Off on the Right Foot

We needed another laptop in a pinch today at the office today, so I walked down the block to Best Buy and picked up a brand new Toshiba Satellite A55. We’ve had several Toshiba notebooks at the office, and they’ve been sturdy, reliable machines, as far as Windows machines go. So I didn’t put a whole lot of thinking into the purchase, though it’s clear to me now that I should have.

This Toshiba may turn out to be as durable as our others, but it’s really a consumer machine, and as such it’s under-specified in terms of what we really need — the video is woefully meek, and it only drives a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The desktop, too, is cluttered with consumer-focused detritus: America Online trials, music download trials, dodgy video editing software, anti-spam and anti-spyware trials, etc. The wallpaper, which is Toshiba-branded and hardly an oil painting, is covered over with these crapware icons as gaudily as was the Hewlett-Packard we bought late last year.

Below right: Whatchutalkinbout Willis? A lovely way to start off a human/computer relationship.

My favorite was the first message — the very first one! — that I got when I finished the Windows XP setup process. All I’d done so far was open up the box, power up the laptop, and step through the setup wizard. I hadn’t even been able to click on anything yet when this lovely error screen accosted me.

“The Windows XP standard CD-R/RW writing function is inactive. To write to DVD-RAM discs, this function must first be deactivated. Do you wish to deactivate it? (Should you choose to deactivate here, you can still activate the Windows XP standard CD-R/RW write function by selecting the ‘Enable CD Recording on this drive’ setting in the DVD MULTIDrive property.)

Wow, is there anyone at Toshiba working on customer experience at all? If not, we‘d really like to help. I think we could do a lot of good.


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