About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Tuchman's Law: The fact of being reported mulitplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five- to ten-fold (or any figure the reader would care to supply).

Barbara Tuchman, historian



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 7/16/2018

Totals
Posts - 2509
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,063,655

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 375

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 10:04 AM Pacific


  03:07 PM

I work for a company that's often accused of having evil intentions. If it does, that doesn't manifest at my level: we obsess about trying to do the right thing for customers, even if we don't necessarily achieve this to the level of everyone's satisfaction. As but one example in my little world, we really do go to extreme lengths to try to be sure that our text is a) readily translatable into multiple languages and b) comprehensible to non-native speakers who do choose to read it in English. (More on that in the near future.)

What brings this to mind is an ongoing, um, discussion that I've been having with the customer service (I did not actually write customer "service," although I was tempted to) at HP. I bought an HP Pavilion[1] a couple of months ago for work stuff. I specifically wanted a multi-processorcore box that had lotsa-lotsa RAM because I want to run Vista 64-bit on it. The computer actually came with Vista Home 64-bit. Begone, said I. I flattened the box, loaded Vista Ultimate 64-bit, and began configuring it with goodies like Virtual PC.

A couple of weeks after I got the box, it refused to boot. After some diagnostics and some hardware switcheroo, I determined that I had one bad bank (2GB) of RAM. With that block of RAM in it, the machine froze; when I removed the memory unit, all was fine except, of course, that I was short 2GB of RAM.

I contacted (via chat) HP support. After about an hour of highly intermittent chatting, I was instructed to do what I had already done (test all the bits of RAM). This was interspersed with crap like "Don’t worry I will help you" and "I will pull up the records and resolve the issue."

Anyway, long story short, HP's one and only proposed solution is that I box up the computer and send it back to them so that they can "bench" it. They can't just send me the replacement RAM because it's "delicate." (Not so delicate, of course, that I couldn't swap it around inside the box per their instructions.) Oh, and before I ship them the box? Please restore it to its factory state. Like, put Vista Home back on, yadda-yadda. Oh, and by the way? Allow 15 working days for turnaround.

I opined to them that this was not a satisfactory solution. We've been back and forth a number of times since, which is to say, I get to keep explaining the situation to a succession of different support people who keep telling me that a) I need to send back the box and b) if they haven't heard from me soon, they'll close the case as resolved.

As I say, we at least take a shot at helping customers. HP's policy seems to be to basically to make it so inconvenient for the customer to pursue a fix that yon customer gives up and goes away.

Which I probably will do. I figure that if they want me to pack up the box and ship it, I might as well pack it up and return it to the dealer. I lose nothing, I think, except further opportunities to get the same brush-off I've gotten so far.

Who designs a process like this? Who executes it? Does this process, like, work for HP?


[1] I so am not giving them link traffic here.

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