Archive for HP

Well That Explains Why It Didn’t Work

Busted Acer Piece of Junk

Full disclosure: This is a bit of a rant. It has nothing to do with the work I do for Amalgam Insights or the areas I typically cover. Think of it as a cautionary tale instead.

Just a bit under four years ago, I bought my college bound daughter a brand new laptop. It was an Acer Aspire with 8G of RAM and a one terabyte hard drive. Four years ago, that was pretty good; Today it’s just normal.

One of the reasons I chose the Acer is that I had such good luck with them in the past. I still have a functioning, 15-year old Acer laptop that I use to stream Spotify to my stereo. That laptop has been around the world with me and was even dropped on it’s side in Taiwan to no ill effect. Well, except for my foot. That hurt for awhile.

This new Acer, however, was not like my old workhorse. Instead, it was trouble from the get go. First, the hard drive failed a few months into it’s tenure. I had to jump through hoops to prove to Acer that it was the hard drive and had to argue with them about paying the shipping costs. They wanted me to pay to send it to the repair depot. Seriously!

Quick tip: When something is under warranty and it doesn’t expressly say that you have to pay to ship it to the repair depot, they might have to cover it.

Then, there was the Windows 10 upgrade fiasco. The update started on it’s own and bricked the computer. It took me two solid days on the phone and chat with Microsoft to get it to it’s pristine Windows 8 condition. While that wasn’t Acer’s fault, it’s not like they weren’t expecting the Windows 10 upgrade in just a few months after selling the laptop to me. Better testing or a warning that it wasn’t Windows 10 compatible would have been nice.

After getting the laptop back from Acer with a new hard drive in it, the display started acting funny. Not right away mind you but just after the warranty was up. While using the computer, the display would go white. If you closed the lid and opened it again, it would be fine… for a while. Then, it would do it again. Everything was fine if there was an external display plugged in but otherwise it kept turning white. A truly irritating problem since an external display is hard to carry on a trip or to the library. After a few months of that, I bought my daughter a new HP laptop and she’s been happy with it. At the time I threw in the towel on the Acer, it was only two years old.

I decide that I might be able to live with the quirks of the laptop since I was only going to use it for occasional traveling and not everyday use. Of course, just a few months before a bunch of travel was scheduled, power problems began. Basically, the computer would no longer charge. At this point, I just gave up and bought a new Dell for traveling.

Today, I did a tear down of the Acer, mostly to salvage parts. I discovered the roots of the various evils of this rather forlorn laptop. First, it was obvious that something had damaged the cable running from the display to the motherboard. It had been inexpertly wrapped in electrical tape. When the display was moved around, even a little it would disconnect from the motherboard and reconnect when the lid closed.  Since this problem originally presented itself after the first repair, I tend to think it had something to do with said repair.

The root cause of the power problem was also readily apparent. The barrel connector for the power supply was not fully secured to the frame of the laptop. It allowed the connector to wiggle around just enough to finally break the connection to the battery charging electronics.

Bad design or lousy workmanship? You decide. Either way that, plus a failed hard drive and a repair that may have damaged the display cable, pretty much soured me on Acer products for a long time.

The moral of the story is: If you have a major component fail in the warranty period, just demand a new laptop or your money back. This “ship it to us and we will fix it” policy seems designed to repair it just long enough to get to the end of the warranty. I have laptops that are still in use that are 15 and 8 years old. Heck, I have a functioning laptop from 2001 and another from 2002! They are too under-powered to be useful but they still run. There is no reason to expect a modern computer to last barely longer than the warranty period.

I can’t send the computer back (and it’s in pieces now) but I certainly can make my ire known with my wallet. No more Acer for me.

HP: Staring Up At The CLouds

This blog was also published on the Neuralytix website.

Yesterday, Hewlett-Packard announced it’s third quarter 2013 results and investors and industry watchers were not amused. And no wonder: revenue was down, earnings were down, and Enterprise Group chief Dave Donatelli was “reassigned”. Revenue had predictably declined in Personal Systems , as well as Printing. Enterprise Group, and Enterprise Services. The only part of HP that didn’t report a decline was the Software group and that was a measly 1% gain and represented only 3% of total revenue. CEO Meg Whitman said that HP saw “continued weak enterprise spending” and blamed “inconsistent execution” for the continued softness in revenue.

The decline in revenue, especially the Enterprise Group (-9% overall), was not exactly startling. Hardware buy has continued to shift from internal IT to cloud vendors such as Amazon, Google, and Rackspace.  In addition,  HP continues to face traditional rivals such as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft along with and a host of smaller cloud infrastructure providers. HP has it’s own cloud offering, Converged Cloud, that competes with other cloud infrastructure vendors but also cannibalizes its own enterprise hardware systems.

More important than the hardware market changes is the shift in software buying to cloud software or Software-as-a-Service. For the IT professional or Line of Business manager in the process of buying a new application, hardware may not even be a consideration. When a company buys a CRM application from or Human Capital Management from SAP Successfactors, it doesn’t worry about servers or storage. It doesn’t care about cloud infrastructure either.  It doesn’t care about infrastructure at all. Hardware is just part of the package. From the buyer’s perspective, the application might as well be running by magic. With no end user – as opposed to IT – facing applications, HP will continue to struggle from this change in the software landscape.

With the number of hardware buyers diminishing and few major enterprise software applications, HP will continue to suffer. Their rivals, especially Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle, continue to  invest in cloud infrastructure and cloud software applications. HP is not well positioned to compete with these multi-faceted IT companies given it’s limited software portfolio.

So far the financial turnaround has taken five years. The big question is when the big overhaul in the business will come. The answer may well be, “Not soon enough.”