Oh ... Really?

My latest support nightmare

Does everyone else have the same nightmares with technical support? Or am I overly picky because that is what I do? Is it too much to expect that, even if the answer is not there, the tech support people will leave the rudeness out of it??? And at least give the pretense of trying to help?

I am still dealing with the issue with my RSS and Atom feeds not updating in Google Reader (and only Google Reader!) Google continues to deny that it is their problem. My web host has looked at absolutely everything, even going so far as to take down the entire server firewall to prove to Google that they are not being blocked by the server. Still no joy ... at all. And to think that I heartily recommended Google Reader to many, many people. No more. Use anything else that works for you ... avoid Google Reader! Bloglines Beta is looking good.

Now to the latest. When I was preparing to update my system to run Windows Vista, I researched to find a graphics card that would work and not break my budget. I ended up with the Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9600 Pro. I sure would have liked to go with a PCI-Express card, but that would require a new motherboard, which would in turn require a new CPU. Might as well just build a whole new system at that point, which I did just about two years ago. What I have now suits me fine for what I use it for. I have no need for the latest and greatest in hardware.

So, I installed the card, formatted and installed Vista and all was good. Then I decided to install Nero on the desktop. I had it on the laptop (WinXP) and all was good there. And even on the desktop, it mostly worked ... for video editing, DVD copying and writing - the stuff that I originally got it for. Then I tried playing a DVD. Before Vista, I had an install of PowerDVD that came with the DVD drive. But it was an OEM version and there was no upgrade for Vista. I would have had to purchase the full version. As soon as the DVD loaded and started up, Nero Show Time came up - and promptly crashed.

I wrote to Nero tech support. They analyzed a report generated by their tool on my machine, and they said that I should upgrade my graphics card drivers. Alrighty then. I went to the ATI support page, found the driver indicated for this card for Vista listed right there. Cool ... Nero would then play DVDs. It also resolved some other minor but annoying glitches I had noticed.

But then I had no Vista Aero display. Or transparency. Or other visual effects. Not earth-shattering, but when I buy something, I want it to work as intended. I do not wish to compromise - give up one thing to get another. At least not until every possibility has been explored.

So, I open a ticket with Sapphire tech support. I explained what happened and sent it in. Here is the response I got: (copied as is, spelling and grammar and all)

Well you have to know R9600 is not the top of the line graphics card, infact its a serveral generation back from the current HD series, so i wouldnt expect too much from this card especially when you are running it under Vista. I would suggest you upgrade to at least X1650 or higher to help you get the type of performace you want for your computer, if you have other questions please get back with us at tech@althonmicro.com.

To post a response please go to the link below.


Thank You
Sapphire Tech Support

I am simply gobsmacked by this! The rudeness is simply uncalled for, and it goes far beyond being unhelpful. Just to make sure I was not mistaken about the card being supported in Vista, I reviewed both the Sapphire and ATI sites. I found the same drivers linked from both, with no dire warnings of any kind that indicated that there could be problems. I researched for quite a while longer, and finally found on some obscure site, some other hapless Vista user with the same card having the same problem. There was never any indication of a resolution but he left off stating that he was going to try a previous version of the driver, and there was no further follow up from him. But there was another post from someone else stating that AGP cards are not compatible with the latest four driver versions on Vista machines. How lovely. They still list them as being compatible on the site, with no warnings or anything!

So, given my current financial situation, I have to find a solution to use with this card. I will try to hunt these older drivers down and try installing them. But I fully intend to return to using Nvidia chip based cards as soon as I can!

UPDATE: A user at DSLReports.com just linked me to a possible solution! How hard was that? Not very ... but most helpful! Tech support should pay attention!

Posted by LissaKay on 11/06/07 at 12:17 AM in My Soapbox
• (3) Comments Pop UpPermalink
Coming from a tech support guy...Vista is a freakin' nightmare. It's like one big GUI on top of XP, designed to totally confuse the average user. The best feature on it is the "run in classic mode," which is what most people should do. One of the worst things is all the people running out and buying 64bit Vista and don't have a clue that all of their 32 bit peripherals and drivers won't work with it.

As for the rudeness, sometimes that's all we have got to hang on to. When you have to talk to ID10T's all day long, it gives just a tinge of satisfaction...well, for me anyways.

Posted by Byron on 11/08 at 01:23 AM
LissaKay's avatar The CDATA code is in a default template generated by Expression Engine for my Atom feed. It is not used in my RSS 2 feed. It is the same template used by thousands of EE users and no one else is having any problems with it. I know of another feed, generated by EE, on the same server I am on, and it is working correctly.
Posted by LissaKay on 11/18 at 05:15 PM
I'm not talking about [CDATA--> junk. I'm talking about CDATA as it pertains to the junk between tags in any XML document.

Try what I said. The other one may not have the "obscurity" that you have here...

Posted by Mark Steel on 11/19 at 09:14 AM
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