Monday, December 29, 2008

VICTORY!!! (and a refund)


So after speaking on the phone with a sizable portion of southern Asia and nearly popping a blood vessel in my head, the situation with HP was resolved.

After being on hold and being bounced around to several different people, I finally got someone. He tried to explain to me that I had a warranty, but my computer was broken, and now I would need to be charged for it.


I finally got a supervisor on the line who took care of the problem for me.

Apparently, they did have my 2 year warranty on file, but I hadn't gone online and activated it. (I guess the $200 charge and confirmation that I wanted the package wasn't enough).

They were using another warranty, which was automatic, but somehow didn't cover my computer. To be fair, Joe did warn me earlier I needed to do that--though I did not remember to do so : /

A couple of things I learned from this debacle:

1.) The word "escalate" can do wonders for your situation. Joe gave me this wonderful tidbit of advice and it worked.

When the customer service rep did not answer me for the 4th time if I had a full coverage warranty (and explained to me for the 3rd time that my warranty didn't cover me because my computer was broken), I demanded that the situation be escalated to a supervisor.

He continued to try to make the same explanation, and I continued to say I wanted the situation escalated. The supervisor got my warranty registered and is getting the refund completed.

2.) Make sure that your warranty is activated. Joe warned me about this one. You figure that the $200 charge, clicking on the YES I WANT THIS OPTION, and the submit payment button would make the warranty happen. It's a stupid step, but it is still a step that would have saved me 3 hours today and had my computer back to me this morning.

Now time to make the rest of my day somewhat productive...and cancel my dream of being on the Clark Howard show.

HP Computer warranties make as much sense as Gary Busey.


So while I chill out a bit before calling HP customer service back, here is the basic situation:

My family, with help from Joe, got me a really nice computer last year. Joe helped get everything set up, including a 2 year warranty that would cover everything. Looking at the warranty, he was correct. This warranty covered just about everything that could happen to a computer, including demonic possession.

About a month ago, something happened to the computer. I was playing Warcraft, when suddenly the screen went crazy and froze up. I restarted. Screen went crazy again. I restarted.


The computer would turn on, but nothing would show up on the screen. After talking to tech support, I was able to get diagnostics to come up, but no Windows (or anything else).

After receiving recovery discs (that did not work), I was told to send my computer off to HP. When I called to check on my order status last week, I was told that my computer would ship on the 24th.

When I called today, I was told to grab my ankles and bite down on something.

Basically, my computer was being held because they had to fix the motherboard...and it would cost over $400.

"What was the point of the warranty?" I asked. "It is supposed to cover everything."

"Whoever told you that was mistaken," the customer support rep told me. He then went through the list of things that would be covered.

Apparently, it would have been much more beneficial for me to swim laps in a pool with the computer tied to my chest than for their motherboard to fry out inexplicably.

So after paying the charge, I am actually thinking of taking my mom's advice and going to Clarke Howard's website. This isn't just ridiculous...it's RiDONKulous.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun with the public school system: Reply All is not a suggestion.

Today, something beautiful happened. 

It began as a simple email from an employee that I do not know in the Charleston County School system. It asked if it were possible to leave work early if you come in early.

I'm guessing it wasn't a teacher unless things have really gotten out of hand.

The two things that make this email so magical are:

1. The entire email was written in the subject line, making it half the size of your inbox.
2. It was accidentally sent to the entire school district.

When this happens, a predictable and gloriously funny behavior pattern emerges.

The first step is confusion. May people respond to the rest of the school district asking "Why is this email being sent to me?" Others chime in with "me too" and "who is this?"

The next step is my favorite: anger.

I first went to see a live reaction by going to visit my friend and Laing chorus teacher, Andrea. Andrea is a very pleasant person and extremely intelligent, despite being from Ohio. When I walked into the chorus room and mention the gigantic, inadvertent chain email going around the school district, this was not the demeanor I was met with.

"AARRGGH!!! This is so stupid," she screamed. "IT MAKES ME WANT TO KILL BABIES!"

Well, she didn't say that. But it was the anger level she was giving off about the whole thing.

When I went back to my email, the anger from everyone in the district had begun to spill out into my inbox.

"Please stop sending reply to all!" authors pleaded as they hit reply all on their emails. The snowball effect was amazing.

Afterwards comes the pleas for sanity from district officials. What makes this step even more interesting is due to the original author typing the entire email in the subject line, inboxes are completely jammed with responses to the point that original emails with original titles can't get through.

"Subject: Cure for cancer found" could very easily go unnoticed. The district technology folks asked us to please not hit reply all to anymore emails. A very reasonable request...until people checking their email after lunch begin responding to their overflowing inboxes.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we are molding the minds of America's youth...send.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

IT'S OBAMA...now here are some bite sized appropiate reactions.


So America has elected its first black President and in my opinion, he will be a great one. But despite the euphoria of a Harvard educated man being put into office, I have been distressed by some of the reactions of folks, including his supporters. Here are my thoughts:

To the religious right:

McCain cheated on his wife at least once that we know of and probably many more times (if you listen to those who knew him during his first marriage). Obama has a beautiful family he has stayed faithful to. Stop saying Obama is the anti-Christian choice; you are embarrassing us.

To the liberal left:

Stop smiling so much. We got a smart guy in office to fix a mess you helped to create by:

1. Greenspan (a democrat) making an error in, as he said, "how the world worked," that got us into the credit crisis.

2. Having people like Michael Moore keep Bush in office by galvanizing the right.

To Michael Moore:

Thank you for keeping your mouth shut this time around. Kerry was doing fine in the polls until you made your stupid movie full of half truths and lies.

A 300 + lbs man shouldn't be making a movie on health care, and a man who owned and profited off stock in Haliburton, while saying that stock investing and oil companies are evil, shouldn't be making movies about government corruption.

To the Gay Rights Movement:

Hopefully, you guys will no longer be used and abused as a distraction when there are issues out there that truly affect all of us (like our credit crisis or our 2 wars).

However, please use this time to heed my previous advice. Next gay pride parade that any of you hold or participate in, try walking down the street in what you wear to work. Show your financial and societal impact. Grinding on each other in buttless chaps/drag to 80's music does not make me or most any sane person feel a kinship with you.

To the Racists:

He is smarter than you. Try and tell me that he is the exception to most black people, and I will take you to a NASCAR race so we can learn about white folks.

To Jesse Jackson:

Please shut up and go away. When you were crying and looking for the camera so they could see it, I was reminded that you have probably done more to divide races then unite them...and you never apologized for your behavior during the Duke LaCross Team scandal.

To America

Whether you like him or not, in what other country could any type of minority be ELECTED to office in a near landslide, especially 4 years after his polar opposite was there? 

We live in a great country, and my bet is that Obama is gonna be fantastic. Even if you don't agree, give him a chance. 

Heck, Bush got 8 years.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why big time sports writers are wasting your time and money.


So today, the Atlanta Falcons moved to 5-3 under the play of their amazing rookie QB, Matt Ryan and a cast of other great player makers.

I will admit, I did not see this coming.

But check out this article from AJC writer Mark Bradley from before the NFL season began.


Looks like he will be wrong, but do you see how he actually used logic and intuition based on observation to make his predictions?

Here is another one that shows even further that he sees something different about these Falcons.


Now here are the hot shot ESPN writers take on the Falcons for this season:


Notice the emphasis on sounding hip and flippant rather than actual...you know...RESEARCH and REASONING. These guys didn't even really look at the Falcons so much as assume that because they had a rookie QB and bad prior season, it would continue to be that way.

Now here is what really ticks me off. Mark Bradley, Joe, and myself all could tell that the Falcons would definitely not be as bad as ESPN, Sporting News, ect. said. Mark Bradley learned it from actually watching the researching the team during the preseason. Joe and I learned it from reading his articles and very lightweight research.

So what the heck are these hot shots at ESPN being paid to do? They surely make more working at ESPN than Mark Bradley does; Joe and I don't get paid at all for looking up football news.

Yes, going to or AT LEAST READING ABOUT the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, or Cincinatti Bengals training camp may not be terribly fun, but it is what you are PAID to do, not something to take as a hobby and screw up. completely.

The NBA Atlanta Hawks are currently 2-0, despite "expert" predictions of a terrible season being inevitable.  Maybe it's just something against Atlanta :(