You remember me saying "More news as it breaks"?


First let me point out that the problem lies with a bogstandard Dell Win2k box. It won't boot. It's dead, pre-BIOS, although there are lights on so it's not obviously a PSU fault.

Secondly, it's under a Dell three-year on-site 24-hour warranty.

Third, we got it from Carl Zeiss, to whom we are paying [*cough*] thousand pounds a year for their support contract - which, interestingly, doesn't give a guaranteed response time, but only says that problems will be handled with priority after they're reported (am I allowed to tell the general public what the terms of the contract are? Well, clearly I'm a bad person, then).

Fourth, it died on Monday, or possibly by Monday. I phoned it in on Monday.

So, given the priority resources and guaranteed action of not one but two large multinational equipment manufacturers, we have our microscope working again, don't we? We do, don't we?

Don't be stupid. If it can go wrong . . . if the PC can have been mistakenly registered as belonging to a University in Sweden . . . if the team of engineers can currently be down to one, who's currently doing work on a system in Oxford . . . if delays in paperwork mean that Dell can't even book an engineer until tomorrow (assuming the paperwork goes through by then) to come see us on Friday (or possibly Monday if the paperwork isn't resolved) . . . then it will happen.

I did, of course, suggest that we could install the software on a different PC, but it turns out that it's keyed to the MAC address and some hard drive ID and also some motherboard identifier, and only really works with the video hardware on particular Dell models anyway.

The individuals involved at Zeiss we know and they're good people, but understaffing is stopping them doing the job they're contracted to do. Dell, on the other hand, seem to have some sclerotic booking and tracking system that doesn't acknowledge that things can go wrong organisationally but still need to be done sharpish.

Zeiss may be able to get us someone tomorrow, possibly, if he turns out to have finished a job in half the time he should have. This would be an admirable effort by them as people, but doesn't affect the fact that Zeiss as a company have fallen over here.

Tanya must be pleased that we've lost this whole week of observation, because she's here from Lubljana to do two weeks' work on that instrument. Several other people would have been using it - it's a very popular piece of kit - and their time is also valuable. Mine, on the other hand, isn't particularly, but given that I produced the nominal costings for both microscopes a couple of months back I can tell you that the notional cost of using the instrument with tech support is probably a couple of grand or so. In spite of both companies having taken money to provide a service that when push came to shove they have been unable to provide, though, I suspect we have little comeback.
  • Current Mood: Well, ecstatic, obviously.
  • Current Music: The Organ - Sinking hearts
Haven't we heard this song before? The tune seems familiar somehow...8-/
Mmmm. Yes. Same shit, different microscope.

Actually, I'm more pissed off than I was with Till because Till were dealing with an enigmatic and intermittent problem, and were living up to the lesser standards of a back-to-base warranty. I don't know how much Dell got, but I know that Zeiss got given three-quarters of my take-home pay to provide us with this level of service.
A two-colour (yellow/green) LED under the front power button. It doesn't rule out all PSU faults, but it does exclude the simplest failure.