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Monday, December 10, 2007


I had a ton of things to rant about, but the one that's annoying me the most, at the moment is the random delay of my laptop. I'm eagerly awaiting it, as I expect my productivity to rise significantly once I have it up and Ubuntu'd. Anyhow, I went to the web page go check on the order status of my laptop (which I've been doing at least once a day - order tracking is one of the worlds best inventions, yet also one of the biggest destroyers of productivity ever created) only to find the following message:

Delivery date of your product might have been changed.
This could have been prompted by the following circumstances:

* Mismatch between billing and credit card information.
* A system issue that interrupted the order entry flow

If the above occurred as a result of mismatched billing information, you will be contacted directly by one of our representatives within the next 2-3 business days.

Of course, I haven't been called, and there is a new order number listed, so I can't figure out why my order was canceled and restarted. I did a quick search online and discovered a few horror stories of people who've had this error just get lost in production limbo, where new order numbers are repeatedly spawned, until the order is finally just terminated. Wonderful.

I guess I'll just give them a call tomorrow to find out what's up.


Monday, December 3, 2007


Planning and reality often don't mix in grad school, I'm discovering. Since I have a committee meeting tomorrow, I thought I'd use today to finish my presentation and written documentation for it. Instead, I was told I had to have code running by 1pm that would process transcriptome data using paired end solexa reads. 5 hours later, I had code analyzing Single end transcriptome data, but nothing finished for my committee meeting.

On that note, I'm not going to blog about paired end data - I'll save that for another day, and instead, I'm going to go work on my presentation and report. However, I did want to provide a neat link Elaine passed to me: made with molecules. Jewelry for the rich and geeky. (I'm geeky enough to like it, but not rich enough to pay THAT much for it, even if I wore ornaments.)

Oh, and one last parting note... my laptop is being assembled today. If I wasn't going to be so busy tomorrow, I'd probably be checking it's status every 10 minutes. The curse and blessing of real-time tracking data.

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

New Laptop... with a refund?

Well, I took the plunge today. After struggling to get through grad school without a laptop for the past year, I've decided I can't take it anymore. The computer I use at work is an ancient IBM, which does an admirable job of running Ubuntu, but really just isn't up to the tasks I set it. So, with pending conferences, presentations, committee meetings and some serious programming likely in the next few months, I figured I've got shell out the money for a laptop. In fact, I've purchased a Vostro 1000 for $649 CDN... not too shabby, I think.

My plan A was to buy an Ubuntu laptop from Dell Canada, but after waiting for 8 months for that program to come north of the border, I've realized it's probably not going to happen in a time frame I'm comfortable with. It's only for a few select markets. So, I had to kick into plan B: I've bought the laptop, and I'm going to try to get an O/S refund from Dell.

It's not malicious or trying to get revenge - I just don't want to pay for software that I will be deleting straight away, once I turn on the laptop. I think it's wrong to bundle in an operating system, and force you to pay for it - so I'm going to try to get my money back.

This isn't a wild crusade - I have heard of people getting back money from Dell before, anywhere from $10 - $110, with no real regularity to what's received. Such as these links:

here, here, and here.

The internet is full of personal accounts of this working - so I think it's my turn to try. Besides, as a grad student, getting back $100 is worth about 10 hours of my time - I'm willing to give it a shot. Watch out Dell Service Reps... here I come.

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