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27 October 1997

I hate ACER!
Well this week I was going to review IE4.0 and last night I dutifully set about attempting to do this.

When I first attempted to install IE 4.0 it complained that my version of Windows NT first needed to have service pack 3 applied.

No problem I thought - I've got that on a CD here, it came in the very useful MSDN subscription that all serious WinTel developers should have.

However ... I forgot that the machine on which NT was installed is an Acer which, despite the sticker which says "Windows NT compatible", has steadfastly refused to reliably install Windows NT in the past. Indeed, the current installation was done by the dealer (after much to-ing and fro-ing) who must have sacrificed a lamb and three virgins to get it running.

I'm no computer neophyte and I've installed NT and a number of other operating systems on quite a wide range of hardware without any insurmountable problems - but this very expensive, brand-new Acer P180 with 128MB of RAM and 5GB of hard disk is truly a work of the devil and it has refused to cooperate with all my previous attempts, costing me thousands of dollars in wasted time so far.

Surely one has a right to expect more when paying a premium over low-end "clone" prices?

Anyway... back to the plot. I forgot about the flakeyness of this machine and stupidly went ahead and tried to apply the service pack.

The result - a raft of file corruptions and a non-booting machine, beyond even the ability of the recovery disk to sort out - so now I'm faced with the unenviable task of reinstalling NT and restoring all my apps from backups.

But... of course it appears that this "quality" machine still hates the NT installation process so it's now well and truly dead! Each time I run the NT installation procedure it starts bitching about file verification errors.

Aardvark says - do not buy an ACER PC - save your money and buy a cheap clone! For the price of one of these over-priced disaster-zones you can get two low-cost clones, each with a higher spec and a much higher level of reliability and compatibility. The low-cost "budget" Pentium PC that sits on the other side of my desk is a clone that cost a fraction the price of the Acer but which has run flawlessly from day one - accepting without a hiccup, all the operating systems and applications I've thrown at it (thank you CompuLink)

No doubt some readers are going to say "it's a bit harsh to judge an entire company on your experience with one machine?". "Phoeey" I say. The dealer has had several goes at fixing it - but they say they can't find any problems - although the hard drives have been replaced and last time it went back it was returned with a new bios - why would they do that if there was nothing wrong? Maybe they think it's acceptable that NT will only install by using some black magic incantations and amidst a fountain of virginal blood - but I don't think that's reasonable. Why does every other machine I own allow me to install NT by simply popping in the disks/CDROM and following the onscreen prompts? Why don't those machines screw up all the files and bomb out part-way through the install? Is it Acer policy to configure their machines so that only their dealers can install "off the shelf" operating systems? That's one way of keeping the customer coming back I suppose.

And Microsoft - it's about time you had a word with a company which sells a box that has the 'NT Compatible' sticker on it yet which refuses to install from the same CD that works fine on every other machine I've ever tried it on. And yes, I've tried to install Windows NT Server and NT Workstation from separate CDs with the same lack of success.

Oh yes... it won't install Linux either so I don't think it's fair to blame any problems on Microsoft. :-(

Yet.. once again, the review of IE 4.0 is delayed.

At last some sense!
If you're in "the biz", no doubt you find your post-office box regularly flooded with invitations to the latest and greatest seminars on Net-related subjects, usually featuring some overseas guru who has a list of credentials as long as your arm. Funny thing is that most of the time I've never heard of these people before.

Sometimes I wonder if they're "wannabes" who have decided to take a holiday in NZ and figured that giving a presentation or two might be a good way to make the whole trip tax-deductable.

Well it's good to see that at last the seminar organisers are acknowledging that we have some world-class expertise here in NZ. Dave Blyth of Web Design and Frank Van der Velden of Webmasters are both sharing their expertise through a seminar organised by IDG in mid-November (albeit for a price).

By the way Dave ... yes we saw you on @XTRA last Sunday - you could have combed your hair for the occasion! ;-)

Home grown for a change!

No time, no time!
Ab ab ab ... That's all folks!
Well I'm sorry but the ACER box had a lot of important 7am stuff on it which I'm going to have to shift to the "cheap clone" machine so I'll be up all night doing that. As a result, this is all you'll get of Aardvark Weekly today. If I can find an orifice wide enough on the dealer's person I'll return this machine and get a "real" computer tomorrow. That being the case, regular readers can expect to see a mid-week edition of Aardvark Weekly.

If you've got any complaints about the somewhat smaller version of Aardvark this week - contact Acer direct ;-)

Xerox
I Can't Believe It's True!

Aren't flat rate Internet accounts great? All that surfing for one price! But what IS the definition of flat rate? Well it seems that this ISP has their own rather liberal interpretation of the phrase "you can surf for as long as you like". Try clicking on the link that uses those words and see if you agree.

The Mt.Everest of flat rates

 
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