For a long time, the wife and I have had a little bit of trouble with home computers. We never seem to have more than 1 at a time in a decent working state. And with her working on her blog and me wanting to play with code, it's been a bit of a pain.
I bought a refurbished 17" Toshiba laptop a few years ago, and while it worked fairly well, it wasn't without problems. The DVD drive was very fussy about which media you tried to use in it, and more often than not refused to read disks. There was also quite a problem with the screen surround, which ended up causing the screen casing to crack and the video data to lose sync. Not good for something that cost me NZ$3000.
At the moment we're using an Asus laptop I bought off my brother a few years ago. At the time it seemed like a good deal, but now I'm not so sure. I've had to replace the battery, and there appears to be some sort of issue in the socket where the AC adapter plug goes. It's currently secured with a blob of Blu-tak, and you can't move the cable nor the laptop in case you cut the power.
So the plan this year is for both of us to get new laptops. I don't want to go for a Toshiba or Asus again - once bitten, twice shy, as the old saying goes. Some of my workmates have told me very good things about Dell, so I'm going to give them a try. It's just a matter of saving up our pennies so that we can buy what we want, which isn't that easy when my car has decided to eat through a set of tyres and front brake discs. Lovely.
Anyway, we finally managed to get enough money together to sort out a computer for my wife. She doesn't need anything spectacular, just a run-of-the-mill 15" laptop. This is where the Dell fun begins. When we first started getting prices in Feb, it looked like the corporate Vostro line would be the most cost-effective (i.e. cheapest) option. Get into March, and you could get something from the Inspiron range for NZ$949, in one of a range of colours. In April it changed yet again, and the choice came between the Inspiron and a Studio 15, both for NZ$1199. Not only that, but the Inspiron's colour choice dropped to blue or pink. Not exactly the nicest selections.
So we ended up ordering the base level Studio 15. My wife really wanted red, but the only free colour choice was black. There were some other basic colour options (about NZ$65 each) or some premium options (about NZ$125 each), but it'll take some convincing to make me fork out money for that, especially when the basic options were zero-cost only a month earlier. Oh well, not much that can be done about that, so I place the order on Wed after lunch.
Friday rolls around and I'm still waiting for Dell to confirm payment. I paid via credit card, which means it should only take a few seconds for them to take my money. I don't like it when companies take my money then give me the silent treatment, so I send a follow-up email. By end of business I've still heard nothing. Odd. Finally, some time around 7 when I'm at Manukau shopping mall, my cell rings. It's Dell, and they don't have the black colour option available any more. It's their basic, free option and they're out of it. Great. At least we get upgraded to another colour option (marbled grey with red sides) for free.
As I write this, the laptop is supposedly sitting in customs in some country in Asia (probably Malaysia), waiting to be sent to NZ. I've read some awful thing about Dell's shipping, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.