Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who needs Canadian workers?

I really like to write companies e-mails and tell them what I think. If somebody does something really good or really bad....or even just slightly bad...I like to tell them what I think.

I just got a new computer that I'm really happy with, but there's a few really stupid things on it. So I decided to write to HP and tell them about it. This was my first message (this is just the text portion of an input box, so it's a bit out of context):

I just bought this computer and am quite happy with it. However, I have a bit of feedback to give.

1) The USB ports almost seem to be out of alignment a bit. It's very difficult to get USB cables in and out of the computer.

2) The single button mouse is a novel solution, but it's too stiff.

3) Lastly, and worst of all...the keyboard. You've stuffed too much on here. Making the enter and shift buttons smaller than usual is the most terrible thing. I find the keyboard to be unusable right now. Hopefully I will get used to it. But I don't think I can un-learn 20 years of typing. What were you thinking?

Other than that, I'm quite enjoying the computer. Other than all the junk and extra programs that I've spent two days removing from it.

It's not my finest work, but I was rushed. Anyhow, easily within 3-4 hours, "Simon" wrote me back:

Hello Dave,

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

First, I would like to thank you for your valuable feedback. Regarding USB, As your notebook is brand new and non used, you are experiencing issue with the USB ports. Once you use notebook for specific time period then the USB ports will get easy to handle. As the hardware of the notebook brand new you are experiencing stiff to handle. Considering notebook compact size the key board design is made easy to fit on the notebook. This is the reason of keys are small. Once again, thanks for you feedback. If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further. For information on keeping your HP and Compaq products up and running, please visit our Web site at:


What an awesome message. It's like some sort of robot or thinking computer responded. They weren't offering me a free replacement computer, so I just went on with my day. Today, I got another message from "Simon".

Hello Dave,
Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

This e-mail is a follow up to your recent e-mail experience regarding your HP Product. This is to verify if the information provided to you for your HP notebook has answered the query. As we have not heard from you since our last communication, this e-mail is to verify the status of the issue. If your question has not been answered properly, please respond to us with a detailed description of the results. We will be glad to assist you further. Our goal for this program is to provide an efficient and helpful e-mail support experience, and so we would like to be sure that the issue has been completely resolved from your perspective. If you have further questions, please reply and we will be happy to help you.

HP Total Care

This message is also fairly awesome. Not quite as good, as I think they had an actual human write the form letter before "Simon" sent it out. But, who doesn't like talking to a robot? So I responded to "Simon".

Well. I was mostly just giving feedback.

I'm still not totally happy with the keyboard and I think you should avoid making a computer like that in the future. It's almost impossible to tell that it will be an issue until you get home and start working on it. Now I'm kind of stuck with it.

As for the USB...hopefully it gets better. I've just never experienced anything like that before. It's very stiff. It doesn't seem right.


Looking many chances do you get to talk to a robot? I really should have put more effort into this. Apparently though, "Simon" is pretty focussed on certain things. So, an hour later, "Victor" wrote me back:

Hi Dave,
Thank you for writing back to us.

I have gone through the description in your previous email’s carefully and realize your concern regarding this issue.

Dave, at HP we strive for customer satisfaction and it is our constant endeavor to provide enhanced services to our esteemed customers.

However, we appreciate and value your feedback on our company's product. Your message was reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate individuals and they will do the needful.
If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further

For information on keeping your HP and Compaq products up and running, please visit our Web site at:


Any person, place or thing using the word "endeavor" in a communique has my utmost respect. But honestly, how awesome? I mean, I'm just some idiot writing to complain about a keyboard and they're actually not telling me to cuss off? What the cuss? It's pretty awesome. I'll add updates if it gets more interesting.

On a side note, how awesome was Fantastic Mr. Fox?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I think the SR-71 Blackbird is just about the most amazing object there is. This story provides an interesting look at actually flying one.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle has an M-21 Blackbird, an earlier variant of the SR-71. I think it's worth the trip just to look at this airplane. It's one of those things that I could just stand and look at for hours.

You can see from the picture in the SR-71 article how crazy, confusing and old the controls are. How the hell would you fly the thing?