I have a new vacuum cleaner - you may recall me mentioning it. So, to celebrate the arrival of spring I decided to vacuum my work room. This simple exercise meant moving the PC out of the way to get the cleaner in.
Coincidently, I'm also trying out the Lexmark E310 printer - small footprint, nice and neat, and a pleasant change from my old printer which is the size of a wardrobe. So, I thought the vacuuming chore would be the ideal time to do the swap. I would move the old printer out, vacuum and move the new printer in.
It was at about this point that the excrement shook hands with the fan.
After a successful vacuum I moved the PC back in. It booted fine but somehow it had forgotten it had a sound card installed and insisted I had a new device it didn't recognise and would I load the drivers for it. It looks like the card came unseated. The whole thing was made worse by an on-and-off problem I've been having with the sound system because it shares an IRQ with the SCSI card. So, now the Jaz didn't work either.
Having this piece to write I thought I would leave the first set of problems until I had got the printer installed. That wouldn't take long. Ha.
The printer has a USB connection so why not use it? It goes without saying that 'it's simple to use'. Surprise, surprise the 'plug and play' neither plugged nor played. Lexmark, bless it, does a nice line in printers but I always get the feeling I'm taking my life in my hands when it comes to its software. So, I wasn't too surprised that the Lexmark USB driver didn't drive.
For a couple of weeks I've been using a USB parallel port replacement - as part of my wholly unsuccessful attempt to free up IRQs. When the USB connector didn't work I thought I'd try the parallel port replacement.
But now it wasn't working and, suddenly, the 18 hours to my PC Dealer deadline didn't seem so manageable.
After messing around for a while, the printer is working - but still no sound - and if you are reading this I must have got my column in on time. But the PC will be 18 years old in August and we're still having these problems. The sound system works fine on its own (ok, it has cruddy software but it's French, so what do you expect?). The printer is, as advertised, neat and fast and the SCSI sub-system is seamless and quick. Only put them together in the same box and you may as well throw them all away.
I'm reasonably lucky: to earn my crust all I need is a PC with a printer or modem. But just imagine if I was a customer of yours and my business (and your repeat business) depended on all the bits in my system working.
How happy would I be?
Which brings me to the question of whether we are looking after users properly. Are we building and supporting kit that can do all the things we say it can?
Let me know, because it doesn't look too good from here.
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