If you have the service agreement, never admit you tried to fix
anything. I had two flaky remotes and I tried to fix one of them by
cleaning the board and pads.
Bear in mind these are not returnable items. They send you a new one
and you throw the old one away.
When I called for a replacement they said the coverage was void
because I took it apart.
I said "so if I just threw it in the trash it would be OK"
"No then it is lost and we do not cover loss"
"But when I get the new one, I just throw the old one away"
"How do you know I messed with it at all"
"you told us"
It just got silly from there.
"OK I also have 2 OTHER bad remotes and I am afraid to touch them"
"OK great, you will have 2 new ones an a couple days"
Moral, no good deed goes unpunished. Never admit you tried to help.
On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 2:05:16 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I assume the other two are actually good, so the problem is solved?
If not, I guess you can wait awhile, then claim you have another bad
one. Amazing that they have that absurd position, good way to lose
customers over a cheap remote.
On Tue, 22 Sep 2015 11:38:36 -0700 (PDT), trader_4
I really could not believe it, after this stupid thread continued with
the supervisor on line.
I assume they are all script monkeys there and nobody has the power to
This guy kept playing the game after I said we were talking about two
OTHER remotes. He was about to run the whole trouble shooting script
when I just gave him all the answers before he could get past "replace
It ended with a simple "what address do we send the remotes to."
If I had not said I actually tried to fix them before I wanted new
ones they would have simply sent me new ones.
Remember these are not supposed to be returned. They would not know if
it had a bullet hole in it. (I wasn't that mad at them anyway) ;-)
On 9/22/2015 11:04 AM, email@example.com wrote:
From their point of view, how do they know you were qualified to diagnose
the <piece of equipment> (it could just as easily have been the DISH
tuner box with which you were tinkering!) was, in fact, 'defective'?
And, that you are even remotely qualified to disassemble (without breaking),
repair *and* reassemble it?
Given that they have to come up with a policy that addresses customers
who may well be ROCKET SCIENTISTS as well as COMPLETE IDIOTS, it seems
like the only logical choice is the one they made.
So what, they simply send you another one anyway. It was already
broke! Me fooling with it was not going to make it worse.
In fact, cleaning it bought them a few months and a few extra payments
into the maintenance kitty. I really won't be making money on that
maintenance plan until lightning blows up both of my sat boxes.
On 9/22/2015 1:09 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
They don't *know* that it was broke. The *receiver* could have been
broke. The batteries could have been dead; you may have installed
replacement batteries *backwards*, etc. All they know is the
remote function *appeared* not to work -- ACCORDING TO YOU!
Do you know how many items are returned as "broken" that, in fact,
are NOT broken? I.e., consumers are not good diagnosticians.
How do they know *your* capabilities? They mail you another remote
and your problem may or may NOT go away.
OTOH, you tinkering with their equipment leaves them at *your* mercy.
I design electronic products. I repair most electronic products
that I purchase. That doesn't mean I don't make mistakes when
performing those diagnostics/repairs. The difference is, I do
those repairs when I no longer have the recourse of a warranty
to exploit. I.e., it's broken; I MAY be able to fix it -- or,
I may break it *more*! But, *I* am assuming the risk for my
actions -- not expecting the manufacturer to pick up the
pieces if/when I screw up!
A warranty repair/replace costs *more* than the original product
cost (the manufacturer). They don't want to be fixing things
that *you* may have broken -- or, that you may have *changed*
the failure mode through your unfamiliarity with the device.
["Yeah, that's failure type XYZ001 -- replace module 23, verify
operation and ship it back to the customer" suddenly becomes
"Cripes! Who was poking around in here? Nothing is where it
should be! Just scrap the entire item..."]
My daughter used to work for Dish Network as a tech. Some of the calls
she describes to me are hysterical.
"Ma'am, is the receiver plugged in?"
"uh, what's a plug?"
"You know that chord on the back of the receiver that goes into the wall
to get power?"
"yeah. Is that the plug?"
"My satellite isn't working!! I can't get anything on the TV!"
"Is your TV turned on?"
"No. The power's been out for a couple of hours now."
Those were REAL discussions she had with a couple of customers.
It's not that people are "stupid". But, most aren't analytical
thinkers. They don't have the mindset, skillset or inclination
to sit down and sort out the exact nature of a problem.
Now, they're in a frustrating situation (<whatever> isn't working
for some reason) *and* you want them to be calm and logical in
thinking about the source of their frustration?? :>
This is one of the main reasons why brand new (obviously working!)
items are returned for refunds: the user is unnecessarily intimidated
by a device that doesn't work the way he *hopes* it will work!
I get frustrated when vendors/manufacturers assume *all* users are
inept and reduce a "problem" to a bogus error code (analogous to
an idiot light!). Why not indicate what you were *trying* to do
and what UNEXPECTED condition was detected? That way, instead of
conveying an error code to a support person -- and waiting for them
to look it up in The Big Book of Error Codes -- I can possibly
check some of the things that YOUR message *suggests* -- either
explicitly in the text of the message or *implicitly* as I ponder
what the message might mean?!
I had a recent piece of software crash miserably during installation
simply because a network cable was not plugged into the network jack
on the computer! The software didn't care if the network was
accessible -- just that the network *interface* was "up"! Had
the error message included the characters "n e t w o r k" in it
ANYWHERE, I would have explored this option immediately! :-/
Instead, I look at the software as "of poor quality".
All becoming button pushing robots. I never call tech support.
For the time spent with them, I'll figure problem out. I as much as I
can purchase top tier pro. grade product and use them long time.
Probably at the end I save money and I keep my BP down.
The problem is that the "push-button mentality" is pervading all levels
of technology/expertise! People understand much LESS about what they
do (for their jobs!) than ever before. Management would like employees
to be interchangeable cogs -- just teach Mr A which buttons to push
so he can do Mr B's job!
As there is no investment in physical devices ("quality" for the long
haul), there is also no investment in human "devices".
A consequence of this is those human devices have very little invested in
their jobs or particular employers! Their "skillsets" have been made
portable -- so they can move just as easily as being replaced!
there is a large amount of poorly designed stuff coming out
my recent example was a stereo receiver that worked fine
except i could not set the stereo channels unless it were
plugged into an HDMI TV (which we don't have). after
reading several thousand messages, searching elsewhere on-
line and reading the manual (only available on-line), there
was no other way to do it. so i ended up returning it
the next day and bought a different unit (for $50 less
from another company) which did have the buttons on the
front for setting the stations. now everything works that
i need to have happen, but i can't figure out how to
clear a preset station... nothing too important there as
i can always set them to the same station we listen to.
as for cheap products that don't last my previous
keyboard for the computer lasted about 6 months before
the keycaps wore out and the space bar started sticking.
the keyboard i'm using now should last longer than me.
Someone made some baseless ASSUMPTIONS about how the device
was going to be used -- then forgot to declare those as
REQUIREMENTS in the product documentation!
Just because "you" (he) want to use something in a particular
way doesn't necessarily mean the device MUST be used in that
I was contacted by a company many years ago to work on an
electronic access control system they were developing (think:
door locks). After meeting the staff and touring the facilities,
I was given a brief demonstration of their prototype system.
My "host" showed me how a "key" was created and then used in a
sample door lock set up beside the prototype. And, how the key
could be changed and the lock "recoded" for the new key, master
keys introduced, etc.
I asked if I could "play": "By all means! Help yourself!"
Standing sideways so he could watch my actions, I started
the procedure to create a new "Grand Master" key -- one that
would unlock any door in the hypothetical facility. Then,
just before actually creating the physical key, I unplugged
a cable that connected the computer to the "key maker".
My host became agitated -- but restrained himself. Confidently,
I then proceeded to make THREE Grand Master keys -- showing each
of them to him. Then, pressed the CANCEL button, reattached the
cable that I had removed and motioned to the message on the
screen: "Process canceled. No keys made" -- while holding
the three keys in my hand.
I.e., someone ASSUMED that no one would ever unplug that cable!
Especially not at that key point in the process!! Perhaps if I
had unplugged it at the start of the process, the machine
may have sensed the unplugged cable and thrown an error message
blocking the key creation process from continuing.
The limited imagination of the designer(s) represented a significant
security flaw -- in a product that is *designed* to impose security
on a facility!
Years ago, the legends in keycaps were actually *molded* into
the plastic. I.e., a "white" piece of plastic with a raised
legend was created and then a "black" piece of plastic was
molded *around* this. So, the legend was an integral part
of the keycap -- not just a label *printed* on the surface!
OTOH, if you expect a computer to be replaced in 3 years,
why make a keyboard that lasts more than 3??
i really don't know what they were thinking other
than "Everyone must have an HDMI tv by now, or a iPad,
or ..." none of which we have here...
that would be a major flaw for sure, but easily fixed,
however, the lack of noticing that to begin with would
make me wonder what other holes they missed with their
my first PC keyboard was an IBM-PC model M and
i wasn't able to wear those keys off so i'm pretty
sure they were built properly. i regretted giving
it away 15 years later. the keyboard i have now is
of similar design. i have no plans on replacing it
and i doubt there will be desktop computers made
without USB ports. as to how long they'll still
be making desktop computers i can't predict...
i've never replaced a computer after 3 years. i
usually get about 9 years out of mine. this one
is a recycled hand-me-down but since i've replaced
the motherboard it is on borrowed time and i'll
eventually have to find another.
Exactly. I have an uncanny ability to make snap decisions at the sorts
of things folks are likely to have taken for granted. As a result, it
is not uncommon for me to walk up to someone who THINKS they are just
about finished with a project -- and find a glaring hole in their
One fellow got mad at me for typing something "unexpected" and causing
his system to crash spectacularly:
"You're not supposed to DO that!"
"Well, then DON'T LET ME!!"
I long ago stopped buying computers. I'm more than happy
to fix other folks' discards and use them. Or, "rescue" a
server-class machine and use it as a "desktop" workstation.
Friends who are "gamers" are great sources of reasonably
capable/fast machines that are just "too slow for the latest
version of Halo, etc."
I don't use computers as "entertainment systems" but, rather,
use them as tools (to write software, manuals and design
hardware). As such, they are invariably waiting for *me*
to decide what key to press next. So, it's silly to buy
The Latest and Greatest so it can do even more <nothing>
while waiting for me to press the next key!
I usually get cast off corporate machines, either as givaways or for
<$100 from a surplus sales operation.
I will be running XP until nothing will run on it. So far so good.
You are missing an opportunity if you do not have an old XP machine
hooked to your TV. It makes any TV much smarter than a "smart TV".
That opens up a whole world of streaming content on the internet. It
also gives you a great music player or just a huge monitor if you are
doing CAD work.
I like it for photo editing. Set the video card to the highest
On 9/23/2015 10:41 AM, email@example.com wrote:
I get machines from friends and colleagues who insist on having
the latest and greatest (for games, latest MS bloatware, etc.).
I tend to run older software (it's too expensive and time consuming
and fraught with distress to keep updating to the "latest set
of bugs" for all my applications -- find something that works
and stick with it!)
Our local University has public auctions every other week. So, you
canm often pick up a pallet of machines for a song -- if you
want to invest the time to fix them.
I have two laptops given to me yesterday (perhaps the day before?)
and another coming tomorrow. I'll get them working and add them
to the pile for friends/neighbors/kids that may have a need
in the future. (the machine is free; don't bother me for "support"!)
I recently (15 months ago) "upgraded" to XP. Thankfully, lost very
little to "incompatibilities", missing drivers, etc. I suspect I
am stuck there as many of my peripherals are not supported past
XP. So, why upgrade" to a new set of bugs AND have to replace
those peripherals at the same time? Where's the common sense
I have a MythTV box set up in the living room. No network connection.
It serves up DVD images for SWMBO's exercise videos and gives me
a cheap way of replacing the DVD player (without having to purchase
yet another $100+ DVD player designed for direct connection to a TV).
I have two or three 22-27" monitors on each of my workstations.
I had considered using a "big TV" but it is not practical:
in order to "take in" the entire screen without suffering whiplash
(having to turn your head far to the left, or right), you have to set
the TV back pretty far. This makes the images smaller (i.e., the
increased resolution is lost because your (my) eyes can't resolve
those fine details at those distances). It also means I'd have to
wear eyeglasses to see/read the screen -- which would mean bifocals
(bottom just clear glass) if I wanted to also be able to read the
paperwork sitting on my desk guiding my activities.
that had win 7 pro on it and when I got it, looked at it for about an hour
and then upgraded to Win 10 for free. Only paid about $ 150 for a 3.3 ghz
machine with 8 gb of memory. It looked almost new and had a win 7 disc
Sofar have not played too much with it, but an old game of Doom 2 that I use
just to check out how well a computer will run. It tells me it will not
run. Then I have some simple old .exe programs that are only about 100 K
and they will not run. I have a TV dongle that the video works but not the
audio. Some of the other programs I have run ok on it but they were made
sometime after Win 7 came out.
Well, I wouldn't be too upset if I couldn't get Doom to run :>
Far more annoyed that Brief isn't usable on anything made in the
last 20+ years (looks to be some timing loops that are hard-coded
in the program; run a machine that's 100 times faster and the
loops are 100 times *shorter*! :< )
My fear is always with the hardware devices/peripherals. I have:
- digitizing tablets (summasketch A & B size -- serial!)
- motion controllers (spaceball, nuLOOQ)
- pointing devices (gyromouse)
- barcode/RFID scanners
- mag stripe readers (for credit cards)
- MICR readers (for "checks")
- document scanners (A-size w/ADF, B-size, 35mm and "film")
- whiteboard interfaces
- specialty printers (wide format, color postcard, pen plotter, etc.)
- PROM programmer (Unisite -- serial, 3" boot/system floppies)
etc. It's annoying to NOT be able to use these simply because
their drivers haven't been "ported forward".
"Buy new" -- I don't think so!
I already have to maintain several "legacy" machines (going back
to 5" floppies, ISA bus, etc.) for certain bits of kit that are
long since unsupported... I'm not keen on having to set aside
even *more* machines for those sorts of reasons!
I know what you mean. A good number of years ago I had to toss out a good
flatbed scanner because the software driver was not updated from win 95.
I have to have a couple of old laptops just to get a PCMCIA (or whatever)
port on them to program some cards to go to an old piece of test equipment
that origionally cost someone Around $ 50,000. I bought that off ebay for
about $ 900 as it was useless to the ones it was bought for ( mainly the old
analog cell phones). You should have seen them scramble around at work to
find a 3.5 inch PS2 floppy drive to go in a piece of lab equipment. I also
need some old slow computers so the rs232 port will work to program other
I am all for progress, but sometimes it is expensive.. Atleast when the TV
stations switched there was an adapter that was not too expensive.
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