Bloody heat

My cheapo desktop Planet Gigabit switch died of heatstroke today. (or at least the port my desktop PC plugs into did)

The sooner this heatwave ends, the better.

Ubuntu Edgy on my Acer Ferrari 4005WLMi

Now that I got my laptop back, I’ve been trying to get it to work with Ubuntu Edgy. I tried a lot. I spent hours pouring over kernel command line options, to stop the random hangs I was experiencing due to bad interrupt configuring.

Eventually I gave up and decided a new kernel is the only solution.

Ubuntu has a great custom kernel guide, and a git guide. The build took 2 hrs. and Git downloaded well over 100MB. Then I tried to build a restricted modules, and after fighting for a few days, gave up in disgust. My new kernel suffered from the dreaded ati-ixp double speed clock. I tried every option, and in the end, no_timer_check seems to be the one to use.

So I put this in my menu.lst:

kopt_2_6_20=root=UUID=blah ro no_timer_check

And after using that a bit, I upgraded to fiesty anyway, and bricked my system, thanks to a lovely initramfs-tools bug. I now carry around a monolithic kernel (like all my debian boxen use). You just can’t trust initrds…. :-)

Acer Laptop Woes - part 7

I have my laptop back. And I didn’t have to pay a cent to get it fixed (excluding my time, phone calls, faxes, and 2 months without it)

I got back from my Christmas Holiday at Arniston today, to find my laptop in a bag, waiting for me on the kitchen counter. The maid must have signed for it this morning.

My laptop is returned

It took me a while to get it to work nicely again (the first seating of my Atheros MiniPCI wifi card didn’t work), but I’m very happy to have it back again. I’ve really missed it (I know, it’s sad…) :-)

Thank you Acer.

Acer Laptop woes - part 6

Well, out of the blue this afternoon, while I was busy working on a client’s PC, I got a phone-call from someone at Acer head office. Finally my faxes there seem to be having some real affect.

The warranty is only valid for one year, however, because you purchased a high end laptop, it shouldn’t fail. So as a courtesy to you we will fix it for you for free.”


Thank you Acer, I knew you could do it :-)

It’s taken a while, to get this far, granted. But it sounds like I can actually get my laptop repaired entirely at Acer’s cost (after being without it for 2 months).

Now, lets see if they will courier it to me at Arniston, where I will be on holiday this week…

Letter to Acer 3

Gianfranco Lanci Acer Europe SA

RE: Extended Warranty not valid outside country of purchase.
RE: Repair Case XXXXXXXX
Pages: 2 (including this)

Dear Sir,

I faxed your of?ce on the 13th and 27th of November, concerning my Acer Ferrari 4005WMLi laptop (with an Acer Advantage Extended Warranty), that my UK employer bought me, out of my salary while I was working there. The laptop’s motherboard has failed, about 14 months after it was purchased. When I tried to get it repaired by Acer South Africa, they said that my extended warranty isn’t valid outside UK. I bought the warranty because I was explicitly told it would be valid Internationally (by the sales staff at Easy Computers).

You can read the rest of my previous faxes here: here and here

I sent my laptop into Acer South Africa for repair on 12 December, after getting a discount to R 2 250 from Dave Malherbe. I wanted the repair to be totally at Acer’s cost, but given that this had already taken a month to ?ght, I got tired and decided that R 2 250 was an acceptable price to end the pain. Dave organised the collection, and promised to make sure that I got my discount.

I never got any warning of when the courier would come to pick it up. I got home one morning, and they were waiting at the gate. It would have been nice to get some advance notice…

I got an SMS on the 13th, saying that it had been received in good order, and giving me a case number. And I’ve heard nothing since. The Acer Repair Status website has constantly said that my laptop is “Under Repair”.

Finally, today, I phoned the Technical Support line, surely changing a motherboard doesn’t take a week…

The agent informed me that Acer were waiting for me, and I’d been faxed a quote on the 14th of December. I recalled no fax, so I checked my fax-server’s logs, and I saw that while some faxes had been attempted to be received, they always resulted in errors. Thus I had absolutely no knowledge that Acer were waiting for me before proceeding with my repair.

I’ve since got hold of Dave’s boss, Deon, who informed that Dave is on leave in Dubai, and that my repair cannot proceed until he approves the quote.

This is unacceptable. The whole drama has lasted almost 2 months now. And I still don’t have a working laptop.

I think that your repair departments should call customers to tell them that Acer is waiting for their approval of the quote (especially when the customer’s fax machine never successfully receives the quote fax). Your repair department does a very good job with the “Your laptop has been received” SMS, why not continue the good service.

I have been blogging my laptop woes, so that others don’t get stuck in the same ruts that I have. As I said before, It’s not my intention to rage about how terrible Acer’s support is, but rather to warn others away from the nightmares I’ve had to deal with. I’ve highly recommended the Acer Ferrari 4000 to everyone who asked me about it (or high end laptops in general), and I hope that none of them ever have to deal with these kind of support issues.

I’d still like my laptop to be repaired at Acer’s expense, under warranty, in South Africa. I’d really like this to end amicably. I’m not enjoying life on my old substitute HP laptop very much, at all, and I’d love to have my Ferrari back in working condition.


Stefano Rivera

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