Monday, May 5, 2014

Come Monday...Dell Inspiron 3647

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of (or commentary about) websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time.  Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.”  This is subject to change, however.  In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while.  For rants promote change, and change can be good—right?  Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

Well, we have finally been allowed and enabled to hook up a computer to our Emerson 31” digital television in the living room.  Aside from giving us a lot more viewing options, having a computer hooked up to our TV provides my very sick wife with things to actually do, which may help slow down the rotting of her brain.

No, that was not meant as a joke.  For Arlynda suffers from [non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver], and one of the main symptoms of the disease is slipping in and out of what appears to be a drunken stupor.  Since the main cause of these drunken stupors is an excessive buildup of ammonia in the bloodstream, I may be way off with thinking that providing her with things to help stimulate brain activity, such as surfing the web and blogging, will help to keep her in her right-mind as much as possible, but even if it does not work, I do not believe we have wasted the $400(+) in change we had in our piggy banks.

Okay, I suppose that is debatable.  For we went with a [Dell Inspiron 3647 CPU], and we have discovered that [caveat emptor] most definitely applies when dealing with Dell.

You see, we wanted another desktop tower like the [Inspiron 660] we have in what we call our office.  What we received was a mongrel, which is neither a tower, nor one that is designed to lie flat.

Yeah, I should have done more due-diligence.  For I trusted that the way Dell presented the 3647 to be in images was the way it is.  Whereas, if I had of actually read some reviews, I would have discovered that it is really a CPU that is made to look like a tower, which is something that every computer manufacturer I know of tried to do in order to sell their flat units when towers became so popular over 10 years ago.

Just in case I have you very confused, the second image, which is the one directly above, is the way the 3647 should lie while the first image, which is at the first of this article, is the way it is presented to go.  In all fairness, you might not think that having to hold a CD or DVD in place until the optical drive slide goes back in is much of a problem, but I am not that coordinated—especially with the button to open and close the drive being placed on the backside of the drive slide (in the tower position).

If you look real close at the second image, you may be able to just make out where the optical drive slide button is located around an inch to the left of the Dell logo.  It is the narrow rectangle immediately to the right of the panel cover to where the jacks for a microphone and headphones, two USB ports and some memory card reader slots are.  The longer rectangle directly above is the optical drive, and if one can imagine what they may not be able to clearly see in either image, one would have to hold a CD or DVD in place until the slide goes in (and be ready to catch the CD or DVD when it is time to eject them) if the 3647 is positioned like a tower.  Oh, and to add insult to injury, the cooling fan vent is on top of the unit when it is in the proper flat position, which makes it easy for dust-bunnies to make big nests inside.

Alas, I realize that I must be in the minority.  For far too many companies would not think that misrepresenting their products in order to make sales is an acceptable way of doing business if more people would not let them get away with it.

In our case, we will just have to grin and bear it.  For I do not expect this little hissy-fit to accomplish much, and having to repack and ship it back would be more trouble than we are able to handle in our sickly conditions.

Making me feel even worse is that I trusted the sales lady on the other end of the phone line.  For I honestly believed that we were getting a really good deal on buying a tower like our other one for several hundred dollars less.

Okay, I have a confession to make, which will probably make me sound like a genuine jerk (or worse).  For it took three calls to Dell before reaching someone without an Indian (dot, not feather) or Filipino accent to talk to.  Please, be assured that this has nothing to do with any overt prejudice against Indians (dot, not feather) and Filipinos—other than I have learned that the ones who work at call centers in those countries are generally only interested in making a sale and have very poor knowledge of what they are supposed to be selling.

A prime example of that happened around a year ago when a fine young Filipino man told me that the cheapest monitor was the one graphic artists use.  I am sorry, I do not remember the model numbers, but at the time, I knew enough about the products to know that he did not know didley from squat.  Thankfully, it was soon pointed out to me that there was no need for us to replace our monitor, with the only thing being wrong with it was the power cord coming loose.

An earlier example of why I would rather not deal with a foreign call center occurred when another fine young Filipino man assured me that our new computer would come with MS Word installed (after I specifically asked him about it) when we went to buy another Dell in 2010 (I think).  This was the computer that was fried by a lightning strike a couple of years ago.  Oh, and it came with [Microsoft Works] installed—not MS Word.

In regards to hooking the computer up to our TV, a 25' high-speed HDMI cable was run (hidden around the edge of the room) between them, which made our TV into the monitor when it is turned to the HDMI channel (so to speak).  We went with the [Logitech wireless desktop MK320 combo] as the keyboard and mouse, which are working beautifully.  A [TP-Link TL-WR841N wireless home router] is also working beautifully by providing a strong internet signal through two walls.

Now, it has been a somewhat different story when it comes to our TV.  For we have discovered that the reason why some writing runs off of the screen on certain shows is on account of around an inch of our screen running under a thin piece of the set’s casing.  Subsequently, when a website has text going all of the way to the edge of a page, some of the text runs under that piece along the edges of our TV screen, but what has been the most irritating is that the button to close a browser at the top right is also hidden by that little piece of casing.  Furthermore, the settings button is hidden for the Google Chrome browser, and efforts to blindly hunt and click often prove to be fruitless.

Oh, but the issue with the actual size of our television screen is nothing in comparison to how much trouble we were having with trying to read what looked like microscopic text from across our living room.  Did you know that the display size can be made much bigger with Windows 7?  If you did not, go to your control panel and look for DISPLAY.  After clicking on it, you will see where you can increase the display size up to 150%, which has made reading text from across our living room much easier to accomplish.

You can also increase your browser page display size.  That is, unless you cannot find where the settings button is hidden under a piece of casing around your television screen, of course.

By the way, my [dream] of getting rid of Mediacom has been put on hold.  For I found out that we are actually receiving a great deal on the cost of our internet service in comparison to what AT&T’s DSL would cost, and when everything is added up, we would not be saving anything—even if we could find a way for us to go with DirecTV and AT&T phone service.

I am quite sure that Arlynda will have a lot more to say about how much fun we have been having lately after she watches every YouTube kitty and puppy video she can find.  I hope this will be accomplished by the end of the week, but there are an awful lot of YouTube kitty and puppy videos—not to mention stupid human tricks.  Sigh.

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  1. I'm thinking of starting a company that makes PCs that are simple. Everything would be straight forward, basic design, easy to read instructions and ever present happy helpful support service. Honesty and integrity!
    There are none around at the moment!
    All I need is a few million pounds.
    You need a Nobel Prize in Science to get a PC or TV working these days!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Adullamite!!! I really hate to burst your bubble, but I don't think a very simple design would work. For what kind of a challenge would it be to just turn a computer on and start using it? I mean, come on, anything worth doing has to inflict great pain and leave permanent scars--right?

  3. All very good points, and this is exactly why I like that my kids and hubby are so much more techie than I am!

  4. If it keeps her happy and busy it has to help.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Karen!!! Alas, I wish I had of asked them what they thought beforehand.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Sallie!!! I think she will come to spend lots of time online.

  7. It's kind of like the saying - "if it ain't broke...why fix it?"

    So much today seems to being made more difficult for us to operate, to our heads around, rather than more simple. I don't understand why this should be so. Perhaps the "experts" enjoying make it difficult for us "normal" people.

    As Adullamite has said...I've just read his comments since I started to type my own...and I see that I agree with him completely.

    It's ridiculous absolutely ridiculous how everything is become more and more shouldn't be this way!

    My ex just bought a new computer a couple of weeks ago...with Windows 8.1 - and it's driving him insane. He's a smart, clever man and tech-savvy...but he's been tearing his hair out over it!

    Give my best wishes to Arlynda, Jerry...I hope what you're doing does make her life more comfortable.

  8. Btw...I've watched the first two episodes of "Fargo"...and thoroughly enjoyed them. I like black I had a few laughs along the way!!

  9. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lee!!! You and Adullamite are in complete agreement...?

    Thank you for letting me know what you think of the Fargo TV series. I have been meaning to ask, but I am getting pretty at having senior moments. Do you now get why I asked you last week if you knew where my larger ball peen hammer ran off to?

  10. I'd forgotten you asked! ;)

  11. Yeah, yeah, yeah, and you can get away with it when the cops ask--right, my dear, dear Lee?


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