Critical Section

As the laptop turns - episode 9

Thursday,  05/12/05  10:09 PM

The saga of my laptop trouble continues...  (Links to 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 4.5, 6, 7, 8)  Here is episode 9...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ole Eichhorn []
Tuesday, March 29, 20059:08 AM
Subject: episode 9 - as the laptop turns

Just thought I’d give you all an update on my laptop saga.

When last we left our hero (me) I was awaiting a brand new laptop graciously provided by HP to replace what’s left of my old one after their service reps worked it over.  So a week ago it arrived – a brand new nc8000.  This machine is superior to my old laptop in every way but one.  It is 2½ years newer, and so the specs are 2½ years better.  (That’s about 25 in laptop years.)  The CPU is faster, the memory is faster, the disk is faster, it has GB Ethernet instead of 100MB, it has USB 2.0 ports instead of USB 1.0, it has 802.11g WiFi (54Mbps) instead of 802.11b (11Mbs).  Heck, even the cover opens faster.  It also has stuff my old laptop didn’t, like built in Bluetooth, built in firewire, external audio controls, a button to disable/enable wireless easily, a built in security chip for encrypting files, etc.  The screen is exactly the same – 15.4”, 1400x1050.  In short, it is [almost] the perfect laptop.

So I’m happy, right?  The story has a good ending.

Uh, well, as I said it is superior to my old laptop in every way but one.  And that one is style

Compaq n800c - the originalThis is where vanity rears its ugly head.  I picked my old laptop – a Compaq n800 - because I liked it, I thought it was cool.  It was sleek and thin and shiny and pretty, and it represented “me”.

HP Compaq nc8000 - the new laptop (aka "SUV")This new laptop is, well, not sleek and not thin and not shiny and not pretty.  It is boxy.  It isn’t ugly, but well it is utilitarian.  There is no way I would have chosen this laptop among all others for myself. 

Imagine you choose a car you really like, a Lexus coupe, for example.  You’ve had it for some time, it is a bit worn, but you love it.  And then one day it is totaled.  And your insurance company replaces it with a brand new top-of-the-line Lexus SUV.  You’re happy and grateful that they gave you such a nice car, but, well, it’s an SUV, not a coupe.  You know in your heart of hearts you would never have bought an SUV, you would have bought another coupe.

Okay, so what to do?  I had three choices, 1) do nothing (how bad is it really?), 2) call HP and see if they’ll give me a different replacement laptop, 3) sell this computer on eBay and buy one I really want.

HP Compaq nc8230 - the newer laptop? (aka "couple")I decided to try (2) first, no harm in asking, right?  First I scoured the HP website and found the model I really want, an nc8230.  This is essentially the same computer specwise as the nc8000 they gave me – slightly worse specs in some areas, but not important – but is it thin – 1”! – and sleek and pretty, and has a wider screen.  It is even less expensive than the nc8000, such a deal.

Next I explained this whole thing to my service rep at HP – who by the way has been great, and very understanding about all the problems, and quite sympathetic, actually – and he got it.  I used the coupe/SUV analogy and fortunately he drives a Mustang so he really got it.  He’s going to poke around HP and see what can be done.  If there is any way they can take the nc8000 back and give me an nc8230 I think he’s going to do it.

If that doesn’t work, well, there is always option (3)…  In the meantime I do have a serviceable laptop so it cannot be regarded as a tragedy.  Stay tuned…


Continue to episode 10...

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