I recently bought a shiny new computer and 22" monitor, and all was good.
Until it arrived…
It apparently booted, but the monitor didn't come on, so I dialed up Dell tech support around 2pm. Around 3pm I got a courteous and knowledgeable Indian, despite it being around 3am there, who politely told me they only service -Dell- computers.
OK, seriously, mine was a Dell, but what happened next was at least as embarrassing for those who are prone to such feelings. I told Satish my problem, and he asked if the cable between the computer and monitor was firmly connected – it was. He had me take off the cover and make sure the video card was in place – I did. But I discovered that a one gig memory stick was not seated, so for one brief, shining moment, it was Ted-1, Satish-0.
Then he had me make sure the power cord was firmly plugged in. I remember saying something to the effect of, "What power cord?"
Turns out I overlooked one of the top two cords, and I'm experienced, so I can't recommend you set up anything more complicated than a toaster.
But in my defense, the monitor's instructions referred to three, count 'em, possible cables for connecting the monitor, analog, digital, and dual monitor. It made no reference to some stinkin' power chord, so Satish promised to submit a suggestion for updating the monitor's manual. The final score: Ted-1½, Satish-1.
I had heard some bad things about Vista – namely that it was slow and not an improvement on XP, and I can confirm that's true… and I've never even used XP. Doesn't matter, Vista isn't even an improvement on Windows 98. Using it reminded me of when I thought it was a great idea to try my wife's "Tweezie" to my neck hair – it's great in some respects, but the pain seems to override the benefits.
I can sum up my main problem with Vista in a word: everything.
For example, Vista automatically detects your network. Great Right? But what if it doesn't? Then it seems your only recourse is to swear until you're hoarse or your wife screams at you to shut up whichever comes before the frying pan to the head.
I tried installing Winamp. Vista wouldn't let it be the default MP3 player. Sure that's easily solved, I just don't want to be tying up the phone lines to India in case someone else has a real emergency involving that country. Besides, there's nothing wrong with Media Player… if you're on LSD and want to trip to kaleidoscopic images that you can't turn off. I couldn't even begin to picture discussing that with an Indian. Does that make me a bigot?
Because I'm certain some Indian would be delighted to help. They seem to really love Americans. They literally take all the time you want, so Dell gets high marks on customer service, but do you think Indians will realize they don't need Dell? If they do, can all of America be far behind?
Dell's Indians also get great marks for cheerfulness in the face of a return. If there were Customer Service Oscars, they'd sweep. I got so many notices – that they'd pick up my return, that they'd picked up my return, that it was enroute, that it had been received, that it was being processed, and that credit was issued – that I considered telling Yahoo that Dell was a spammer.
Then there were the phone messages from India, each one referring me to the email confirmation if I needed further assistance. In fact, if I needed anything at all, I should call or write. Heck, my parents never even said that.
So I was sorry to have to send the computer back. My 22' monitor was clearer than looking through my window, though in defense of my window, the last time it was cleaned was never.
But Vista's problems were just too much. I had told one technical Indian… er… I mean an Indian who was also a tech guy, not someone who was technically an Indian but who could have been mistaken for, say, a Sri Lankan, that in my opinion as a Windows 98 Grand Master, Vista was not ready for prime time. He agreed!
Remember the message I got telling me Vista was not properly shut down? I had absentmindedly turned off the master switch and Vista "restored your computer to a previous state" – and that state turned out to be the Stone Age.
If you accidentally turn off 98, nothing happens, but with Vista it rolls back the registry to an earlier time and literally wipes out every EXE file you'd added since that date. So you have to reinstall programs – after you re-download them – after you find them again. I can't tell you when I had a more enjoyable three hours.
My wife wouldn't say the same. There was an awful lot of screaming – 75% of it was me, 20% was my wife, and amazingly, 5% was from India, though it was VERY cheerful.
And this happened more than once, sometimes not because of my stupidity… I don't think. I began to hold my breath that I'd get "that screen" on each startup. It's worse than the blue screen of death – it's black and white -as in "skull and crossbones," and it tells you Windows is "restoring" you to that earlier time whether you like it or not.
I know some smart ass is saying, "that's why you backup." Yeah, well, you'd need to backup every few seconds, and you didn't hear that from me, it's straight from Rajiv… or was Sundar?
I also found that Microsoft replaced Outlook Express with Windows Mail. The only "improvement" I could see was that Windows Mail will no longer access Hotmail. No problem, just install OE? Now what kind of a company would Microsoft be if it allowed that?
The final straw was over something seemingly minor – I clicked on a help file for some freeware and Vista wouldn't open it – and it was Microsoft's own format. The message said it was the old style help file and they no longer support it. Vista actually made me hate Microsoft, and I'm a stockholder!
I just couldn't be saddled with unknown problems just waiting for the right moment to give me strokes. As I told that last Indian who told me this was a software problem, not a hardware one – "but, Thomas (yes, that right… who do they think they're fooling?), Thomas, the two are inseparable."
I'm consoled that I'll be able to buy a better computer with a bigger monitor later for less money, but now I'm back using the slowest computer around. It would actually be faster to get on Vox if I walked to the library to access a public computer… even if I had to wait for a vacancy.
I had talked to ten little Indians in all. If you want to know why companies are exporting jobs, call India. Those guys are more upbeat, knowledgeable, and helpful than Americans, and they do it for less. I bet I could call India and get a pizza delivered faster than Dominos.
Meanwhile, In Britain, they found that upgrading school systems from Windows XP to Vista would increase costs and create software compatibility problems while providing little benefit. Wouldn't it be ironic if it came to pass that the only people using Vista are Indians?