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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nightmare on HP Pavilion Street (1)


Nightmare on HP Pavilion Street (1)

By E.K.Bensah II

It all began last week when a good friend of mine gave me some frantic missed calls, which ended up providing me with a compulsion to call, only to obtain a profound revelation about the state of a particular series of HP laptops.

His misadventure began almost twelve months ago when he purchased a sleek, HP Pavilion tx1000 Entertainment laptop from one of the retailers at Accra Mall. I won’t mention the price—it might just give him a small heart attack, considering the current woes!—but suffice-to-say it was a price that befits the mean, sleek status. To cut a long story short, there he was having happily used it for the past eleven and a half months when suddenly, the screen goes blank. That he had put his work on “hibernate” was sufficient to prompt him to switch the laptop off and on many times to see whether it was not a glitch.

No go.

He related that he plugged the machine on; took the battery out (adding curses for good measure)—all to no avail. Deciding to take it to a professional, he gave it to his colleague at work who did a google search—only to read that there were manifold—strike that, hundreds of—complaints about that same laptop! The genesis of the laptop defect finds its origin in an NVDIA chip that is so defective it’s not funny, enabling the laptop to heat up unnecessarily. Times I had used his laptop were times I wished I had brought an egg along to fry on my lap: no need explaining the profound heat that emanates from it.

The story about a defective chip that HP is clearly aware of but plays possum over does little to assuage the frustrations of many increasingly disappointed HP users. HP has pedigree, so this attitude is not just uncalled for, but totally out of order. I have not quite had the epiphany that will show me the way on what agencies in our dear country cases like these would require the attention of, but I will certainly get back to you on them.

Tech Appeal 191

  • Given the spate of lights-off off late, it might be a good idea for ECG to help Ghanaians a bit more by establishing a toll-free number. I have been calling the 021.611.611 number for the past few weeks the lights have been disappointing us, but it’s getting a tad expensive. I continue to wonder what the point is of a hotline that inhibits people from calling it! Undoubtedly, you will always have consumers call—out of frustration or hope is moot—but it stands to reason that calling a landline from your mobile phone (which is frankly more ubiquitous these days than the former), coupled with the nebulous talk-time tax is off-putting. I would like to humbly appeal to ECG to think of going the way of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) that has a hotline on mobile networks for their own hotline!
  • Another noteworthy development during the past week is a sobering one of deaths on the roads. A combination of illiterate and ill-disciplined drivers driving very badly has conspired to remind us that there needs to be something done rather quickly on sensitizing both car-owners and otherwise about road safety. To that end, it is great to hear from NRSC hotline (ONETOUCH 0800.10.800) that they now have an MTN version of the hotline, which can be reached on MTN 18008. One would be glad to know that this is a toll-free line! The appeal this week is to ask NRSC to ensure that there are sufficient media campaigns about the hotline so that everyone can be involved in alerting the hotline (and the Motor Transport Unit of the Ghana Police (MTTU) by extension) of non-roadworthy cars; speeding bus-drivers and whatnot.

Highlights on Ghanablogging.com

The initiative for Ghanablogging.com started in 2008. The brainchild of a group of dedicated Ghanaian bloggers, it is fair to say that it is one Kajsa Hallberg Adu who has spearheaded the group, and put energy into ensuring that there are monthly meetings. Over the next couple of editions, there will be more about the group featured in here, but today, I begin the first of highlights that have featured on the website ghanablogging.com

We begin with *Accra by Day & Night*, which latest entry “Cautionary Tales of Taxis” provides a vignette of some of the things that go wrong when you take a taxi in Accra and it blurts to a rude stop: “The reason was a simple one: petrol--or lack thereof! We had to wait some ten minutes before the taxi driver ran up to GOIL, get some fuel, and get back to the car to fill it up”.

Nigerian internet entrepreneur *David Ajao* writes about visiting the E-tranzact show that took place at Aviation Social Centre, but starts off by giving us an insight in to what the service is all about: “eTranzact is an online real-time payment system that allows account holders to pay for goods and services purchased from merchants, transfer funds to any bank account, cell phone, any card, pay bills, order products e.t.c. This is possible because etranzact allows cardholders to use any of the following channels to transact: web (using any internet browser in a secured transaction), mobile phones, POS terminals (Point of Sale), ATMs, or bank branches”.

*Ramblings of a Procrastinator in Accra* entertains us with her piece on smoking in Ghana, and reminds us of some of the uncomfortable views Ghanaians hold on smokers of the female persuasion. She writes: “Smoking in Ghana is an interesting phenomenon.You hardly see people smoking in public but when you go out at night, swarms of smokers come out of hiding. Well, maybe these folks are mostly social smokers. There is something socially unacceptable about smoking in Ghana. Seeing a woman smoke is almost considered an abomination and there is an unflappable stereotype that a woman smoking by herself in a club/pub is a commercial sex worker!”. She concludes with a little warning: “…to all you ladies who may find yourself flying solo out at night ciggie in hand.”

We finally end with *Why so serious? Blogs of a MIghTy African* who offers a candid piece on how most of the best comedians in Ghana are…all Nigerian! He writes: “Nigerian comedy has become viral and it's not only popular on Facebook. It's popular on the pen drives (USB drives for y'all non-Ghana' lingo savvy people) of Ghanaian students. As a shout-out to these pen drives, I'll feature a video I got from one, about the genius of Naija's Klint da Drunk. Watch him make Nigerian reggae music. The emergence of these Nigerian comedians, at least on the West African scene, has spurned more people going into stand-up comedy. Some of these guys are Julius Agwu, Teju BabyFace, Okey Bakassi, I Go Die, Ali Baba, AY, etc. You can check out all these guys on Youtube.”.

ekbensah@gmail.com / ONETOUCH.755.08.45 / http://twelvedaysintunis.blogspot.com

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