Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Technically-Challenged

I hereby vow to never again phone a tech support line unless I have already tried everything I can think of twice, including a complete reformatting of my hard disk (even if the problem is a broken screen or dead battery). What morons!

A bit of background first: I've been taking my laptop (a two year old Acer Aspire 1300) into uni every day to do all my work on. For the last couple of weeks it has been giving me the blue screen of death at least twice a day, often blaming tcpip.sys for the problem.

I'm used to seeing blue screens - I frankly expect it from any machine I use for more than a week - but the frequency of the errors was far too great for me to ignore, so I tried to sort the problem by downloading a BIOS update from Acer's site. Trouble is, the file didn't come with any installation instructions.

Normally I'd just throw caution to the wind and run the program, but this is a BIOS upgrade, and not something to be done without care. After trying to hunt down instructions for a while, I gave up hope and ran the EXE file.

Nothing of note happened.

So I sent Acer an email asking for installation instructions. That was a week ago and I still haven't heard back.

So this morning I phoned their support line, where the recorded voice lets me know that they are aiming for 24-hour response times to all emails. Aiming is good, but if I aimed to hit a window with a stone from 50 feet away, I'd probably miss because I throw like a girl.

10 minutes of extremely loud musak and I'm through to a real person, who was less intelligent than most voice recognition phone systems. I told him that all I needed was installation instructions, but was happy enough to hand over my serial number. He couldn't find the number on his system, so had to enter my laptop's details manually. He asked what warranty I had (no idea, probably none), so I told him 1 year's worth and he replied that I'd have to pay for any repairs.

Right.

I'm not asking for repairs. I'm asking for installation instructions. Look it up on your dumb-terminal (for dumb-asses) or tell me where to hunt them down on the net. This doesn't require me sending my laptop to you.

Now that he's (finally) getting the drift, he tells me to run the file. I did try, but nothing happened. Hmm. Maybe you downloaded it "wrongly". No, it's a Zip file, and if you download a Zip "wrongly", it won't do very much for you. Neither would an Exe on its own, you cretin.

Long pause...

I'm getting tired of his stupidity and concerned for the phone bill, so I suggest that the program may need to be run from a boot disk so that the BIOS gets what it needs directly.

His response: Yes, if running the file in Windows doesn't work, try putting it on a "normal" disk and booting the machine with that in the drive.

Thanks, I'm glad I was such a help to myself. It's nice to have someone to sound ideas off. Next time I'll try a wall. I would say goodbye, but I'm not feeling very good anymore.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, there's an on switch on the printer!

12:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You tried to install a BIOS update from within Windows?! :'(

Wait. You use Windows?! :'((

1:42 pm  
Blogger Steven Morrison said...

You'll have to forgive my ineptness when it comes to what I've never tried before, like a BIOS update. I don't think it was covered in OS3.

As for using Windows, I have no excuse, except that I need another long haul with Linux before I can do everything with it. Afraid I'm stuck til then.

3:04 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Buy a Mac!

8:04 pm  
Blogger Steven Morrison said...

That's tempting, except the word "buy". Make 'em cheaper, or free to students!

9:49 pm  
Blogger Iain said...

For the record, it IS possible to install a BIOS update from windows. It just depends on whether your motherboard manufacturer could be arsed writing the program to do it, and testing it to make sure it won't explode in your face. Very few do.

5:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have a Acer Aspire 1300 as well and my laptop freeze at least 2 times a day without reason. I've tried everything and everything in these last two years. Called Acer and they said to me to bring it to the service center and in a month I have to call them to see if the laptop is ready. One month, I need the laptop to work. :-(
Now after 2 years (even my Laptop has 2 years) my battery remain only 5 minutes in charge (even if full loaded) so I can only conclude that this laptop is garbage. So much time losen. They told me to buy a new battery. 150 dollar in my country. Solution: I bought a Dell. No problems any more. My Acer I'll throw it away or use it for my 2 years old daughter to play games. Hope she can live with it.

6:06 am  

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