Playing with a server

I’m having fun with a dedicated server.

A video-hosting site that I admin is currently hosted on a colo box with some very expensive bandwith. While the burstable bandwidth we can get on it is amazing, it’s staggeringly expensive, and we have a small quota. Thus we can’t sustain too much traffic.

For poorer customers, I want to look at some cheaper bandwidth… are having a special where you can try a dedicated box for £0.99 for it’s first month. With 2TiB of traffic / month (2 orders of magnitude more than the co-lo box) it is more than up to the job, and upgrading to an un-metered 10M link is cheap.

So, I’m trying out the mid-range option. I get a GiB of RAM, 80GB HDD, and more bandwidth than I know what to do with. A bittorent :-) test shows that it’s reasonably well connected.

Now to set up a demo website and see how it compares to our current uber-expensive box.

Letter to Acer

To: Support Manager, Acer Europe, Switzerland

Cc: Support Manager, Acer Africa (Pty) Ltd, Sandton

Incl: Invoice for laptop and 3yr Extended Warranty, Original complaint about wrong model, Support reply, Pricing for new motherboard

RE: Extended Warranty not valid outside country of purchase.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I had an Acer Ferrari 4005WMLi laptop bought for me (it came out of my salary) by GetReel Digital Services, while I was working for them in the UK around August 2005. It was bought through Easy Computers, in the guise of, which is prominently linked from Acer’s website.

I didn’t actually receive the right model from Easy Computers, I got one with 32bit Windows XP, and no paperwork for my extended warranty. I complained about this (complaint attached), but received no reply from Acer, so I dropped it. I hardly ever use Windows, so it wasn’t very important to me, and I had the invoice to prove the warranty.

It’s given me good service for a year, definitely a good buy. It ran Ubuntu Linux pretty well (although the DSDT provided in the BIOS is atrocious —- it thinks that my battery (dis)charges in ~3s, and is full of other errors). I have recommended the same model to several associates and clients.

Around 2 weeks ago, it developed a fault that is causing it to crash constantly, and occasionally fail to boot up, beeping 3 times. I have verified the same crashes in Windows, and they seem temperature dependant. I contacted Acer Support, who postulated that it’s a dead motherboard, I concur. I was never given a support ID that I can quote, only an automated response (attached), the rest of the conversation happened over the phone to Acer South Africa.

However, they also told me that my warranty isn’t valid, because I bought the laptop in a different country, and accused me of illegally grey-importing my laptop while on a holiday in UK. They have quoted me R6 099 for a new motherboard and labour. I assume this repair would take place in Johannesburg, so I would have to pay courier costs to and from there, too. That is insane, for that price, I could take a trip to the UK, where my warranty is valid, and get a repair that wouldn’t void my (rather dubious) warranty.

I work for GetReel in both UK (I’m an EU citizen), and remotely from South Africa, so when I bought the laptop, I specifically enquired if the warranty was international. I was informed that it was, so I bought the 3yr extended version. I’m an IT professional, so I know that hard drives have a propensity to die, laptops aren’t easy or cheap to mend, and so long warranties are a good thing. I spend a lot of time in South Africa, so I wouldn’t have bought the extended warranty if they had told me that it wasn’t valid internationally.

In this day and age, laptop users travel the world, constantly, so I find the idea of a global laptop manufacturer, whose warranties are only valid in one country ludicrous.

Please can you organise for my laptop to repaired, at Acer’s expense, under warranty in South Africa, or for it to be couriered for free to Europe for repair and back.


Stefano Rivera

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