First let me say, I love Dell computers. I have two Inspirons and a Dell Mini, and absolutely love them – as far as hardware goes, I’ve had no issues at all, and I’ve had other computers. Compaq, Gateway, even a custom-made number that caught on fire one morning and burned (melted) to the ground.
I love Dell’s COMPUTERS.
Lately, I’ve grown to hate Dell.
When I buy my computers, I like to purchase them directly from Dell, instead of buying them in a store somewhere. Mostly because you can customize every aspect of the hardware and software, and also because back in the day, that was the only way you could get a Dell, and I got used to that.
Several weeks ago now, I purchased a Dell Mini – in purple – to use as an external hard drive storage, and a mobile toy. It’s adorable, at only 2lbs it’s a lot easier to carry to a coffee shop for a day of writing than my 15lb Inspirons, and with the added battery I had Dell install, I can go without plugging in to the mothership for nearly 11 hours.
And yes, I bought it direct. In the stores, you could only get the Mini in black, and they didn’t have the spare battery, or the software I wanted. So I bought direct, knowing full well what that would mean . . . as in, extra added shite I’d have to delete right out of the box.
See, Dell loves to put on “extras” that you don’t want, don’t need, and really REALLY don’t want to leave on there. There’s the usual, stuff like McAfee, the industry’s worst anti-virus anti-spyware software available. Trial versions of things like MSN and Quickbooks, and that annoying and spy-ridden Google Toolbar thingie.
But Dell also likes to sneak this little program on there, called the Dell Experience or something (I forget the exact name) and that’s where the trouble starts.
See, the Dell Experience thingie looks, for all intents and purposes, like a helpful little tool, standing ready to assist you in teaching your computer what you’d like it to do. The first thing it wants to teach you is how to play Spy On Me. This little game is really played by Dell only, you’re just an unwilling participant. It’s a game that sends Dell every little tidbit of information about your day. When you go online, where you GO when you’re online, what you click on, who you talk to, what you buy, where you wander when you’re wandering, what you use your computer for, what programs you use, what you DO, every little keystroke. It’s like a little reverse Lojack.
It’ll just sit there, happily eating up your hard drive, slowing down your computer, and spying on your every single move. Then all of that information is relayed to the Dell mothership, where it’s digested, and most likely sold for all we know. They say it’s for enhancing your experience. They tell you it’s for diagnosing things, and optimizing your computer for YOU. They say all sorts of things. Double-plus good!
Dell started doing this, well at least back to 2006 when I bought my last Inspiron. That’s when I found this new little program for the first time, and removed it before ever taking my new laptop online. I scrubbed that sucker clean off, then after removing all the other flotsam and jetsam Dell automatically loads, my new laptop was a speedy little camper, allowed to surf and work under the protection of better spyware and virus condoms.
Low and behold, two months after that, I got a call from India. Seems they’d noticed I hadn’t taken my new Dell Inspiron on the Internet as of yet, and they were here to happily assist me in learning how to surf the web and enjoy all the benefits I wasn’t using with my new laptop.
I explained to the nice lady that I had, in fact, been online for months now, after having deleted her company’s spyware. She muttered something about not realizing that could be done, and hung up.
For years, I’ve looked back at that and chuckled, and didn’t give it a lot of thought. Then when my new Dell Mini arrived, I knew to look for that same software program, found it (it will happily inform you that it’s going to send data about you and your computing needs directly back to the mothership, if you bother to read that screen) – and once again scrubbed my new computer clean. Then removed all the other garbage that was added “for my benefit” and got some real protection, then allowed the new little fella online.
Then it happened. I expected it, really, but at the time my mind was on so many other things that at first, I had no idea who this man on the phone was, and how he knew I had a new Dell Mini. These guys aren’t calling from India anymore, they’re calling from so far deep South I can’t understand a word they’re saying, and I even have relatives in Alabama! Then, after saying something rude and hanging up on him, I realized that was someone from Dell asking if he could please assist me in getting the most out of my new Dell purchase by learning how to get online.
Well I figured, having hung up on him, it was in the past.
Until the next day, when another phone call came, this time a woman, from Dell, deep southern accent and talking as fast as a teenage girl on crack, once again wishing to ascertain how my day was going so far, was I in good health? Was I enjoying my new Dell Mini, and would I like her to assist me in going online?
I said something rude, I don’t remember what exactly (I have no patience for stuff like this) and told her never to call me again.
The next day, another man called. From Dell (do they have a Bayou office?). Asking how my day was going. I told him where he could go, and that he might need sunscreen, then told him never to call me again (they’re calling work, mind you, not home)
The next day, another one. Another woman. I didn’t even let her finish her “Hello”.
Today, another one. I demanded they stop calling, that if they phoned me one more time, I would never, as long as I lived, purchase another single thing from Dell.
I know they’ll call again tomorrow.
Maybe my next computer will be a Mac. Either way, I pity the sap who’ll be on the other end of the phone when they call again, because I’m not going to hang up until someone’s bleeding. Unreasonable and silly? Maybe, but being paranoid keeps me safe, and keeps shite off my computers. I prefer the shoot first, bury ’em later approach to life.
Power to the People!
Make Love, not War!
“Hello, I was a PC. One more phone call from Dell, and I’ll be a Mac.”