csberry: (cocktails)
I've avoided addressing this issue lately, but I just feel like letting loose now.

Fast background: My laptop started having a freezing problem in the middle of December. Over the past few months I've sent it off 7 times to get this addressed only for the laptop to return not only not fixed, but also having new problems. Supposedly, at least one piece of hardware was replaced during each of these repairs. At this point in the story, I was still getting the freezing, along with getting a blue screen NMI memory hardware error and my monitor (which they JUST replaced because the monitor was flickering and had a black spot in the corner of the screen that was exceptionally hot) now had a dead pixel that always glowed yellow/green.

Two Thursdays ago (April 29th) around 7-8pm my cellphone rang. D'oh! I didn't get to it in time. From the area code of the number, I was fairly certain it was Lenovo's escalation department finally getting in touch with me after I was told they'd call me earlier in the week. I waited a minute for the voicemail chime to go off for me to confirm. As soon as I confirmed it was Lenovo and jotted down the phone number, I called right back. The phone rang twice, someone picked up and then disconnected. I called back again and went straight to his voicemail. I left a message and then listened to the message he left the whole way through. Jamie was calling to let me know that he was going to be out of the office on Friday and wouldn't be back until Monday. He then went on to say that "IF" I called and left him a message, he'd get back to me on Monday morning.

Late Monday afternoon, I got a call back. They were going to send a box and ship the laptop to their engineers in North Carolina. I was pleased to finally get someone looking at the laptop that reputedly had IT expertise and possibly less of an assembly line attitude. This guy would spend time with the laptop and solve the problem. Tuesday the 4th of May, I shipped it off. I had it back in my hands two days later. WHA??

The box contained the laptop and nothing else. No report on repairs done. All work with the "repair depot" had varying amounts of info included on a sheet each of the 7 times the laptop was returned to me. I called Jamie and left a voicemail asking what the engineer did. The oddest thing was that the wrist-rest area's cover was different. Jamie called back later and told me all of these software updates the engineer did. And he stopped.

Wait! This laptop, which has had two different HDs in it would be affected by a software update?! I was highly suspect of this and started airing my displeasure with Jamie. I asked about getting some kind of replacement laptop. He said that Lenovo would never give me a replacement laptop since mine was now 3 years old. I asked about how long we would be continuing this pattern of shipping the laptop back and forth replacing parts before they either tell me to leave them alone or finally do get a replacement. He assured me that they would help me fix this problem. I asked him for how long Lenovo would do it. If I was still having this problem in 4 months, would Lenovo still continue to try to fix it? He refused to answer that question and argued that I was getting worked up over a hypothetical.

*sarcasm*Why, OF COURSE, Jamie, you are absolutely right!*/sarcasm* So, I decided to swallow the remaining words in my mouth and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the monitor didn't have the dead pixel, so maybe the NMI error was also taken care of. My worst case scenario was now that only the freezing remained. He set me up to spike him with a "I told you so" and I decided to go for it. I told him I'd try to have faith and politely ended the conversation.

Thus, it was with both tremendous anger and sadistic joy that I stopped what I was doing this morning to grab my cellphone. My laptop had just popped up the damned blue NMI error screen. Doing my best to sound pleasant but not gloating, I, of course, got his voicemail and left a message about how the blue screen had popped up and I wanted to know what to do next. Late this afternoon, I decided to follow up my voicemail and got to Jamie.

"Hello."
"Hi, Jamie?"
"Yeah."
"Hey, it's Cory Berry from Huntsville, Alabama."
*mumbles real fast*
"Sorry, what did you say?"
"I've escalated your case and someone from Lenovo will be calling you in the next 48 hours."
*silence*
"Okay, thanks."

He disconnected immediately.

Now I'm wondering if the 48 hours will equal 6 days since I was told previously they'd call me in 24 and it took Jamie 3 days to call to leave the message he wouldn't be available for three days more. I swear, I wouldn't mind them keeping it for a week or two to investigate the machine. What is the point of them only having the laptop for 24 hours or less at this point and not verifying the work they did actually did something?

Seriously folks, any good recommendations on a Linux-friendly laptop other than Dell or Lenovo?
csberry: (Default)
I'm now convinced that the problem with my laptop has been identified and there are no current threats to upend the HD or remove the laptop from my possession. This has allowed me to customize the laptop beyond a few settings and programs I need to do my basic work tasks.

Behold, my new wallpaper in tribute to my current fav show from across the pond: The IT Crowd!
csberry: (cocktails)
The laptop returned from its FOURTH trip to Lenovo's repair depot in the past 45 days. I came into the office, opened the box, saw the repair sheet from this last visit, and became PISSED OFF beyond words. Despite the history of this support ticket; the list of repairs and replacements which includes replacing the mobo, CPU, and other parts as well as reimaging/reformatting the HD twice (I even include copies of the repair sheets from each visit when I send the laptop in); and the recommendation of the phone support guy to investigate the cooling system...the tech assigned to my laptop this time decided he knew better. Vincent decided that the only problem with my laptop was that I hadn't installed the updated Lenovo Toolbox software on the hard drive. Never mind that I wrote on the repair sheet that the HD was reimaged twice and every diagnostic (including the full suite of the Lenovo Toolbox) has always shown that every piece of hardware passes.

Vincent was too stupid or egotistical to believe all that documentation. So, Vincent apparently worked on my laptop on Friday, installed that software, and then immediately shipped it back to me. HOW THE FUCK DID HE THINK THAT SOLVED THE PROBLEM!

I'm getting to the point that I'm convinced that the repair guys in Memphis take a stab at the problem, do a token amount of diagnostic software, and then ship it back to me so *I* can actually test the laptop to see if what the did fixed it. Well, guess what! I've received the laptop back from you 4 times now and the previous 3 returns resulted in the laptop freezing before 24 hours have passed. Don't be proud that you "fixed" and returned the laptop in 24 hours. Keep the damned thing for 3 or 4 days to actually see if the problem occurs instead of shuffling it back to me in some crazed version of "laptop hot potato."

I immediately called Lenovo to complain about this. I was escalated to a "repeat repair" rep and he said that they couldn't take an action until there is actual indication that the work Vincent did didn't actually fix it. We ran the HD diagnostic and it, of course, said everything is peachy. So I have to wait until it freezes (history says it should happen before lunch tomorrow) and then I can have them send me a replacement HD since that is what the repeat repair rep said was the only other logical hardware solution. If that fails, then I get to have the engineers at Lenovo give it a look over and determine if I get a replacement.

JOY!

But other than this experience, I have been VERY HAPPY with Lenovo and their support staff.
csberry: (cocktails)
My work laptop has returned from its third trip to Lenovo's repair depot in Memphis. This time around the sheet indicates the actions taken were "processor/CPU" and "plastics" (the first and second trips involved "system board/planar" and "memory" as well as reimaging the hard drive during the second trip). I wonder if this will do the trick or if they will end up replacing the remaining original pieces of hardware over the course of a couple of more repairs.

I have the laptop just running on idle right now with me popping by every now and then to do something (such as this post). If the laptop is going to freeze, I want it to do it ASAP and am hoping that leaving the laptop up and running for the rest of the day will expose the problem if it still exists. I'm just glad that I'm not having to do the day-worth of reloading programs after another harddrive cleaning. Because of the problems, the laptop still isn't fully loaded, but it has most everything I need for typical use.

But I yearn for being able to resume my routine of being able to work on the laptop in bed or elsewhere instead of being leashed to the PC at my desk all day.
csberry: (Dance-YoGabbaGabba)
I'm so glad I have my dad's old over-the-ear headphones from the 70's.



I haven't used them much since getting out of radio, but I pulled them out the other day so I could listen to music while sitting at my PC (which is basically located smack dab in the middle of the living room/playroom open space. With these beautiful babes by Pioneer surrounding my ears, a little bit of volume can completely turn off the chaos around me.

I'm blissfully working now (well, not NOW, but just before coming to do the post) at the PC with some sweet tunes engulfing me. :)
csberry: (cocktails)
I don't immediately recall if I've said much about my problems with my laptop. About a week before Xmas, my laptop started freezing. There has been no pattern to when or why it is freezing other than the computer is on. It happens in both Linux and Winders. BUT every single diagnostic run on the laptop has shown the hardware is performing fine.

I sent it off a week ago and got it back on Monday...still not fixed. Yesterday, the guy was adamant that the next thing I HAD to do was to re-image the HD. Since we installed Linux to make the laptop dual-boot after buying it, it seems that the ways someone would otherwise access the embedded image partitioned in a corner of the HD were no longer possible...I would need a Windows disc. Unfortunately, I can't find a disc for the laptop; not at the office, not at the FIL's office, or at my house. I discover that I have WinXPPro for my PC and the disc should work for the laptop (using the product key on the sticker attached to laptop).

I called Lenovo this morning to update the info on the ticket with my situation on how I was having to reimage. After trying a few other suggestions by tech support that didn't work, I was assured that if there was a problem with this, then they would help me with a disc or whatever. I hung up, took a deep breath, and popped the WinXP disc into the laptop.

It took about 45 seconds for the setup program to stop working because it couldn't detect any hard drives. I called up Lenovo and after running through a summary of the situation, he guided me through a couple of tweaks in BIOS as well as trying one other trick to try to access the partitioned image Lenovo had embedded. The process was started again with no troubles at all during the "installing Windows" process.

But as anyone that has ever installed or updated Windows knows, it is NEVER actually ready to go when the install program says it is. There are always a ton of drivers to be found and installed, configurations/wizards to complete, and then hours of trying to figure out why certain things aren't working. It was during this extended process of getting the laptop to actually work that the computer froze up.

*headdesk*

Overcome by anguish that my current stress level from reimaging the HD was seemingly for naught, I left the laptop off and went to call Lenovo for psychiatric assistance. Of course it was when I was the most upset and impatient that I reached the tech support person with the most foreign accent of all the support folks (God bless my calls going to the support center in Atlanta and getting a good mix of folks with Southern accents I can understand). At first I'm told that it would cost $45+ for them to ship me a reimage disc since my adding Linux and making it dual-boot invalidated the warranty on the OS install. I pointed out to her that I ONLY did the reimaging at Lenovo's insistence and had received reassurance that this was going to be the solution to my problem. Now, on their advice, I was out $45 to fix something they essentially had me break and my laptop still had the original problem. After being on hold for a minute, I was told that a re-image disc was on its way at no charge.

As soon as the disc arrives, I'll do that process just for the sake of getting the laptop to working order. It will be then that I'll see if the problem continues before shipping the laptop to them for extended testing.
csberry: (cocktails)
Upon returning from Atlanta the Sunday before Christmas, I started having a problem with the laptop. About once a day, the laptop would completely freeze. After several days, I was able to witness the freezing in numerous programs and then in both OS's on the laptop. Strangely enough, in the middle of last week, the rate of freezing started to increase. Yesterday I tried to use the laptop about 9 times. About half of the attempts were in Ubuntu/Linux and the other half in Winders. The damned thing crashed within a minute of the OS's completing the load of the desktop. It seems to be a hardware issue.

Despite the fact the Lenovo support page states the support phone number is open 24/7, I never got a ring or anything when I called the number yesterday (30-45 seconds of silence than a click of disconnect). Today, the call went straight to the calling system w/o a ring, so I guess the phone number was correct, but the 24/7 service must now be a thing of the past.

I've talked to Wes at Lenovo's call station in ATL. The laptop has behaved well enough that I was able to download the latest version of their diagnostic software. It is currently 63% done, all the tests have so far passed, and there hasn't been a freeze on the laptop yet. I'm going to be severely pissed if the diagnostic can't find anything wrong and the laptop won't freeze today. Problems are annoying; "intermittent problems" are exercises in torture from Satan himself.
csberry: (Default)
I now have an iPod. My dad was getting my brother an iPod Touch and decided that I would probably want one too. While I already have access to 3 MP3 players, that is merely one aspect of the Touch. For those of you not familiar with the iPod Touch (which would include me before Christmas morning), take the iPhone and remove the phone and camera from it. Ta-da! However, it is possible for you to buy a headphone accessory and install the Skype app to use it as a phone when you are connected to wi-fi.

For me, I've spent most of my time listening to music while either playing the Finger Physics game or dabbling in the other apps. I downloaded free apps until today. I broke the cheap streak by splurging $2.99 on Scrabble. It is just a matter of time before I break down and pay the $7 for the cool racing games.

However, I must state that it sucks big time that iPods don't play nice with open-source since I spend most of my computer time on my Linux laptop. Well, let's see if it suffers like previous Windows-only peripherals of the past few years with only sporadic use. I think this may hamper my sharing files between my computers and Touch, but the self-contained apps and opportunity to acquire stuff from iTunes directly to the Touch should keep it a part of my routine pieces of electronics.
csberry: (cocktails)
The Scoutmaster told me last week that they ran out of newsletters at the Court of Honor and asked if I could print some more out. Sure, I told him.

Yesterday I realized that the new printer at the house doesn't do double-sided printing. Not wanting to print one side, put upside down in tray, print the other side; I decided to wait and print out copies at the office today.

I arrived at the office, booted the laptop in Winders, and opened the newsletter in MSPublisher. I went to print and discovered that the office printer wasn't installed in Winders. I then tried to install it in the Printers/Fax option...but freakin' Winders doesn't provide an option to find a printer via MAC, URL, or anything else that the HP printer printed out as a guide for its network location. I pulled the HP disc out of the desk and attempted to install the printer along w/ the crap HP wants to put on the computer too.

What happened next was something that seems to happen 3/4 of the time I've EVAR attempted to install an HP printer. The installation was going through the process...and don't you know, it couldn't find the freakin' printer on the network. I then put in the IP address for the printer. The HP Installation program went, "YES! I found it!" It then asked me if that was the printer I wanted to install. When I told it "yes" and clicked Next, the freakin' installation program reverted back to the original screen for looking for the printer on the network. It forgot that it found it or something. I repeated this three times at the office trying to figure out what I was fuckin' up. No changes in the program's behavior, no idea what I could have done differently, and HP insists that the installation program is updated and fine.

I then decided to convert the newsletter from a MSPublisher file to pdf. I got that done, rebooted the laptop in Ubuntu, and opened the pdf file. The unique fonts used weren't embedded in the pdf and it was all funky! I then rebooted the laptop into Winders, found the option to always embed fonts, made another pdf version, saved it to the thumbdrive, and rebooted in Ubuntu. I pulled up the newsletter and everything looked perfect. At this point, I had spent about 70 minutes trying to get the newsletter printed. I joyously told the laptop to print 10 copies. I heard the printer start and I began working on something else. After a few minutes, I got up to check the printer. I look at the stack of papers and notice that there are 5 pages with the first page of the newsletter printed on both sides...and so on. I canceled the print job, change the print setting to collate, and went to watch the print job from the printer. Everything seemed to go fine until after it printed the 5th "page" (technically the front part of the 3rd printed page). Instead of leaving the back of that page blank and doing the next copy on a fresh piece of paper, the printer started printing the first page for the second copy on the back of the sheet containing the last page. I stopped the printer again. After a few more attempts to get everything right, I basically gave up and told it to print one copy.

After nearly 2 hours at the office, I can now claim that I produced one printed copy and one excellent pdf copy. I had Harper with me this whole time and I wasn't going to torture the poor thing any longer at the office. I'll give the Scoutmaster what I have tonight and will promise to have multiple copies by the conservation drive we're doing on Saturday.
csberry: (cocktails)
I've read enough praises that I'm finally willing to give Greasemonkey a shot. Number one script on my list is one to hide the freakin' quizzes on FB. Anyone have a favorite Greasemonkey script you would recommend I look at?
csberry: (Default)

Today's Arlo & Janis
csberry: (Default)
Study confirms most people are idiots.



And still half clicked Yes?
csberry: (cocktails)
The boys have a new shuttle box. This morning, I installed XP on it. It took a better part of the day getting everything operating correctly (networked, printer connection, audio problem troubleshooting, configuring desktops and settings for Calvin). I still need to find some good nanny software to help restrict some of the boys' movement on the web. They stay on their websites well. The two areas of concern are when they are tempted by the recommendations on YouTube and when Calvin wants to look at pictures on Google Images. As Calvin gets more adept, I will want some restrictions on which websites he can reach so I'm just kinda shopping around and comparing what stuff I can sample on CNET.

I read in the HSV Times today that WLRH has a new local show on Friday evenings before World Cafe that is definitely in the adult alternative realm. This isn't enough reason for me to reinstall my RadioShark on my PC. The fundamental problem is that I'm rarely on the Winders PC nowadays, so shows I've recorded sit there all lonely on the hard drive. I found a page online about setting up stuff in ubuntu to record streaming audio. I plan on setting up JD's ubuntu PC (which she keeps on all the time) to record the new show and World Cafe, Car Talk, and probably some shows on Lightning 100. I'll then transfer them over to my laptop to listen to while working.

CSS Tips?

Aug. 26th, 2008 10:08 am
csberry: (DW-Please)
I've been working on new custom themes for the FanMail website based on color schemes of various schools and organizations that share names with our first domains we are testing (Chargers and Mountaineers). For the most part, I've been changing colors on the templates I have already. At the end of the week, I was able to determine some things in CSS other than just the colors and started playing around with other variables. I've now done a couple dozen themes and my creativity is now encouraged enough that I'm getting frustrated with my incomplete knowledge of What the Hell I'm Doing.

I had Andy bring over his The Missing Manual for CSS, but didn't know if anyone else on the lovely flist might have any other suggestion for a CSS newb.
csberry: (DW-Please)
Articles like THIS give me hope that I will be able to dance on Microsoft's grave in my lifetime.
csberry: (Default)
For a month or so now, the internet connection at the house has been a bit sluggish. The past few days I've been measuring the speed via CNET and bandwithplace.com with consistent results of 338kbps. I'm signed up for the 1.5Mbps package, so I decided to spend this morning getting the bandwidth I should.

I disconnected EVERYTHING plugged into the phone jacks (all computers, both DVRs, phones, and even cut off the power to the Wii since it has wireless). I did a test and got the same 338kbps. I call up the ISP and they get 330kbps to my LAN connection. I then grab my garden extension cord, walk to the network connection on the side of my house, and hook up the modem directly to the NID. The ISP guy is getting 1.4Mbps to the modem. There is something between the NID and inside affecting this. FUCK!

For sake of comparison, I then grab my laptop and plug it into the modem. I do some base bandwidth tests and see about 1.1Mbps. I then go into the pantry where there is a phone jack on the opposite side of the wall as the NID. I get 1.1 there. I go to the phone jack in the kitchen near the b'fast nook - 1.1. I go to the jack in the living room - 1.1. I go to the outlet to which the modem is usually connected and work my way out (into wall, from phone line out of wall, from the Back-UPS, from the phone line out of the backups) and continue to see 1.1.

I then go around the house, plug one thing back into the wall, test (see 1.1 again), plug in another thing, test, etc. Even with everything plugged back into the wall and modem/router, I am getting 1.1 where I was getting 338k just an hour or two before. The only thing that affected the test result was when I turned on the Wii - it dropped from 1.1 to 900k.

My best guess right now is that something was corroded in the NID, the connection needed to be wiggled, or something that was solved by my poking around. *shrugs* While the internet is much better (it's nice not having to pause a video on YouTube to allow enough of the file to download so I can watch a video w/o stalls), it feels like an empty productivity with the two or so hours I spent on this issue today.
csberry: (cocktails)
Okay, I'm still going through GIMP tutorials (it's been a bitch finding one that matches my version - too many times I've been part way through doing something and get to instructions that don't jibe with what I have). I'm scanning through the first few sections to see if there's anything I notice that differs from the versions I've already read when I had to stop and laugh.

This is from the section on how to do straight lines:
This tutorial shows you how you can do straight lines with GIMP, using a feature called the Shift Key...(pictures of keyboard w/ Shift key circled, same with a mouse with its buttons circled)...The invention called the typewriter introduced the Shift Key. You generally have 2 of them on your keyboard. They look something like the picture on the left. They are located on the left and right sides of your keyboard. The other invention, called the Mouse, was invented by Douglas C. Engelbart in 1970. These come in different varieties, but always have at least one button located on them. They are located on your desk, or sometimes on a mouse pad.
csberry: (Default)
**I must quickly admit that this post is lazy, but I'm quite busy with other things and was hoping to segue to doing rather than investigating when I'm done w/ my current tasks.**

What software should I use for making animated gifs? I've pondered this capability for making LJ icons, but the prospect of making animated ads for our websites pushes up the priority of my doing this.

I have the usual suite of Windows and Office programs. Does Draw or something else do this? Publisher? I use Ubuntu most of the time, so any open-source program suggestions are VERY welcome!
csberry: (Default)
I've been using Ubuntu for a year now and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Uh...90% of the time.

The fact that the coloring for videos is all wrong on my laptop is frustrating, but not a big deal. After discovering this weekend that my favorite radio station in the US (WRLT/Lightning 100) in Nashville is streaming, I became giddy with the thought of listening to the station while working. Alas, while the site has suggestions on how it is supposed to work with Linux machines, I've had no luck getting the feed to work for me.

I'm still learning the OS and how to do various things, but I do hit the wall where the open-source community comes up with a solution that requires code/programming knowledge I have yet to acquire. One day, I will live a fairly annoyance-free existence on Ubuntu. Hopefully that day will come sooner.
csberry: (Default)
Things started to get really busy with work a few weeks ago. The next thing I knew, I was waking up, taking the laptop into the bathroom while I meditated, set it on the table in the kitchen while I did b'fast, carry it with me the working day, and tote it from the kitchen to the hallway when sending the boys from dinner to bath/bed. I wasn't doing all work...but doing stuff on the laptop was all I was doing all day.

So, I've been taking a bit of a vacation from my laptop. When I'm done with a check of emails/news/LJ, I'm off to do something else around the house. If I wanna come back on in an hour or whatever, that's fine. I just have to get back off as soon as I'm done.

I am enjoying a bit more "eye" TV time than "ear" TV time.

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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