A lot of my work at the moment stems from people ignoring my advice, getting problems, and then calling me out because of this. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact these people are bottomless pits of money, but I wouldn't be very professional if I didn't want this to happen. And interestingly, I think the advice given can be clumped into three categories.
Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, are still a problem in the UK. The opening up of the market to third party suppliers is causing loads of problems for customers. As I tried to explain to my father when he was here, the structure for getting broadband is quite complex. You have the main hardware supplier, normally BT, but sometimes a cable provider like NTL. You then have the company you pay for the use of this hardware, once again this could be BT, but a lot of people have moved over to Talk Talk by Carphone Warehouse, because it's cheaper. And then finally, you have the actual ISP, the supplier of the broadband. Such complexities lead to problems, and a good example is the case of Talk Talk phone customers getting their broadband hijacked as well, and being told they can only go to Talk Talk for broadband. Guess who gets called out because their broadband doesn't work any more.
You have to live on another planet to not know how bad this operating system is. Released 18 months late, it was only pressure from customers leading to it being released when it was at all. The conversation must have been something along the lines of "if they want it, give it to them. We'll just keep fixing bugs as they appear and sending out the fixes in the updates." The problem is, it doesn't work. It's overly hungry, very slow, and a classic case of "art for art's sake" where it does exactly the same as XP, but only in a different way. So why do people get it? Because it's supplied with new PCs. Even though most manufacturers acknowledge and supply XP with their PCs, your average Joe will not ask for it because he doesn't know it exists. And to cap it all, one of the more common problems is getting Vista to work with ISPs.
The old bugbear of laptops and why you'd want one is still a huge problem in my life. Laptops are hardly repairable, and if you are daft enough to open one up it's a bit like opening a jack in the box, and you haven't a chance in hell of putting it all back together. Why do people want laptops? It's not because they spend hours every week on the road, and need access to a computer, but because they don't have much space and a laptop "looks so much nicer." The fact that recalls are being issued with regard to batteries by Toshiba, Panasonic and even market leader Sony. The reason for these recalls? Substandard components, manufacturing and quality control means that when the product is faulty, the manufacturer can argue that it was dropped or had something spilled on it. This in turn means that they no longer have to honour the warranty unless you can prove otherwise. This means that I am constantly getting called out to cattled laptops, be it something simple like the wireless doesn't work, right up to the hinges breaking, faulty keyboard or mouse, and even system freezes. The customer has a valid point, but the manufacturer charge more for the repair then the laptop was worth in the first place.
When will people listen?
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