Getting a new computer can be interesting. My recent purchase of a Dell XPS notebook came with a few problems that I didn’t anticipate, including:

  • The video hardware is not properly supported under Linux – my fault for not checking up on this.
  • The backlit keyboard is an ergonomic catastrophe. When viewed under bright light, the translucent legends on light brown keycaps literally disappear. I got Dell to replace this with a non-backlit keyboard, problem solved.
  • The traditional numeric keypad control keys, including arrows, Page Up/Down, Delete, and Home, have all been reduced in size and moved to random new locations. Since the notebook I bought is the size of a small car there was really no good reason for this, and it will probably take six months for my fingers to get used to the new locations.
  • Under Windows, the Bluetooth driver has some sort of glitch that causes Word to crash – go figure that one out. This was resolved by disabling an addin that I wasn’t likely to ever use anyway.
  • Under Linux the Bluetooth driver makes my wireless mouse nearly unusable. However, turning off Bluetooth also turns off wireless networking. I feel like there is a solution to this out there somewhere, I just have to find it.

None of these problems are going to ruin my life, but they definitely contributed to a small feeling of buyer’s remorse which I am still trying to shake off.

Dell backlit keyboard legends washed out in direct lighting
Phone capture of the backlit keyboard under direct overhead light – the key legends do a nice disappearing act

It’s not all glitches and pain though, there is some levity as well. Check out the message the BIOS produces on an attempt to start up on a non-bootable device:

Message from the XPS BIOS when boot fails
The BIOS message seen on a boot failure

Yep, my Operation System was not found.