Monthly Archives: September 2013

In Which I Try My Hand at Design

They always tell you, you’re your worse critic and in my case, that statement could not ring more true. I often second guess my abilities and shy away from activities or challenges if I have no reason to think that I absolutely won’t fail.

I know, I know, kind of a crappy way to live life but when you’re raised in a family unit where achievements are a big deal, it’s hard NOT to think that way.

Despite all that, I decided that I would try my hand at design. Something I’ve shied away from for a long time because I didn’t think I am good enough, hell, I still don’t.

After talking to Ana, who thought my prices were quite low, I decided to put something out there for bloggers who are friends with me on Facebook and for the members of BE. Much to my surprise, people actually showed interest and so I spent the last couple of days working on mockups and coding. I feel quite accomplished and I learned a lot about myself through this process.

Do I still intend to offer my services? Absolutely. Will there be a contract attached? I think I’d be shooting myself in the foot if there wasn’t. Will my prices raise? Undoubtedly. But, I do want to come up with a service where my design prices are based on the needs of an individual and businesses. I know how frustrating it was for me when I considered finding a web designer to revamp my site and discovered that prices started at $500USD and above.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. I get it, these designers are trying to make a profit but I feel as if it’s alienating a specific consumer base in the process, well at least that’s how I felt when I was searching for a designer. So my business model, once I get around to actually sitting down to hash out the details, will have two structures, one for the individual, bloggers in general with low budgets and one for businesses, who can actually afford to pay $500USD or more for a design. I’m not sure how this concept will work but for once, I’m not afraid of failing to find out.

Another Lost Customer

For those of you considering buying Alienware, please read this prior to purchase. Keep in mind I’ve been a loyal Dell customer for years. We have bought 5 computers and 1 laptop with them with no issues so we decided that it was time to upgrade me to a higher performing desktop which we expected to last awhile. Price tag was $2400 on our build. Here’s what happened:


Image Courtesy of: Marketing Facts

I bought an Alienware system almost a year ago and from the moment I received it I’ve had nothing but problems. The computer came to me bricked, PSU was blown so they sent a tech out. He replaced the PSU, the computer booted up but it refused to post, including no lights on the keyboard. At that point he swapped out the motherboard and again the computer booted up, but again it didn’t post and still no lights on the keyboard. His recommendation at that point was to return the one I’d received as a defective product and have Dell send me a new one, so that’s what we did. So I basically had to wait another 2 weeks to get the new PC, totaling a few month before I had a working PC.

The new PC came and this time it actually started. I connected my 3 monitors finally after initial problems doing so and being told by Alienware tech support that wasn’t possible, despite the fact that I had two graphics card and both cards had 2 mini display ports, but even after figuring that issue out, I ran into the issue of the system shutting down on me every few minutes and more frequently if I was attempting to load a website or program.

I googled the issue and it turns out others had experienced the same issue and determined that it was the PSU. That’s two PSUs so far that I’ve had issues with.

At this point I got tired of dealing with Alienware and their incapability of fixing their broken parts so I just went and bought a new PSU for $200 and replaced the one that was supplied. That fixed my issue with the computer shutting down and I was able to use the computer for several months after.

Now, just before my warranty expires (end of the month), the motherboard dies on me AGAIN. That means since the time I purchased the unit 3 motherboards have either not functioned properly to begin with or died. Noticing a trend here?

And sadly while I still have two weeks left on my warranty, I figured my best bet was to spend $300 on another motherboard and swap chassis rather than deal with another motherboard failing on me after it’s replaced. My computer is functioning again and I suspect it’ll last much longer this time, unless of course the graphics cards decide to go out, which I haven’t ruled out given my luck so far this year.

To put it simply, it seems as if the components being put in these systems are crap components that continue to fail and despite that, Dell/Alienware continues to put the same parts into these systems. I really wanted to like my Alienware, especially since prior purchases have been excellent. It’s sad that after purchasing 7 computers with Dell, it took one computer and poor customer service to deter us from ever purchasing from the company again. For those of you who choose to purchase Alienware, I wish you good luck; as for me, I’m sticking to custom builds moving forward or companies like Falcon Northwest that ensure top quality parts for the products they build.

Heading Back to Reality

For the past 8 days, R and I have been in the Seattle, Washington area. We came down here 1, because we wanted to see how we’d like it1 and 2, because my brother-in-law bought us tickets to PAX Prime so we figured it was a good excuse to come out during this time. I have to say, I love it out here2. I think it’s the first place, aside from Philly that I’ve been in the US where it feels like home, which coming from me says a lot.

I took pictures but they’re on my dSLR so until I process them, I won’t be able to share any but I can say that we are seriously considering moving out here now. We looked at the houses and the prices and we have a better idea of how much we need to save for a down payment or the places we’d like for land. The funny thing is that on a map this the Seattle area looks huge when in reality it’s actually quite small. Either way, it’s gorgeous and I’m going to miss it.

Here is a picture I took off my phones of Snoqualmie Falls.


As for PAX, I’ll talk more about that in a separate post. I did enjoy myself but I think it would have been more fun with a different set of people. I tend to curb my excitement based on who I’m with so I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I’d have liked. Despite that, I still managed to have a good time and the panels I went to were quite interesting. Well, I’m off to get some coffee but I figured an update was warranted.

How did everyone else spend their Labor Day weekend3??

  1. We loved it!
  2. Still in the airport, waiting for our flight.
  3. For those in the US that is.