Saturday, December 19, 2009

HumFisheKu For December

Love, sometimes I see...

Can be hard to find, unless...

One loves one's Self well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sprint, The Palm Pre, and Tethering

First, let me speak frankly: I Am A Palm Pre User and Sprint PCS Customer! I'm on a plan that includes everything for about a hundred bucks a month, enjoy using my Pre, and am loathe to switch to any other carrier at this time because of the quality of the service I currently have.

That said, I think it's imperative to understand that there is a basic functionality that the Pre is lacking, which, in The Humble Fishe's opinion, needs to be remedied.

That is the ability to 'tether' the Pre to a computer, either via a USB cable or a Bluetooth wireless connection. The Pre has the technical ability to do these things, as it--like all data devices--has an internal modem that connects it to the network for using all the wonderful features--like the Pre's great web browser--that are so data-intensive.

Still, Sprint hasn't developed something like a simple add-on plan to provide for tethering on the Pre. This doesn't make sense from a marketing perspective or a technical perspective. Sprint has a device one can buy and use on a special plan that allows for five computers to connect to it via a localized, short-area-coverage, wi-fi connection.

Five computers! So if Sprint is worried about all those Pre users out there who might use tethering on their devices (Hypothetical) clogging up the data network, then why offer a device that can do it for five?

The Humble Fishe's Gentle Suggestion for Sprint: All of your customers who use the Pre understand about marketing, for most of us are very savvy at understanding cellular networks and handhelds, and the limitations of both.

What we don't always comprehend, is why such a basic feature like tethering--either via USB or Bluetooth--is unavailable on such an advanced device like the Pre?

Answering this question would help a lot of us--both technical users and laymen alike--comprehend where Sprint--our chosen carrier--is going with their thoughts. It also would help if you'd ask us--on the forums, especially--what we'd like to see and what features we'd like to use.

The way The Humble Fishe sees it, based on what I've read on the forums, as well as my own personal thoughts on the matter is this: Tethering Is Needed On The Pre.

That's all I'll say on this matter, out of politeness and respect. I've shared my Humble Thoughts on the matter. Sprint...The Rest Is Up To You.


Thanks for reading...THF

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Spirit Dwells

It's been a while since I could say in a heartfelt manner that I was calm enough to sit down and write something down without trepidation or fear of reproach--reproach from myself, not anybody else.

I've been working on developing my spiritual side, and it seems to have paid off recently. My spiritual life is quite eclectic, as I draw from many new and old spiritual pathworkings. Neopaganism plays a major role these days, as do many other Earth-Based spiritual paths. I draw a small amount from Christianity through my Episcopalian upbringing, obtaining from that experience my sense of community and service-to-others.

Together, all these things are coalescing into helping me become more Aware (relating to Consciousness) of myself, my world, and others within those worlds, both physical and spiritual.

My wife and I happened to have the pleasure of visiting a wonderful new-agey, witchy-type store in Kansas City, Missouri that goes by the telltale name of Aquarius--an apt moniker for a wonderful shop that caters to not only the New Age and modern neopagan set, but also for those with a love of fine, handcrafted jewelry.

Some of the items we found on this visit (we visited once before a few weeks earlier) were a simply delightful, handmade cape made from black, shiny acetate-silk, adorned with little owls with painstakingly-applied faux-jewel eyes on purple material of the same type. This same cape comes with drawstrings that allow a hood to be made, and I have to say, it's striking on my wife, who was pleased as punch that the cape was still there. Needless to say, we picked it up at once!

We did a lot--and spent a lot ;-)--on this trip. The highlight of the visit was getting our auras photographed and having Barbera, Aquarius' resident expert Intuitive, interpret both our photographs. The results were meaningful and helpful beyond words. Also delightful was a tarot reader

Aquarius is really two stores in one, the other store the jewelry side called Vulcan's Forge, which has many interesting, one-of-a-kind jewelry products.

Many other items too numerous to mention exist within the walls of this interesting emporium. Web sites are below:

http://www.aquariusbooks.com/

http://www.vulcans-forge.com/links.html

Give yourself a treat if in the Kansas City, Missouri area and give Aquarius/Vulcan's Forge a visit.

More later. . . THF


HumFisheKu For October 2009

Storms have abated,

Processes make themselves clear,

Soullular phone calls.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

HumFisheKu For September, 2009

Dancing in the dark,

Feet molding to small points of,

Echoed, shifting light.

My Opinion on Veoh's Recent 165-Country Lockout

Veoh started out as a decent video site, with very little difficulty in watching what was available on their servers. Then, the problems began.

It began when Veoh started to get into what I like to term the 'Secondary Software Scenario.' This happens when, instead of just linking the video, itself, and letting the user use their browser's own embedded video viewing capability to handle the matter, they just had to have people use 'yet another piece of bloat code' to do what is, essentially, a fairly easy-to-manage operation.

The ads are acceptable, and, although being the usual annoyances that ads are, remain a good source of revenue so that the general public can watch their moving pictures for free.

Now for the improper part. The Internet is just that: 'Inter'. Not Intra (meaning, 'from within') but rather 'Inter' (mutually, together), meaning a collective of computer users from around the globe.

The People of the Internet are not unthinking, uncaring individuals. We are dynamic, broad-minded, and desirous of the countries of the world to foster the ability to foment peace, clean up their collective acts--be they environmental or social--so that they get along and are respectful of their neighbors.

Having to have region codes on DVD's is bad enough. Censorship is bad enough without that kind of nonsense keeping openness from becoming a reality in our collective lifetimes. Too many people want to control others, exclude others from what they believe to be 'their share of the pot' and 'their information.' There is altogether too much of the attitude of "I know what's best for you, you can't watch that, watch this instead."

The People of the Internet are not morons! We are not automatons living in a turn-of-the-century 'Metropolis' vision! We represent the brightest Minds of the Twenty-First Century! We are tired of censorship in the media, weary of media industry associations working to place electronic limitations on digital files--both audio and video--and are equally tired of prejudice of one country over another.

All that said, here is the crux of my comment: Veoh's limiting of it's audience to only 33 countries smacks of disrespect, prejudice, and bigotry! It looks to me as if Veoh's Board of Directors let marketing have 'Carte Blanche' on the management side of the company, something that, if true--although I am not accusing anyone--smacks just a tad bit aloof of the Sarbanes-Oxley doctrine.

If not, then with what are we left? Simple commercial prejudice based on nothing more than ad-money intake? If so, that's a crappy way to run a business, Pure, Plain, and Simple!

Ad-revenue is certainly a major part of any online enterprise, and I see plenty of sites doing it and doing well, without any repositories of bloatware-based video and music players, crappy ad-runs, or region-limiting (Read: IP Address Range Blocking!) practices. Limiting your viewing audience doesn't increase revenue, it limits it.

Limiting a readily-available, worldwide audience is the realm of morons; egos-gone-bad and egotistical marketing practices, throwback, pseudo-idealism--which is not idealism at all, but another descriptive for prejudice!

Veoh, in limiting it's reach within a medium that spans the entire Planet Earth, builds bridges between nations, and fosters congeniality among individuals and groups, is doing nothing more onerous than showing forth it's own limiting--and limited- view of the World.

A view that shows a desire to continue a prejudice that should have long since died out.

My Gentle Suggestion To Veoh: Understand that the Internet is the best hope for peace the Planet Earth has ever had, relative to communications.

Instant translation of web pages into one's own language, the ability to share one's ideas with others of like--and dissimilar--minds, via the advent of audio and video, is a technological masterpiece of innovation that might have fostered less wars and more understanding a long time ago had it then been around.

Remove the limit of what countries can watch your videos. The 'net is made for everyone, not just 'a select few with money.' Even those in smaller countries have 'something to spend' and might just subscribe to your services, should they be available. Even YouTube has a subscription model for premium content and allows that expansion. (Makes you think about just who your competition is, eh? If not, it should!)

I wish Veoh the best of everything in the present, and the near and far future, for as long as this type of medium is present. Technology changes so fast these days, who's to say that we won't be direct-downloading live streams into our noggins by mid-century, with the full realization of just what that means, as well as the ethical and moral understandings to go along with it.

Should that technical advent come to pass, there won't be any room for exclusivity for the type of marketing prejudice in which you--Veoh--are currently engaged.

Wake Up! Open Up! Enough is enough!

Warm Regards,
The Humble Fishe

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HumFisheKu for June

The Bravest of all,

Having a choice before them,

Choose the safest path.

***although***

The safest pathway,

Although being inviting,

May not help me grow.

...and as of today, I just don't know...

Monday, June 22, 2009

June - Catching Up

June, already! Last post was late May, so I want to bring everyone up to speed on what is going on out here in The Humble Fishe's world.

One item of note is my search for a suitable job, one that's tailored just for me, so I don't have to continue searching forever and ever, going from position to position. Have any of you had to deal with that? Hopefully, not, as it's a pain in the ass when you're 43 years old, learning disabled, and not able to fit in to a normal college curriculum.

So what do I do? I've gone to truck driving schools, worked with Vocational Rehabilitation in my local area to try to get me retrained *after* the truck driving school fiascoes of blog posts past, and I went to college last Fall at a nearby technical college for computer programming; all that last one got me was a new loan, which got me a new computer (my old one broke) but left me cold so far as the educational element of it was concerned.

I've decided to take out no more loans for education. Either I pay for it directly, someone else pays for it directly, or I go to school, gratis! I'm tired of the cost increases versus not-quite-enough-bang-for-the-buck in the United States education market--and let's face it folks! It's become a market first, quality or quantity of product, second.

I'm not paying for any more education that lacks substance, and I believe, based upon my own experience, that most modern education lacks a lot of substance. To me, it's mostly air, and low-oxygen-content air, at that!

--

Spiritually, I've been working on not-working-so-much. It seems more and more that I'm trying too hard to achieve when spirituality is one of those strange realms that works best when I'm not trying to achieve, but rather allowing things to come into my life as a river flows through the countryside. The river doesn't have to work, it just flows where the course of the riverbed directs it, and even the riverbed changes over time, and the river self-adjusts.

Automatic self-adjustment should be in operation all day, every day. If that were 'turned on' in my daily life, I believe that things would start 'flowing in,' just like a river!

Generally, in spiritually, I tend toward the neo-pagan/new-age sides of things, although by no means strict or the follower of any particular guru or instructor, creed or faith. However, this does not mean I lack either instruction, interaction, or a path to follow.

Hmmm. Just what does The Humble Fishe believe? I've never really discussed it here, so why not now? I believe that the 'school of direct spiritual experience' is the best teacher, and one's own personal interpretation of that experience is equally the best way to understand the unseen world of Human Consciousness.

It's not rocket science, folks! Too many rules equal too much dogma, and as the old saying goes, 'my karma ran over my dogma' many years ago! ;-)

Seriously, though, I'm not so flippant when it comes to desiring new and meaningful experiences in my spiritual--and physical--life at this point. 43 is no place to be treading water, but that's where I am. Luckily, Nature has allowed me the ability to fashion a 'spiritual antigravity platform,' so I no longer have to tread H2O in the spiritual sea. Nikola Tesla would've been proud! Carl Jung, too!

Well, on to other subjects.

--

The Work I Desire...Writing? I dunno...
-
Writing is another area I've been playing around in for a while. I'm working on a novel at the moment--the first of a six-volume series called 'The Sacred Dances of the Cosmos.' Archives will show a poem entitled My Beach©, which I am going to publish soon.

I actually wrote the poem well after I had started on the first volume--originally a one-book-story--which I've named The Light and Dark Moon Dancing. The story centers around Sam, a man of youthful middle-age who is drawn back to his beach front hometown in Michigan.

(THF Note: Michigan is my home state, and the events portrayed in the book take place near a lakeside town I used to frequent during the summers when I lived near there--the beach is awesome!)

Whether or not this project gets off the ground and yields up something tangible (read: money) remains to be seen. I'm still dealing with a lot of inner demons. Gads! Aren't all writers? Sheesh!

(Actually, though, writing is an area in which I'd really like to succeed, especially in New Age/Spiritual Fiction; and I'm not being flippant about that! -THF)

Well, that's it for now. More later on toward July.
Blessings and Light to Each and Everyone,
Warm Regards from The Humble Fishe

Sunday, May 24, 2009

HumFisheKu For May, 2009

Strewn upon the sands,

My boat has found it's safe shore,

My liferaft is beached!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Asus & Best Buy - Asus G50V-X1 Gaming Laptop - Service, Repair, Damage, Exchange, and Replacement Journal

Hello, Friends O' The Humble Fishe! Stephen here, asking everyone who happens across this post to please read it over and let me know what you think? Also, any *SOLUTIONS* that any of you fine blogger folk might have for me, would be welcome.

I bought an Asus G50V-X1 notebook computer from Best Buy Electronics in October of 2008. I developed a problem with it beginning in mid-March of 2009, and sent it out to be serviced on March 20th, 2009.

Due to the drawn-out nature of this issue, as well the repeated delays I've been experiencing, I decided to keep a log of my experiences on the Forums at www.notebookreview.com. Here is the link:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?p=4729784#post4729784


I update whenever there's a major change--such as a delivery, answer to a phone call or email inquiry, etc., or when I want to share my feelings if the experience has been somewhat stifling, a bit shady (my experiences with my local Best Buy store are a good example of the latter), or any other time I feel the information pertinent.

I've striven to keep this log as factual and as free of overtly-emotional language as possible, except where circumstances warrant such a response. Even then, I've done my best to be as polite as possible.

This matter has yet to be resolved, and the growing delays, excuses, and ineptitude--both on the part of Asus *and* Best Buy's representative staffs--are trying my patience. This has caused tremendous frustration, worry, and unhappiness, as I had read so many good things about Asus and their tech support and customer service being among the best in the world.

I am disappointed to say that I can not say that the above is--from my own perspective and experience--true in any way, shape, or form, in terms of overall experience. There have been some high points--such as my RMA (Return Material Authorization) processing going smoothly at all times--but these have been rare.

Considering just what had to be done, and considering my own personal level of expertise, I can heartily say that, were it not for the machine being under warranty, I could've done a better job, myself, rather than the half-assed tripe that Asus and Best Buy possess that passes for customer service.

What I can say is that I expect to receive a new-in-the-box, upgraded computer for all the trouble both Asus *and* Best Buy have caused me.

Enough said. I present to you the original forum post from Notebook Review's web site (www.notebookreview.com), pasted below:

-----------------------

[Update to Notebook Review (www.notebookreview.com) Forum Post Update, May 12th, 2009, Tuesday]

[BEGIN PASTE]

Re: How bad is the Asus support?
How bad is Asus support? Well, I won't throw stones, but instead, just write down my list of experiences thus far.

My computer is a G50V-X1, purchased from a Best Buy electronics store in a suburb south of St. Louis, Missouri, in October of last year (2008).

The computer had been working flawlessly until mid-March of 2009, the problem being a loose center conductor on the left-side USB port. Deciding and thinking that the factory service center would probably be better suited to handled a motherboard replacement (the location of the USB connector), I decided to go through Asus Technical Support, rather than through the 'Geek Squad' division of my local Best Buy retailer.

I have two choices on service here: Asus Repair or Best Buy's Warranty Service.

First Choice: Asus Repair
Repair Facility: Asus Indy, Jeffersonville, Indiana

Log of Service:

FIRST INCIDENT

1. March 20th, 2009: Received RMA from Asus via Email.
2. Shipped computer out via local FedEx depot. (Asus sent Ground label instead of standard FedEx overnight. Shipped anyway.)
3. March 30th, 2009: Received email indicating my computer shipped out, on it's way back to me.
4. Received computer back within 2 days or so of March 30 email.

REPAIR SUMMARY: Repair Order Document in box indicated a new motherboard was installed. However, upon inspection, left USB center pin was still loose--tighter than original, but still loose. 'Loose' here refers to a vertical, 'up and down' movement of the USB port center conductor pin, indicating weak anchoring, either in the aluminum body of the port, itself, or to the motherboard, specifically. I don't know if this is particular to that motherboard, or just a bad lot of them at the factory; all other USB center conductor pins solid and tight.

Motherboard also reassembled incorrectly, in that the external WLAN slide-switch on the front edge of the G50V-X1 wasn't aligned with the motherboard hardware part. This alone brought on the need to obtain a 2nd RMA and once again ship it back to Asus Indy.

SECOND INCIDENT

1. April 1st, 2009: Had 'Live Chat' session with Asus Tech Support via Asus' web service portal.
2. April 2nd, 2009: Received RMA in Email
3. Shipped out via local FedEx depot, this time with proper overnight label.
4. April 7th, 2009: Received email indicating my computer shipped out from Asus Indy.
5. Received computer in about two days.

REPAIR SUMMARY

G50V-X1 Damaged! OLED board cracked in two places, which I could see through the cover-glass, and also indicated by lack of ability to display anything properly, save for battery charge indication. Body of laptop also appeared warped toward the front-top of the laptop, just back from the OLED display.

The WLAN switch was properly aligned with motherboard part, at least.


GENERAL SUMMARY:

During both courses of shipping, I had used the original boxing and packaging. This included a foam 'pocket' the laptop came in, as well as a clear piece of rectangular plastic that covered the keyboard and another, similar piece of soft, spongy material that went on top of the plastic keyboard cover-film, used to protect the screen from scratches in shipping. (The rectangular, rubber-like piece is similar to the stuff that comes on paper-towel like rolls, used to keep cups and dishes from slipping in trailer and RV cupboards).

When I opened the outer, brown, corrugated cardboard original outer box, I then removed the box with the handle and the 'Woman With Sword' graphic on it. I then opened the top of the inner 'graphic' box, and found my laptop in a thin, plastic bag--not the foam pocket in which I shipped it to Asus Indy!--flopping about loosely between the cardboard end-pieces that keep it from moving up and down and side to side! Saying I was livid is being generous ;-).

In short, Asus Indy didn't pack it properly, resulting in damage during shipping, handling, or the OLED break happened on the bench. Maybe one of the technicians or shipping and receiving clerks dropped it, banged it, dropped a tool on it when the unit was apart, or something similar. I'll probably never know the truth of it, at this point.

What's even more irritating, is a talk I had with Asus Notebook Customer Service in California, in which the CSR with which I spoke admonished me to not send it in the original packaging 'if I ever wanted to see that box again' (referring to the 'Woman With Sword' box). Just in what kind of box did she expect me to ship it? Her attitude was condescending and I felt she took me for some kind of an idiot. Don't ship it in the same box??? Sheesh!

Continuing: Before I shipped it, I used a thick, black, Magic Marker to place control numbers, my name, address, and phone number, all over the inner cardboard pieces contained inside the 'Woman With Sword' graphic box, including the cardboard end-pieces for the computer, itself. This strategy was probably what kept anyone from messing with the box-in-general, as indicated by the presence of every one of my marked-up inner box-and-parts. Pity I didn't do that with the laptop's original foam pocket; I might've gotten the computer back in one piece--provided the OLED wasn't damaged in-house.

I called customer service once again, and was given a new case/incident number to give to repair. I have not acted on that yet, but it is good for 30 days.

----

Second Choice: Best Buy Electronics
Repair Facility: Best Buy's Asus Certified Repair Center, Louisville, Kentucky
Store Location: Jefferson City, Missouri

When I purchased my G50V-X1 from Best Buy, I also purchased an Accidental Damage Policy/Extended Warranty combo package for $99.99. Everyone who buys from Best Buy or any other retailer should have this kind of protection, period! It's worth every penny. . .at least, I'm hoping it is. Let me explain:

I took the laptop into my local Best Buy (not the store from which I bought it) and took it up to Customer Service who referred me to the Geek Squad bench. Just as luck (bad) would have it, the 'Agent' I usually talk to wasn't there, and there was only a 4-day-old newbie and an ASSistant Manager (no misspelling here ;-> *snark*) with which I had to (or-)deal.

Here's how this went down:

1. Brought computer to Geek Squad counter. Opened computer bag and procured G50V-X1.
2. Showed to Agent.
3. Agent requests help from Assistant Manager.
4. I show AM problems: a) Loose USB center pin b) Broken OLED screen c) Warped casing.
5. Manager says he'll have to send it back.
6. I tell him of my Asus Repair 'Sagas' and he says they can look at it at their 5-Acre repair facility in Louisville, Kentucky (saying this proudly).
7. I ask for new unit.
8. AM refuses to replace unit with new one.
9. I end up resignedly having to accept AM's refusal.
10. AM assigns rest of process to newbie Agent.
11. Newbie Agent processes my forms, I reluctantly leave my beloved G50V-X1 with Agent, but before I leave, talk again with AM, who assures me that the forms are all correct and that their boxes are 'made especially for laptops to keep them form moving around (after telling him about my Asus Return Packaging Material experiences).

12. I leave store, dejected and tired of people 'not taking responsibility' for my needs as a consumer of a device which cost me over thirteen-hundred dollars ($1300), paid for with student loan funds whilst I was attending technical college back in October of 2008!


Present Situation: I am waiting for Best Buy. I will update this thread as soon as I get my computer--either repaired properly or replaced--back from Best Buy's service center in Louisville. If this proves uneventful, I'll have my G50V-X1 back in a few weeks. If not, I still have the ASUS incident number with which to generate a new RMA and shipping label from Asus Repair.

April 11, 2009 - End of Log

--------

So that's it forum folks. Please share your comments, thoughts, opinions, and such. Anyone else having trouble? I know I sure am.

Warm Regards,
Firefishe

----------------------------------------------

UPDATE: April 15, 2009

Unit is currently still with Best Buy's servicing center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Will be calling my local store today to see how the repair/replacement is progressing.

--Firefishe

----------------------------------------------

UPDATE: April 18, 2009

Unit is back from Best Buy's Louisville, Kentucky Service Center.
Best Buy Corporate has authorized an exchange, however, issues still abound:

Consideration 1: G50V-X1 with the Nvidia 9700M GT GPU is no longer available. G50Vt-X5 with Nvidia 9800 GS GPU is available, but has no modem, which I use now and again.

Consideration 1a: Case color is atrocious, LED side lights are white, instead of blue, and the flame graphic on the lcd topside is just a bit too much for me; also, the trackpad buttons are now a ridiculous HP-ish 'super shiny'; I prefer the 'brushed stainless' buttons of the G50V-X1/9700M GT system much better. (It should be noted here that all other available G50V's still use the brushed stainless buttons and have a solid black lcd topside, with blue side LED's and the Asus Logo light and the LED blue stripe. Aesthetics were part of the original reason I bought the G50V-X1 from Best Buy back in October, 2008. As it was, it could be used for both business and personal use, but I'm not into fancy case graphics with what I want to do, wish to display to others. The orange/black lcd topcase or solid black version will work for me; weird graphics won't. I want solid colors or solid color combinations.

Consideration 2: Replacement, Black, G50V-X1 with the P8400/Centrino 2 processor and the newer Nvidia 9800 GS GPU is available from Best Buy's online store, but, once again, doesn't come with a modem, which I use now and again. It does, however, come with Bluetooth, so I could, in theory, wirelessly tether it to a cell phone, which, in theory, might make up for the lack of the modem. (I usually use the modem in motel rooms that don't have WLAN connectivity.)

Consideration 3. My local Best Buy may not give me a cash refund. They want to give me--if it comes to this--an in-store credit. I've been looking around online and have found some Asus resellers that have some systems that might work for me, but I need to have my money back from Best Buy to purchase them. I've found a good deal on the G50Vt-X9 from www.btotech.com for $1449.00 plus shipping which would do just fine--as long as btotech has them in stock, anyway. I'd have to add a bit from the $1424.xx I paid to Best Buy, but this is minimal. I'm tired of waiting for both Asus and Best Buy to get with the program and stop 'fluffy bunnying' my customer service issues around with semi-desirable attempts-at-solutions.

Consideration 4: The Asus G50V-X1 I currently own has been mishandled, misrepaired, mis-shipped, and either damaged in-transit or murdered at the Asus Indy repair center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. So far, I'm looking at mild case warpage/bending, OLED Display Glass Breakage, and who knows what else under the re-assembled parts I can't see. I do not feel that any type of repair should be effected upon this machine. Replacing it with a new, in-the-box G50V-xx-xx is what I want!

If anyone has any useful information on how to resolve this problem immediately, please email me at sabrown@inbox.com .

--Firefishe

---------------------------------------------

UPDATE: April 20, 2009 Monday
Jefferson City, Missouri Best Buy Store
--
Detail Log: Walked in to the Jefferson City, Missouri (MO) Best Buy store, ready to utilize an Exchange Authorization that Best Buy Corporate's Customer Service Division had provided for me--presumably after a very long and detailed email I wrote to them. Okay, fine. Let's exchange the G50V-X1 for another one, or perhaps something just like it.

I walk in to the store and make my way back to the Geek Squad counter. What followed immediately after my arrival just begs to be shared and put down in print, so here it is. My more immediate issues follow the next paragraph:

I observed, upon arriving at the Jefferson City, MO Best Buy Geek Squad counter, a person I knew to be a very new Geek Squad employee re-fitting a cover to the bottom of a customer's laptop. This employee seemed to be having trouble getting the little memory cover back in place, and I could see that the cover wasn't set flush in the proper manner. This employee was screwing down this one screw, causing obvious stress on the cover-in-quesition; I knew it had to be under stress, because there was a tab sticking out of the opening that wasn't seated well, and as the employee was screwing in the fastener (screw), the board was becoming *CONCAVE* as he was doing so. Eventually, he finally seated the cover correctly, but had it been my laptop, his ears would've been verbally boxed for doing such as shod-job to my machine. (I'm not doing business with this company, anymore; details to follow.)

I had decided, after mulling it over for a while, whether or not I was going to exchange my G50V-X1 for a new G50V-X5 (the one without the modem, but with the better video card and the horrid 'paint job') 8-P. Well, as I was getting tired of not having my G50V-X1 in a damaged and mangled condition, so, weighing the differences, I decided I'd 'go for graphics-cardage,' and get the G50V-X5. Or...the new Gateway P7805u. Or...An HP multimedia computer that also didn't look bad.

I was given a $1200.00 return credit, so I thought I'd shop around for a bit. I ended up at that store for five and a half hours (5.5 Hours) before I finally decided on one Gateway P7805u with a 1900x1200 resolution screen. The display model of this laptop is, quite probably, and older P7811-FX, left over from last year, even though it bears the tags of the P7805u. Now, I did some online searching while I was there, and through various Best Buy customer reviews, was able to ascertain that--depending on what UPC # the box has, one might get a P7805u with a 1900x1200 screen resolution, or one with a lesser, but still respectable, 1440x900 screen resolution. The four-numbers-and-one letter designation appears in the middle of the UPC code for the P7805u, and are as follows:

P7805u, 1440x900 UPC with "3908B" (appearing in the center part of the UPC code)
P7805u, 1900x1200 UPC with "3910B" (appearing in the center part of the UPC code)

As luck would have it (and I have not had a great deal during this experiences), Best Buy Jefferson City had one of the high-resolution models! It had been opened and the hard drive 'optimized' by the Geek Squad dept., and then re-sealed, and a sticker affixed accordingly, indicating the service that had been performed. Now, what this 'service' is, in actuality, is a $39.99 'extra fee' that the Geek Squad tech dept. tacks on to some laptops so 'people who want to have this service performed, don't have to do it after they buy it.' {paraphrasing of what a Geek Squad employee told me today}.

Continuing; The Best Buy Customer Service desk--just to the left of the Geek Squad counter at the opposite end of the service area in this store--let me open up the laptop box, take the Gateway P7805u out, and look at it. It seemed fine, save for a few forgivable finger smudges left by the Geek Squad folks. Fine, no problem. No apparent breakages, cracks, or anything else I could see. So I decided to get it.

It was a toss-up between the Gateway P7805u (1900x1200) and the Asus G50V-X5 with the 1366x768 screen, no modem, and flashy paint job. The Gateway's Nvidia 9800M GTS chipset and that gorgeous 1900x1200 display (of which I tweaked the display model's settings to find this out) won me over to the Cow Collective *Moo*...or at least, so I thought.

I bought my original G50V-X1 with student loan money, and my financial situation is quite sparse at the present time. Wifey works at a McDonald's and Hubby (Me) is on disability and unemployed (though looking) at the present time. I literally had zilch on my pocket, not even a penny to spare. I had enough gas in the car to drive to Best Buy and back home. I mention the previous so I may present the following:

________________________________________
Original Best Buy Receipt Details
--
$ 1249.99 G50V-X1 Laptop Computer
$ 99.99 1 Year - Accidental Damage Policy
$ 75.94 Tax @ 6.75%
_________
$ 1425.92

Hmmm. . .

$1425.92 - $1200.00 = $225.92 ($1200 being the amount I was given by Best Buy Corporate for the 'exchange') See anything even remotely fishy here?

***Counting the tax I paid, I was shorted $225.92 on this 'exchange.'!!!*** Now, if this was supposed to be an 'even' echange, why is this even an issue?

The reason this is an issue is that I was told that this was going to be an even exchange. My original computer--the G50V-X1 cost me $1249.99 plus tax! (I include the tax amount, as I had to pay it, and must consider it part of the *actual cost*, which is the only amount that we're interested here, anyway! Counting the Accidental Damage Policy @ $99.99, and the price of the computer @ $1249.99, the tax came to $75.94).

The Gateway P7805u was listed at $1149.99, $100.00 less than my original G50V-X1 @ $1249.99. To me, this indicates nothing being owed. Well, when they tallied everything up, I was told I had to pay additional tax of $18.xx (and some change, I forget the actual amount; I left in disgust after that.)

Tax for an exchange? For a computer that cost me $100.00 less than my original? I don't know what kind of 'equity' that Best Buy is thinking it's giving me, but it's definitely not fair by any means. $20 bucks may not seem like a lot of money, but when we're talking about an exchange that's supposed to be 'merchandise for merchandise,' and they tally up tax of $18.xx on the difference (there shouldn't be any 'active different,' as this was just supposed to be, again, a merchandise exchange, no money changing hands, at all!), it means everything!

Read also into this equation, is the fact that I've been out this laptop for over a month--no thanks to Asus! GADS! Who's going to accept responsibility for my problems? I'm taking as much responsibility as I possibly can. I can only do so much. When I'm faced with managers who constantly hand me off to subordinates, when I'm nickeled-and-dimed to death in a situation where I'm positively flat-broke (My wife's ATM card bought the gas!), no cash-in-pocket today (April 20, 2009 Monday), and where it's just supposed to be 'stuff for stuff,' and not 'stuff-with-a-money-kicker,' I just don't know how much I can take!

I took a lot today. When I got out to my car, I was in tears, due to the horrible way Best Buy Jefferson City nickeled-and-dimed me to the point of mental exhaustion. It was to the point where I was getting physically ill; I *had* to leave, due to the stress levels this store's employee's were causing me. Right before I left, I asked the manager 'what's the deal' about the tax issue. He responded with something to the effect of:

"Well, I'm not responsible for tax. It'd be nice if we all didn't have to pay taxes, but that's not my problem."

That's when I asked for my computer, and then walked out the door. I'm not going to go back to this store. There's another in the area I'm going to try, but I don't know at this point. I may not be able to get any closure on this issue, at least not with Best Buy Jefferson City, Missouri (MO).

My next alternatives are pretty much limited, but are, as follows:

+++DESIRABLE ACTIONS / POSITIVE OUTCOMES+++
1. Activate standing service order from Asus and get RMA; send to Fremont, California (of which I've heard shudders) instead of Jeffersonville, Indiana,
2. Contact Best Buy Corporate, go to the other nearby store and get a full and complete rufund, IN CASH! (Bank Acct. xfer, Visa Cash Card(s), what-have-you are fine.)

+++NOT-SO-DESIRABLE ACTIONS / POSITIVE OUTCOMES+++
3. Contact my local office of police and their fraud division, file complaint, get money back. (Issue: Can Take Longer Than Above Items.)
4. Sue. (She can be a nice lass, if treated properly and if she hasn't had too many unreasonable demands placed upon her ;->; mostly, this path is the most expensive and takes the longest. I don't really desire to wait.)

The bottom, numbers 3 and 4, are only as a very, very, last-ditch resort! I have no desire to encumber myself with such matters if I can avoid it. Additionally, I also don't think Best Buy Corporate was thinking that any type of monetary difference on a sub-$1249.99 to the original $1249.99 computer was going to even occur. I'm going to have to get back to Best Buy Corporate now and talk to them about this. Not today, though. It's late, I'm tired, and it's time for a pop (Michigan-ese for 'Soda' as it's called in Misery...Sorry, I meant Missouri.) At this juncture, I really wonder if there's any real difference.

I'll post again with another update as soon as the next stage occurs, which will occur soon, probably tomorrow!

Thanks to those who are following this diatribe, I appreciate it. *Toss* (Ice Cold Cherry Coke!) ;-)

Be Well Forum Folks,
Warm Regards,
Firefishe (Stephen Brown)
sabrown@inbox.com
---------------------------------------

UPDATE: April 22, 2008 Wednesday
--
As of the very early morning of Wednesday, April 22, 2009, I've sent an Asus VIP Member technical service request email, outlining the issues experienced, and my desired outcome. I include the email in it's entirety below:

To: tsd@asus.com.tw
From: sabrown@inbox.com
Date: 4/22/2009 5:19:10 PM
Subject: Notebook G50V
Apply date : 4/22/2009 4:34:26 PM

[Contact Information]
*Name : Brown
*Email Address : sabrown@inbox.com
Phone Number : 573-418-4627
City : Jefferson City
*Country : United States

[Product Information]
*Product Type : Notebook
*Product Model : G50V
*Product S/N : 87N0AS14721228G
Place of Purchase : Best Buy
*Date of Purchase : 2008/10/5

*Operating System : Vista 64bit

[Problem Description]
This notebook has been misrepaired, and damaged.

The left USB port (as if the laptop were facing you with screen/lid open) needed replacement, and the job was botched.

The motherboard had to be replaced--as this is where that particular usb port is located; the motherboard used to replace had both a loose, defective left-side-of-laptop USB Center Post, and the board component that mates with the plastic WLAN (wi-fi) switch was not properly aligned, instigating the need for a second shipping.

When I received it back, upon opening of the box, I observed that the original, protective foam pocket I sent the laptop in--and also used for the first shipping, was replaced with a thin, plastic bag. Even doubled over, this bag was not enough to protect the G50 from being loosein-the-box, even with the laptop's cardboard box supports.

I attempted an exchange with a local Best Buy store--the chain I originally purchased it from in October of 2008--on April 20th, but to no avail. None of the store's laptops have a model that can replace this one. I also was treated rudely and had my case handed off to just about every other employee in the store, anything to keep the managers from working with me.

I had decided upon an exchange, but as it was supposed to be 'item for item,' and they tried to hawk off a so-called 'optimization' package on the laptop chosen in the form of an additional $40.00 dollar charge, and tried to get me to pay tax differences on the exchange, I negated the transaction immediately, obtained my unrepaired laptop, and left the store.

Legal actions against this store may be pending.

In actuality, the store isn't responsible for the damage, Asus Indy (Jeffersonville, Indiana) is.

Let me be frank. Polite, courteous, but frank: This laptop has now been shipped SIX TIMES in one month! I've had enough. I could have done this repair thoroughly myself on my own bench, but did not as it is under warranty. I have modified, repaired, and replaced my own, personal laptop parts on many other machines; this was also when they were all out-of-warranty. I do not disassemble in-warranty machines, I should not have to do so, and don't as I--hopefully *obviously*--I won't void any active warranties I may have on any machine that is new.

Well, this machine isn't new anymore. It's broken, the casing is cracked, my OLED info screen is cracked, and who knows what else might lie broken underneath in the areas I cannot see.

So here's what I have:

1. Three repair cycles, two with Asus, one with Best Buy.

2. One botched repair/delivery cycle; One damaged computer/delivery cycle (2nd time *did* fix the WLAN switch issues, so I'll give credit where it's due) and a cracked/broken OLED display.

3. One out-of-Asus-repair-cycle with store chain where purchased, consisting of one mailing to (supposedly) certified Asus Service Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Exchange given via corporate consumer relations office after two emails were sent, and all details--including the Asus repair experiences--shared with Best Buy consumer relations staff member via email.

3a. Exchange impossible due to mitigating factors, including the possibility of in-store fraud, in the form of failure to exchange for similar equipment as corporate consumer relations indicated. as well as questionable financial handling of the matter.
(I am pursuing this matter separately at the local level, and it has nothing to do with Asus in any way, shape, or form.)

Okay, now that I've said that, what do I want? A new computer! A similar unit, new-in-the-box. NOTE: NO REFURBS ACCEPTED!

The closest model I've found with similar features is the G50V-X9. This model would also provide the following, which I would consider as equitable, considering the loss-of-productivity, as well as the botched repair and damage issues:

1. 1680x1050 high-definition screen, over the G50V-X1's 1388x766 resolution.)

2. Bluetooth (which I need for connecting my cell phone to the laptop.)

3. The fax/modem none of the Best Buy store models have and I need.

4. An upgraded video chip 9800M GS, vs the G50V-X1's 9700M GT.

5. A 9-cell, extended-life battery.

6. Both laptops (The G50V-X9 with no additions or upgrades) come with one (1) 320GB hard drive. This is acceptable, as my original laptop only had the one 320GB drive. I desire equitability only--and a little upgrade for the trouble caused me--not exorbitance.

I paid $1425 for my original G50V-X1 in October of 2008; this included a $99.99
Accidental Damage Policy.

The G50V-X9 is being sold by www.btotech.com (also a contributing author for the Asus Forums @ www.notebookreview.com) for $1449 plus shippping (as of April 22, 2009.)

I've looked around the 'net, and this is the best price I've found. It's $25 more than my original purchase price, the laptop provides *all* the features I want, and allows for more uptime on battery. It also allows me to take advantage of Asus' 2-year warranty, and by registering the laptop within 60 days, I can still have the one year damage protection in place. All in all, I think a win-win situation.

Please provide for me a new-in-the-box G50V-X9, with the aformentioned features, and we'll call it quits on this issue. I think my request is a fair one.

Please contact me via telephone at (phone # removed) to speak to me directly. Email at sabrown@inbox.com.

Thank you for your consideration.

Warm Regards,
Stephen Brown
--

The email has been sent, I've talked with notebook support earlier today (April 21) via livesupport.asus.com, and I need to speak with a supervisor during normal business hours, as the repair facility can't do any replacements, only warranty repairs.

Again, I'll see how it goes.

Warm Regards,
Stephen
----------------------------------

UPDATE: April 23, 2009 Thursday
--
I still have not heard back from Asus Customer Service, nor have I received the promised call-back from a Supervisor.
I will wait until tomorrow, Friday, Apiril 24, 2009, and see what happens. I will also attempt to contact a Supervisor directly.
I have been told that the Supervisors we're in meetings a couple of days ago, so I will hope their meetings are concluded.

Although that may be a reason I haven't been able to speak to anybody during the course of the past week, it doesn't really seem like much of an excuse to not even give me a call-back. Two emails have been sent to the Supervisor--according to Asus Technical Support and Asus Customer Service staff, and I still don't have anything, either via my phone's voice mail, or in my email inbox.

I shall wait another day.

Warm Regards,
Stephen
--------------------------------------

UPDATE: April 27, 2009 Monday
--
Asus Supervisor contacted me on Friday, April 24, 2009. Received email after this, indicating that upper management had been made aware of my case history, and that the matter was under review.

Will call today at number given in email and verify nature of matter, ergo, whether or not I am going to receive a replacement G50V. I will do this *before* sending my laptop back to Asus in Fremont, California (CA). Sending to the facilities in Fremont, CA to avoid any more pitfalls with the Indiana facility.
--
LATER UPDATE: Call Accomplished! Spoke to helpful customer service representative, and am hopeful of positive outcome via this channel. Am FedEx'ing G50V-X1 shortly after this post.

Will continue to maintain log here, and hopefully, will be able to post MATTER CLOSED, CONDITION: SATISFIED! after all this is done. It certainly would make me happy.

Warm Regards for now,
--Firefishe

---------------------------

UPDATE: Friday, May 1st, 2009
--
I spoke with Asus Customer Service today, calling them around 6pm Central Time.

Having verified with the FedEx Office (formerly FedEx-Kinkos)--the location from where I shipped my computer--that my G50V was, indeed, delivered and signed for, I was hoping that maybe Asus Fremont would've gotten around to replacing my ailing machine.

Shipping Note: According to FedEx, it was signed for by someone named "Y.Man"; What does this mean? 'Yes' Man? Yo', Man? I'm beginning to wonder about the professionalism of this company, at least the United States offices. Would this type of thing happen in the Asian countries? I suspect not. I prefer straightforward names that can be easily traced, not simple initials that sound like a high schooler's!

As of the time of this update (May 1, 2009 Friday), I was informed that there was a five-day backlog of repairs, and that my machine had not been gotten to yet.

*SIGH*

I'm getting tired of this. . . (more later...)
--Stephen
---------------------------

UPDATE: May 3rd, 2009 Sunday
--
Waiting until Monday. Will call Asus back early in the morning, Pacific Time. I've been calling in the late afternoon, so perhaps I'll have better luck early in the morning.
---------------------------

UPDATE: May 4th, 2009 Monday
--
Feeling a bit ill, today, so I could not get out and contact Asus. I've checked my RMA's status on Asus's web site, and it's still showing as not being in the repair network loop. This probably means one of two things; One, that my G50V-X1 is still on the waiting list for service; or Two, that my case is being handled as a replacement by upper management. Replacement is my preference and the only solution I shall accept at this time for this broken and abused (by Asus) notebook).

If I happen to get the same notebook returned to me, instead of a new-in-the-box model with a different serial number, I'm going to start the processes that may lead up to litigation.

I'm tired of this. I've been waiting since March 20th to have this matter resolved. My local Best Buy store won't be fair with me, has tried to shaft me on a simple exchange, as well as having staff at my local Best Buy store (Jefferson City, Missouri) treat me as if I'm a secondary reason for their being in business; as mentioned in the relevant paragraphs above this one, I waited for over 5 hours and was treated with contempt, as well as being constantly handed off to subordinates by managers who didn't want to handle the matter personally. (There's only one person in the Jefferson City store I would trust to handle this matter, and, unfortunately, he wasn't in the store at the time.)

Asus Fremont (California) has my notebook, complete with my system disks, power supply, and everything that came packed with it--including the microfiber cloth used to clean the screen; I've kept that computer in tip-top condition up to the time Asus Indy's (Indiana) service people botched the original repair job and damaged the notebook, either in shipping or on the service bench, causing internal damage to the inset display/board.

The laptop has now been shipped physically *SEVEN (7) TIMES*! That's a bit too much for my blood. Coming new from the factory in new boxing is one thing, followed by a single shipping cycle (2 shippings, 1 to get it there, the other to bring it back) for any needed repairs--properly done--is fine. Seven physical shippings is beyond the realm of sanity for this type of thing, and, considering that the notebook is already physically damaged internally and externally, it's time for a new-in-the-box replacement--plus perhaps a few upgrade for my trouble--to be shipped to my door, post-haste!

If the last seems a bit too much, consider the above. Re-read it *ALL* and then you tell me if I don't deserve a bit of value-added-service. I think you'll come to the same conclusion.

All for now, will update toward the end of the week; I want to see what the outcome will be on Friday.

Warm Regards,
Firefishe
---------------------------

UPDATE: May 7th, 2009 Thursday
--
Just a quick note: I had a quite-friendly contact with a helpful Asus CSR this afternoon. I am assured that my notebook computer is currently being reviewed by the upper management at Asus Fremont (California). It was suggested I wait until Monday, May 11th, 2009. The CSR said that if I hadn't heard back by then, to call them at that point.

I have agreed to this.

I'll post another update after Monday or if something positive happens in the meantime.

All for now, more later as things develop.

Warm Regards,
Firefishe
---------------------------

UPDATE: May 12th, 2009 - Tuesday
--
Just sent off a Technical Inquiry via Asus' VIP Member's site at usa.asus.com. I need to call Asus' customer service later today and see how my RMA is progressing. I'll post another update after that call.

All for now, more later today.
----------------------------

UPDATE: May 15th, 2009 - Thursday [A Bit Ranty, Just Be Warned!]
--
I called Asus Customer Service today at about 4pm Central Daylight Time via their toll-free notebook support hotline. I experienced something both extraordinary and exceptional, today! That of not being on hold for twenty or thirty minutes, only to have to hang up because of something pressing I had to do; I was on hold for only about TWO MINUTES! (Can you believe it??? I couldn't, and was flabbergasted to the point where my jaw dropped, my tongue rolled out onto the pavement, and my eyes came out of their sockets!)

To top it all off, I actually got someone who...get this...ACTUALLY SEEMED CONCERNED AND WORKED DILIGENTLY TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME! Something to the effect of emailing a supervisor--probably on the super's BlackBerry--while they were in a meeting! Go figure! Can something be up? (SARCASM) I sure hope it isn't my used G50 up for grabs at a company staff drawing and the help I received wasn't a social front for the not-seen-in-the-background intern doing a study on customer service customer frustration levels for their psychology degree! (/SARCASM)

Okay, so much for the venting. Thank you! I needed that! Fact is, I needed it so much I decided to something positive today and take a motorcycle test ride at a local dealer. 2008 Kawasaki Versys to be exact. Very nice machine. Now to get my computer back so I can write that million-copy best seller and retire before I'm 50!

I *will* be calling them back tomorrow if they don't call me first. If this doesn't get handled, someone's going to make me a millionaire, that's for sure.

--Firefishe

Special Note: For practical, legal, and other purposes, the following, below, should be used for official use:

1. Called Asus Notebook Customer Support at about 4pm Central Daylight Time.
2. Waited on hold for only two minutes, and was answered promptly by a Very Courteous CSR.
3. CSR seemed genuinely concerned for my problem, and took steps to get my message to their supervisor.
4. CSR informed me that my matter had been emailed to their supervisor.
5. I'm now awaiting a phone call from the supervisor.
6. I will call supervisor on Friday, May 16th, 2009, probably sometime around 3pm Central Daylight Time (1pm Pacific Daylight Time).

Special Notation: Customer Service Representative (CSR) was the friendliest I have experienced in nearly two months, and, if this matter is handled quickly, will make up for all the previous 'faux pas' I have experienced, to date.

More as things progress...

Warm Regards,
Firefishe
----------------------------

UPDATE: May 15th, 2009 - Friday
--
Having been away from my computer for a bit while my wife was using it, and not being able to check my email until today (May 15th), I wasn't aware that Asus sent me the following email correspondence on May 13th, 2009.

I'd paste it here, but the formatting is in an HTML Table and wouldn't go well with the code on this forum, so I've text-formatted out in simple form, below:

[BEGIN EMAIL PARTIAL PASTE]

Dear Mr. Stephen Brown,

Firstly, I do apologize for the delay in the process of your RMA.

Please review the spec below as we will be replacing your G50Vm-X1 with the G50Vt-X1. The main difference between the two has been highlighted to you in RED/YELLOW.

SUGGESTED REPLACEMENT
--
Model Name: G50Vt-X1
Part Number: 90N-SSZA2411131KQL0Y
LCD Panel: 15.6" WXGA (1366x768)
CPU: P8400, 2.26GHz *HIGHLIGHTED*
Graphic Card: Nvidia 9800M GS 512MB *HIGHLIGHTED*
Memory: 4GB DDR2
Hard Drive: 320GB *HIGHLIGHTED*
Optical Drive: Double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW
Wireless LAN: 802.11 a/b/g/n
Battery: 6-cell
Web Camera: 1.3 million pixels
FingerPrint: No
Bluetooth: No
Operating System: Vista Home Premium SP1 (64 Bit)

--

YOUR CURRENT MODEL
--
Model Name: G50Vm-X1
Part Number: 90N-SPYA5714656KQC0Y
LCD Panel: 15.6" WXGA (1366x768)
CPU: T5750, 2.0Ghz
Graphic Card: Nvidia 9700M GT 512MB
Memory: 4GB DDR2
Hard Drive: 200GB
Optical Drive: DVD SuperMulti with Light Scribe
Wireless LAN: 802.11 b/g/n
Battery: 6-cell
Web Camera: 1.3 million pixels
FingerPrint: No
Bluetooth: No
Operating System: Vista Home Premium SP1 (64 Bit)

Signature Lines, Corporate Emails, Web Sites

[END EMAIL PARTIAL PASTE]

--

Summary
--
1. Missing Modem (G50V-X1 has modem, G50Vt-X1 does not).
2. G50Vt-X1 Optical Drive Not Listing Light Scribe (Best Buy web site lists it has having Direct Disc Labeling).
a. assuming light scribe or equivalent based on Best Buy web site data.
3. Color of Casing is not the same.
a. G50V-X1 Orange and Black Case.
b. G50Vt-X1 case is black with blue, garish graphic on top of LCD/Cover.
i) not suitable for business.
c. Trackpad Button Area is bright, shiny chrome, instead of brushed aluminum finish.

These are the principal differences. I've already gone over this model in my earlier posts, so I won't list any more here.

CONCLUSION: G50Vt-X1 not suitable for replacement of G50V-X1. Suggest replacement with G50Vt-X9 or same computer configuration as G50Vt-X9 but without the 9-cell battery. Either acceptable.

Again, will they do it? I'm calling them tomorrow as soon as they open and I can get to a phone.

Warm Regards,
Firefishe
----------------------------

UPDATE: May 17th, 2009 Sunday
--
I have decided to accept the offer from Asus regarding the replacement of my G50Vm-X1 with the G50Vt-X1 (The 'm' designates my original computer and is accurate, as this number is on the back of the notebook, itself.) There was some confusion on my part with regard to what I thought was the G50Vt-X1; ergo, I mistook some of the G50Vt-X5's nomenclature for the G50Vt-X1's. Well, I know when to admit when I've made a mistake, and I have made one here.

Granted, the G50Vt-X1 isn't orange and black--it's black and silver, with blue side lights, cover/logo lights, and blue trackpad lighting--but I'm going to accept it on the grounds that my major concern--a lack of a modem--has been ironed out with the availability of a usb-based modem from U.S. Robotics--Hayes Compatible--that won't give me the problems that software-based (so-called 'win-modems') modems are prone to cause gnu/linux based systems.

So that's solved! :-) The rest of the differences are mainly case color, and I've decided the graphic on the G50Vt-X1 isn't so garish after all--unlike the G50Vt-X5 (my personal opinion, only, others may like the -X5's coloring).

Well, that's it! I'm awaiting a confirmation email from Robert Diaz or whoever wants to finalize this. I'm sure they'll be happy to just get it done; Although I'm not completely satisfied, the situation is fairly equitable as to features and function of the old notebook, save for the absence of the internal modem. Again, that problem has been solved, so I'm not sweating it.

I am including both emails sent to Robert Diaz, postebed below. Please note that these were copied and pasted from the email, the email had Rich Text encoding and displayed the primary differences of my computer and the replacement computer inside of an HTML table. That formatting is not included in the paste, so I ask that readers reference my previous post--meaning, the last post of the May 15th, 2009 Sunday entry.

Quote:
(Begin Email Pastes)

First Email Paste

--

Mr Diaz, Stephen Brown replying.

Regarding my contacts of May 15, 2009, it appears I may have been mistaken as to just what model I surmised the G50Vt-X1 to be. Having looked it over carefully, I can see I have made a mistake with regards to color and some other issues.

I was thinking the replacement was the G50Vt-X5--which is not the G50Vt-X1 at all--which was being suggested as a replacement for my G50Vm-X1. Please accept my apologies, I made a mistake.

The G50Vt-X1 will suffice for a replacement to my G50Vm-X1. If you could ship it out immediately, that would be fine. Since it's so late, I suppose Monday would have to suffice. Please ship via standard FedEx overnight if you would be so kind.

Again, my mistake, and I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused your staff, today, both on the phone and via email. Also, regarding the modem replacement, it is not necessary, I have found a suitable solution locally for that issue.

Please be so kind as to ship my G50Vt-X1 as soon as is possible. I look forward to using it. Color is fine, lights are blue. I thought they were white--which they are on the G50Vt-X5, but not the G50Vt-X1. Again, I accept the G50Vt-X1 as a replacement, it is a good looking unit and is suitable for my needs.

My Warmest Regards,
Stephen Brown




-----Original Message-----
From: robert_diaz@asus.com
Sent: Wed, 13 May 2009 10:55:06 -0700
To: sabrown@inbox.com
Subject: RMA #EI943617

Dear Mr. Stephen Brown,



Firstly, I do apologize for the delay in the process of your RMA.



Please review the spec below as we will be replacing your G50Vm-X1 with the G50Vt-X1. The main difference between the two has been highlighted to you in RED/YELLOW.


(SNIP) Computer Model Comparison (SNIP) - (See Last Post of May 15, 2009 Friday Entry)


Let me know if there are any questions or problems.

Best regards,

Robert Diaz
ASUS Computer International :: 800 Corporate Way, Fremont CA 94539
robert_diaz@asus.com :: http://usa.asus.com :: http://livesupport.asus.com :: http://support.asus.com

Inspiring Innovation • Persistent Perfection

-----------------------------------------------------

Second Email Paste

--

Mr Diaz, Stephen Brown again.

Just reiterating that regarding the email below, this is an acceptable solution to me.

Please ship the G50Vt-X1 as soon as possible. Thank you.

Warm Regards,
Stephen Brown
personal address


-----Original Message-----
From: robert_diaz@asus.com
Sent: Wed, 13 May 2009 10:55:06 -0700
To: sabrown@inbox.com
Subject: RMA #EI943617

Dear Mr. Stephen Brown,



Firstly, I do apologize for the delay in the process of your RMA.



Please review the spec below as we will be replacing your G50Vm-X1 with the G50Vt-X1. The main difference between the two has been highlighted to you in RED/YELLOW.

(SNIP) Computer Model Comparison (SNIP) - (See Last Post of May 15, 2009 Friday Entry)

Let me know if there are any questions or problems.

Best regards,

Robert Diaz
ASUS Computer International :: 800 Corporate Way, Fremont CA 94539
robert_diaz@asus.com :: http://usa.asus.com :: http://livesupport.asus.com :: http://support.asus.com

Inspiring Innovation • Persistent Perfection
(End Email Pastes)
As it is the weekend as I am writing this, I will have to wait until Monday to see if everything is going through as planned. I feel I can say with reasonable certainty that, even though I initially did not accept the offer, Asus will probably be happy to realize that I am open to the exchange as proffered.

I am eager to get my new computer and be done with this experience so I can get back to business, both personal and commercial.

More on Monday.

Warm Regards,
Stephen Brown
----------------------------

UPDATE: May 19th, 2009 - Tuesday, Early Morning
--
Well, I guess everything is in the works. I received this email from Mr. Robert Diaz:

Quote:
RE: RMA #EI943617
From: Robert_Diaz@asus.com
To: sabrown@inbox.com
Date: 2009-5-18 20:46:18

Hello Stephen,


I will process the replacement for tomorrow Tuesday, May 19.

Let me know if there are any questions or problems.

Best regards,

Robert Diaz
ASUS Computer International :: 800 Corporate Way, Fremont CA 94539
robert_diaz@asus.com :: http://usa.asus.com :: http://livesupport.asus.com :: http://support.asus.com

Inspiring Innovation * Persistent Perfection
Upon receipt of my new G50Vt-X1, subsequent inspection of same, and after I make certain everything is working properly and in order, I will consider this matter closed.

More later in the week. . .

Warm Regards,
Firefishe
----------------------------

FINAL UPDATE! May 24th, 2009 - Sunday - 11pm Central Daylight Time
--
I have my new Asus G50Vt-X1, and after all of my prior experiences to date, have to say that I am quite satisfied and happy with it! :-)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not capitulating to the poor customer service I received from either Asus or Best Buy in Jefferson City, Missouri beforehand; I'm just saying that I have my new machine, I'm back online, and I'm being productive again. I already have Ubuntu back on it, and I have 120GB more hard drive space with which to play.


(Non-Customer Service Observations and Musings)
--
3D works great on Ubuntu GNU/Linux with Nvidia's proprietary driver. I've never seen CoolIris--a popular 3D plugin for Firefox--work on a gnu/linux based system, before. It's nice to see that 3D and Ubuntu work well together, with very little problems, overall.

The Nvidia 9800M GS is a wonderful chipset (PCIe Form Factor in this notebook; i.e., a removable card) and handles all my 3D needs well. I have yet to test it with EvE Online, but I'm going to have to re-download the high-resolution version of the game, and that will take some time--if I do it that way, at all. I'll probably just buy the DVD online this time, and forget about downloading so much data via a 100KB-per-second line. It's good for gameplay, as it's steady, but not so good for 4.5GB files.

It's a nice little powerhouse, even if it doesn't have a built-in modem or Bluetooth--two items which, if I'm savvy, I can install soon enough with little trouble, although my warranty will probably be toast. I'll probably just stick with USB externals and be done with it!

(Final Customer Service and Repair Service Summaries)
--
Asus needs to get on the ball or it's going to end up as roadkill on the customer service super highway! When I received my G50Vt-X1, the computer was moving around inside the box. Thank the deity or impersonal force of your choice that it was shipped Federal Express Standard Overnight, and wasn't on the truck for more than a day! If it had been, I believe that the brand-new unit I received could have easily been damaged!

The G50Vt-X1 came in a very used Asus Pundit P1 Barebones Laptop box--a box that was much too large for the notebook. What's up with this? Shouldn't the unit have come in a standard retail box packaging, with proper internal dimensional spacing??? The lack of credulity on the part of Asus' shipping clerks boggles the mind!

Luckily, the notebook didn't arrive damaged, but whoever is in charge of packing the notebooks, both at Fremont, California *and* Jeffersonville, Indiana, need to have their heads examined! Had I been their supervisor, and had received complaints like this, there would've been a very specific meeting and re-training session for the shipping department! Either that, or I'd just recruit new help. Enough is enough!

As for Best Buy in Jefferson City, Missouri, that store has seen the last of me! I'm never going to do business with them again. The way I was treated was atrocious, and the managers, callous! I left in tears, and it takes a lot for me--a 43 year old man of many seasons--to get to that stage.

My energy was so completely drained after dealing with them that day, that I won't recommend them, won't suggest anyone work for them at all! I've been through one of their job interviewing processes, and it resembled something more like a new-age encounter group session than a real interview. Also, save for one helpful and intelligent Geek Squad Technician with whom my wife and I know locally from other venues, and perhaps one other person in the entire store, the collective intelligence of the Jefferson City, Missouri Best Buy Electronics Store is, in my opinion, barely above that of a popped resistor!

It's *that bad* folks! Just don't do business with them, and with that said, I'll say no more.

MATTER CLOSED, CONDITION SATISFIED...but only barely.

Ending This Thread Now
Respitefully,
Firefishe
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Last edited by Firefishe : Today at 11:34 PM. Reason: Ending Thread on Sunday, May 24th, 2009. --Firefishe

[END PASTE]

HumFisheKuDarke Final: Ahhh! Respite At Last! :-)

Way of the Wizard,

Dawn of the eternal One,

Finally, A Peace!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

HumFisheKuDarke ~ More Light

Light upon my path,

Walking to the center part,

Core of my being.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

HumFisheKuDarke

Reaching, I find naught,

My desires, wants, goals,

Dissolve in fine mist.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Gentle Suggestion for Employers

Hello there, Friends of the Humble Fishe.

I would like to share a Gentle Suggestion for the people of today who are in charge of doing the hiring for businesses, from fast-food to retail.

I write this down because of a recent application process to which I was ignominiously exposed during a recent application put forth to the Dollar General store chain.

Dollar General is a national (US) chain of small stores, with various household products, ranging from the usual toilet sundries (toothpaste, anti-perspirant, shampoo, etc.), to cleaning chemicals, cat and dog food, and even clothing to a small extent.

Most of these items are priced between $1.0- and $6.00 dollars, with the high-side items mostly found on brand-name merchandise, as opposed to the lesser known store brands. It's called a 'dollar store,' but isn't necessarily one of the 'everything's a dollar' dollar stores. It is, however, one of the largest in the US, so it's a (I'm assuming) stable chain that isn't closing anytime soon.

That said, it's still a store that pays well below the national average for cashiering, which is the job for which I was applying. Now, let me explain why I'm a bit up in arms about this situation:

When I was in my teens and early twenties--from about 1980 to 1986 or so--I was able to go to any local business, get a paper application at that store, fill it out at home (usually, sometimes they wanted it filled out there), and bring it back; after this, there was a good chance of being able to speak with a hiring manager or other such person. If an interview were scheduled, I stood a good chance of getting hired.

The basic elements of prior work history were there, under the heading of Past Employment, Previous Employers, Work History, and the like. There were the Name, Address, City, State, and Zip Code lines. Education was there, and a place to list my (then) high school experiences, extra curricular activities (school clubs, what-have-you).

These were entry-level, largely minimum wage jobs. They didn't require a degree, just a reasonable understanding of life-in-general, with a modicum of an ability to work with the public, operate a cash register (scanners had just been implemented at that time), *Know How To Count Back Change Manually!* (is this taught anymore?), as well as expectations of reasonable honesty with the company money for which you were responsible and accountable at the end of the day.

It was also expected that you would have a reasonable amount of integrity in your personal life to be understanding to the employees with which you worked, and to know enough to keep personal things personal and work things at work. It was inevitable that some personal elements would cross over on to the work field, such as needing to pick up children from school, go to Boy and Girl Scout meetings, take the babysitter home, and such, but these were understood as more-or-less 'standard things' that happened all the time, were easily managed, and didn't overly disrupt the day-to-day operation of the store-at-large.

What wasn't done is probe intensely into the internal psychology of company employees to the extent that a person was expected to 'bare their soul' against the wall for all to see; which brings me to the crux of this blog entry:

Modern retailers go too far when they ask prospective employees to submit to a 'voluntary,' subjective, values-clarification/psychological test for a job that does not require it. It is invasive, nosy, and invades the privacy of everyone. Please allow me to illustrate below, via my own recent experience.

I go into the Dollar General store to get something I needed, pay for it, then leave. Looking back at the door, I saw that they were looking for an assistant manager. Well, I'm not so sure of my ability for that position, but it couldn't hurt to ask, so I went back inside, asked the cashier on duty who I needed to talk to, was told that *she* was the one, and was told to come back the following day, and 'we could talk about it.'

So far, so good. Morning comes and I arrive at Dollar General to talk to the manager about the position. Well, she didn't feel anything listed on my job history was specific enough for her to give me the assistant manager's job, but she suggested I could apply to be an 'associate,' meaning a cashier-cum-stocker. The only way a cashier does *only* that particular job is at a large grocery store, and even then, is probably expected to keep the candy rack stocked; it's just part of the job.

The job isn't hard. It's simple. Blindly simple. So simple, I, a person who can utilize five or six computer operating systems, regularly uses four (Vista64, XP Pro, Mac OS-X, and GNU/Linux), can play improvisational piano (my own very basic, specific style), and even sing when I put my mind to it. Not hard at all.

Take the till money, count it at the beginning of the shift, compare it to what is on the ticket, sign off on it, put it in the drawer, sign on to the register if needed, and start ringing up customers. Stock the shelves (being sure to lock the register before doing so) if required, tend to customers as needed, keep a sharp eye for shoplifters and other forms of trouble, keep scanning merchandise, bag up the customers' parcels, say 'thank you for your business' and allow them to go on their way; move to the next customer. Repeat.

This job doesn't require a college degree, folks!

So what is The Humble Fishe all up in his fins about? What is it that is so nagging on my ol' Fishey Brain? I respectfully invite you to continue with the coclusion to our little story:

After accepting the invitation to apply for the 'associate' position, I was waived over to the side of the store away fron the checkout line and given a paper application, that is, I was *shown* the application, then had it explained.

I've never had an application explained to me before, save for some state jobs that had a common process for everyone at a central meeting (these types of jobs have this as a fairly standard practice).

Anyway, she goes over the usual Name, Address, State, etc. lines and then gets down to the part that First, made me cringe--as I always do at subjective values-clarification exams--, and the Second, that made me decide to walk out and forget the whole affair.

The dialog went something like this:

Manager: First, we'll need you to fill out the top half, with your Name, Address, and such, then you'll need to go down to this part.

Me: (Manager waiting to see if I understand so far:) "Okay, got it (nodding head.)

Manager: "You'll need to fill out this section, and you'll need to call up a number I'll give you to take the test. *Do You Have A Cell Phone?* (My Own Emphasis)

Me: "Well, yes, I do have a cell phone, but it's one of those prepaid jobs and it's just about out of minutes."

Manager: "Oh, okay, well I suppose you can use the one here.

[At this point, the Manager walks over to the check-out counter (presumably that's where the phone is located) while I follow and continue to watch her go down the application list.]

Manager: (Looking at the application, moving in a generally 'I've Explained This A Thousand Times Before' manner, making hand gestures to get me to understand, etc.:) "After the test is done, then we get to the Desired Behaviors List and. . ."

[It was at that point my subconscious had had enough. I was wondering if I was applying for a job or being being subjected to some psychology student doing a double-blind study :-P.]

Me: (Interrupting:) "Ma'am, I've had enough. This is way too invasive for a mere cashiering job. Thank you for your time and have a good day. Goodbye."

I thanked her for her time, and walked out of the store.

Summary


The company and its store manager went too far in two areas: The first was in asking me to use my own phone time and expenditure to perform what was a company function. This is a serious breach of propriety, and, to me, is highly unethical. It makes the job applicant wonder if the company can be so insolvent as to not be able to provide for a desired function for its employees, and just makes the company appear to be, directly put: "Just Plain Cheap!"

The second area concerns the intense focus on the nearly ubiquitous question-and-answer, subjective values-clarification testing regimens that just about everyone is using today in their search for the Perfect Employee (Insert Photo of Sun-Drenched, Sparkly Employee Here :-P.)

The forty question test I could have accepted. Accepted, that is, had it not gone farther than that. The Manager, at that point, was intensely into the breaking down of the test results into what she--ergo, the company--had down as a list of 'desirable behaviors,' and I was not going to have any of it!

'Desirable' is me not stealing from your till, shoplifting the merchandise after hours as I'm closing (also known as Malfeasance, or Employee Theft) the store. 'Desirable' is me having not only a calm, controlled, and self-directed, useful demeanor to your customers, but also having a slew of product knowledge as well as being able to tell a customer in ten seconds flat or less where a product is located, whether or not we're out of a product, and when it's going to be back on the shelf.

What the Manager at Dollar General was going to go over as 'desirable' didn't interest me at that point. I expect it was very specific, and probably had absolutely nothing to do with me, but applied to the maladapted part of society prone to some of the aforementioned uglies.

It did not, nor would it *ever* apply in any way, shape, or form, to The Humble Fishe! Not now! Not Ever!!

The modern workplace is turning into a playground for human resource management paranoia freaks. I, for one, do not take these tests and would advise every one reading this to do the same. Find an employer who will deal with you directly and keep their nose out of your personal psychology. As long as one is able to do the job-in-question and get along with others, that is the only reason to hire a person.

Subjective values-clarification tests do not give accurate results, invade people's privacy, and are unethical as hell to use in the workplace to screen employees!

The Humble Fishe's Gentle Suggestion for Dollar General:

Get your head out of mine! Politeness dictates that you don't prod too heavily into my background for such a mundane job as cashier. A background check will handle that information, is cheap, and can be had during any business week.

Asking me to give responses to subjective, adroitly-personal questions, then furthering the miasma by having your store manager go over a list--presumably to tell me what behaviors are desirable versus those that are not--is an insult to my intelligence and a breach of manners I am not wont to forgive.

Please be of a mind to respect more the privacy rights of your employees, and please stop being so nosy! Until you walk the proverbial mile in my moccasins, Ladies and Gentlemen of Dollar General, you have no right to even consider asking me to bare my soul to you.

I wanted a job, some eventual management training, and some self-respect. I received none of it!

Warm Regards,
The Humble Fishe