Linux on the Sony Vaio PCG-U101

Miscellaneous notes:

But I'm working up sections on system performance and on "Can you really type on that thing?".

Buying from Dynamism

I've been looking to buy a small-but-powerful notebook like this for some time, and therefore I put quite a bit into choosing where I'd actually make the purchase. I eventually decided that I'd go with Dynamism — they're the biggest name in the cool Japanese tech imports niche, and they have an image of excellent customer service and support. I figured, hey, this is basically a luxury item, and I might as well treat myself to the best experience, especially since they offered to match another company's slightly lower price and free shipping.

Unfortunately, my experience was quite a lot less than perfect. Feel free to e-mail me for the whole sordid story, but the "comedy of errors" sums it up pretty nicely. The main complaint is that they kept assuring me that they'd do various things, and then not actually doing them. This was obviously pretty annoying, but when it comes right down to it, the measure of good customer service isn't whether or not a company screws up — or in this case, how many times they screw up — but how they respond afterward.

In this case, I've spent quite a bit of time talking to Douglas Krone, Dynamism's founder and CEO. Not because I demanded to talk to someone at the top (I don't tend to be the sort of customer that does that) but because he wanted to see what he could do to make things right. I've become pretty convinced that my bad experience was an aberration, and as a way of making it up to me, Douglas offered to double the normal one-year warranty to two years, including Dynamism's FedEx emergency service. In fact, everyone I talked to seemed very concerned about offering good customer service, and the offer of something more than talk seems like a good indication that bad things don't really happen very much. Of course, I hope never to actually need this extra service, but having that kind of thing is exactly why someone might choose Dynamism.

Additionally, I've been assured that they have a secure https web site currently in development, which will address one of my other serious concerns. As with all such development projects, it's understandably hard to give a definite date for availability, so until they have that running, I suggest all customers make sure relatively secure channels of communication are used for sensitive data.

So overall, my experience with Dynamism was mixed. They messed up a lot of things, but did go out of their way to try to fix them. Therefore, I can't give a wholehearted recommendation, but I'm not going to say "Dynamism sucks" either. I'd suggest leaving them on your list for consideration when shopping around (see my vendor links) — although I can't fairly say that they should necessarily be at the top of that list. If you do choose them, I'm relatively sure it will go more smoothly for you than it did for me.

In any case, I'd very much love to hear your experiences with Dynamism or with any other import companies. There's surprisingly little customer feedback on many of these companies easily-visible online. For now, I'll summarize comments I get on the vendor list, but if I start getting enough, I may add other sections here.