This page started as an index to various web pages I've written about my experience with computing products I have bought. Since then I've added things to it that are not related to computers, such as the incredible treatment I had by AVIS, one of the world's leading car hire companies, and hotels, though the latter hasn't really taken off.
Here's an overview of the entries; read on for brief descriptions of what you'll find there. In particular, my experience is not necessarily typical of the company in question. It's sad to note how much of this experience has been negative. In particular, “support” departments seem to be an alibi function.
I bought one of these projectors for our lounge room in October 2007. It's one of the cheapest real 720p projectors on the market, but so far I'm quite happy with it. Read more.
On 28 August 2004, I received a phone call from somebody claiming to be from AAPT, which proved to be a player in the Australian telecoms marketplace. He claimed that if I changed to AAPT, I would receive exactly the same conditions as with Telstra (my local supplier at the timee), but with a 30% discount off the bottom line. This proved to be fraudulent; the sorry story dragged on for 18 months. Finally they refunded all the money I paid them, but of course they didn't pay for my wasted time.
In January 2005 I bought a second-hand Apple Macintosh PowerBook G3. I had heard good things about MacOS X, always been meaning to find out more (in particular, if it could do screen management better than Microsoft, and if it would do as well as BSD for more demanding things). It wasn't the fastest machine in the world, but the price was right.
My friend Chris Yeardley has a domain registered with AUSWEB. In June 2008, we tried to add name servers, which didn't work. The way AUSWEB support handled the matter was bad even by DNS registrar standards. I consider some of their actions to be criminal.
In November 2005 I hired a car from AVIS in Italy. They did just about everything wrong that they could, including overcharging me by a factor of 5 and refusing to even address my complaints.
After my disastrous experience with Cameta Camera, I was unwilling to buy cameras in the USA. Buying them on eBay is also very difficult. A year after the Cameta fiasco I tried again with B&H Photo Video, on a recommendation from Andrzej Wrotniak. On the whole I'm quite happy with them.
I bought an HL-2700CN in April 2004. It's an exception to the rule that all things I buy are bad. I'm very happy with it. Maybe for this reason I haven't written up a page on it; instead there are references to it in my diary entries for 6 April and 10 April 2004.
In November 2008 I bought my first desktop LCD monitor, a BenQ E2200HD. It Just Works.
In July 2007 I bought a camera from Cameta Camera. Despite their prior confirmation, they refused payment. They returned my PayPal payment and refused to read my mail messages. When I gave them negative feedback, they did the same for me, claiming fraud on my part. They appear to be a typical representative of a far too large group of incompetent merchants.
In late April 2004, I bought a new scanner to scan in my old slides and negatives. The CanoScan 9900F is advertised for exactly this. Unfortunately, the best I can say is “it works some of the time”. The driver is supplied in binary form for Microsoft and Apple only, and has great difficulty finding the slides or negatives on the platen, even going to the point of ignoring what help the user tries to supply. They also supply no technical documentation about the device, so I can't use things like SANE. Canon's support team have admitted that the problem exists, but otherwise have shown themselves to be completely unhelpful. Read more.
I've had lots of dealing with Dell over the years. They've always been flaky, and they seem to be getting worse. I've started in mid-stream to document what happened with my latest purchase in October 2005.
I bought a GKX-9000 in March 2004. In my opinion it sets an all-time record for poor quality and design. Initially one in three recordings failed with the recorder hanging itself up and having to be physically disconnected from the power mains and then reconnected: there is no power switch, though this machine is more in need of one than anything else I know. That's not all; read the whole sorry story.
I've been buying things on eBay since early 2000, and by and large I've had good results. One case where I haven't has been with a person trading under the name west1255, who sold me a non-functional and incomplete camera and didn't respond to my complaints.
In September 2007 we installed two Fujitsu air conditioners in our house in Dereel. They seem to work efficiently, but the temperature control is a catastrophe.
“Terminal” is one of the three names used to describe this box, which is effectively a modem for two-way satellite IP. The others are “modem” (of course) and “consumer box”, which sounds to me like an engineering term which escaped the development environment. This box is the only way to access the IPStar Internet service. It's one of the most broken devices I have ever seen
The Kenwood “Chef” is the standard by which kitchen machinery is measured—or it was. It has the reputation of being indestructible and flexible, and the fact of being very expensive.
My experience has been very different. I have had two mixers in 5 months, and they have been the two most unreliable devices I have ever had in my kitchen. I believe that the manufacturer has drastically dropped his standards, including service, and is living on the reputation of the name.
I bought a couple of ultra cheap Sonwa SV600 video recorders at Coles, an Australian supermarket chain. Surprise: they're good!
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