When I purchased the low-end Dell Inspiron 1501 in the mid of 2007, my intention was to make it my mobile platform for at least two years. For the pricing back then, it was a steal, despite sporting only average hardware. I tried to increase its 733tn3$$ by pasting a Razer sticker, but it failed to boost the speed up any components. Regardless, its computing prowess far exceeded my company's laptop by leaps and bounds, serving me well for the next two projects while I was yet to be assigned a newer laptop to actually get work done at a decent rate.
However, fate has it that my sister would drown her desktop PC with substance abuse and left it an inexplicably cranky state. What is it with laymen and their computers? Do they regularly drive their cars off the road and into barriers and trees too? Whichever case, there had to be a succession plan. My sister had her crucial needs, like transferring ripped music into her iPod and downloading spyware arcade games. And I wasn't particularly interested in maintaining that old machine anymore, so I gave up the Inspiron 1501 for her sake, a year ahead of my "release" schedule. An alternative for myself was sought in the form of the Red XPS M1530. Now this is one sexy mother that did not require a Razer add-on to tell all others around me that I pwnz j00z.
Even though i was initially reluctant with the decision, I was quick to warm to the replacement laptop upon getting acquainted with its features and finish. It is like marrying a woman whom you had some small doubts, and delightfully finding her to be a capable and wonderful person later. Add to that she's incredibly erotic. How much better can that get?
This was really one Red hot machinery; its polish is truly the most beautiful of all Dell designs I had witnessed to date back then. For some reason, I became a whole lot more attractive and approachable to women when I was holding a laptop in hand. "check out that guy with the red Dell XPS - I saw him first." Just about everything on it oozes "sleek" and "cool" and told my colleagues they sucked with their hideous monstrosities aka corporate laptops.
Unlike my DIY desktops, my experience with past Dell laptops had largely been trouble-free. The XPS M1530 too gave me a quite a superb experience, except for one minor problem - occasionally while typing into a text box widget, the text cursor would jump to wherever the mouse pointer was positioned. Even disabling the touchpad when a mouse is plugged in did not seem to help. It came to the point that over a year of usage I finally accumulated enough annoyance to raise an issue with Dell. They were quick to state they needed to replace the touchpad.
It would seem that this was a rather common problem, since no other diagnostic effort was put forward. On the day of surgery, a technician came and showed that the replacement part was actually the entire front palm plate - the touchpad and fingerprint reader were attached to it. Replacing the touchpad meant replacing the plam plate including a new fingerprint reader.
The delicate operation was a long tedious task as I witnessed the technician dismantled my beauty to pieces to replace the top palm rest. What laid beneath this pretty exterior was actually a highly convulted design of intersecting cabling that necessitated detaching so many unrelated parts just to reach another. It was really beyond my belief that Dell engineers would design such physical tunneling that made maintenance such an extraordinary pain. Either they are trying to make it difficult for competitors to inspect the internals, or they thoroughly hate their service technician colleagues.
And such was complexity that by the time I got the laptop back assembled, the fingerprint reader was not working. To be more specific, it could not be detected by the OS.
So the convenience authentication feature that I used so often had been knocked off. The technician confused, ripped it apart again and tried my old palm plate and reader, and that worked. Suspecting the new fingerprint reader to be defective, he swapped it with my old unit, but then it failed detection again once screwed back all together. It only worked when held dangling off a detached palm plate and keyboard.
The technician made an arranagement with Dell backend support and scheduled another date to bring another replacement palm plate. Meantime, I brought home my partially injured laptop and found that it would repeatedly detect the fingerprint reader and lose it. During the instances when the reader was usable, somehow the electrical flow was so strong it super-heated the device that it scorched my finger on swiping it. Wow. Now I understand the dangers and health hazards of my job.
I was subsequently visited by the technicians two more times, in effort to get the reader operating properly like before. All which failed even when the entire motherboard was replaced. The last straw was to send my laptop to the service lab to give them time to thoroughly inspect and diagnose the problem. The concluding report was the reader continued its mayhem and burnt the fingers of the service staff similarly in boiling hatred for having its intimate insides touched by so many people. It was irrepairable, and a new laptop was to be exchanged.
All those weeks of servicing and troubleshooting for what was to be a minor and simple problem. Turned into a nightmare of technical difficulties that left me unable to properly work on the laptop. Now would you ever want to design a laptop's internal wiring to be as convulted? I think it unwise to do so.