DELL NON-HELL: Had trouble with the Inspiron laptop, and an online chat with the support guy yielded a reinstall of the wifi driver, which didn’t help. Didn’t have time to follow up for a few days, but got some time tonight. Called on the phone and the support guy had me fixed in fairly short order — it was a conflict between the wifi and the EVDO card. I hadn’t had this problem before, despite going on three years for that combination, but apparently there’s some new Windows update that creates the problem. (Thanks, Bill!) Anyway, I know that one experience, good or bad, isn’t representative, but my experiences with Dell support over the years have been pretty good. Given that people mostly go to the Internet to complain, I figure I should report when things go right, too, just to even things up a bit.

UPDATE: A reader asks how much trouble I’ve had on this Dell. Not much. It’s going on 3 years old, and this is the second time I’ve called on it — the other time was this one. It’s getting a bit worn and battered from being hauled around so much, and in fact I’m about to replace it with a tiny Sony Vaio as my main carry-around computer. But it’s been quite good, and it will continue to serve sitting on the bar in the kitchen.