Today, May 4 2008, I finally got around to working on my Toshiba Tablet PC, which I shipped back to Toshiba's repair depot 4/6/2008, and which UPS says they delivered to me on 04/18/2008. (Leaving it on my doorstep unsecured, I might add.)
12 days for Toshiba to turn it around.
16 days for me to get around to testing it out.
Why so long a delay on my side?
a) after wasting so many days on this machine, I am reluctant to waste more
b) I can't waste any more weekday time, which I must devote all to work (yes, even when I am nit at work). (Originally I had hoped to use this TabletPC as a machine that i could do both work and personal stuff on - a hope that I have almost abandoned).
c) the free time that I was willing to devote to PC maintenance was largely spent on my wife's TabletPC, installing a MIDI keyboard and Sibelius.
d) Basically, the amount of time I have to devote to maintaining personal computers is limited and quantized. When a PC doesn't work out of the box, it is annoying.
So far, this Toshiba has been the most annoying computer I have ever had.
The Toshiba Laptop Repair Summary (filled in by the Toshiba Technician, shipped back to me) reads:
Date Repaired: April 16, 2008
(other form stuff)
Unit had defective System Board and CPU. System Board and CPU were replaced, hard drive re-imaged to factory settings. Unit passed all tests. BIOS set, DMI updated.
tech - VistaU,Wifi,bt,2048 Ram,120g hdd,IT Signed,Missing Screws,Stickers,Worn Plastics,Scatches,has stylus,no acc.,S/N Correct on IT,Has System Guard (Last used:Never used),scr lcd mask/lcd top,stkrs faded/frayed,dust under lcd mask,paperwork,Warranty [...]
"Missing Screws" - not me, probably from the Toshiba recommended repair shop (Northwest Computer Support). I have never opened this computer up - I don't want to mess up warranty.
Worn Plastics - ditto (I think he means the plastic parts inside the case, and/or the case. Given how often this PC has been in the shop for repairs, hardly surprising.)
Stkrs faded/frayed - none of the stickers I can see outside the box seem faded or frayed to me; if he is talking about stickers inside the box, well, again, not me, must be Tishiba or Toshiba recommended service.
Dust under lcd mask - once again, this was either done by Toshiba, the Toshiba recommended technician, or it indicates a design flaw that allows dust to get in.
"scr lcd mask/lcd" - I suppose I might have scratched these in normal use, but if so it almost definitely indicates a design flaw, SINCE I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO EVEN START USING THIS MACHINE YET. If it gets scratched when it has spent most of its time sitting idle, with only a couple of trips to work, ensconced in my Air Targus pneumatically padded bag, and where it sat on my desk unused at work because of these problems- well, again, this indicates a design defect, if it cannot stand up to such modest use.
Clicking Better ; Fan Still Loud
I am happy to report that the horrible, incessant, clicking (as if the keyboard was stuck), no longer seems to be occurring.
At first, I had some hope that the excessively loud fan problem might have gone away: it was quiet, no fan, while Vista asked me the initial questions "What is your username? Password? Etc."
Unfortunately, somewhere in that sequence - around the time I set the desktop background or the timezone - the fan once again went into hyperdrive, and has remained loud ever since.
Time Spent Re-installing for the 3rd or 4th Time
I started "re-installing" this system at 12:57 - actually a bit earlier, that's the fist time I entered. I wonder how much time overall it will take?
---+++ Create Recovery Disks
At the moment, I am creating new system recovery disks (just in case Toshina installed a slightly different OS image than the first time). 3 DVDs; done at 2:26 pm. I.e. roughy 1.5 hours for *that* task.
That was fast... (Now that I keep my WiFi access code on my telephone).
I wasted circa half an hour trying to persuade the default Windows Backup to save a backup to my Buffalo Terastation. No luck - I seem to recall that a patch for Vista is needed, probably to disable Vista's quite reasonable new security for backups. Sigh.
I'll skip on this, while moving on to other necessary tasks.
---+++ Software Updates and Configuration
In this day and age, one of the first things you have to do is install all software updates and security patches.
Now, which should I do first? My Virusscanner, or Windows? ...
---++++ Virusscanner - McAfee
McAfee updates itself almost as soon as connected. Then requires a reboot.
Unfortunately, this is the Adware McAfee that comes preinstalled - 60 day trial, pay later. I'll have to uninstall it and install the virusscanner I get free from my ISP. Unfortunately^2, my company's "free to employees" virusscanner does not support Vista.
It is rather sad that McAfee's user registration does not allow you to have special characters and punctuation in your password.
Grrr... I follishly logged in with my "existing" McAfee account - which, of course, expired. So now I am naked on the Internet, courtesy of Toshiba reinstalling my system. I wonder if I can sue Toshiba if I am hacked before I get properly secured.
I'll install Windows security updates, and then go and find my real virusscanner.
---+++ Windows Updates
On this new fresh system: 55 updates, 113.3 MB total, need to be installed right away.
GLEW IDEA: I'm pretty sure I've discussed this in public already: we are fast approaching the day when a newly installed computer should start off with all Internet access disabled, except for a dedicated path to download updates as quickly as possible, with nothing else able to access the net.
E.g. it should be running a mini-OS at this point.
Hey, wow! it looks like Comcast has decided to ration my bandwidth - since downloading these security patches makes me look like a net.bw.abuser. I'm still downloading, but really slowly.
3:44pm - restarting after Windows update completed. 35 minutes to do this upgrade :-(
---+++ McAfee Try #2
Uninstalled the adware McAfee,
installed (again) the free McAfee available through Comcast.
(Urgh: have I made myself a target by confessing that I use this version of McAfee?)
4:19pm: I have finally got a virusscanner running.
Looking through various security alerts: should I be running both McAfee and Windows Defender? I don't know. What's the harm? Slowness...
4:42pm: ok, all the security and virusscanning stuff is on.
Moving on ...
---++ Create User Accounts
As soon as the basic install is done, I create an unprivileged user account for normal access.
4:52 - that's done. On to installing the software I usually use.
---++ Installing Software
Software I depend on:
* mozex plugin
* some sort of Office software - probably OpenOffice, since Microsoft Office is too expensive to buy yet another licence for
Software I am thinking about using
* Thunderbird (had installed it for first time just before TabletPC started misbehaving)
Software that I want to install:
Software I may need to work on my TabletPC:
* Microsoft Visual Studio
* the chip company's /C++ compiler
It is rather sad that admin privileges are required to install so many of these.
Urgh: McAfee decides to deny access to Mozilla Thunderbird. Now how do I persuade it not to do this?
Installing Cygwin, of course, takes hours and hours.