Archive for November, 2006

Giving people what they don’t want

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

I’ve got my first Dell laptop. My first laptop was a mighty Toshiba (upgraded to 32megs of RAM). By far, my favourite laptop is my tiny, tiny Sony. The Sony is exactly half the size of the Dell. But, frankly, the Sony’s tiny sexy screen isn’t practical for what I have to do at work.

So, I’ve spent the last two months with this Dell. It’s a Latitude D820 (if you’re really interested in that sort of thing).

The best way to win me over with products is to not confuse me. I was first confused with this Dell when I started typing wrong. I’m really quite good at typing — largely due to the fact that I had ten years with a ruthless piano teacher who had a predilection for rapping my fingers with a (heavy) mechanical pencil when they went wrong. Suddenly, I was making more mistakes whenever I typed faster. It took me a couple weeks to realize that I was gently hitting the touch pad. This moved the cursor to a different line and caused my bad typing.

Easy answer? That would be to turn off the touch pad. I use my favourite mouse anyway. You can’t turn off the touch pad. Believe me, I googled. I’ve turned to the advanced technology of the Post-It to prevent my touch pad-touching issue. I also see why I never had this problem with my beloved Sony: placement and size.

Then, after experiencing some confusion with network connections this Dell (and another new Dell), I spent some time wondering why it sometimes wouldn’t connect to the network. Maybe it was the radiation in this one room? Maybe it was solar flares? It just wouldn’t connect. Then, it came to me. The thing wouldn’t connect to a wired connection when it was running from battery power. Some searching…

The SCI Dell 2006 models have a new control panel called Internal Network Card Power Management. By default, when a laptop is running on battery, it disables the internal Ethernet card.

What?!? Who thought that one up? By default? There’s not even a sign that your nice SCI Dell 2006 model is doing this on your behalf. The lesson here: don’t make something the “default” when no one’s expecting it. The least you can do is let me know.