was my first use but it shows the quality of the video pretty well. I've made another short driving video but I haven't edited it yet.

My plan is to take it with me in the next few days, weeks or probably months on my helmet during a bike ride but it depends on when I get a chance to do it.

So, look forward to seeing some more videos from the Tachyon soon. They are big files so it takes me some time to edit and such with my limited knowledge of video editing tools.

HTC Evo Shift—I've had this phone for a few months now. I've gotten a little more used to it. I like the phone much better than my initial introduction with it. All the features of it are pretty cool. The touch screen is fast and responsive. The apps that I've downloaded and used have been useful and have so far been without issues. It came with quite a few apps already installed which I have used and like as well.

One issue I have is the emailing function. I have my SBCGLOBAL.NET email set up with my phone for sending and receiving. When I am typing a message, it doesn't automatically create punctuation like my Blackberry did. For instance, words like "can't," "won't," "wouldn't," or "I'm." It even doesn't automatically add a period when I space-space at the end of a sentence. Luckily, the slide-out keyboard has a dedicated period key but it still would be nice for it to auto-end a sentence.

I downloaded the app Handcent SMS for texting. It does what the email should with the auto-punctuation. It also makes texting kind of fun because it puts the text messages in bubbles. I like this SMS app over the built-in app.

There was another issue I had with the phone but for some reason I can't remember what it was. I remember talking to my wife about it because she had the same issue with her Evo. I'm sure it'll come back to me soon.

I'm still getting familiar with other functions of the phone that I may not use as often. Overall, I don't think it was a bad purchase or upgrade from the Blackberry. It's taking some time to get used to the different functions compared to my Blackberry but I did have the Blackberry for almost six years and this one just for a few months.

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