Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dell S2340T travails... Draw me a picture... or not... words still have value even if the folks who send us sophisticated equipment to hook up ourselves don't believe it

Received a new computer monitor via UPS yesterday afternoon. The Dell S2340T is a  sophisticated little devil – well, sophisticated but not so little. What was I thinking? I’ll need a bigger desk for this thing.

Wrestled it out of the box which went better than usual because the packaging included a kind of cardboard strap around the payload. You pull the strap straight up and out pops the monitor, all 25 pounds of it. Then you cradle the big baby in your lap with one hand while you pull the plastic bag off with the other, reminiscent of changing diapers in a booth at Dennys. The operation went smoothly. Expectations of a quick and simple setup soared.

Ah, well… not so fast. This is no simple monitor. It has a bunch of buttons on the side. I still don’t know what they do. It has a touchscreen with a variety of plug ins and plug outs built into the base. It also sports a variety of methods for hooking it to the computer, a fact I didn't discover until much later. Another fact I didn't discover until later: You use all the cables in the box, right? They wouldn't send you more cables than you can use, right?


But, how was I to know? OK,  here’s the point of this quick rant. With all the cables and disks unpacked, I went looking for the directions. I searched the plastic cable bags, the box, the packaging, under the packaging and, believe it or not, inside the crevices of the box. Nothing. Then I noticed a tiny slip of paper folded into three panels hidden inside the bag holding the drivers disk.

That slip of paper was, I discovered to my dismay, the instructions. All of them. All of the instructions in seven panels of drawings on a sheet of thin typing paper. Not one actual word on the page, save the address of the Web site of the manufacturer. I am not kidding. Panel one appears to be drawings of all the pieces in the box, including the instructions – without labels! Panel two shows one way to hook the monitor to the computer, I think. Panel three shows another. The instructions do not tell the poor setup person that you should choose between panel two and panel three but under no circumstance do both panel two and panel three. Panel four shows yet another hookup of something. Panel five shows how to plug the monitor into the wall. At last something easy. Panel six includes an exclamation point, the reason for which I can’t figure. Panel six is four drawings of the monitor in four different positions, like the Kama Sutra, but not so interesting. Panel seven is a drawing of the drivers disk.

Don’t bother turning the paper over because the other side is blank. A couple of hours later – no exaggeration – the monitor finally lit up after a brilliant decision on my part to just shut the whole blanket-blank thing down. A few minutes later, I relented, firing it back up. And when I did, there it was, the S2340T, glowing large in the evening light.

All I can say is words have value. Really.


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