22 September, 2009

Hewlett Package Tech Support = EPIC FAIL

If you want a great lesson on how to alienate your customers and destroy brand loyalty that has taken years to build up, take a close look here...

Y'know this is really a very sad story. Hewlett Packard makes some really great products--that's not the sad part. What's sad is that if you ever are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a position of having to deal with their tech support, consider just junking the equipment and buying something else.

Unless, of course, you're dealing with re-installing or upgrading your printer drivers.

I don't know what's going on at HP these days but after the last ten or so contacts I've had with their tech support department, I can unfortunately no longer recommend that people purchase their products. And it's a damned shame, too, because they make some of the best printers out there.

Case in point: I own an OfficeJet Pro L7580 and an OfficeJet Pro L7680. When I went to upgrade the printer driver for the OJP7580, it wound up not working. So I was then left with a printer driver that no longer worked. I went from a fully-functional four-in-one printing device to a 50-pound brick sitting on my desk.

After three calls to HP Tech Support, I just gave up. There went over 25 hours of my life that I will never, ever be able to get back. And for naught! The issue remained unresolved. I lent the printer away to a non-profit organization for them to use as a copy machine (sad that a 4-in-1 would be restricted to the sole function of copying documents). I mean, let's get real here. Why do I have to wipe out and re-install my entire OS just to upgrade or reinstall the printer driver? Why does uninstalling their software/printer driver not function correctly and really muck up your system?

So I bought the OfficeJet Pro L7680, and this time I kind of learned my lesson. At first I tried installing the printer driver onto my system, but that totally didn't work as there were remnants of the printer driver for the L7580. I ended up having to get a new hard drive as my original one was starting to fail, so I did a clean install of the OS and this time, I installed the updated printer drivers the first time around.

But then I ran into another issue, and spent a few more phone calls, and another 25 hours on the phone with, HP Tech Support. The last call I placed to them, where I gave them access of my computer for remote troubleshooting, ended up with me having to use Windows Restore to get my computer to a functioning point again. And I really, REALLY hate having to use Windows Restore. Oh, wanna know what the issue was? I can't print freaking envelopes!

The envelopes are loaded into the printer, everything is set correctly in the software and driver side, but the printer continues to say that no envelope is loaded into the device -- even though it's there plain as day! I mean, I totally love love love my OfficeJet Pro 7680. But now, I'm going to have to wipe out my hard drive, reinstall the operating system, and then install the latest drivers in order to get it working again. As it now stands, the tech left me with a printer that can print (after running Windows Restore) but I can't scan or fax from the computer to the device -- just print! :(

Unfortunately, this technical UNsupport isn't limited just to HP's printers. It affects their computers, and other devices, too.

I had to contact HP Tech Support on behalf of a client who owns an HP Notebook computer. Six hours of my life that I'll never get back later, the issue went unresolved. He ended up selling the notebook and buying a Gateway.

My sister has an HP Desktop computer. Something happened and the system just stopped working. Five hours on the phone with HP Tech Support (where I told them what steps I'd taken, and they had me RE-DO them ... even though I'm an IT Consultant and have done help desk before so I know what the hell I'm doing), we end up sending the system back to HP for repair under warranty. The system comes back, with the same exact problem still being there! I ended up getting an Acer desktop for her to replace the HP system. I'll tinker with the HP System and see if I can get it to work w/ a new hard drive running under Linux but I'm not hopeful....

And these are just SOME of the issues I've had to deal with over the past 18 months; there are other stories I could tell but they get even more complicated and sordid than this.

Even tweeting with people high up on the chain of command at HP has been of little to no use.

Therefore, as much as it pains me to do so (because IMHO HP makes the best printers on the market), I am no longer going to be purchasing HP products or recommending them to any of my friends/clients. And that, my friends, is what's so sad.

10 September, 2009

QOTD -- Suicide

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
~Phil Donahue (1935-)
Emmy Award winning American media personality and writer

“Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live”
~Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)
English sportsman and writer

“The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over”
~Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Pulitzer & Nobel Prize winning author

“No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.”
~Cesare Pavese (1908-1950)
Italian Poet, Critic, Novelist and Translator

“To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.”
~Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)
Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scientist and Physician

Today (10 September 2009) is World Suicide Prevention Day. Please read my post about WSPD here. If you're having thoughts of hurting yourself, please reach out to someone -- anyone -- and seek help. Contrary to what you may be feeling, all hope is NOT lost!

World Suicide Prevention Day


Today, 10 September 2009, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

I am a suicide survivor. My first attempt was made when I was a teenager, because I couldn't come to terms with being gay and being Catholic. I just responded to someone on Facebook who inquired about this. Here's what I wrote:
I was raised in a very conservative, very religious Catholic Democratic household, by my very religious, very conservative Democratic Grandparents. I didn't know that there were gay people growing up. Then I started going on-line, and I met my first gay person, my Unca Uni. He got me to realize that all the fantasies/what not I'd been having were b/c I was gay.

I couldn't reconcile being Catholic with being gay. One night, whilst on the phone w/ a fellow young Republican from Yonkers, I came out to him. I was also taking sleeping pills. But having led an extremely sheltered life, I didn't know that you're supposed to take the whole bottle all at once, not one at a time (which is what I was doing). My family was away on holiday. I fell asleep before taking too many of the pills. Woke up the next day & realized that if I'm gonna survive as a gay boy, the religion thing was gonna have to go.

And so it went. And here I am....
The grandparents never found out about it. Over the years I came to tell my parents, who didn't raise me. I came out to my grandmother in January 1999, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona to live with my best friend at the time, with whom I was also in unrequited love. By the way, don't ever move cross-country to be with someone you're in love with but who loves you only as a good friend; the results are disastrous.

Anyway, ever since that first suicide attempt, I've been confirmed in my identity as a gay man who abhors all of these so-called Christians touting their Bibles and telling me I'm going to hell (in a handbasket). There are Christians (some Catholics included amongst them) who are supportive and don't have an issue with us LGBTQ folk; unfortunately, I fear that they're in the minority.

Religion no longer plays any aspect in my life. I consider myself spiritual, and I'm fine with that. I'm comfortable with my spirituality, which I've discovered after my automobile accident in January 2002.

In the months and years that followed my accident, I've had quite a few suicide attempts, and often think about ending my life. All of the attempts, however, were made while I was under the influence of narcotic pain killers. As such, my plans were a bit off-kilter and--fortunately--weren't successful.

When I came off the narcotic pain killers (it took me about six months for my mental faculties to return in full strength), I realized how stupid I was being. However, the feelings of wanting to end my life remained.

These feelings of hopelessness and suicidal ideation arise mainly from two factors: suffering from chronic pain, and suffering from chronic Depression. These two stressors work hand-in-hand with each other, each feeding off the other in a vicious cycle. The pain makes my Depression worse, which in turn causes the pain levels to elevate. The elevated pain levels worsen the Depression, and around and around we go.

I've previously written about my last suicide attempt that was in either September or October 2005, which resulted in my being arrested for possession of a controlled substance. This goody two shoes boy from Westchester just didn't know how to conduct an illegal transaction. Although the Town of Harrison police were the most ignorant bunch of assholes on this planet that I've ever personally encountered, they did--unwittingly--save my life by arresting and prosecuting me.

Nowadays, instead of acting out on my suicidal thoughts, I seek help. If my thoughts get to a point where I start developing actual plans, I put myself in hospital until they pass -- in order to keep myself safe.

I've gotten pretty good at dealing with them lately. However, I realize that not everyone is as fortunate and self-aware as I am.

When I was 16/17 (back in 1990), there was no such organisation as The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject on Twitter). There were no support groups for gay youth where I lived. Hell, it was still illegal to be gay in more than half of the states in the USA, and it was still technically illegal to be gay in New York (I hadn't learned, at the time, that the New York State Court of Appeals had ruled New York's anti-gay penal statutes unconstitutional some time in the 1980s, if memory serves).

But now, there are many such organisations, and there is hope. There is always hope.

So if you're having thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself, end your life, or otherwise do something that you don't need to do, please reach out and seek help. There are many, many places to go nowadays that just didn't exist when I was a teen.

For suicide resources in the USA go here and for worldwide referrals go here.

(Thanks to Dr. Deborah Serani for the links to resources.)