Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dude... Your Gettin' A Dell...

Well I am typing on my new Intel Dual Core system and it's kind of strange. Buying a Dell was on a kind of "My Name Is Earl" list of things I thought I would never do. And then good old Mike Dell had to go and buy Alienware. Drat and curses foiled again.

You see I worked at Gateway, okay an outsourcer for Gateway but you know how that goes, and I stayed loyal a long time. I mean I knew the way the Restoration Discs worked, I knew the secret numbers and phrases to bypass level 1 support. And honestly at one time they were actually good machines. I am still a sort of fan of their laptops, however, they are just repackaged Toshibas. Which you can land cheap at Best Buy from time to time.

Anyway, back to a possible point, the lads at UPS in my area need a serious tthrashing. I called in a favor at work so I could be home to setup the new testing rig. I used some time I had laying around for just such an occasion. And I sat in front of my TV playing Xenosaga 2 [almost finished too] wating for my two 28 pound and one 48 pound box to come. It did.. at 4:07. Or at least that's the time the auto response phone maze gave me when it informed me that my major purchase had been dropped off at our complex office. The VERY THING I was trying to avoid mind you.

Now if I was not paying attention then it's my fault right? Well I had the sound nearly off. The dog never barked and this brown costumed ninja placed the "Sorry Charlie" sticker on my door without a sound. Amazing. . simply amazing. I was going to chalk it up to them not wanting to deliver my system to a second floor unit, however, I have a first floor garage and the fellow could have dropped and run off very easily. Instead he dropped it off alright. A half a mile in the front of my complex. Sigh..

I found out later that our local UPS does this all the time. He left a 2 pound box of Diabetic supplies up front once a few weeks ago. Good Grief!

So I landed a XPS 400 Media Center XP machine. I got it on one of those Dell deals you see on the TV.. until April 9th it says by the way. But I also landed one of those weekly specials that fall between the hours of 12:00 PM and 12:01 PM. Funny thing about Dell is that you could do the same quote four times in four hours and get four unique results. Well I spun the wheel, bought a vowel and guessed the puzzle correctly. And Vana showed me this..

Intel Dual Core 2.8
1 GB 533 MHz [DDR I think] RAM
256 NVIDIA 7300LE Turbo
Sound Blaster Music 5.1
160 GB 7800 HDD
Dual DVD Drives w/one Dual layer RW
20 inch Ultra Sharp Widescreen LCD [running with DVI at the moment]

The out of the box experience has it's moments. Non visually the thing you have to look out for is the non speaking Dell ULA with your Express number for tech support. The screen says in nice hard to read text that the number is also under the Dell Accessories folder as well. But you wouldn't know that if you didn't have someone on hand to read it to you.

Now as another aside I was impressed that the speaker cabeling, and a few other odds and ends, had tactile markings. So you could figure out which line was which.. from the multi colored text diagram. Honestly though even sighted individuals need help with 5.1 though.

I had not planned on buying a new system so soon but yet so far away from Vista. then microsoft had to go and have it's self a little meltdown. And then I was asked to be on a panel at this year's NFB National Convention in Dallas.. and well I needed a testing rig at home in order to really do things right. Weak excuse? Nope. I was running off my Toshiba laptop as the dedicated home system of choice when the video card went bad on my old P IV 5 year old Gateway. It was time to move on and Dual Core sounded nice. And I guess I am a sucker for a sale. But I hear that after this big blow out is done wait on buying until after the "Education Window". This is the golden time where parents buy their deamond spawn computers for college and some companies raise their prices by 10% during the mid April to late July period. To quote Connect Four "Pretty Sneaky Sis..".

Now here's the best and funniest part of the story. Do you know when I called to verify the status of the video card with some Assistive Technology makers? Yep.. today around two hours hours before Mr. Brown dropped my stuff into apartment complex limbo. Boy does that say a lot for Mr. AT over here doesn't it? One conversation with tech support resulted in this line of dialog..

"Humm.. We tested the 6800 but we think it should work. Let us know how it goes could you?"

With this information on hand I decided to just load one program for now and fall back to the "count three and pray" method. Zoom Text is stable and running pretty darn good. the text is so clear that I disabled xFont. I think if I turn it on bold the screen will burn the Start button into the wall behind me.

Okay.. enough personal stuff for now. They all can't be juicy gossip or wild rumor or accusation all of the time.

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