Archive for the ‘Dell Computers’ Category

July

11

by Kaj Kandler

We reported recently on Dell’s move to reduce bloatware, the kinds of programs that are pre-installed trial versions with little value but high annoyance factor.

Chip Chick points out a nice donation ware tool to remove such bloatware from new and not so new computers. The tool is called PC Decrapifier and appears to worthy of a donation.

June

22

by Kaj Kandler

Dell Computers is further responding to its customer’s public request. After offering some of their PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux, they now offer an increasing number of PCs with only a minimal set of pre-installed software packages. Gone are the AOL installers, the music players, the DVD player programs, if the customer wishes and specifies so at the time of order.

However three programs remain:

  • Google Tools – for correcting misspelled URL’s
  • PDF Reader – To read documentation delivered in this format
  • Anti Virus Software (trial versions) – “Because customers expect their computers to be protected at first boot”

To me only the Acrobat Reader makes sense, as not being able to read the documentation is not very helpful. Although one could offer the documentation either in MS Help format or in HTML, both being universally accessible with the plain operating system. Although HTML could be debatable, once IE is stripped. but in most cases some kind of browser would be installed.

The utility of Google Tools just for mis typed URL’s strikes me as odd. I don’t like this kind of technology, because it tries to guess what I want and the guesses are more often than not correct.

Last, but not least, trial version of Anti Virus Software, because customers expect it to be installed? You must be kidding me! Doesn’t the current versions of MS already include such protective software? So why need another trial version installed? I don’t like and use any of these resource killers. But this argument does not hold water for me.

So I guess Dell simply has long running contracts with these vendors and it can’t easily bail out of them. With Dell’s responses to its customers wishes, I’m hopeful, sooner or later these things will be gone as well.

It will be interesting to see how this will change the landscape. Removing such programs from PC’s will certainly be not too good for Dell’s bottom line in the short run, as the vendors of these pay a hardware manufacturer to install them. It also should have impact on the companies that use these methods to market their products. One option we might see, is that Microsoft, the still predominant player in this market either needs to lower its prices to make up for the lost revenue or it will integrate these into the OS upfront and make up for its shrinking share of business. However, Microsoft is expanding the OS functionality into anything that has successfully be developed by others. MS included web-browser, anti virus, firewall, multi media player, video creation, and much more and bundled it as part of the OS. We all know what followed.

I’m still waiting for OpenOffice.org as optional install.

June

18

by Kaj Kandler

While Dell has listened to its customers’ proposals on IdeaStorm and now offers some PCs with Linux (to be precise, Ubuntu), it has not yet replied to the request to offer OpenOffice.org preinstalled.

But why buy a Dell computer, if you can have your Windows XP virtually online from Nivio? And Nivio offers OpenOffice.org as its default office suite.

But wait a moment, how do I access an online virtual Windows XP desktop? Right I still need a computer with some sort of OS and that can then run OpenOffice.org natively and Windows XP as well. Not sure why I really need this Nivio.

April

20

by Kaj Kandler

Looks like Michael Dell, the iconic oner of Dell Computers, is looking deeper into Linux on Dell computers. According to the corporate Biography Michael uses a Laptop with OpenOffice.org on Ubuntu Linux.

I guess Michael did receive the letter from the OpenOffice.org community offering to satisfy the apparent demand for OpenOffice.org on Dell Computers. May be this prompted him to check it out himself.

Dear Michael,
if you need a help with OpenOffice.org, you are very welcome to join Plan-B for OpenOffice.org where we answer questions and demonstrate the features of OpenOffice.org with screencasts.

Truly Yours,
Kaj

March

13

by Kaj Kandler

The OpenOffice.org community has written a letter to Michael Dell, CEO and founder of Dell Computers to offer help in making the wishes of their customers happen. Dell Computers recently opened DellIdeaStorm, a website to solicit customer ideas and wishes. One of the top items with over 24,000 votes in two days was OpenOffice.org pre-installed on Dell computers.

The OpenOffice.org community offers in the letter help to make this happen. They are proud that their product is desired by so many of Dell’s customers and want to work with Dell to offer the open source office suite pre-installed as standard or an option.

As of today “Pre-Installed OpenOffice | alternative to MS Works & MS Office” is the second most popular request on DellIdeaStorm with over 75,000 votes.

February

22

by Kaj Kandler

Dell computers the widely popular manufacturer of computers for home and business, has lately done not so well. Now they have a new idea, listening to their customers and customers to be. Dell opened a website soliciting ideas how to make better Dell PCs. the site is called Dell Idea Storm and allows user participation in form of posts, comments and voting on other people’s proposals.

Interestingly, the most prominent ideas are not about competing with Apple on design or with IBM/Lenovo on ruggedness. The most popular ideas are “pre-installed Linux”, “pre-installed OpenOffice.org” and computers with no software at all. The most popular anti request after a few days is an option of “NO EXTRA SOFTWARE OPTION”, leaving out AOL or Earthlink offers.

I have offered a few ideas myself, such as “Recessed USB bay” and “No glaring screens for Laptops”. While I certainly welcome a company listening to their customers, I’m not too happy with the way Idea Storm counts the votes. I find it inflationary that every passerby voting is counted as 3 votes and every user logged in to the system is counting 20 votes for a single click.