Archive for Randomness

A Letter to Dell

Here’s the letter that was emailed to Michael Dell… I guess he actually reads his email and, unlike Steve Jobs, is more likely to get stuff done than send a snarky response.  We’ll see.

Now up to almost a month without a working laptop after Dell fried Kristie’s laptop.

Michael,

I apologize for writing you, but at this point I’m not sure where else to turn for help on a service call issue.  In short, just under a month ago, my laptop fried after being “repaired” by Dell technicians, and I am still without a laptop.  The service tag I am referencing is [redacted].

On Wednesday, October 20, I initiated a chat session regarding some issues with my monitor and keyboard.  The next day, October 21,  I was contacted at 9am by the service technician, informing me he would be “there in 30 minutes” – I was unavailable on such short notice, so he rescheduled service for the next day.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 26, technicians finally showed up to complete the repair covered by my “next business day” on-site service.  I should have seen this as an omen that “next business day” doesn’t really mean “next business day.”

Two days later, my laptop screen flashed, the computer made a popping sound, gave off a slight electrical odor, and ceased working.  I re-contacted support and after several false starts, and Dell support staff saying in no uncertain terms that they would NOT take responsibility for the problem or data transfer, they would ship me a replacement system.  After being told on a Friday that it would take a week to get the replacement, I was pleasantly surprised when it showed up on Monday.

I excitedly unpacked the box, only to find out that the replacement system lacked several key upgrades I had purchased, including a webcam and Bluetooth.  I re-contacted Dell support, and several days later got word that a completely new system would be built and sent in “5-15 business days.”

I understand that the intricacies of ramping up production for certain models of laptops, along with supply chain issues and other manufacturing processes, limits the speed at which Dell can guarantee production and delivery of a specific laptop.  My concern, however, is that after paying for “next day service,” I am nearly a month past the initial service call, still without a functioning laptop.  I paid extra for “next day service” because I needed to ensure I had a working computer.  You’re a very successful businessman, and I know you understand how critical it is to have working systems to effectively and efficiently communicate with customers.  Right now I’m trying to maintain relationships with my customers using a borrowed laptop and webmail – not a winning combination.

Again, I apologize for cluttering your inbox with this message, but at nearly a month into a service call, I am reaching the end of my patience.  Bottom line, I need to know that Dell is going to uphold its end of the service agreement.  It would be really nice to have Dell take responsibility for transferring data from my old laptop to my new laptop (a hard drive swap for all I care), but after the fiasco of just trying to get my laptop fixed, I certainly don’t hold out much hope for that – or necessarily trust the technicians to do it right.  I just want a working laptop that matches the specs of the laptop I bought, and which Dell technicians broke.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification.

Thanks,

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Radio Control Boats at Downtown Park

Kristie’s note: Also not an Annie post. I’ll try to get to that today. :-)

Our stop at Downtown Park this afternoon was actually not by plan.  After church, I commented to Kristie that after stopping at the office to get the camera for some sunny Kelsey Creek Farm pictures, we should stop by Downtown Park for a brief photo session.  It just happened that Annie fell asleep on the way into the office parking garage, so we settled on parking the car, with Kristie watching Annie sleep while I wandered around taking pictures. 

Needless to say that on the first 70+ degree day (probably the first 60+ degree day in quite some time as well), the park was absolutely packed.  I had hoped to grab some quick shots of people using the park — walking around the trail, playing catch, tossing the football, or just enjoying a nice warm day in the middle of downtown Bellevue.  What I got was even better.

I had seen pictures of people sailing radio-controlled boats on the reflecting pond, but had never seen it in person until today.  From what I could tell, a radio-controlled boat enthusiast club had gathered to send their miniature ships through a series of rigorous tests.  I also saw some people with clipboards observing the boats, so am wondering whether there is a judging component involved as well.  When I get to the office tomorrow, I am going to need to get more information on the group — in particular, how frequently they are there.

I had originally started out with the Nikkor 17-55mm/f2.8 lens — my favorite lens for most occasions — but quickly switched over to the VR 70-200mm/f2.8 lens with a 1.7x extender on it.  The 70-200mm lens is amazing to begin with — it’s nice and fast, extremely high quality, and makes pictures in less-than-ideal light very possible (I’ve gotten some amazing youth theatre pictures with this lens).  With the 1.7x extender, it brings a high level of zoom at a low price, and a relatively low cost on light (1 stop).  Shooting in full sun as I was today, there wasn’t any problem with trading off a stop of light for increased zoom.  That and I was shooting on aperture priority, stuck on f9.0 for most of the day, so it REALLY didn’t matter all that much…

Most of these pictures are straight out of the camera (except for possibly being rotated by Windows Picture Viewer), but I had to do some cropping for some of these boat pictures…


(Nikon D200, VR70-200mm/f2.8 lens w/1.7X Extender @ 340mm, ISO 400, 1/1000th sec., f9.0 – Cropped)

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Spring Flowers at Downtown Park

Kristie’s note: Not an Annie post. She was asleep and unavailable for a photoshoot at the time these pix were taken. :-)

Every spring I tell myself that I need to get out more frequently to take pictures of Bellevue’s fine system of parks and open spaces.  Every summer, I realize that I haven’t quite made it out as frequently as I had originally wished.  I think what ends up typically happening is that I head out for the first time too late.  Last year, for example, I finally made it to the Rose Garden at Downtown Park when the spring bulbs were past prime.  This year, however, I made it there as things were just starting to pop. Read the rest of this entry »

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There’s no business like snow business

As you may have heard, we’ve had crazy amounts of snow here in the Pacific Northwest lately. It all began December 13th. As is usual with our snow, a cold front moved in from the north and met a wet front moving in from the west. As was very unusual, it not only stuck around, but turned into a cycle of cold from the north and wet from the west. The end result was snow, and a lot of it. We usually get snow once or twice a winter, but it’s not very much—under 3″—and sticks around for two days at the absolute most (if it sticks at all). As of the last snowfall on December 26th, we’d probably gotten 12″ here at home, with about 10″ on the ground. This is nothing compared to what the midwest or northeast US sees, but unlike those regions, we’re not prepared for it—the cities don’t have many snowplows because they don’t get used often, people don’t have snow tires on their cars because they’re almost never needed, and most people don’t know how to drive in/on snow because they don’t have to very often.

What this means is that any snow is headline news. This blast has been the news for the past two weeks. As far as the reporters seem to be concerned, nothing else has happened in the greater Seattle area since the first flake fell on the 13th. When not found marveling over the cold white stuff coating the ground and falling from the sky, TV reporters the region over were chasing people down to ask them what they thought of said white stuff. All in all, relatively amusing. Not so amusing has been the slew of traffic disasters and accidents, the lack of services (the US Postal Service’s motto about rain, snow, sleet, or hail isn’t exactly accurate around here, apparently, and UPS and FedEx gave up a week ago, meaning that lots of people didn’t get Christmas presents), and the terrible road conditions.

On the bright side, we had a lot of fun with our little girl in her first snowfall. Also exciting was the first white Christmas that Colin or I can remember (and Colin’s lived here his whole life), and the bonus of having Annie’s first Christmas be a white one. The whole experience was, of course, quite photo-worthy. This post is all snow pictures; the next one will have SnowBaby pictures. :-) I’m trying something new, too—in order to help those of you on dial-up connections, I’m putting the pictures behind a “cut”—click the link below (“read the rest of this entry”) to see the pictures. And, as usual, there are even more pictures here.

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Three weeks!

All is well here in Annie-land. We think she’s in the middle of her 3-week growth spurt, because she’s been eating pretty much nonstop since Thursday. She’s quite good now at turning her head from side to side when she’s lying on her tummy (although she still works best when she’s slightly frustrated), she’s started to enjoy (read: fall asleep during) her baths, and she’s beginning to interact when you play with her. She can’t grab things yet when you wave them in front of her, but she’ll wave a hand at them like the intent is there, and if you move a toy or something in front of her face, she’ll turn her head to follow it with her eyes. When Colin or I walk into a room and she hears our voice, she’ll turn her head toward it. It’s quite fun! We’ve also discovered the secret to peaceful diaper changes: the hairdryer. Yes, the hairdryer. At first it was just an attempt to dry out her bit of diaper rash before we wrapped her back up, but when she fell asleep the second time we used it, we knew we were onto something. I think the noise is the primary lure for her, but I don’t think the nice warm air hurts either. I need to make a recording of the sound just in case the hairdryer breaks at some point.

Sleep-wise she’s pretty good too… at night at least. In fact, she’s really only content enough to sleep if someone’s holding her, day or night. This is par for the course with a newborn, even if it is a bit exhausting at some point (and the reason some of you haven’t heard from me—it’s much harder to type one-handed). I think we’re averaging two hours at a clip; we can let her go up to four hours between feedings at night, but that’s from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next, which means that by the time the food part is done and the diaper is changed and we’re settled down, we can get maybe three hours of sleep. Maybe. During the day she sleeps for maybe 30-45 minutes at a time, and less lately, as she’s been eating so much. That’s okay, though—this stage is fleeting, and so beautiful in so many ways. We really are enjoying our precious little girl. :-) I can’t believe she’ll be four weeks old next Saturday! We’re hoping to retake the car seat test later this week, allowing us to graduate into our “big girl” seat. I’m also hoping that she’ll have gained some good weight at her weight check this Friday—I’d love to make the 8-lb mark!

Anyway, the part you all want—the pictures. :-)

Out at dinner the other night. She spent the meal on my lap, which meant that the poor kid served as a crumb-catcher. It’s hard to eat one-handed, and even harder when you’re an arms-length away from your food!

Three weeks!

At church. Colin and I decided we needed to compare her with the size of the handbells we play. Annie’s an honorary member of our handbell choir, and while we rang during the service today, she snoozed contentedly in the sling in the picture. She’s only unhappy when the music stops. :-) She’s a musical baby already!

Gratuitous cuteness.

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Hello world!

We’re getting there. Patience is a virtue.

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