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Archive for December, 2010

When not to use a small hardware provider

December 14, 2010 1 comment

In the last two weeks, I’ve learnt a valuable lesson when it comes to dealing with small computer dealers providing hardware: be wary when placing a large order with them. Our school replaces all the computers in our main computer lab every 2 years. For a number of years now, most of the school’s hardware has been supplied by one person, a former pupil of the school.

This arrangement has worked out quite well, as the supplier has often gone to great lengths to get specialised equipment or to perform some service. That being said, the quality of service has slacked off quite a bit this year, to the point where orders were not being processed, the guy being unavailable on his phone when we need to contact him. Needless to say, this was brought up before the school committed to purchasing 40 new computers from him. It was also decided that the school would not pay upfront as they had in the past, as this actually contravened the school’s governance rules on finance. The supplier was brought into a meeting where he was told that while the school would make this purchase from him, he would be on final warning and that he had to tighten up his service.

Our supplier agreed to the tighter terms and conditions, and promised us that as soon as payment was made, we would receive our equipment within 7 days. This turned out to be false, as we have received equipment in batches. First 20 computers, then the other 20 and 20 monitors. I have not had a qualm with this, as it has let us manage things in smaller batches, but I know that the equipment should ideally have arrived together.

Unfortunately, the last 20 monitors have yet to arrive. When I phoned our supplier to ask, he informed me that his suppliers couldn’t get stock, no stock in other cities, Christmas pressure on stock and other excuses. While I can understand no stock and other excuses, what I find inexcusable is that he didn’t inform us of what’s happening. It took a call from me to him to find out about this new delay. I was not amused by the delay, as this seriously upset our schedule for holiday work and preparing the room for the new year. I don’t yet know if the supplier is going to be axed next year because of this gaffe, but I do know that it has seriously pissed my colleague off at work. My colleague has subsequently become very rude and abrasive, something I will write about in another post.

All in all, my warning is this: be careful when purchasing large quantities of computing goods from small suppliers or one man shows. Larger firms may not offer a discount or the same level of intimate contact and support, but at least you are assured that if you order 40 computers, you will get them at the agreed upon date without lame excuses about credit limits, suppliers being out of stock or other stories.

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Holiday plans

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

The last time I had a decent December holiday period was in 2008 after I resigned from my first job. In 2009, I worked pretty much straight through the holidays along with my colleague so that we could re-engineer our entire network at our school. While we got the job done, the excessive working left both of us badly burnt out.

This year, we are getting a decent break, a chance to relax, unwind and switch off for a bit. I am really excited by this, as it gives me a chance to catch up on reading, finish off any number of games I have sitting on my shelf, visit friends and just generally relax.

In terms of games, I have a huge number of games I’ve purchased over the years that I haven’t played. I intend working my way through as many of them as I can over the next 3 or so weeks, so that I can have a clean as possible slate for 2011. With Dragon Age 2, Crysis 2, Elder Scrolls 5, Mass Effect 3 and others coming out next year, I need to clear my backlog of other games before they suffer another year on the shelf.

Book wise, I want to get hold of Towers of Midnight, the next Wheel of Time book. The series is now just one more book away from being done, and I for one am excited to see what’s coming. Then, I have gotten myself into Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. I’ve read 4 of the books so far, and I have a number of them ready on my shelf, but I need to obtain 2 of the missing books before I can proceed further. I’m also trying to finish off Tad Williams’ classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, but I’m a little bogged down in the first part of Green Angel Tower at the moment.

The other benefit of the longer holidays is the chance for me to get some chores done at home. Cleaning out my cupboards, painting rooms with my dad, general cleaning out and so on will make for a nice change compared to troubleshooting computer problems all day long.

In a nutshell, I am excited to get some real leave from the 17th of December, a chance to recover and recharge. Hopefully I can also end up writing more posts on this blog, as I will now have the free time to do so.

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