On the right track
Although it's easy to be churlish and critical of other people, perhaps Mr I Ferguson should count to 10 before blasting into print concerning Railtrack's on-line timetable (PC Week 4 February) 'Wrong type of system on the line'.
Since the site was announced a few weeks ago, I have regularly used it and found it first class in providing the information I require. I have never experienced a small delay followed by "system busy" and wouldn't hesitate to recommend its use to other people, but then can only speak as I find.
Surely it couldn't have been due to me using the site at the same time Mr Ferguson was trying to access it which paralysed the site? Maybe he is using the "wrong type of viewer or access method"?
Must dash - have a train to catch, courtesy of Railtrack's on-line timetable!
Worth the wait
I refer to Brian Milnes' letter in PC Week (28 January) regarding DirecPC.
If he is so confident the system is destined for great things, why is he using "early adopter" pricing models instead of mass market? The dish installation costs #1,100 plus in the UK, but I can pick up the US equivalent for only a few hundred pounds. The obvious query - "Can I buy in the US and subscribe here?" met with an unsurprising "No", although the reason is most likely commercial rather than technical.
The cost per Mb is a little steep given how fast we'll be able to download stuff! We'll have to wait for realistic pricing. Pehaps they think subscribers won't have the sense to check out DirecPC's US home page.
Andrew P McAuley
Dell's customer service 1
I would like to address the issues raised by Mr M. Sutton regarding Dell's spares policy (PC Week 28 January).
The computer industry is a fast moving one and complete re-design of parts after a year is not unusual. Usually the redesign is to take advantage of new technology or is necessitated by more cost-effective component design.
However, it is Dell policy to enable our customers to upgrade or purchase new parts in the most convenient manner possible. In this instance, I regret Mr Sutton received incorrect advice from the sales representative and purchased a new replicator and second docking unit for his new notebook, a year after purchasing the same goods for an older model.
While it is true that the connectors were incompatible, we do have an adaptor available, designed to solve exactly the problem Mr Sutton faced.
We have contacted him to convey our sincere apologies, and will send him the adaptor and refund the cost of the replicator and docking unit.
I would like to use this opportunity to clarify Dell's spares policy regarding drive rails which has also prompted a number of letters in PC Week recently. In response to customer feedback, we have redesigned our OptiPlex chassis to accommodate drive rails at the time of manufacture.
However on our Dimension range, where the chassis is not Dell designed, drive rails will still need to be purchased separately. Contrary to speculation, this is not a Dell-specific issue - in fact, it is the norm generally in the industry. This is an issue which we will continue to review when chassis are being redesigned.
I want to thank your readers for their feedback. Negative customer reaction and criticism helps us identify and resolve problems.
Customer satisfaction has always been and remains our number one priority.
Customer services director
Dell's customer service 2
I read with concern Mr Moore's recent letter (PC Week 21 January) commenting on the problems he encountered with the quality and responsiveness of Dell's service.
Providing quality customer support, pre-sales advice and timely quotations have always been and remain of the highest priority to Dell.
Over the past year, we have witnessed an incredible increase in demand across our new range of PowerEdge server products. Our server business has grown at over 40% every quarter and we are now ranked as one of the leading server suppliers in the UK - a position we would not enjoy if we did not consistently strive to provide the best possible customer experience.
We accept that Mr Moore did encounter unsatisfactory delays and we convey our sincere apologies to him. We have discussed the issues with Mr Moore and have made the necessary changes within our sales function to ensure that the same mistakes will not happen in the future.
To expressly address Mr Moore's concerns, we have guaranteed a timely turnaround on all future quotation requests. We very much value Mott McDonald's business and hope to be given the opportunity to work with them again in the future.
Dell Direct UK & Ireland
I though your anti-virus software review (PC Week, 28 January) completely missed the point. Instead of blithering on about 'best interface' and 'limited standalone functionality', you should have run some legitimate tests on the performance of each package.
By this I mean putting each package on a virus-infected machine to see how effective it is at detecting and removing the damn thing.
All people want to know is whether the package can diagnose viruses/trojans/bombs/worms and then eradicate them. It's all very well having a GUI and new spaz-proof installer, but if it lets Buggerbeast.com run madly through your memory and joyride over your hard disk, then it's not much use.
Dubbed Barnard's star B, newly discovered planet is believed to be rocky
Also, what's a USB stick?
Gravitational waves become extremely weak by the time they reach the Earth and require highly sensitive equipment for detection
The reactor topped out at 100 million° C