Tag Archives: dell

Spontaneous Security

Over the holiday weekend, I experienced the ultimate computer security mechanism:

“Spontaneous Security”

I was using my new Dell Latitude E6420 to do some network reconfiguration when the machine started acting weird with regard to the network.

Since this machine runs Windows 7, I decided to just reboot it to clear the network configuration.

After I restarted the machine I was asked for a password by the BIOS.

The odd thing was … I never set a BIOS password.

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Dell PowerEdge T310

(Read this entire post, as there is a very weird problem described later)

It’s been quite a while since I upgraded the hardware that runs this (and others) web site.

The warranty on the systems either will be expiring soon or has already expired.

So I bit the bullet and ordered a new Dell PowerEdge T310 server. The pertinent specs are:

  • Quad core Xeon 2.66ghz processor
  • 12gb RAM
  • RAID controller
  • 4 x 500gb hot swap drives (configured as 2 x 500gb RAID 1 sets)

The system arrived last week and I got it set up immediately.

I actually ordered the system with only one 250gb hard drive and 4gb of RAM … and upgraded it myself.

A few things annoyed me out of the gate …
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SSD and D630

A few weeks ago I saw a a good deal on a 80gb Solid State Disk (SSD) from Dane Elec at NewEgg (officially “DANE-ELEC DA-SDM25-80G-N-T-MK 1.8″ with 2.5″ adapter SSD Migration Kit”).

The unit is actually an Intel X18-M SSD in a 1.8″ to 2.5″ SATA adapter.

It only cost $149, so I got one.

I had high hopes for improved disk performance and faster startup & shutdown.

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Note: Although my sales & support experience with the machine were generally positive, my experiences

Dell Chat Support Flub

In general, I’ve been quite pleased with the technical support I get from Dell’s Small & Medium sized Business division.

They usually adapt quickly to my level of technical expertise and take my word for it when I report a problem.   Once the failing component has been identified, they quickly setup the appropriate dispatch to get the problem corrected.

Yesterday, however, was an exception.

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Returning the Latitude E6400

This will probably be the last post I write with the Dell Latitude E6400 I purchased recently.

Next week I’m going to call Dell and arrange to return the laptop for a refund.

This is the first Dell computer that I’m really dissatisfied with and, frankly, I’m surprised that Dell dropped the ball so badly.   The E6400 is (at least in my opinion) a major step backwards from the D630.

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Wake On LAN

There is apparently going to be a bit more getting used to this new laptop.

The other day, before I went to bed, I put my new Dell Latitude E6400 into standby mode … I’m 99% sure I did this.

The next morning, however, when I went down stairs I found my laptop powered on.

That evening, before I went to bed I hibernated the laptop.

Once again, the next morning, I found the laptop powered on.

Obviously this is pretty odd.

So last night I tried an experiment … I put the laptop into standby mode and, within seconds, it resumed from standby.   I then put the laptop into hibernate mode … and 30 minutes later, it powered itself back up.

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Dell Latitude E6400 Sales & Support

Note: Although my sales & support experience with the machine were generally positive, my experiences with the machine itself were not.  I have since sent it back to Dell.

I just had some really good customer support experiences with Dell.  I know, some of you are going to think this is impossible, but it really happened.

Ginny’s laptop is getting kind of old … it’s an Inspiron 8600, almost out of warranty, and the screen hinge is pretty loose.  Plus she needs another computer, with more video capability, to play with Second Life.

I figured it was time for an upgrade.  I was also thinking it was time for my laptop to upgrade also.

So I ordered a new Dell Latitude E6400 laptop for myself, from Dell’s Small Business division, and will give Ginny my Latitude D630 (which has more CPU power, memory, and better video than her Inspiron 8600).

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Bad Video Card

My poor little Laptop … something’s gone wrong with it’s video card.

A few days ago I was watching a video on the laptop and something went horribly wrong … the video got completely corrupted.   Even rebooting the system didn’t help.   My initial thought was that my external monitor had gone casters up, so I undocked the system and booted it up.   Video on the laptops display was corrupted too.

Got on another PC and started a chat with Dell hardware support … I was quite surprised that the tech I chatted with quickly picked up on the fact that I was technically competent and didn’t waste my time with each individual mouse click and key press.   He simply said “OK, let’s delete the video adapter from the device manager”.

After we deleted the video adapter and reinstalled the video drivers, the problem seemed to go away.   The tech had me run a few video intensive programs to see if the failure came back.   It didn’t.

Yesterday, however, the problem came back.

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My Geeky Good Deed

The Grey Ghost was slightly overdue for it’s 40K mile scheduled maintenance. So I took advantage of the downtime at work (yes, it’s Saturday … but I’m on a high profile, under-resourced, project with a tight deadline.   I’ll be in tomorrow) to take my car in to the Food dealership and get the work done.

All that had to be done was an oil & filter change and tire rotation… so I had an hour to kill.

Obviously I took my laptop so I could kill the time (mostly playing solitaire, but checking some email using my phone’s network access).

There was another guy with a very similar Dell Latitude laptop … I casually asked him if there was any WiFi access. He indicated that he didn’t know … but he couldn’t use it anyways, because his wireless card wasn’t working.

I indicated that I was pretty handy with computers (especially the Dell Latitudes, since it was a similar model to mine) and offered to take a look. Turns out someone had disabled the wireless card in the device manager. I enabled the device and verified it was working by plugging in my portable access point just to see if the card could find a signal. I also showed him how to use the ‘WiFi Catcher‘ switch (when you push the switch, the a light will indicate if there is a Wireless signal in the area, without even having to turn on the computer).

Sadly, there was no WiFi access in the waiting area. I’m going to send an email to the Ford dealership to suggest they provide it. Sure would make waiting for your car a lot less boring.

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