Off Topic Rant #2: More Palm LifeDrive woes

In my earlier blog entry, I detailed the problems I was having getting support for my Palm LifeDrive device. It turned out the problem was that the device's 4GB hard disk had failed. (Why a hard disk, when flash memory cards are so much more reliable, and getting so cheap and small?) I duly sent the unit in for repair - mailed at my expense - and received a replacement unit within a couple of weeks. It seems to be Palm's policy to use reconditioned units as replacement devices. So imagine my disgust when I found that the unit I received back from them still had someone else's data on it (they had not performed a secure erase of its data). Not only that but the touchscreen didn't work very well either - more on that in a moment. Can you believe that they'd send out units with customer data still on them? Well, OK, if they sent them back to the original customers, I guess that would be OK. I'd strongly recommend doing a secure erase on any device you send them. Or, if you have the problem I did (the device would not reset - secure or otherwise), pass it through a powerful de-gaussing field. Sadly, I did not appreciate that at the time, so I'm now hoping that my old device was scrapped rather than reconditioned. Anyway, back to my new device: it has a very temperamental touchscreen! Sometimes, after I redo the touchscreen alignment, it works OK for a couple of days, then it goes haywire. Quite often the screen alignment tool fails to detect the stylus correctly (there's some kind of knack to it that I can't always replicate) making the touchscreen completely unusable. I end up accessing the device through the cursor keys and OK button - making text entry tediously slow. Also, I've noticed that the touchscreen stops responding at all after a HotSync operation - I have to switch it off and then back on to get it to work. By this morning, I'd had enough. I called up their support line again, and, after having to listen to more static-laced hold music, I was told that they'd send me a new unit. They informed me that there would normally be a charge for this, but that they'd waive it in my case. How generous of them! Once I receive my third LifeDrive in as many months, I then have to mail the second one back to them within 15 days or they'll charge me for the third one. OK. Fair enough. Palm LifeDrive's are, in my limited experience to date, over-priced, under-performing, unreliable pieces of garbage. You have been warned!