Alan’s Building Log Episode #4


HTPC Update

Late Saturday night, with nary a problem in sight, I set about making sure everything was in running order prior to the cable company coming to install CableCards on Monday. I broke out the keyboard and was really just playing about wondering what plugins I should start installing. I toured around the device manager to ensure everything was ok and to my surprise one of the tuners was no longer being recognized.

I decided to try Dell’s XPS tech support online chat option to see what they could tell me. Well after a frigging hour of telling me to change cords, try this lame attempt, try this crap I was told they would send me a replacement. Well, joy to the world, after another 10 minutes of waiting for some response, I was told I have to contact ATI/AMD and they will get me a replacement. Which at a minimum is 2 to 3 weeks to get your "repaired product" back.

This is their "XPS" support? I can only imagine what type of support I would get for a standard Dell computer. The tech admitted he had never even heard of a CableCard tuner. Their brilliant solution to replacing my part is to contact AMD. A typical corporate policy that does not favor the consumer at all. What can I say, I drank the Kool-Aid and I got burnt. 

I also happened to mention to the Tech that my system did NOT ship with a remote and he was nice enough to completely ignore that comment. All in all, not a good day. 

All of this troubleshooting was done on the HTPC itself with my 60" TV and diNovo Edge keyboard. If nothing else, I was happy with the desktop/surfing experience this offered after several hours of troubleshooting. My only issue was that after awhile my right hand got a little tired of using the mouse pad on the Edge. It just doesn’t offer the same comfort as a mouse.

Next weeked I will be calibrating the TV using DVE. There are a lot of options on the new Sony TV’s. Motion Enhancers, IRIS, Motion Naturalizer, and Cinemotion are just a few of the settings that can create hell with your picture.

Read more about my XPS 420 experiences here and here


Sunday fared a but better, after putting the final touches on my S16V review (publishing Monday night), I got around to installing WHS. I have to admit, the installation was as easy as it gets. After all, it is designed to be installed on a headless server. I will provide more details as I begin to set my box up. I am pretty impressed so far, lets hope the add-ins I install are as easy to configure as the server is.



There is little doubt I am moving at a snail’s pace and this little upset has moved things even slower :). Crappiness aside, I am having a lot of fun taking my time with this and am looking forward to the end result. I guess I had better go fill out that RMA form for ATI :p.