Monthly Archives: March 2008

Laptop woes

03 Mar 2008
by mjeaton, posted in Uncategorized   |  Comments Off

I purchased my last laptop from TechDepot in June of 2006.  They were the only company that could get it shipped on short notice before we left on vacation that year and they also had the best price on the system I wanted. :-)   When I purchased it I broke one of my own rules and also picked up an extended warranty because the laptop cost around $2500 and wasn’t something I’d be able to easily replace.  18 months later and I am soooo glad I dropped the extra cash for the warranty. :-)

On the first day of CodeMash 2008, my laptop died. :-(   At first I thought it was a dead battery, but after leaving it plugged in all night, it still didn’t work.  What sucks is I had been having issues with it for a few weeks prior to CodeMash.  My main problem was lockups while playing World of Warcraft, so I didn’t think too much about it, even though the problems were become more and more frequent.  I knew it had to be heat related, so I did everything I could to keep it cool.  Unfortunately, that didn’t help.

After I got home from CodeMash, I called the warranty company and explained my situation – the laptop failed to boot.  All I got when powering the system on was a black screen.  Of course, I went through several troubleshooting steps to make sure it wasn’t something simple.  I ended up pulling the hard drive (SATA) and dropped it in my server to make sure I didn’t lose anything and to make sure it wasn’t just a dead drive.  Thank God the drive was ok and I didn’t lose anything. :-)   That of course meant the problem was either with the video or motherboard.

The warranty company was pretty cool…they sent a box and pre-paid shipping label and told me it would be 8-10 days before I’d have it back.  Yea, right.  Once I received the box, I immediately shipped it to the repair company (Micro Medics, contracted by the warranty company).  They received the laptop on 1/22/2008.  A few days went by…then a few more days went by.  During this time, I was forced to postpone some client visits, so I wasn’t too happy. :-\

Finally, the Micro Medics customer care website said the problem had been diagnosed and they were contacting the warranty company to make sure everything was covered.

A couple more days went by and the status didn’t change so I used their contact form and asked for an update.  It was around this time (2/4/2008) that I received a phone call from the repair company asking me if I wanted the screen bezel replaced since it had a scratch on it.  WTF?  I very politely let them know that I simply wanted the computer to work and that I didn’t care about cosmetic issues.  Of course, it was also going to cost $175 to replace the screen bezel since it wasn’t covered under the warranty. :-\  Whatever.  Just fix the damn computer.

I stupidly assumed that after the phone call things would move quickly and that I’d have the laptop within a few days.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  A few more days went by but no updates on the site.  Finally on 2/12, the status was updated but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

“Service has been denied and your unit is being returned unrepaired. “


The reason?  They couldn’t find a replacement logic board. :-\  Did I mention the laptop was only 18 months old?  Needless to say, I immediately got on the phone with the warranty company and read them the riot act.  No way in hell was that acceptable.  The person I spoke to said he’d check into it and get back with me.

Next day, no phone call back so I called them again.  Different person, same story.  On the 3rd day I called back and told them something had to be done pretty damn soon.  Luckily I got the same guy on the 3rd day that I got on the 2nd, so at least I had that going for me. ;-)   He said he’d escalate the issue to a manager but that I’d probably end up with a replacement. :-)   That was fine with me.  I just needed a laptop. 

Finally, on the fourth day it was confirmed — yes, I would be getting a replacement.  I told him to email me the specs so I could review them before I committed.  The original laptop they offered was a Sony Vaio FZ340E.  I was happy with it so I said, “hell yea!” — faster processor, larger hard drive, dedicated video…yea, I’ll take it. ;-)   Guess what?  The next day I received an email saying they could no longer get that model and showed me another Vaio (the 760PS6).  Unfortunately, the second Vaio was NOT going to cut it and I let them know it.

When I purchased my laptop in 2006, I had several requirements that had to be met.  It had to have dedicated video, it had to run my games (mostly WoW) and it had to be capable of running Vista.  The second system they showed me didn’t have dedicated video so that pretty much shot down the other items on my list.  My contact at the warranty company said he’d forward my requirements on to his manager.  Cool.  Whatever.  Just get me a damn laptop! :-)

After another day went by, I emailed to find out the status of the replacement.  Guess what?  All of a sudden, the first laptop they offered was on the table again.

So, after all that, on Friday, February 29th at 7pm, more than a month after my laptop died, UPS delivered my brand-spankin’ new Sony Vaio FZ340E with 3GB RAM, 250GB drive, 15″ widescreen running Windows Vista.  This thing runs WoW soooo smoothly and I’m really digging Vista. :-)   Oh, and I’m sure it’ll run Visual Studio just fine. ;-)

Here is the actual work order history from the Micro Medics website…it’s crazy:

Work order history