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'[OT] The HP I miss...'
2005\02\10@115037 by Mark E. Skeels

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I got started in electronics in the 70's.

While in school, I got a job in a small contract electronics firm.

We had several pieces of HP equipment; all of it was nice.

Once one of our HP scopes needed repair; I got to hand deliver it to the HP
repair center in the Chicago suburbs.

I got to sit with the tech as he went through the scope; it was really cool.

Later, I used HP components such as their LED displays, optocouplers and
fiber optic components in some of my own designs.

Back then, HP was always synonymous with quality and technical competency.

That's the HP I miss.......

Mark

2005\02\10@124248 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>That's the HP I miss.......

yeah, I know, the wrong half of the company got the HP name when the
instrument section was split off. Don't get me started ...

2005\02\10@131238 by Dave VanHorn

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At 12:42 PM 2/10/2005, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >That's the HP I miss.......
>
>yeah, I know, the wrong half of the company got the HP name when the
>instrument section was split off. Don't get me started ...

I agree, but there is hope, Carly just got the boot. :)


2005\02\10@131710 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark E. Skeels" <spam_OUTmeskeelsTakeThisOuTspamearthlink.net>
Subject: [OT] The HP I miss...


> I got to sit with the tech as he went through the scope; it was really
cool.

Years and years ago, I had an HP computer.  This thing was a beast full of
huge circuit boards, perhaps 10x12" or so, each one just chock full of
goodies.

One time our building was struck by lightning an the plotter quit working.
I don't recall exactly how, but I isolated the problem to the plotter
interface card.

Well, the HP tech shows up, spreads this huge schematic out that covered the
whole table, spent just a few minutes on it and says "it has to be that
transistor right there".  Pops out the board, solders in a new transistor,
and we were on our way.  I was impressed!

Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of anything on the
customer site these days?   Most of the time you are lucky if they can
recognize the device, let alone the boards in it.

--McD


2005\02\10@145821 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <004801c50f9c$c1f152a0$090044c0@BrianBoru>
         "John J. McDonough" <.....mcdKILLspamspam@spam@is-sixsigma.com> wrote:

> Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of anything on the
> customer site these days?   Most of the time you are lucky if they can
> recognize the device, let alone the boards in it.

The problem these days is that the information just isn't available. Take the
early Tek oscilloscopes (400 series, maybe 2000 series too) - when you bought
the service manual you got 20-odd A3 sheets that contained both schematic
diagrams and mechanical drawings, plus a BOM for each schematic. Not to
mention the operating instructions (yes, those are in the SM), Performance
Check instructions and a troubleshooting/calibration guide. The Tek 466
service manual ranks as one of the best I've ever read.
IIRC some other Tek schematics even had a few cute little cartoons drawn on
them - the famous "Wizard" and "Washer Lady".

Now look at the service manual for the HP 1651B logic analyser. Here's an
example (paraphrased) from one of the troubleshooting flowcharts:

SYMPTOM:  Acquisition system fails selftest; code 1234 in Diagnostics
SOLUTION: Replace acquisition board.

No schematics for anything - not even the power supply assembly. The entire
manual is basically "Board Swapping for the Mentally Deficient". 200 page
Getting Started Guide, 30 page Service Manual. Bletch.
Personally, I don't care if the thing's full of HP custom chips. I'd like to
be able to trace a fault down to an individual chip, then maybe swap parts
between two dead boards to make one good board. Why throw something away for
the sake of a 74HCT244?

Later.
--
Phil.                              | Acorn Risc PC600 Mk3, SA202, 64MB, 6GB,
philpemspamKILLspamphilpem.me.uk              | ViewFinder, 10BaseT Ethernet, 2-slice,
http://www.philpem.me.uk/          | 48xCD, ARCINv6c IDE, SCSI
... Become a programmer and never see the world!!

2005\02\10@172202 by Robert Rolf

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Philip Pemberton wrote:

> In message <004801c50f9c$c1f152a0$090044c0@BrianBoru>
>           "John J. McDonough" <.....mcdKILLspamspam.....is-sixsigma.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of anything on the
>>customer site these days?   Most of the time you are lucky if they can
>>recognize the device, let alone the boards in it.

> The problem these days is that the information just isn't available. Take the

Too true.

> early Tek oscilloscopes (400 series, maybe 2000 series too) - when you bought
> the service manual you got 20-odd A3 sheets that contained both schematic
> diagrams and mechanical drawings, plus a BOM for each schematic. Not to
> mention the operating instructions (yes, those are in the SM), Performance
> Check instructions and a troubleshooting/calibration guide. The Tek 466
> service manual ranks as one of the best I've ever read.

The whole 46x series S/M were good.

> IIRC some other Tek schematics even had a few cute little cartoons drawn on
> them - the famous "Wizard" and "Washer Lady".

In the 5000 series scopes/modules. e.g. 5103

{Quote hidden}

Unfortunately it's all about economics. Companies used to make
most of their profit from service and repair charges.
At least DEC (Digital Equipment Corp) did back in the 80's.
I managed to sit in on a 'management' meeting a DECUS conference
(by mistake) and was amazed at how their emphasis was on increasing
the profitability of service calls by replacing boards, rather than
doing chips level repair, even though they had the schematics
and chips at hand.

And with a tech costing over $100/hr. (with benefits), it's simply
cheaper to swap in a $300 board rather than spend 3 hours finding
and fixing the fried part. And with today's FPGA's and custom ASICs
'replace' is about the only way to go.

Depressing, yes, but that's the way it is today.

Robert

2005\02\10@205107 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Feb 10, 2005, at 10:17 AM, John J. McDonough wrote:

> Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of
> anything on the customer site these days?

No, of course not.  But that's the result of economics rather than
a decline in technical expertise.  In the days you're talking about,
the tech probably got paid $10/hour, and the plotter interface card
was worth $10,000.  Nowdays the tech gets paid $30/hour and the
interface card is worth $20...

BillW

2005\02\10@214435 by Dave VanHorn

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At 08:51 PM 2/10/2005, William "Chops" Westfield wrote:

>On Feb 10, 2005, at 10:17 AM, John J. McDonough wrote:
>
>>Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of
>>anything on the customer site these days?
>
>No, of course not.  But that's the result of economics rather than
>a decline in technical expertise.  In the days you're talking about,
>the tech probably got paid $10/hour, and the plotter interface card
>was worth $10,000.  Nowdays the tech gets paid $30/hour and the
>interface card is worth $20...

Hmm.. The printer is $100, and the ink is $6000/Gal.


2005\02\11@014727 by Dave VanHorn

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At 09:44 PM 2/10/2005, Dave VanHorn wrote:
>At 08:51 PM 2/10/2005, William "Chops" Westfield wrote:
>
>>On Feb 10, 2005, at 10:17 AM, John J. McDonough wrote:
>>
>>>Can you imagine any tech doing component level repair of
>>>anything on the customer site these days?
>>
>>No, of course not.  But that's the result of economics rather than
>>a decline in technical expertise.  In the days you're talking about,
>>the tech probably got paid $10/hour, and the plotter interface card
>>was worth $10,000.  Nowdays the tech gets paid $30/hour and the
>>interface card is worth $20...
>
>Hmm.. The printer is $100, and the ink is $6000/Gal.

And tech support is:

1: Uninstall software
2: Reboot
3: Reinstall software
4: Reboot
5: Goto 1



2005\02\11@095151 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <6.2.1.2.2.20050211014651.01e6fca8@http://www.dvanhorn.org>
         Dave VanHorn <EraseMEdvanhornspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdvanhorn.org> wrote:

> And tech support is:
>
> 1: Uninstall software
> 2: Reboot
> 3: Reinstall software
> 4: Reboot
> 5: Goto 1

No it's not, it's:

1. Find Reload CD and insert into drive
2. Reboot [ note: no tech I've ever talked to ever bothered mentioning the
           fact that reloading WILL destroy user data and settings ]
3. Wait for the hard drive to be reformatted, repartitioned and reloaded
4. Scream as you realise all your data has gone. Note that the tech hung up
  on you just after step 2.
5. Note that the problem is still present.

Oh yes. I've had to pick up the pieces after people used "restore disks" on
their machines... My advice can generally be summed up as "Go out and buy a
proper install CD, then use that instead of the Restore disk."

Later.
--
Phil.                              | Acorn Risc PC600 Mk3, SA202, 64MB, 6GB,
philpemspamspam_OUTphilpem.me.uk              | ViewFinder, 10BaseT Ethernet, 2-slice,
http://www.philpem.me.uk/          | 48xCD, ARCINv6c IDE, SCSI
... I'll have what the guy on the floor is having...

2005\02\11@100618 by Dave VanHorn

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At 09:50 AM 2/11/2005, Philip Pemberton wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I was thinking of their printer "support".

I only just got my first HP computer, an LH3 which I've scrubbed and
installed Linux on.


2005\02\11@104831 by Herbert Graf

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On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 10:06 -0500, Dave VanHorn wrote:
> I was thinking of their printer "support".

Oh yes, HP's printer support:

- Hello, yes, I'm trying to find win2k drivers for my brand new printer
that I just bought and I can only find win98 drivers in the box and on
your website (win2k having been out already for over a year, and the
printer box saying it supports win2k)

- Yes, we have win2k drivers available on CD, $30 to ship to you.

- !@#@$!!@!#$@$@ $30???? It's a CD, why not just put it online?

- Sorry sir, but they are too big to be put online.

- Aren't they the same size as your win98 drivers?

- Yes sir they are.

- And aren't your win98 drivers available online?

- Yes sir they are.

- !$!@$!$!@$ Grrr....

After much "talking" with supervisors and such:

- Fine sir, as a good will gesture we'll send you the CD free of charge.

- Good, and how long will that take?

- 6 to 8 weeks sir, if the CD is in stock.

- $#!@%!~@#%!#%!#@#%#!#$@!$

Of course, a few weeks after that call, and many weeks before the CD
arrived the win2k drivers were online. So, I had a printer sitting in
it's box (which said it supports win2k) for 3 weeks doing nothing, all
because HP is completely incompetent.


-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

2005\02\11@121243 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Why didn't you just return the printer and buy something
else (Lexmark, Epson, Canon?). And TELL THEM why you returned
it. They can't fix the problem if they don't know they have one.

As for HP 'support', yeah, its a bad joke.

R

Herbert Graf wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2005\02\11@124857 by Dave VanHorn

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face
At 12:12 PM 2/11/2005, Robert Rolf wrote:
>Why didn't you just return the printer and buy something
>else (Lexmark, Epson, Canon?). And TELL THEM why you returned
>it. They can't fix the problem if they don't know they have one.

Who would listen?


You see it time and time again.
Company starts up, and gains on the competition because of service.
Company gets big.
Accountants take over.
Support is defined as a "cost center" and reduced or eliminated.
Only sales matters, because only sales makes any directly observable profit.
People continue to buy, because they had good experiences in the past, so
there's little or no immediate consequence.
But, as time goes on, the customers migrate away, and the company fades.
Someone else eats their lunch, because they offer better service.



2005\02\11@124944 by Harold Hallikainen
face picon face
While not justifying poor support, I do think manufacturers are in a
difficult position regarding support costs. Consumer products are very
price sensitive. The cost of one support call may exceed the wholesale
price of the product. If they increase the price of the product to pay for
the support, consumers buy the cheaper unit and complain about the lousy
support. Manufacturers can't win.

Harold


> Why didn't you just return the printer and buy something
> else (Lexmark, Epson, Canon?). And TELL THEM why you returned
> it. They can't fix the problem if they don't know they have one.
>
> As for HP 'support', yeah, its a bad joke.
>
> R
>


--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com

2005\02\11@143645 by Herbert Graf

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face
On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 10:12 -0700, Robert Rolf wrote:
> Why didn't you just return the printer and buy something
> else (Lexmark, Epson, Canon?). And TELL THEM why you returned
> it. They can't fix the problem if they don't know they have one.
>
> As for HP 'support', yeah, its a bad joke.

Because, as it is for most computer items I buy, I shop around for the
product I want, and then hunt for the lowest price. Often the source of
the lowest price has horrible return policies, and that's fine, that's
why I'm paying less and I except that.

As such, the place I bought the printer would have charged me a 30%
restocking charge (very common for smaller computer stores), therefore
it was cheaper to wait. FWIW that store had the printer for more then
30% cheaper then any other store with "normal" return policies, so it
was worth it.

On top of that I didn't WANT any other printer, it was the one that most
closely matched my needs, and no other printer came close to what I was
looking for.

On top of THAT, do you REALLY think they care if you call them and say
"oh, I returned it"? That doesn't cost them much (if anything, since all
I did was open the box the store would likely have just put it back on
the shelf). OTOH multiple support calls from me DOES end up costing
them, plus I consider it a sport to fight with CSRs (having been one
myself)... suffice it to say that if you are ever a CSR you don't come
out of it the same person as you did going in. TTYL


-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

2005\02\11@225351 by michael brown

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Herbert Graf" <KILLspammailinglist2KILLspamspamfarcite.net>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <RemoveMEpiclistTakeThisOuTspammit.edu>
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 9:48 AM
Subject: Re: [OT] The HP I miss...


> On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 10:06 -0500, Dave VanHorn wrote:
> > I was thinking of their printer "support".
>
> Oh yes, HP's printer support:
<snipped typical horror story on support>
I have one for you guys and this just happened yesterday.  I have a
customers home PC here that needs a new drive (yet another quality
topic, but we'll save that for later).  Naturally the customer doesn't
have any restore media or CD for me to use to re-image the new drive.
Of course there is a sticker on the machine with a serial number, but I
need an HP specific media (cool huh?)  I can't use a regular OEM install
CD with their license number.

So I get on the website and painstakingly click my way to the part
number for a recovery disk only to find that it's available, but not in
stock, just call this number to get more information.  I get on the
phone and within about 5 minutes I'm talking to a "support" person.  I
give him the scenario about the failed drive and what I need.  He makes
me give the model number AND SERIAL NUMBER of the machine.  Now keep in
mind, the model number is all that matters, but I guess they are in the
stolen property lookout and recovery business now.  He quickly tells me
that he'll be right back and then puts me on hold.  I wait 5 full
minutes on hold and then he finally comes back.....and gives me the part
number that I already knew.  :-/  He then tells me more stuff (that I
already know) and I rudely interrupt him to ask what the ETA is.

As it turns out, there is no ETA.  At least not until I fork over the
$13.00 for the CD and the minimal $10.00 ground (3-4 day) shipping.
Only then I will receive an ETA on shipping and that will be in FIVE
BUSINESS DAYS via email.  :-O  He graciously offered to speed things up
by telling me that I could get it shipped next day for only $20.00.
That is.....when it ships....whenever that may be, I'll get it the next
day.

I asked him if this PC originally shipped with a restore CD and he (as I
expected) told me that it did not.  I asked him why not, and he informed
me that none was needed since the recovery image is located on the hard
drive. (brilliant planning wasn't it?)  He then asked me if I wanted to
order it.  I told him no, I'd just go finish my web order instead.

For lack of a CD that couldn't cost more than 15 cents to mass produce,
the customer will be without their computer for at least two more weeks.
I guess that's why I'm not getting rich, I don't make smart business
decisions like that.  I can't believe they are going to screw me like
that on shipping too, when it's likely only coming across town.

In a world where so much rides on word of mouth advertising, it's
amazing that such powerful companies conduct themselves this way.  Some
day I'll tell you all about the brand new LaserJet 4100 that printed one
test page and then the high voltage section crapped out.  Every page
after the first one was solid black.  Not bad for a $1500.00 business
class printer, huh?

Thank God I still have my LaserJet IIIp (1989 vintage) and a spare one
for parts.  It's slow, but at least it works and prints about 10,000
pages on one $35.00 toner cartridge.  Oh, I did have to replace the
fuser bulb once for $15.00.

2005\02\12@023723 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
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>
>Thank God I still have my LaserJet IIIp (1989 vintage) and a spare one
>for parts.  It's slow, but at least it works and prints about 10,000
>pages on one $35.00 toner cartridge.  Oh, I did have to replace the
>fuser bulb once for $15.00.


ROTFLMAO!

I have a HP 4P which I paid $20 for, at a university surplus sale, which I
just replaced the motor gear on. Took about half an hour, cost $6 from Ebay.
I've never changed the toner cart, despite reams through it.

I also have an HP DraftMaster A-E plotter ($100, same university sale),
never had to do anything other than feed it pens and paper.  The pens last
YEARS capped, and aren't expensive.  Paper's a bit fussy to store though,
hard to stick E size sheets in a drawer!

I had a DraftPro previously, which worked nicely for years.

I have a set of HP probes, Logic probe, Current pulser, and current
tracker. Wonderful stuff.

All that was from the OLD HP, where 1-800-hp-direct would get you in
contact with someone who actually knew what he was talking about, within
one transfer, and about a minute.  They made stuff to last back then.


I also have an HP PSC-750.  Printer/Scanner/Copier, a couple years old.

That's the one I went round and round on trying to get the scanner to
work.  It worked for about a week after I bought it, then windows refused
to "see" it as a "dot" device, which is required for the drivers to work.
It's a USB interface, carts are fairly expensive. I worked out the ink cost
once, to about $6000/Gal based on the cart price for the 15 ml that's in
the cart.  Worse, I've printed a full ream of average text after the "black
cart MAY be low on ink" warning which seems designed to sell more carts.

I went round and round with them, trying to get the scanner to work, never
could get it to "see" the scanner part properly.  So when I moved, I
reconfigured everything, and I put the scanner on the network through a
USB-Anywhere box, along with the laser and plotter, using an Edgeport
Serial box.. I figured I had nothing to loose on that once since the
scanner never worked anyway...  So now, the scanner works.

It wouldn't work connected direct to my computer's USB port (everything
else works in all ports) or though any standard hub, or through a different
USB card in the PC, but it does work on a fairly exotic box that makes five
USB ports appear through your twisted pair lan.



2005\02\12@085852 by michael brown

picon face
Dave VanHorn wrote:
>> Thank God I still have my LaserJet IIIp (1989 vintage) and a spare
>> one for parts.  It's slow, but at least it works and prints about
>> 10,000 pages on one $35.00 toner cartridge.  Oh, I did have to
>> replace the fuser bulb once for $15.00.
>
>
> ROTFLMAO!
>
<snipped tale of days when HP made stuff that worked

> I also have an HP PSC-750.  Printer/Scanner/Copier, a couple years
> old.

I already know where this is heading.  All in one boxes are mostly crap.

> That's the one I went round and round on trying to get the scanner to
> work.  It worked for about a week after I bought it, then windows
> refused to "see" it as a "dot" device, which is required for the
> drivers to work. It's a USB interface, carts are fairly expensive. I
> worked out the ink cost once, to about $6000/Gal based on the cart
> price for the 15 ml that's in the cart.  Worse, I've printed a full
> ream of average text after the "black cart MAY be low on ink" warning
> which seems designed to sell more carts.

Nah, they wouldn't do that.  You didn't mention the 4-6 background tasks
that now run everytime you boot your machine.  Amazing how a device
driver just isn't enough to get a printer to work.

> I went round and round with them, trying to get the scanner to work,
> never could get it to "see" the scanner part properly.  So when I

BTDT, it's quite common.

{Quote hidden}

Sounds about right.  :-(

Big word of advice:  When downloading drivers from HP, always take the
"corporate" version when given a choice.  That is, unless you want to
see your PC really slow down with a bunch of start-up junk and
ad/spyware.  I don't know about you guys, but I don't need to see a
pop-up ad when my ink "might be low" with a hyperlink straight to HP's
supply house.

Another thing that really pisses me off about them:  The HP inkjet "test
page" (as opposed to the default windows page) that practically empties
your cartridges as soon as you insert a new one.  I can't believe how
they soak the paper so much that it comes out wavy.  That single page
probably uses about $10.00 worth of ink, and it can't be prevented from
printing.

2005\02\14@092347 by Mike Hord

picon face
Fortune magazine had a rather good article on HP in the Feb 7
issue- the "Display Until" date is today (here, anyway; Feb 14).

About how "Carly's Big Bet" (Compaq merger) was essentially
indefensible, since it amounted to HP's shareholder's selling
37% of their profitable printing business to increase the size of
their essentially zero-profit PC hardware wing.

Interestingly, it was also written pre-Carlygoodbye, so it becomes
quite prophetic at points.

Worth a look.

Mike H.

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