Monday, August 01, 2005

Packard your troubles with this kit.

Most of the large corporations couldn't give a toss about product support (aka: allowing one to enjoy using the product after you've bought it).

The reason for today's rant? Well, my sisters little Packard Bell 'AudioKey'..

... (with alledgedly 'Upgradeable firmware') has gone on the blink, displaying a message: "Incorrect Format, reformat the player!"

No problem. The phrase wasn't hard to find on their website (using Google, not their internal search function which allows you to "search the web" but not specifically their website! Why oh why oh why would the PB web team think that anyone would want to use their website to do a web search? That's what google, altavista, hotbot, etc, are for. When people visit they wantto search - for christ's sake!) But now the fun starts...

The problem - which I guess is a 'known' problem - is described here:

The solution, apparently is to either "To solve this problem format the key from Windows"... well, that didn't work... or to "download the firmware/format tool and use this application to flash the firmware and format the data area of the key". Well, that looks hopeful.

Except it isn't. It's a bloody wild goose chase.

The AudioKey entries under "Support/Downloads" reveal, um... nothing under 'AudioKey Classic' or 'AudioKey FM'

Okay, there's a driver for Win98 under 'AudioKey 330' , but that's not what we're looking for...

We're looking for this phantom "firmware/format tool. Nuffink! Nudduh!!

On with the goose chase... back to Google. Google reveals that there is in fact such a product - described - surprise, surprise - on the PB website, here:

But, no one has thought to include a link to DOWNLOAD the bleeding product from the description page!

Back to Google...

No prob.. we find them here:

Okay, prob.

There is a very serious warning. Check your serial number it says, if it isn't listed, then this is the wrong driver for your Is it C040090000 (listed)? No #$$!^&*%!! mine is C040060000 (unlisted).

So I download it anyway, because at this point I'm starting to get desperate. It find the AudiKey in my USB slot, but when it compares the firmware versions, it seems the currently loaded one is actually several versions higher. Is there an option to just reformat without upgrading the firmare? HELL NO!!!

Since product serial numbers are important, do you suppose I could find anything that supported the serial number my player has? HELL NO!!!
Then, finally, after more googling, I found this:

This seemed to be the happy medium. Admittedly, the firmware was older for some parts and newer for others, and it was for the version that included the FM radio, but worth a try... did it work? HELL NO!!!

"The semaphor timeout period has expired" or some shit like that! In English, doesn't that mean that the flag waving went on too long?


Surely these mega global corporations can employ a web editor who makes sure that the damn website is user-friendly enough that a customer doesn't have to use Google to track down product information? How hard can it be to link the recommened driver information to the download page for that driver? Actually, how hard can it be to actually make sure the driver you've recommended actually EXISTS!!!

They say: You can also download the tool from our public web site at Oh really! Is the driver really called "The requested URL /items/ was not found on this server"? Who knows, maybe it's "irony". Or maybe not.

So reluctantly - after two hours of PB taking the piss - I give up. But I shan't be calling their £1.75 per minute hotline either!

Instead, I shall carry on transferring some old VHS cassettes to DVD using my new Pinnacle Systems video capture card. Oh wait a minute, I just remembered, the lipsync isn't working and the only advice is to get a new PC that is 8-times faster than the recommended specs instead of merely 4-times.

Maybe I'll just go and sit on the lawn and play my acoustic guitar. D-minor is still where I left it.


At 12:10 pm, Blogger Andy A said...

Hi, Brett

Congrats on your new baby. You may know this already, but this tip may help others. If you put ' "what I want to find"' (note the space before the first set of double quotes) Google will search their site for you. Sites' own searches are often crap, but this works every time for me.


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