Tag Archives: Dell

Dell Optiplex 760 Internal Speaker and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)

Due to overwhelming demand (OK, one person), I’ve decided to post something.

I’ve been using a version of Linux as my main desktop OS for maybe five or ten years now. Although Linux, speaking generically about the various distributions, has made progress on many fronts, it can still be a pain when it comes to peripherals (e.g., audio, video, cameras, iphones, scanners, etc.).

Today, I am (again, long story) creating a tutorial on getting the internal speaker working on my Dell OptiPlex 760. I need to create this so I can remind myself what I’ve already learned a couple of times now.

I’m using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, also known as Lucid Lynx. These instructions probably won’t work if you are using another version of Ubuntu (Editorial comment: because of how they, seemingly, randomly change applications and configurations).

In any case, the Dell PC has an internal speaker that no version of Ubuntu I’ve tried defaults to using. I can plug in external speakers or a headphones and hear the sound fine. But the internal speaker is not enabled, and as far as I can see, unless you add some software or find the right configuration file/command line instructions, you can’t enable it.

So, this tutorial is to remind myself how to do so. Before I go farther, please insert the standard disclaimer here. This entire site is provided “as is”, without any warranty whatsoever. Following these instructions may cause high fever, dandruff, and/or the complete loss of all data on your device – not to mention Thermal Nuclear War.

1. System –> Administration –> Synaptic Package Manager
2. Type in your password then use the “Quick search” box to find gnome-alsamixer.
3. Mark it for installation and Apply the change.
4. Applications –> Sound & Video –> GNOME ALSA mixer
5. Check if “Beep”, “IEC958”, or “Mono” are “Muted” (i.e., the little box at the bottom of the columns for each of the categories is checked). If any are muted, unmute each one and test your sound. How you test your sound is a task left to you, dear reader. If all else fails, unmute all sources on the mixer. If that fails, check the Master level to ensure it’s not set to zero (i.e., at the bottom of its slider). Done. At least, it works for me.


Dell Customer Support Update

Geoffrey from Dell (and Richard!) was able to get a new XPS M1330 sent my way. It took a few days longer than anticipated but it is worth the wait. This replacement is actually faster and has more RAM than the original (and doesn’t rock back and forth as much as the original).

Although there have been many pot holes in the road between when I received the original M1330 and now, I can say that the Dell gang have bent over backwards to try to make things right.

As to the M1330, I still believe the design decisions made on this laptop make more sense for me than the Apple Macbook Air (MBA). That is not to say the MBA is not an amazing engineering achievement. But the compromises required to meet Apple’s design criteria make their laptop not useful to me.

That said, the rocking back and forth now seems to be a design problem more than a manufacturing/quality control one.

However, in the end, we will continue to buy from Dell. But be aware that if things go wrong, you may need to invest much time and effort to get things sorted. But having done so, Dell appears ready to do more than its part. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.

Dell Update: Credit Where Credit Due

Although things got pretty jammed up with the original Dell laptop and the replacement for it, I must give credit to several Dell employees who have been trying to make things right.

Although nothing has been finalized, I may get a XPS M1330 after all. But, there is a long road between where I am now and that, so pardon me for not being optimistic.

In any case, I’ve kind of gone past that and am actively looking elsewhere. If something works out, great. I will then put update links on all my Dell posts pointing to the happy outcome.

If not, I’m not spending a whole lot of time worrying about it.

Still, I wish to thank those dedicated Dell employees who are doing their best to correct the situation and keep my business.



Things are progressing along the Dell front. Two people from Dell should be singled out for the efforts they have put towards making this whole experience, if not a pleasant one, at least one that ends with a well satisfied customer. Those two would be Geoff and Richard (last names redacted to protect them from getting spammed). Both have played a positive part moving things along. Although I am far from actually having anything in my hands, I still must thank them for their efforts.

As I mentioned to Sjon:

The details are still being worked on so who knows if this will actually occur. But if it does, I will be a happy person (assuming the laptop is not defective like the first, that I don’t get charged for the second laptop, that the configuration is otherwise as I ordered, and that all the optional software and hardware that I originally had also comes back). That’s a lot of assuming!

** February 22 UPDATE **

Please follow this link to see how things turned out.

Dell Support Sucks IV

There isn’t much new on the Dell horror story. The three boxes (one each laptop and one accessories) are on the way back to Dell. I assume they will hit me with all kinds of re-stocking fees but it will be worth it to be free of Dell’s support system.

That’s not to say I still don’t love the XPS M1330. For the short time I used it, it confirmed that, aside from the physical defect, it is the best light weight laptop there is. Period. Its combination of speed (CPU and drives), beautiful LED backlit screen, and general design cannot be beat (including the Apple Air). It’s not for nothing that it won PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice. Their review called the M1330 a “breakthrough improvement” and I agree with that 100 percent.

Still, all of that went down the tubes when my first laptop had an obvious warped frame/case. I mean, open the laptop and start typing and it would begin rocking back and forth. There is no excuse for shipping something like that. Add to that the problem of shipping a replacement laptop that was different from my first one and things just go down hill even faster than they were. Cap that with the offer of a $100 credit, only after I began the refund process and Dell heaped insult onto injury.

I assume the boxes should make it back to Dell sometime late this week. When I know how the refund process works out I’ll let you know. But for now, I’m now looking for something else that meets my criteria for a light weight business class laptop (i.e., 2.0GHz CPU, 13-inch LED backlit screen, at least 5,400RPM hard drive and preferably a 7,200, weighing around four pounds, and costing less than $2,000).

I realize that there may not be anything that meets this criteria, other than the XPS M1330. If so, I guess I’ll just wait until there is. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



Please follow this link for an update.

Dell Support Sucks, But Not So Much, Maybe

I finally got a reply to my email to Dell from last week Friday. That would be the one where I indicated the system descriptions did not match between the defective laptop and the replacement. The response says that the screens do match, even though there is no evidence of that in the description (I did not open the box because I did not want to become responsible for any problems the replacement may have).

I don’t know if that is true, but if so, the other differences are still there and, and this point, they are literally a day late and more than a dollar short as I have already processed a refund request.

That said, if Dell support can screw something up, it appears they will so I am still waiting for the problems to begin regarding the refund.

Like what? Like the part of support that is still processing things as a replacement rather than a refund. I got an automated phone call yesterday morning from Dell reminding me to use the DHL shipping label to return my defective laptop. The problem is the refund request is set up to use UPS. Clearly, one part of Dell doesn’t know that a refund request is in process and not a replacement. The worst case scenarios is I will be charged for both laptops and get no refund even though both will have been shipped back to Dell.

At this point, the odds are better than even that is exactly what will happen. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



Please follow this link for an update.

Dell Support Sucks II

I was on the phone to Dell Customer Support twice for a total of about 45 minutes. The first call I terminated after waiting on hold for six minutes (with no indication as to how much longer I would be on hold). The second call was on hold for just a few minutes and someone by the name of Ryan began the refund process. Unfortunately, I had to explain again the problems, then he had to do some research, and after doing so, he transferred my call to someone else. I asked him if all the emails going back and forth between Dell and I was in the case. He said it was. So it was unclear to me why I needed to explain anything as everything was already in writing.

Once transferred to the new person, I then had to explain again why I wanted to return everything and get a refund. The new person on the phone, Punit, had an Indian accent and was not all that easy to understand. However, once I finished explaining what I wanted, he said he would process another replacement. After waiting a moment and taking a deep breath so that I would not unleash a string of family unfriendly words, I explained again that I did not wish to get another replacement because it would probably be mis-configured or warped like the earlier two laptops. He insisted I could not assume that there would be problems and he would process another replacement. I insisted that he would not as I was the customer who paid for the system and he would instead process a return and full refund.

Instead, he offered a $100 store credit if I would take another replacement. I refused and told him, if they wanted my business, they should have offered something prior to my demanding a full refund. If earlier, they had offered, for example, an upgraded CPU, or more RAM, or something like that, I would have accepted the offer. However, at this point so late in the process I am offended by this attempt to buy me off with a store credit.

He finally agreed to do the refund. What Punit says will happen is that UPS will arrive within 24 hours to pick up the three boxes (one each for the two laptops and one for the accessories). Once the boxes are received by Dell and everything accounted for, I will receive a refund for all items returned within 31 days.

Excuse me if I am skeptical about this part of customer support working any better than any other part. I can envision spending more of my time trying to work out more errors on the part of Dell and expect delays to my refund.

As I may have said before in my earlier posts, I cannot imagine ever ordering anything else from Dell for myself or the Division that I manage. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



Please follow this link for an update.

Dell Support Sucks

You can read my multiple posts here, here, here, here, and here for all the details. This post will give a quick summary then give you an update on where things are at the moment.

Having waited until the long anticipated announcement regarding the Apple Air turned out to be inadequate for use as a primary laptop (and way too expensive for as a secondary one), I chose the Dell XPS M1330.

At first, I was happy and optimistic in anticipation of getting what I thought would be a great Dell laptop. But then it began to go wrong.

First, when the laptop arrived, it appeared to either have a warped frame or case. When I reported the problem to Dell, they scheduled the replacement of the palm rest. Said replacement did nothing to solve the problem. Even the technician that did the replacement acknowledged the failure and, I believe, called Dell directly to tell them that.

I then emailed Dell to let them know that the laptop was not fixed. Dell responded by saying they would replace the laptop. In due course, I got an email saying a new one was in production. However, when I checked to confirm the replacement was identical to my original one I found substantial differences, the major one being the wrong type of screen. I immediately notified Dell of the differences and told them they needed to stop the production and correct the problem. But I never got a reply.

I emailed another Dell represenative and this time got a reply saying he would elevate the problem to the group resopnsible for resolving my situation. As of this writing, I have not gotten a reply from this group or anyone else.

Now for the update. At about noon today, the replacement arrived. Yes, it was the one with the wrong screen and other discrepancies. I immediately sent an email notifying Dell of the arrival and that I would be calling to cancel my original order, would return both laptops, and would expect a full refund. As of this writing, I have not gotten a reply.

After I finish posting this, I will call Dell to execute the above.

I cannot imagine how any company can stay in business with such shoddy quality control. It has been one error after another with no one seemingly able to carryout the simplest of tasks without making critical mistakes.

I cannot imagine approving the purchase of any Dell products for any of the employees in my Division.

As for a laptop, the Apple Air is massively inadequate, compromised, and expensive so I guess I’ll take a look at what Sony has. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here


Please follow this link for an update.

Dell Black Hole of Support

Last week Friday, I replied to the Dell email that indicated the replacement laptop was in production. I noted that the replacement did not appear to be the same as as what I have now and asked them to correct this.

As of this writing, I have not received a reply or acknowledgment of this email.

I have sent two other emails to Dell this morning. I have received a reply on one of them.

The reply said they will escalate the problem to the group responsible and will let me know what is the response.

I am very disappointed with the lack of quality control displayed both on the hardware side and now in the support side.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to expect a replacement laptop exactly like the one I have now. Yet, Dell support did not seem to be able to accomplish what I would think is a simple clerical task: just copy the details from the old system to the new. But clearly, this was not done. Sigh.

If this cannot be cleared up, I will try to cancel the replacement, return the defective laptop, and ask for a full refund. YMMV. Insert Disclaimer here.


Please follow this link for an update.

Dell XPS M1330 Replacement May Not Be the Same as My Original

I have tried to remain positive throughout my experience with Dell and the XPS M1330 that I ordered minutes after Steve Jobs finished announcing the Apple Air (see these links here, here, here, and here). Clearly, the Dell was a much more powerful system for a much lower price.

But no system is perfect so when the M1330 arrived and I immediately noticed that it rocked back and forth due, perhaps, to a warped frame, I was disappointed but still positive about Dell.

I mean, they came out the next day and changed the palm rest as an effort to fix the problem. Changing that piece didn’t fix it and had very little chance of doing so but, at least they tried and eventually agreed to replace the entire laptop.

But this morning, I got the confirmation email of the replacement laptop being in production with its details. Much to my horror, it appears that the replacement does not have the optional and more expensive LED backlit screen that I paid for, the optional software I paid for, nor the optional extended warranty I paid for.

My patience with Dell is now rapidly running out. I have sent a detailed email to Dell support listing the differences between the replacement system and the one I paid for. I have asked them to do whatever they need to do to match what I originally ordered.

If they do that, and if the replacement is not warped or otherwise defective, I will still be satisfied with the M1330. That said, I am not satisfied with Dell’s quality control both in manufacturing and customer support.

Hence, in the future, I may decide to buy elsewhere. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



Please follow this link for an update.

Dell XPS M1330 Warped Frame/Case?

The rocking problem, when placed on a flat surface, that my new Dell XPS M1330 has was not fixed by replacing the palm rest. Although I could have told Dell support that, I have learned that is pointless to try to change someone’s mind who is working off of a script. So, the technician came (next day on site service) to replace the palm rest and determined that it did not solve the problem (no surprise there). He then called Dell directly and the decision was made to replace the entire laptop.

Although the new one should arrive in about 10 days, I am fearful of two things. First, what if the new one isn’t really new? That is, what if it is a returned one that was repaired and is being sent out as a replacement? Secondly, even if new, what if the new one has the same problem?

In any case (no pun intended), the answer to the second question will be known in about 10 days. Still, I am happy that Dell is willing to provide a replacement. I’m not so happy with Dell quality control because this obvious problem should have never had made it past its doors. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.



Please follow this link for an update.