• From: "Carel Ewald" <cewald@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2011 07:51:01 +0200

Hi D,


Cool. Sounds like you had a bit of a run around - but this is the only way
we learn.





Carel Ewald


From: Boshoff, Deon (GP Health) [mailto:Deon.Boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Friday, January 07, 2011 7:45 AM
To: blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [blindza] A CALL TO A SUPPORT CENTER...


Well, I guess that, if one is working at some kind of "Call Centre" or
"Support Centre", or anything of that kind, all you hear the whole day, must

Well, I usually don't do as others do, so here's my story;

About a month ago, I bought myself a new Laptop again, as I do yearly. This
time, I decided to just as well add a few bucks, and buy the best I could
find. So, I went for the HP Probook 4515s, from Hewlett Packard. What I
liked about it was it's full sized keyboard, Dual Core processor, and 4GB of
RAM. As all my experiences with Vista were not as happy as with XP up to
now, I still tried out Windows 7 on this machine. I found Windows 7 much
better than Vista. B

During this period, I received a lot of support from my Planeteer friends,
at www.inclusiveplanet.com; I can still remember Surendra's, Sonu's and
Avinash's help with this, so I could at least get J11 talking a bit on my
new machine, with it's Windows 7. 

Of course, through all this, NVDA could come up for me every time, so at
least I knew where I was? On Windows 7, which was completely new to me? But
NVDA doesn't have a Video Intercept driver, and this was what the problem
actually was.

But as so many of my favourite programs didn't want to work, I decided to
downgrade to Windows XP. This, I could't do myself, as the HD of the Laptop
was partitioned in such a way that my normal XP CD didn't want to boot it
up. So, I took it to a computer shop, which first made an image of my
existing HD, and then downgraded it to XP. The first problem was the audio
drivers, which we could find on the www.hp.com <http://www.hp.com> website,
but still Jaws did not want to operate correctly. And soon, all kinds of
problems developed; it would suddenly stop speaking, don't want to turn on
or off, and generally kept on hanging, whenever it felt like it. So, I
repeatedly re installed XP, and trying out all the drivers I could find on
the Web. 

This went on for four weeks, getting worse by the day. No one now has more
experience in installing XP than I do!

First, I need to explain that I am blind, and thus need to use a screen
reader, which reads out to me what's on the screen; otherwise, a computer is
just about useless to me. But, as I have been using these things for so
long, I can nowadays do a lot of things with a computer, as long as I can
get it talking.

As far as I know, blind people actually need computers much more than
sighted people, and I can frankly, not imagine a blind person without a
computer, so I believe computers should be made accessible to the Blind.
That, unfortunately, is not always the case, as manufacturers and sellers of
computers do not really know and understand what the problem is, so most of
the time, we blindies need to adapt these things to our own good use.

So, here I was sitting with this grand portable computer, and I can't make
it work for me, leading to a lot of frustration. Many a day, I thought of
just throwing the thing against the nearest wall, and go out and buy myself
a Zo-zo-tronic, or something. I tried to find support on the HP website, but
the one link led me to the next, more useless link. I have some other HP
equipment here at work, too, so, one day, when the HP printer brought up
another unwelcome "Support" screen, which I have to click away every time, I
thought of getting on the telephone.

The tenth number I got from Enquiries; got me through to to someone I could
actually talk to, and tell her about my frustrations. She knew nothing about
screen readers, but at least listened to me, and understood my need for XP.
I think her name was Kalpana.

I told her about all the drivers I tried out, and all the funny kinds of
problems I am experiencing. I'm sure you don't want to know about it!

From what I told her, she suddenly came up with the idea of a "Recovery "
CD, and I immediately felt better, as I understood what that is. With all my
other previous computers that I bought, there came usually two CD's in the
box, one for the recovery of the OS, and the other is usually called
"Drivers and utilities". This time, with the HP, though, there were no CD's
in the box; the recovery data was all on the HD, which was partitioned into
4 parts, of which most of the total space on the HD was hidden, so useless
to me. 

Kalpana then promised me, after taking down all my details, as well as the
model and serial number of the computer, that she would "Ship" the Recovery
CD's off to me, within 3 working days. And, when I enquired of her the cost
it would be to me, do you know what she said? No cost to me, can you believe

And, even though this was over Christmas time, it still arrived on the
fourth day! And, as soon as I came home, I tried them out, and everything
worked just fine, better than ever before. I must have installed too many
wrong drivers every time, while this CD just knew which ones to install! 

So, after, for four weeks of frustration, I was coming to believe that blind
people should not buy HP products, as they seem to be less accessible to
blind people than other, cheaper makes.

However, I can, out of experience, tell you that their Customer Care, or
Support is excellent, and highly professional it must be mentioned that each
user is different, and that I had my own special needs and requirements.
This model wasn't really designed with me in mind, but the After-Service,
which I got from HP Support, made up for it, and more!

So, all you Executive ladies Reception ladies, Secretaries, go out and buy
yourself that lovely HP laptop, you're worth it, and I believe you will have
less problems with it than I had, you will just love this computer. And, all
you Visually Impaired, I can tell you, you can spend a bit of money on a
decent computer, you need it, and you also deserve it. And, remember, in
South Africa, at least, HP has a very good Support Centre. 

Yes, I do believe that HP, like all other computer manufacturers and
sellers, should take more interest in accessibility, as many of your
customers have special needs, and no two persons are the same.

I also talked a bit with two gentlemen at this Support Centre, but I cannot
remember their names.

So, let me thank you guys for your curtsy and your professional behaviour
towards me during this difficult period. 

And, just watch out what new HP model I will buy next year... 

Prateek replied;
Great, salute to your patients and all the work-arounds that you've done
with your new laptop. In fact, if yu ask me what's the most attractive part
about HP if you have to compare it with other companion companies, i'd say
is their excellent technical support. Good that you've got your problem
rectified, but i understand, it was not so easy for you to cope with the
kind of troubles you had. I wish some day accessibility will be a part of
training for technical support staff, not just in hp, but in all the
companies in the world. At least, you can dream like this, there's no harm
in dreaming.

Deon [G. Boshoff, BA[Stell]UDC[Potch]
Tel: 0123199735
Mobile: 0829699571
Fax: 0123277076
Bleeper: 0123199820, code 0002
Deon.boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Deon.boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> 


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