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Friday, January 6, 2012

Frustration with Hewlett-Packard

A few years ago I bought my wife a digital camera and it worked great.  For managing the pictures we used software from Hewlett-Packard and a small, cheap inkjet printer called Photosmart Express.  Last year when the old desktop died I tried installing the software on the laptop running Windows 7, but no luck…the software would not run.  After consulting Hewlett Packard’s website I discovered the printer and software are outdated and would not run on Windows 7.  Their recommended solution was to upgrade.  No way was I going to do that; I settled for downloading the pictures using Explorer and then printing them out, if desired, on another printer.

So  yesterday we came into possession of a desktop running Windows XP and I loaded the camera software onto it and all was well except the driver for the printer was nowhere to be found. I consulted the Hewlett-Packard website to locate the driver only to be confronted with a bewildering array of information overload.  After about a half hour I gave up in frustration trying to locate the driver and called them. 
To my surprise I was on the line with a tech representative in about 15 seconds.  I explained the problem and they said they could help.  The first question was did I want to place an order for upgraded equipment/software?  “No. Everything works fine’” I said.  “I just want to know where I can find the printer driver on the website.”  The rep said she could help me with that. How did I want to pay?  “What?! Excuse me!  Are you asking me to pay for information about where on your website I can locate the driver I need?” I asked.  The reply was, “Well, sir, your equipment IS out of warranty.”  I hung up.

I was flabbergasted! Their website was so devilishly complicated I couldn’t locate the driver and they wanted to charge me just to tell me where it was!  It took another hour of surfing the web, but I finally succeeded in finding a link where all had to do was click on it, download the driver and install it.  The whole incident makes me think I will never buy H-P stuff again.
In the same vein, the new desktop lacks Word and Excel and I am not about to pay ~$300 for them.  I went to Open Office and downloaded their software and in 15 minutes was able to open and save documents and spreadsheets in Word and Excel formats. 

I guess that’s why I favor free chess software and engines…some of them work just as good as the stuff you pay a hundred dollars for. 

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