The Sad Story of Lethera

Lethera was my last but one home computer. I had a lot of problems with Lethera, so bad that I had to return him and demand my money back, this was an instructive, though not particularly pleasant experience.

Lethera was sick from day one - I noticed it a within ten minutes of installing my first program. Transferring files from CD-ROM to disc went in short bursts of feverish activity and intermittent stops only some of the stops were far too long...

I ignored these symptoms and happily plowed on with my usual tricks. I re-partitioned the disk, installed Windows-95 in one partition and Linux in the other. After a week or so Windows was crashing on an hourly basis, the blue screen of death came with depressing regularity and virtually every time I rebooted the machine (which was often) ScanDisk found more weird errors. Soon ScanDisk was finding dozens of bad clusters and it was time to return my machine. Returning a machine with a dual boot Windows/Linux system LILO and a modified master boot record is the kind of thing that just confuses most computer manufacturers (You broke it, no I didn't ...) so to avoid confusion it was a case of bye bye Linux and hello Windows95. More wasted hours of repartitioning and formatting the disk sigh.

When I fetched the machine a week later the service guy said bad disk, Sorry - I believed him.

Second crash

Unfortunately, no sooner had I got the machine home than the same behavior started over again. This time I didn't wait until I had got dozens of bad clusters but returned the machine at the first sign of trouble.

When I picked up the machine the next time the service guy said bad disk again. This I did not believe - if the mean time between failure for a single disk is several hundreds of thousands of hours, then the probability that two disks fail within a a couple of weeks must be mind blowingly small.

Legal action

The next time the machine failed with the same error I was really pissed off. I talked to Jane and to Bluetail's lawyers about this and then phoned up the service chief of the company concerned.

"I want a full refund - I have returned these machines twice and have no confidence in your ability to find the error or fix the problem".

The service chief listened with concern. He offered to give me a new machine or to get his best technicians to look into the problem. I refused.

"The only place you'll get to see the machine is in court. If I don't get a full refund we will sue you. These machine are now evidence - I have talked to our lawyer and it would be improper for you to have access to these machine since this would make us impossible to present these machine in court as evidence".

The service chief promised to ring me back.

That night I fantasized about the court case. "M'lord I will now try to install a program on exhibit number one" - click whuur - blue screen of death. "As you see M'lord the blue screen of death conclusively proves my case that exhibit number one is a pile of fetid dog turds ..."

The case didn't go to court and I got my money back.