Friday 13 July 2012

A new Corsair, and its wandering key.

So the replacement arrived. I opened it. Within seconds, what the!? The sound mute toggle key’s missing! Oh good grief, not again. Closer look, oh there it was lying next to the NumLock key! So I took a photo, and suddenly discovered an appreciation for all those ‘silly’ unboxing videos. Maybe they are not so silly as the process could end up being the only proof that you really did receive an item that wasn’t quite what it was meant to be after you break open the seals and have a look inside. But it takes time, which I would rather not waste even more of.

Click HERE to see the full sized picture.

I picked the key up and pressed into place, and it clicked in firmly. There appears to be no easy way to displace it once it’s in, as it’s one of the non-mechanical keys that are not backlit, and hence not meant to be removable either. Basically their key pressing employee or robot just didn’t push it in hard enough.

So all that was left to do was to pack up the old one and take it the Collect + connected (or not as was the case the last and first time I went down) newsagents around the corner. I know the guys quite well, and they scanned it with their bar code reader, and we waited with baited breath, it’s a bit hit a miss apparently. But it worked, hurrah, no need to bike or car the mile down to the next nearest one.

So very nice of Amazon to provide an ‘in-place’ replacement, the only thing that could go wrong is that they don’t receive the one I sent today, and charge me for it. However all shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I do feel a bit sorry for them, as the postage costs will eat into their retail margin, which is great, but they make a huge amount of money on volume to more than compensate for it. Corsair though really needs to pay attention to their quality assurance, I hope the keyboard lasts, at £95, it better had.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Am I unlucky or what? The Corsair K90 Keyboard.

OK, after what seems like a year of indecisiveness, watching on eBay, looking at alternatives etc. I finally bought a Corsair K90 Keyboard, my first 'contemporary' mechanical key switched keyboard. I did once have an Dell mechanical one, about 10 years ago, and it was good, but the keys were so hard to press, it tired out my hands typing on it! Sold it on eBay to a Swede in the end.

So the K90, when I first saw pictures of it, it was a dream come true, you see, I hate wrist rests, and like my keyboard's front lip to be as low as possible. This appeared to have a really low lip, and keys that were directly set into the base, no bezel type surround. So obsessed was I with lip height, that I looked at large photos, watched videos and even Googled 'lip height k90' etc. but alas, no one talked of the lip, that I could find.

However it was £100! Ouch! Now a friend’s wife once said to me, your relationship with keyboards is the same as the one that women have with handbags. I put my hands up and said, guilty as charged. My children get the hand me downs, so they have the Saitek Eclipse, the Eclipse 2, and the totally ostentatious Cyborg V5. I loved the latter but gave it up when I did a typing test and found that I made fewer mistakes on current, prior to the K90, keyboard.

I have a 2 Mac keyboards (there is a Mac mini to go with them, though one of the keyboards was used with a PC for a while, more on that another time) and my main keyboard, the Alienware Tactx keyboard. I like the latter because you can go do funky backlight colours, and that the keys have outlines on their top edge that also illuminate. It has good key action too, so great for typing on. However disaster struck, a cup of coffee, or rather its contents distributed around the keyboard, made its cursor left key unresponsive. I preformed some surgery and fixed it, but it was a fudge. With certain devices, such as my laptop, it doesn't work, with others it does (probably due to the wiring I rearranged inside, to compensate for where the membrane was damaged). If it wasn't for the coffee, no new keyboard was needed.

So why wait for months to buy one? Because I couldn't try a K90 anywhere in Manchester. The nearest one was in Bolton. I did try the CM Quick-fire in a shop last week, and thought, wow, must go mechanical! In fact I wanted to buy it there and then, but it had a big fat lip!

So I did it, bought one on Amazon for £95, ouch. Turns up in the morn, and I open it up, it's really compact, and wow, the lip is so low! Fantastic. I type on it, and it doesn't seem that amazing, not as good as the CM Quick-fire did. However when I plugged it in, any doubts were swept away, this is the business.

Some seven hours later I showed my wife the blue backlight, she had an interest, as she had tired of my trying to get a cheap on off eBay and was relieved to see me buy one, eventually. And then I noticed it.

 Click HERE to see a larger version.

 Click HERE to see a larger version.

The backlight behind the cursor up key was off. Strange. So I pulled the key top off to confirm. Yup it's dead. I give it a wiggle, oh please work, please not another return. But it's dead Jim, no sign of life. Head over to and updated the firmware (yes a keyboard with updatable firmware). Still no sign. So that's it, a few day before I was going to take it aboard with me, it's defective on arrival.
Booked it in with Amazon, who will apparently send me a replacement and expect the current  one to be returned in the next 30 days, though this was not explicitly clear. So I've printed off the labels etc. to send it off.


I checked on-line and yes, there is a replacement due to arrive tomorrow. However on plugging the keyboard in again, the light started to work. Oh no! A restocking fee and postage cost will now be charged. However a few minutes later, it started to flicker, I started to make a video, and eventually it died again. Phew.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The 'Good' HP Envy experince... update.

Yes, I never did follow up, for the one or two people who read the blog, as to what happened with HP. Basically, it went well.

Remember as I didn't have 'premium' support, I was required to call them. So when back home in the UK, I rang them. Initially, UK call centre, British lady, who wanted to go through all the basics, have you plugged it in etc. I went along, briefly, and then became a little short, pulled the 'tech' rank on her per say. 'Look I build my own PC's and worked in IT, can we not go through this', type of thing. The Blu-ray drive is dead, completely. She then, rather unexpectedly, decided that I can be put through to 'premium support'. Sounds good I thought. Now I was through to chap who was clearly, abroad, probably Indian, and yes so was probably the Google weirdo e-mailing me. The chap had one very odd Indian accent, but he was perfectly legible, and didn't patronise me one bit. He went through some Q & A's which he said were mandatory, and within a few minutes he had booked a collection. Impressive.

A few days later a delivery, rather collection, man turned to collect it, he had a big padded box into which I was meant to place it. It was quite a sturdy nice looking box, but I wasn't quite ready!

Drat, I had to delete some personal stuff of it sharpish, and no time to wipe the free space. My fault, should have been better prepared, or better still, should have had a small hard drive on standby to place in the machine with a restore from the system discs on it.

The chap really was on a tight schedule gave me minutes within which to do this, and at one point threatened to leave, but I completed what I could in time and gave it him.

It was returned about 10 days later, which wasn't the quickest of service, but as it is not my main machine, tolerable under the circumstances.

So it all works fine, the track pad is a nuisance as ever, if I install the Windows update version (I must remember to hide that some time!) it goes epileptic again. Then I have to install the Synaptics one, and reset it to its default settings too. But the right click is still a pain; it has to be quite near the bottom edge to work, pain, and total pain. Having been through that Synaptic's bloated setting programs, I couldn't find where to change the zone areas, that I was sure I had seen before, I will look at it again some time when I'm using it and don't have a mouse handy, that I nearly always do.

Oh one fly in the ointment, the HP report claimed that they found no evidence that it scratched discs, despite my having a few of them, as photographed in the original blog entry. Naughty naughty, not admitting it so that they wouldn't have to pay out a possible claim for damaged software discs. Or  was the laser head somehow better positioned not to scratch discs by the time it reached them? No idea.