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Giving me the Vista sign

I have a new client, one who has just bought a new PC from Dell which came with Vista Home Basic. Dell, according to the website for this PC, say they recommend Vista Home Premium. The new client buys the software online, runs the online upgrade plan and waits the couple of hours it takes to upgrade only to find his machine continuously rebooting.

He calls me.

I have a look, find out that even safe mode doesn’t work and turn off the auto-reboot using the magic of F8 on boot and find out the cause of the crash is something called spdt.sys which comes from some software called “Daemon Tools”.

Fortunately the Vista Premium upgrade allows you to roll back. Once I have a working Basic installation I try to run the Daemon Tools uninstall programme, only to find that it doesn’t work. Wow. Colour me nonplussed. I rename the offensive SYS file and try to delete the registry entries which turn out to be write protected. Which idiot decided to do that I don’t know but they deserve a very special place in Hell. Preferably an area that I look after.

Anyway, the renaming of the dll seems to fix it and the next day my friend Theo manages to upgrade it without problem.

Well, I say that.

It turns out that the Dell supplied sound card (Sigmatel STAC 92XX) does not work with Vista Premium. We have a look on the Dell support site for this particular sound card and try the latest driver. No joy. Personally at this point I would send the whole bloody lot back to Dell as not fit for purpose however the client can’t do without a PC so we are going to try to source a Vista Premium compatible sound card.

Basically: don’t get Vista yet; it is clearly not ready. Don’t trust Vendor claims of Vista compatibility, especially for upgrades to Premium; they are different products and the drivers required likewise. If you do plan to buy Basic and then upgrade to Premium don’t bother; the hours that it takes out of your life and the amount of will to live lost just is not worth it.

Published on 2007/04/11 at 17:52 by Toby, tags , , , , ,

When service goes bad

On Friday night I was at a friend’s birthday party in the basement of a pub in Notting Hill. The pub itself was full but not packed: the bar queue was never more than one layer deep. The first couple of rounds gave me no indication of how awful things were to get; I always got served quickly. I should have realised that things were starting to go wrong when Alex came back from the bar with a bottle of wine having been away for twenty minutes.

Half an hour later I decide the time is right for another bottle. This turned out to be the incorrect decision. I stood at the bar for thirty minutes whilst the other, frankly rude, punters queue jumped. I watched some of the worst bar service I have ever seen, and yes, I have worked behind busy bars; I know how to do it properly. I watched the bar staff give incredible deals on drinks to many people who seemed to be their mates.

When I finally managed to get one of the three woefully slow and disorganized bar staff to serve me it turned out that all five of the wines that I had chosen as acceptable from the wine list were not in stock. Why not let the customer know in advance by, oh I don’t know, crossing them off on the chalk board? Wouldn’t that be useful? Apparently not. Why not have enough stock for Friday night? I have heard on the grape vine that it is quite common that people go out on Friday night, so why not make damn sure you have enough stock? It is just Not That Hard. Not only had I queued for thirty minutes, put up with obnoxious behaviour by certain other members of the public, but also I had put up with this for no gain. All of this marred a perfectly good evening.

There is no excuse for a popular pub in central London to have such atrocious service, I shall not be going back.

Published on 2006/11/06 at 15:43 by Toby, tags ,

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