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      17.07.2000 20:37
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      I got one of these last summer, the week they came out in Britain. It's a pretty little device, and I was being hired to do some development work on it and other CE machines. It does what you'd expect of a CE machine; it's a pared down version of Explorer with solitare thrown in for fun. It's also got a fantastic screen; the backlighting's excellent, and you can see what you're doing in full sunlight. The screen's touch sensitive, the stylus packs away neatly in a hole at the side, and it feels nice in your hand. However, whatever benefits it came with were wiped out by Compaq's useless tech support. I noticed that it wasn't talking to my laptop or my desktop; I played around a bit and concluded that the problem wasn't with any of old hardware (I tried it on a bunch of other people's machines too), but with the Aero; it looked like the connectivity problem had to do with the cable or the cradle they'd sent. I phoned Compaq and got the usual "It's a girl. Obviously doesn't know what she's talking about" treatment. A month or so of angry calls ("Yes, my laptop does have a serial port") later, they agreed to have a look at the thing for me. I posted the Aero and its cradle to them at vast expense. It came back two weeks later with a covering note saying nothing was wrong with it. They suggested I send my laptop to Ireland with the Aero to check that that wasn't the problem. My work deadline was approaching, so I did. Both came back; they said nothing was wrong, and implied heavily that I was a dim-witted female who has no place working in IT. I asked them whether they'd used the cradle I'd sent, or theirs when checking. They swore they had used mine. I didn't believe them. And it was only when I drove all the way to their headquarters in Biggleswade waving bits of paper and hardware at the Compaq Tech Support sta
      ff there that they checked it, agreed with me that they'd made a mistake, found the cradle I'd been given originally didn't work, gave me a new one and sent me on my way. It works now. And things written on the Aero port very nicely to Word, and so on and so on. I can't really take the joy in the thing I would have done had I not spent lots of time and money getting a very simple problem fixed. About a week later, the spring holding the stylus in place broke. I haven't bothered ringing tech support about it.

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