Well, I fell for it, didn’t I..? The
gorgeous Sony Vaio FX209 notebook suckered me.
After my experiences with an earlier Vaio -
and especially the slowest website imaginable, and the minimalist
offshore Sony support service that's never on the end of a phone
when you really need it – like evenings and weekends - some of
you who recall those earlier experiences might wonder if I have
gone completely barmy. Well, let me tell you how this came about
as a lesson in marketing to us all.
The keyboard on this Vaio is gorgeous, and
Sony see to it that their products are merchandised intelligently
in places where the punters can get hands on and try them. And
these days, I would not buy a notebook "unseen" for
reasons of keyboard nastiness above all else.
So that's justification in itself for another
bout of jousting with Sony's support system. However, I think it's
probably fair to say that support for just about every laptop is
equally frustrating now, with all but precious few dealers not
being the teensiest bit interested in doing anything more than
just shipping the busted thing back to base, if its obviously
broken - or reinstalling the lot from the backup image CD ROM if
there is a software glitch. The days of green fingered techies
doing a prod about the settings to sort it out are gone, and the
"swap out" mentality is just about universal. I'm
tempted to get this unit configured precisely to my tastes, then
ghost the image to a spare hard drive.
It's fully loaded with everything - 1GHz CPU,
30G hard drive, Win2k, huge LCD (1400x1050), DVD, CD Writer, , but
crucially, it's got IEE1394 (firewire), and since the purpose of
the exercise is working with digital video sources, that's a bit
of clincher. Astonishingly Sony don't include a memory stick
interface in the unit – so I bought one in the form of a PCMCIA
card, and then spotted a leaflet in the box designed to get me to
register the purchase that promises a Sony USB mouse with memory
The form wants me to insert the serial number
of the unit. Guess what, there is nothing obviously a serial
number on the box of the unit itself. There is a number on the
case underside that doesn't fit into the space provided on the
form. And infuriatingly, there is no effort made to suggest the
format of the number to expect. But this is Sony, don't forget, a
business run by numbers and automaton, and not a helpful and
thoughtful organisation. And when I went to the website to
register, I got a reminder that although Sony obviously puts a lot
of effort into web design, it frequently doesn’t work, and
remains painfully slow.
error occurred during the processing of your request. This
may be the result of a temporary problem, or due to current
technical difficulties with the site itself.
Please retry or if this problem persists notify one of our
Don’t you just love filling our web forms
and then having them thrown away by incompetent site management..?
Sony’s various web sites have no consistency in their naming
process and general shambles
So I tried another registration site…
is very important to us as it allows us to personalise our
service to you by recording your PC configuration.
Please fill in as many fields as possible.
OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80004005'
SQL Server Driver][Named Pipes]Specified SQL server not
Then I tried to buy as 3 year extended
warranty, and this happened:
404 File not found!
file could not be found!
for the inconvenience, we would appreciate if you could help
us improve the site. Please write a short e-mail to our webmaster,
and report how you came see this page. Thank you very much
to SonyStyle Europe Homepage
Since all Sony support buggers off home at
6pm, and now it’s 19:30, I guess nothing will happen for a
Here’s a non-sequitur. The documentation
comes on CD ROM. The printed material supplied is minimalist. No
harm in that, but there is barely enough instruction to show the
unwary how to fit the battery and switch it on in the first place.
I particularly enjoyed reading the PDF file from the screen about
"My LCD does not display anything". Nice one.
But mmmm... that keyboard. Funny how one
really impressive feature like that makes me forget the trials and
tribulations of the last time I bought a Vaio. One more tangible
gripe about the previous Vaio is the 24 minute battery. When a
friend found me a replacement that lasts 4 hours, I felt strangely
and altogether more kindly disposed towards the thing, which still
to this day cannot go to sleep/standby without crashing at least
50% of the time.
But how ironic, here's a notebook that I
would describe as "just about there" and it arrives on
the same day as I am reading stories in the papers about the death
of the global high tech industry, and the imminent plunge of the
whole of the civilized world into a state of recession, gloom and
doom. So we have struggled through 2 years of the dotcom mania
fuelled by greedy financiers and bankers, only to arrive correctly
equipped and tooled just at the time those same bankers are
pulling plugs frantically, and the rest of us are faced with a
world where salary expectations have become unsupportable, house
prices are insane and the government is helping itself to more of
our money than ever in a suite of stealth taxes designed at a time
when the never-ending boom looked like being able to support the
£1 litre of petrol without an insurrection.
Well, the government has not contributed very
much to the process, the UK's broadband infrastructure remains a
figment of the imagination, and we are now headed into the wall of
global recession without an idea in our heads. But I have the
ultimate notebook, and all that it now requires is 100MBit
wireless connectivity to the internet and then that's about it.
We'll be ready to ebusiness ...at last.
But please, someone at Sony read this and
shoot the clowns responsible for your Vaio website fiasco. At
least the world is filing up with redundant web programmers, so
you should have a choice of some competent wranglers to choose