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September 25, 2015

… If you intend to send a message to Germany, you might want to avoid using music as a platform … because here in Germany we cannot just listen to music online. You know, that would be chaos and that’s not what we Germans stand for. *sigh*



IT Support 3/3: Lenovo, little did I know

September 5, 2015

Around two years ago I wrote about my problems with the Lenovo support Germany.
In short: I bought a Thinkpad L520 which was broken on arrival and then I had to fight quite a bit with the Lenovo support to finally send it back.

So what happened during the last two years?
I finally decided to buy a Thinkpad T430 for around 1500 € and was happy ever since.

Well, until the keyboard broke after only six months. The problem was rather subtle at first. Sometimes lots of characters (q, w, e, s, d and f, all close together on the keyboard layout) appeared wherever the text cursor was. It took me a few months to see a pattern. It only happened when the laptop sat on my lap or was standing on another soft surface. So I decided to call support again.
This time it went better. The person on the other end had problems understanding me and I had problems understanding him, but only two days later I had a new keyboard and the offer to call someone to help me change it. I did not need that help but it felt like good support.

But now things have changed again. A few weeks ago, when I turned off my laptop and wanted to close the lid, one of the hinge-joints broke. One week after on-site support expired, normal support still running for another year. So I called the Lenovo support again. The woman at the other end asked me to explain the problem and then told me I had to send in the device so they could check if the damage was covered by warranty. Shortly after that I got an email from a company called Teleplan which asked me to order a pick-up service, which I did. What followed, I will put in a time line for easier reading.


After lying to me, picking up at wrong address, sending back to wrong address(!), refusing to pick it up there again and deliver it to me(!!!), I finally got my laptop back myself in worse condition than before by drivin almost 1000 km straight through my country. And it took them only 42 days to achieve that. In the end, they denied everything and I stopped trying to get compensation from them due to health issues. Last … Lenovo … ever!

Now diving into the whole story.

Day 0

The pick-up service company (UPS) is asking me for my address, a date and time span for fetching the parcel. Seven days from now, I need to go to the dentist and will be at home anyway, so I am giving them the according data. The time span is 14:00 till 18:00.

Day 1 (because the delay so far was my choice)

Waiting for UPS, checking the door bell because you never know if you are not at home much. It is one of the last warm days of the year (October) and I cannot go outside. Bummer.
At 19:00 I need to go to the grocery store so I leave my post. Only days later my neighbour will come to me and give me a pick-up failure notice he found in his mail. But of course I do not know this yet.

Day 2

Calling Lenovo support.
Me: Hi, my laptop is broken and I ordered pick-up but they did not come here to pick it up.
Him: How is your ticket number?
Me: Umm, I do not know. I did not receive a confirmation after opening a ticket.
Him: You can open a ticket and then you will receive a ticket number.
Me: I already opened a ticket but did not receive a ticket number. My email address is correct since Teleplan contacted me and I also checked my spam folder.
Him: Your email address might be incorrect.
Me: Umm, but Teleplan got my email address from you, right?
Him: Yes, we have the following email address listed: […] Is that correct?
Me: Yes.
Him: So you got an email with the ticket number which I now need.
Me: I did not get any email from you so I do not know my ticket number.
Him: Then I cannot help you.
[5 seconds silence]
Him: Is there something else I can help you with?
Me: Listen, my laptop breaks within warranty, does not get picked-up and when I want to know why, you tell me you cannot help me because you did not send me an important email?
[at least 30 seconds silence]
Him: So, we can leave it at that?
Me: Leave it at what? You close the ticket I cannot give you the number for and I keep my broken laptop?
Him: But I cannot help you if you cannot tell me the ticket number.
Me: And now what?
Him: You might not have the device number, do you?
Me: The device is packaged and I do not remember the number.
Him: Then I don’t know.
Me: Half a year ago, there was a different case with the same machine. Maybe you can look it up and see the device number.
Him: OK.
Me: OK, this is the old ticket number.
Him: Found it, you are […] and the device number is […]. … But the ticket is closed.
Me: Yes, that’s correct. It is the old ticket you wanted to use to find the device number so you could find the new ticket, which I do not have the number of.
Him: Right. … The delivery company did not reach you.
Me: Oh, I was here, when did they try to reach me?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: And now?
Him: Maybe I can try ordering a new pick-up.
Me: That would be nice.

After this conversation, there is still no confirmation email, but well.

Day 2

I will only be here for the next few days and then have to leave for business without knowing for how long I will be gone.
Since I do not receive an email to order another pick-up, I call Lenovo support again.
I am asked for the ticket number again, wich I do not have but this time I can tell the support guy quickly how he can find the correct ticket.
Additionally I try to get more information about the process:

Me: How long will it take until I get the email where I can order the pick-up?
Him: I don’t know. I can only write here.
Me: I mean, since the first time it took just a few hours and this time there was no email after one day, so maybe there is something wrong? Maybe a new pick-up cannot be ordered as long as the old one is still in progress?
Him: I don’t know. I can only write here. We do not do more. Another company is managing the pick-up.
Me: I know. Teleplan. But do they not give you updates about the process?
Him: Yes. They could not reach you and will try it again.
Me: When?
Him. I do not know. I can only write here. I do not know more.

And again, I receive neither a confirmation, nor another chance to order the pick-up.

Day 4

I am receiving an email from Lenovo (so they do have my email address!?) informing me that they tried to contact me and that the ticket will be closed if I do not call back within two days.
So I write an email, telling them, that I am starting to get annoyed and that my address will change soon. I also give them the new address.

Day 6

Another email, that they have been trying to contact me and will close my ticket. So I call them again and ask which number they are trying to reach me on. It’s my cell phone, which does not have any calls logged for the last few days. So I ask about the email I sent two days ago. Instantly she tells me about server issues and that they currently have problems receiving emails.
Frustrated I give her the new address and ask her to order a new pick-up.
I decide to give them the address of the company I will be working at during the next few months because I will spend most of my time there anyway.

Day 7

Teleplan is sending me an email where I can order the pick-up. I go with the next day between 11:00 and 15:00.

Day 8

UPS tries to pick up the parcel. At 9:15. I am in a meeting.
The driver calls me at 14:00. Did he get my number from the Lenovo support? No. The people who live at my old address now gave it to him. Lenovo gave him the new address but still the old telephone number. Is there anything they can get right?
The driver promisses me to pick up the parcel now. And there he is. At 17:00. I am gone by then again. But I learn quickly. I gave the parcel to the company’s internel parcel station earlier and told them to give it to the next UPS guy they see. So it works. The parcel starts its journey.

Day 9

Email from Teleplan: “Your Lenove machiene (sic.) reached the repair center”.
At this point I realise how many typos Lenovo has in their automated email responses.

Day 15

Again, Lenovo tried to reach me and threatend to close the ticket (erm, closing when they still have my laptop?!) if I do not call back.
This time there at least was a missed call on my cell phone.

So I call back and get the info, that three parts are broken on my laptop.
I only know of one, but even after asking several times, I cannot understand what the guy is telling me. Noone in support is speaking my language reasonably, but furthermore the connection is really bad resulting in a very low volume and many crack sounds and other noises in the line.

What I understand though is the fact that mechanical issues are not covered by the warranty and that they can repair the damage for 350 EUR.

I decline and ask him to send the laptop back. Just because I still remember what happened so far, I ask him about the address they will be sending it to. He answers stuff like “where we picked it up from” but I wanted to know explicitly. So he had to check and then gave me the address of my company. All good.

Right after this call I write an email to Lenovo support, telling them how unhappy I am with the fact that the first person I talked to three weeks ago did not tell me that the damage was not covered by the warranty although I had to tell her the exact nature of the damage. It was clear that it was a purely mechanical issue but she insisted that I send the laptop in for figuring out if it is covered by warranty.

Day 17

Email from teleplan: Repair conducted.
Wait, what? I assume, this is a badly worded default message.

Day 18

The people who live at my old address now call me that there is a parcel for me. So I write to the Lenovo support how this could happen. I cannot call since it is Saturday.

Day 20

No message yet, so I call again.
After giving the woman a short timeline of what happened, she asked me to write an email she then would escalate. I asked her if she could just escalate the email I wrote two days ago. She suggests server problems as a reason for why they cannot receive emails properly.

So I write the email, give them the old and the new address, explain the current situation and ask them to fix it.

In the meantime UPS claims, that the person who signed for the parcel was me. A lie. The sign at the door does not state my name and the person living there was not asked for his name. He only took the parcel because he thought it was better this way than to let it go back.

Day 21

Email from Lenovo that they tried to contact me. No call on my cell phone.
At least they are not threatening me to close the ticket anymore. Escalation succeeded?
I answer via email because I am at work and cannot make a phone call.

Day 23

After two days of silence I call again. The support guy can open my file but cannot give me any hint of what the status is. He knows nothing about what happened so far and asks me to give him an overview. My last two emails are not there, I have to aswer basic question several times and in between he just remains silent for minutes(!). Since I do not know what to do, I join in to the silence and so the call lasts very long. I have time today.
Finally the guy asks me to wait a bit while he is asking a colleague. I agree and sit in the waiting line for over 15 minutes. After that, I am ensured, that although he cannot tell me what happend and also cannot tell me what the exact next steps will be, they will now solve the issue as quickly as possible.

I am asking him what will be different this time from them assuring me to fix this three days ago but he does not know any answer.

I tell him that I am not angry at him but that I am really unhappy with the process so far.

Day 24

Since the weekend is coming, I call again to ask for the status. Just in case.
The support gal does not know anything about the case and asks me to summarise. Then 15 minutes waiting line again while she is asking a colleague.
She then assures me that they would solve the problem quickly.
Confronting her with the fact that the people living at the wrong address have not even be contacted and why I should believe her that anything will be different this third time, they are trying to fix it, she tells me that she is sorry for the inconvenience and that this time they would solve it for real.
I am offering her to fix the problem myself if they compensate me for that but she refuses. They cannot do that. (oh, there is so much they cannot do)

Now I am already late with my tax report and in Germany taxes are not a laughing matter. I asked the finance authorities for a delay already but only got two weeks. The new deadline is approaching so I am getting nervous.

After I tell the support gal how urgent it is, she puts me back into the waiting line for another few minutes and then assures me that they will solve the problem quickly.

Day 28

I call Lenovo support again to get a status report. My ticket now has the status “waiting for support”. The employee has to ask a colleague for what that means and gives me the info that the ticket was escalated to another support center and that she cannot do anything now.
She promisses that her boss will ask about a status update now every day.
She also tries to explain the delay by saying that they first have to figure out where the parcel currently is. It could as well still be in the repair center, she claims.
So, although I am pointing out for 10 days now where the parcel currently is and where it is supposed to be delivered to, it seems an unsolvable issue for the Lenovo support. They do not even know, where it parcel is. But I do not say anything anymore. There is no information flow anyway. Wasted breathing air.

Day 29

Email from Lenovo that they tried to contact me. That’s correct this time although I never hear my phone actually ringing when they try to reach me. I call back. The support guy does not know why I was contacted and wants to ask a colleague. After five minutes in the waiting line he tells me that the colleague is on a break and will call back in ten minutes.
45 minutes later, I get a call.
The woman explains the current situation to me … something I did ten days ago. She then asks me to coordinate the pick-up with the people who live at the wrong address.
She then explains three times (!!) that I will get an email to order the pick-up.

Right after that I ask the finace authorities for another delay. Granted (phew).

Day 31

Again, there is no email for a pick-up order and no communcation whatsoever, so I decide to pick up the laptop myself for this to come to an end. After all this I get stomach pains after talking to the Lenovo support and panic attacks at night. I need that laptop to work. Not for my first daily job but for my second job as a freelancer. Since I have a first job, I do not work regularily as a freelancer but just “here and there”. But still, there are deadlines approaching, not only for the taxes.
Also the people that live at the wrong address are too busy to play this funny support game and I do not want to drag them into my problems because they are away from home for work a lot as well.

I write an email to the Lenovo support to inform them about me solving their issue now on my own by driving almost 1000 km in one day and again ask for compensation.

After opening the parcel, I see that they broke the lid completely. So before, the hinge-joint was broken rather internally and now the whole lid cover is broken and the whole laptop looks like some coal miner inspecting the device was turning it around in his hands for hours leaving fingerprints and dirt all over the place.

So I call support.
The woman does not know anything about the case and does not understand what I am trying to explain. Then five minutes waiting line while she is asking a colleage.
After that she starts explaining how they will now pick up the parcel at the wrong address and deliver it to the correct address. She is talking for several minutes and she does not let me interrupt her.
When I then tell her that I am currently holding the laptop in my hands thanks to … me, and that I just want to know why it is more broken than before, she puts me to the waiting line again.
After another few minuts, she suggests we should exchange pictures of the laptop. Unfortunately I did not take pictures before I sent it in. Biiiiiig mistake!

Since I am supposed to send them an email and until now I know of not a single email that reached them, I ask her how to go forward. She sends me an email and I answer while she is still on the phone. Nothing so far but she then promisses me to notify me as soon as the email arrives. This is the first time, I feel as if someone there cares a tiny bit about what will happen.
She even tells me her name and suggests that for future calls I should just ask for her so the issue can be solved faster.

And indeed. After 15 minutes, I get her confirmation that my email arrived.

Day 35

Email that Lenovo tried to reach me. No call logged on my cell phone.
I write an email, that I was not able to take the pictures yet due to work away from home.

Day 41

I receive the pictures from the repair center. The laptop is already opened, which broke the cover. It was possible to open and close the lid carefully without breaking the cover by supporting the area around the joint with a finger. I did it like that. The repair center now just opened the lid, broke the cover and then took the pictures.

Day 42

And that is, what I explain to the support today. The support insists that the laptop arrived exactly how it is seen on the pictures … with an open lid. My question about how an open laptop would fit into the box, that can also be seen on the picture, remains unanswered.
Instead they offer me to escalate the issue. I suggest that they should consider a deescalation instead but ironie is not their strength.

So I throw the Thinkpad in a corner, go with a Dell laptop because it’s the last one available with mouse buttons and try to get over the whole issue for the sake of health preservation.

Months later

Now I can use the Thinkpad again without getting a high blood preasure but I removed the lid cover completely. I could repair it for around 50 EUR but decided to leave it like this as a reminder to never ever think about buying something from Lenovo again.
I know that this is not purely a Lenovo problem but the way they let me standing out in the rain for weeks is nothing I do again while thinking straight.

What happened since

I stopped caring for brands or devices. I care for my health and my data. My data now sits on a soft-raid system of four disks. Since my data is fairly safe that way, the importance of a good laptop somehow shrinks. My next laptop will be a refurbished one for 200 EUR to 300 EUR. So some several years old business laptop. If it’s no fit for me, I can give it to someone else or whatever with almost no harm done. No matter if it’s HP, Lenovo, Dell, Fujitsu or whatever.

Just as a finishing note: I know of three IBM Thinkpads still in use and still completely intact. Those were the days. If only 700 MHz would still be enough for daily use. ;)

IT Support 2/3: Dell

September 5, 2015
tags: ,

The second tech support story features a Dell monitor. Well, not the monitor itself, but from the beginning.

Rebuilding Self

The last few years I was away from home ~27 days a months due to paid work. If that is the case, you do not need a lot of stuff at home so over time I gave away almost all of my IT infrastrucure to friends in need. Now that I am at home again more regularily, I decided to buy a new desktop PC and a new monitor. Nothing fancy. Just a brick PC (yay, silence!) and a 24″ monitor from Dell. For the monitor I decided for a refurbished model to save a bucketload of cash.

But wich one?

There is another reason why I chose a refurbished monitor. There were only three available at my retailer of trust, and only one meeting the only criterion I had (it not being 16:9). Before that decision I had about 40 tabs open (~20 alone from ASUS) with monitors at 24″ and weeks of work ahead, allegedly making sure not to choose the wrong one. After going for a refurbished one, that was not an issue anymore. If there is just one choice, you cannot make a mistake. :) And to be honest, I do not care much about the details (pun intended in case you get it ;)).
There is even a book about this “paradox of choice” but apparently ASUS did not read it yet.

I don’t like Butts

But there was one issue. Reviewers reported about colour issues with that one monitor I chose which they could fix with a firmware upgrade. So no problem, eh? You bet!

In the Jungle

The Dell website does not have a firmware image for download. I talked to some Dell folks in chat but that was apparently just the sales department and they insisted, I should install the Windows driver update instead … on Linux *coughs*. :)
Since the monitor is refurbished, it does not have a service tag anymore and without that, you cannot go through the support clicky thing on the website. So I asked my retailer for help. They said, they are not in contact with Dell but could give me the direct phone number of tech support.
I called tech support then, which of cource has nothing to do with Dell but is just some repair service shop. They were surprised that monitors can even have a firmware and told me they could only give me what was available for download on the website.
Finally I found a thread in the Dell Community support forums where one guy (not a Dell employee) was handing out firmware images to other members via private message and when more and more people asked for it, he even published a link to some file hoster (wich is of course dead by now).

And now?

Do I really want to install firmware images from an unofficial source? The answer is: no.
My question here is, why Dell is not putting firmware images for download on their website. Are they only working on firmware images for business customers? What would be the harm in also handing them out to private customers?

And now.

After staring at a slightly coloured screen for a few days, you get used to it. And since I do not work with images or videos or anything, I do not care anymore. If this would have been a brand new monitor, I would have sent it back just as a matter of priciple. I really hate it that companies only care for you before you become a customer of theirs. After that, they already have your money, so you can as well just go die in the sewers.

On the plus side: all people I talked to have been very nice and really tried to help me.

IT Support 1/3: HP

September 5, 2015

During the last few years, I encountered some computer-related problems which I tried to solve by calling tech support. Three of those encounters are worth being told about (actually four, but the last one is about a musical instrument, so I will not put it on Planet KDE). Today’s story is the shortest one and as such the one, I could even smile about afterwards. The second story was (and still is) worth a head-shaking and the third one gave me a stomach ulcer and panic attacks. Have fun. :)

Shut up and take my money!

So one day in the distand past (means: February of the year 2015) I decided to get myself a small home server for file synchronisation, media server and for playing around in general. The HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 seemed just about right for my purposes so I was sold for that.

Have you tried clearing the NVRAM?

When it arrived, one of the NICs seemed odd, so I took a picture…

Broken NIC

Broken NIC

…and sent it to HP’s tech support.

Tech support called me a few hours later and the guy at the other end started by asking, if I already tried to fix the issue by clearing the NVRAM. After my short but descriptive “what?!” he explained to me how I could clear the NVRAM just before I told him that I did not even switch on the server yet. He was surprised and wanted to know how I then knew, the NIC was broken. That’s when I pointed him to the picture, I sent in. Silence. So I explained to him what could be seen on said picture and he asked if he could put me through to another colleague. I agreed.

I will spare you the details of that second conversation but it was basically the same.
Cleared NVRAM? No. Why? See picure please. … … NIC is broken hardware-wise. Ah, ok. We will send you a permission sheet so you can bring it back to your retailer.

I have never needed a permission sheet to send something back right after the purchase. Not sure why in this case. Maybe because ProLiant is part of the business series?

In the end…

All good. The server I received in return was alright then and is happily in use now. But what is the point in them asking you to send in a picture of the defect if they then seem not to be able to look at that picture. A world of wonders. :)

Minor German Translation Update

March 17, 2013

Hi, long time no post. Not that I have been a very frequent writer here in earlier days, but I needed a reason to tell you that my paid job is taking quite some space in my schedule recently.

Sidenote for those interested: I am working at a company that is doing the automation and conveyor technology for Porsche in Leipzig/Germany and several other rather Volkswagen-centric companies. So it’s all Windows and crappy industrial software for me now. That brought me quite far away from KDE and Linux in general. I am still using Linux with KDE on my private laptop, but there is so little free time now that I barely see the KDE desktop anymore. And if I do, the hotel’s internet is probably down. I am planning to write a rather KDE-unrelated post about software development in the automotive industry, but that will have to wait for the automotive industry to change in a way that gives its service providers enough room to breathe. :D

Following the development of me being rather Windows-centric these days, describing my involvement in the German translation as “sparse” would be rather generous. If it wasn’t for Burkhard Lück (he himself holder of an Akademy award), we probably would not have a German translation in 4.10. Big Thank You for that!

One thing I want to mention though is that as of this weekend the German KDE translation follows the rest of the world regarding the translation of “Trash”. For some reason we have been using “Mülleimer” since … forever. GNOME, Windows, Mac OS X and probably everyone else is using “Papierkorb”. For the non-German speakers: “Mülleimer” is more like the thing in the kitchen, while “Papierkorb” is its office equivalent. So, big “Yay” here from my side.

That I am celebrating a small (but nice) thing like that, shows that the German translation team is in a rather sad state of decline. A few years ago, there were about six to ten active translators. Now there are two (if you are positive enough to count me).

I am planning on writing a post about what it takes to be a translator hoping that we find someone who is willing to take responsibility to be a long-term contributor, but … well, as said, lacking free time. :)

So, I hope there are some folks out there who appreciate the new “Papierkorb” and more generally the German KDE translation and even more generally German translations and most generally translations in all languages.

Have fun. :)

My Lenovo Odyssey

July 6, 2012

New job, new home, new laptop, right?
Well, not that easy. But turns out, job and home is easier that laptop.

Today I read this story about Lenovo Support and then I thought, I could share my story as well. I already ranted about the Lenovo Support on Google+ but apparently Google+ is not Twitter.

But let’s start at the beginning.

On June 20th…

…I decided that my five years old HP laptop has reached its end of service. It still runs quite fine (this blog post is written on it) but over the years more and more components gave up. I wrote about some of it earlier but now I could add some more components to the list.

So I went to Alternate (a German retailer) and looked around a bit. After a few hours and a good night sleep there were two laptops in a rather uneven race. One 13″ HP ProBook and one 15″ Lenovo Thinkpad. Both around 800 EUR. I decided for the Thinkpad because I liked the keyboard better and because of its higher screen resolution (1600×900 vs. 1366×786). So I placed the order and felt good about it.

On June 26th…

…the order arrived and I was happy like a child in a candy shop … until I realised the Enter key being a bit clunky. As long as I hit it exactly at its center, it was fine but to the corners it got worse to the point where it was not pressed at all but wedged somehow. I wrote an email to Alternate asking what to do. They told me to send the laptop back and that they could not send a new keyboard. With my new job starting a few days later, I did not want to do that. They also gave me a telephone number of the Lenovo support so I decided to go that road instead.

Before that, I had to move homes though, so I postponed the call.

On July 2nd…

…I called the support of Lenovo Germany. My call was answered by a recorded voice asking me several questions about my laptop model and such that I answered by pressing the phone digits. The call was ended by the voice by telling me that the hotline has been moved to another number. I had to call a second time because I did not have a pen at hand fast enough.

So I called the second hotline; still Lenovo Germany. Another recorded voice asked me similar questions and after a few questions it sent me to the website. A bit pissed I ended the call early and went to the main website instead. At the bottom there was a link called “Warranty” (“Garantie & Gewährleistung” in German). That link lead to an error page saying that the page did not exist.

I called the hotline again checking if I might have missed something at the end. But no, the call was just ended after the naming of the website. I looked around on the website again and finally found the page the hotline was referring to.

So I checked my warranty. Unsurprisingly it was still valid for almost a year. The assistant had me state some more information about my location and stuff and then gave me the phone number of the hotline I just called.

I called the hotline again just to be sure, but still nothing. I spent another half an hour on the website to see if I had missed something there but did not find anyhing helpful.

On July 3rd…

…I left a comment on the warranty assistant page that I did not find it very helpful, threw all my frustration into my Google+ stream and then sent a message to some “do you have questions” email address I found on the Lenovo website.

On July 4th…

…I decided to sent another email to Alternate, describing what I experienced. They answered the same day, telling me that they are sorry for the inconvenience and that, if nothing else worked, I could still send the laptop back. After another day of waiting for Lenovo to respond to something, I sent the whole thing back to Alternate …on July 5th

Since I did not anticipate the issues I would have with the Lenovo support and thought I would receice a spare keyboard within days, I prepared the laptop for my work, installing Debian and stuff. I told Alternate several times that I could not send the device back in original condition. They never responded to that particular bit so I guess it’s alright. Or I at least hope so.

So today on July 6th…

…I work with my old laptop at home and with a loaned device at work. And I am looking for another new laptop. Lenovo disqualified themselves this week by hiding from customers and not responding at all on several channels. So I guess it will be another HP. I just hope they solved the “fans become annoyingly noisy after some time” issue that haunted my current laptop’s series.

In general I would like to have a laptop with:
* that brand new non-glare display technology the manufacturers are advertising recently (forgotten are the days when that was standard and “glare” had to be advertised for all the DVD watchers and fish tank screen savers)
* mouse buttons that can be pressed (not those pads that just click) and are adjoining so I can press them both simultaneously with one finger (I really like the Thinkpad in that regard)
* a quiet to silent fan; currently I go to bed with a ringing in my ears from the noise of the fan (no, there is no dust carpet in there, I clean it every other month or so) and I want to change that
* a normal keyboard; not those “separate keys in a punched plate” thingies. I work with one of those once in a while and mistype quite often.

Suggestion are appreciated. :)

How it could have ended

Last year, I bought a new guitar. Since I lived in a small town I ordered it just like I ordered the laptop last month. Thomann is a really great retailer in Germany (selling Europe-wide, I think). You can test everything like you would in the store and send it back if you do not like it without a problem. Well, I had a little problem with the guitar. The tone switch vibrated while playing makin a little vibrating sound. I wrote Thomann an email and at the same day they told me that a new guitar would be sent to me the next day and that I should send back the one I had with the shipping sticker they sent me as a PDF. Umm, well, that was a bit overkill, so I called them. It’s a normal phone number so it does not cost a thing for me and a real person answered the call after about 10 seconds of music, who I could ask for a less intrusive solution. They offered to send me a new switch, if I could attach it myself. I agreed (not knowing that it would be a pain to do so with that particular guitar model, but well :D) and the next day they send me a switch that was about 10 times the value of the one built-in originally; basically the most expensive one they had.

I bought quite some stuff there after that and will continue to do so because I know that I can call them and talk to real people in case I have a problem.

Back to Lenovo. I cannot believe that what I experienced with them is supposed to be the way they want to handle customer support. That’s why I tried everything several times (and paid several EUR for their “value-added” phone numbers for nothing). So, what did I do wrong? Did anyone else have any experience with the support of Lenovo or Lonovo Germany? Please leave comments. :)

Japanese — Week Five

February 20, 2012


Learning Japanese. Week five.

Second rather lazy week in a row. Well, “lazy” is not the right word. Other stuff has been going on rather, which depleted most of my energy. But that’s private. :D

I have polished my Hiragana by reading, learned a few more Kanji and Katakana and listened to a Japanese radio station more. I love it when they just talk for a few hours. Highlights are if I understand a word here and there, but the way they are talking in some of the shows fascinates me beyond that. I hope the fascination does not degenerate once I understand a certain amount.

(Currently it seems to be Smooth Jazz hour, so it’s fine anyway. :))

Besides the image of me looking into my test book being a sparse sight this week, I nevertheless feel like I took one small step further on the “being serious” ladder. I started a vocabulary with all words I learned so far. Hand-written. In paper. Not sure why I did not do that earlier, but … now I did. :) Kana-only, means, no Romaji. Let’s see when I will be able to add some Kanji there. I might need a very fine pen for that.

In order to collect the vocabulary I redid the first few lessons of Rosetta Stone and the text book I use. I have to say that this gave me a little push in confidence. In general I am currently feeling intimidated by the amount of stuff I see in front of me. Looking back once in a while might be a good way to see what has already been accomplished.

In this spirit, I am starting into the next week. Katakana still being no. 1 priority, the vocabulary will be one of my main targets this time. Being able to read the “letters” does not mean a thing if they cannot be assigned to a meaning.



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