Friday, June 25, 2010

Rigorous testing made fun

Partners Gary and Paul are so proud of their service they sometimes go to extreme lengths to ensure their products reach the highest standards their customers expect.

This sometimes means rigorous test-runs.

The Dell D610 is designed for people on the move, and is one of their most popular refurbished notebooks, being a high quality durable laptop suitable for business and home use.

The key words here are “on the move”. So to prove the D610’s capability Gary sent Paul on a mini road trip.

Where am I going then Gaz? asked Paul.

How about Glasgow?

Glasgow? Why Glasgow?

Dunno, says Gary, does it matter?

Paul shrugged his shoulders. Suppose not (although he did get the sense Gary was trying to get rid of him for the day).

So off he went, his Dell Latitude slung over his shoulder, Glasgow-bound.

Keep in touch, said Gary. This is a road test mate, not a jolly away day.

What he meant was, “no chatting up the ladies”.

Paul looked dejected. Since Giselle the traffic warden had gone, he was feeling pretty lonely. An away day road trip was just what he needed – after all part of the adventure of an away day was hoping you might catch the eye of a beautiful stranger.

9.30am: Birmingham Train Station. Paul gets his ticket, has twenty minutes to wait, grabs himself an espresso and logs on to call Gary.

On my way, he types.

Okay, replies Gary.

Paul logs off, takes a glug of coffee, looks up, and sees a smiling face.

Hello, says Paul…

10.00am: The train to Glasgow arrives.

But Paul doesn’t get on. There is no sign of him.

Gary doesn’t hear from him until 12noon.

On the train, says the message.

Okay, Gary types back. How’s the Dell holding up?

Fine, says Paul. The AC power adapters and battery are working well, the Intel Centrino 1.7 Ghz processor is up to scratch, the four ports are working perfectly, and the 40 gig hard drive is performing exceptionally. It’s a big thumbs up Gaz. And it’s compact silver appearance is getting some admiring looks too.

I hope you’re behaving yourself, says Gary.

Course I am, replies Paul, relax. It’s businessmen who are doing the admiring.

4pm: The train from Birmingham arrives at Glasgow.

I’m here, says Paul.

Okay, says Gary. Nice work. Hurry back.

Okay, Paul replies. There’s a train home in ten minutes.

4.10pm: The train to Birmingham departs.

4.30pm: Paul arrives back at the Eflex Computers offices.

Gary is bewildered.

What the hell?

I didn’t go, explains Paul. I didn’t get on the train to Glasgow.

What? Gary exclaims.

I bumped into Giselle earlier when having my espresso. She was meant to be going to a traffic warden’s convention in Wales. But we spent the day together at Birmingham zoo instead.


Relax. It was a good day. Giselle wants a cheap laptop, and I’ve sold ten D610’s to the zoo.

Gary shook his head, that Paul, never ceases to amaze him…

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Computer saves the day

Thank goodness for computers, eh?

What a lifesaver…especially when your television packs up just at the wrong moment.

And what moment could be more disastrous than your 32” TV going kaput three minutes before kick-off of the most important match England has ever played. (Although perhaps the way they are playing EVERY match is the most important match they have ever played!)

All the staff at Eflex Computers had come in to work two early so they could knock off two hours early to watch England take on Slovenia in the crucial, must-win game.

Gary, Paul, Kirstie, and Jan had all decided to go to the pub – but family-man Alex had promised to watch the match with his kids who had also been allowed to go home early (nice to see the education system gets their priorities right sometimes!)

So while Gary and the others were supping beer and nibbling pork scratchings with three minutes to go before kick-off, Alex was busy getting the lemonade, and Pringles together on a tray.

He was in the kitchen signing “Three Lions On A Shirt” quite loudly to himself, when he was interrupted by the sound of his son and daughter screaming:

Dad! Dad! The telly’s gone! The telly’s gone!

Alex rushes in to find a smoking Goodmans smouldering away on the smoke-grey tabletop, and puts his hands to his head in utter dismay.

“Do something, dad,” the kids scream, “do something!”

It was obvious by the wisps of grey emanating from the back of the set that it wasn’t a simple fuse problem.

Okay, says Alex in his calmest voice. There’s only one thing to do – reach for the loft!

What? his kids wail.

The spare TV, of course.

But it’s only a 14” and anyway, it doesn’t have a scart socket.

Oh yeah, says Alex.

Come on dad, only a minute to go.

What about the PC, says his daughter knowingly. Of course! thinks Alex. Why didn’t I think of that? Because you’re a twit, says his son under his breath, as Alex rushes over to their AMD home computer and it’s glorious 19-inch widescreen monitor, super VGA graphics, and mega fast 160 gig hard drive! Ideal for a family with young children, the AM3 Sempron processor makes it perfect for day-to-day home and office use…and for watching live television streaming!

And within seconds, Alex has got the home computer up and running, just in time to see Wayne Rooney staring at them during the national anthems.

Phew! Say his kids, that was close. And England made sure they got one-step closer to that elusive prize – the World Cup - with a great Jermain Defoe strike, and a much better all-round display, that leaves everyone at Eflex shouting once again: Come On England!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dell D400 Pink Laptop

Kirstie was gazing at her new present lovingly. Gary had given it to her as a surprise, because he liked giving Kirstie surprises. He's a bit of an old romantic is Gary.

Okay, so it was one of his cheap computers (no expense spared there then Gary?).

But it was still a surprise.

Well, okay, maybe it wasn't that much of a surprise. Gary gives Kirstie a new computer about once a month. Kirstie thinks he's beeing nice – and Gary smiles nicely and says, that's because he is nice – but really Gary is just using Kirstie as a guinea pig to try out their latest cheap laptop.

The one Kirstie was looking at now was a Dell D400. It has a pink lid, and is very eye-catching. It is the sort of possession one feels like hugging. And being a laptop, hugging is really quite do-able.

And that was the first thing Kirstie did when she pulled it free from the wrapping paper (Gary always wrapped his presents up, because that's the sort of person he is: thoughtful, kind…clever…he knows Kirstie trills at the sight of a wrapped present).

So what does this one do then luv? Kirstie asked

Well, pet, said Gary, it's ready to use straight out of the box for all your emailing, word processing, spreadsheets and so on, but you've also got Wifi wireless internet access, and Windows XP Pro, and a massive 40 gig hardrive. How about that then?

Cool, said Kirstie. It's lovely.

And it's got a wicked pink lid, eh?

I know, trilled Kirstie, it's gorgeous!

She continued to hug it like she once hugged her pet pony, and kept stroking the lid with a huge smile on her face. But Gary was eager to see her try it out.

Well, plug it in then, he said a little impatiently.

Okay, said Kirstie, what's the rush?

I need a letter written, said Gary.

That was typical of Gary too, always ended up spoiling the surprises. Kirstie gave him a look, as she booted-up the Dell, and entered Word.

Who's it to then? said Kirstie a little grudgingly.

Venetia Tours.

Who are they, asked Kirstie.

The travel agent's I'm booking our holiday with.

Kirstie looked up at Gary with surprise, and broke out into another wide smile.

Venice! We're going to Venice?

Gary nodded his head pleased with Kirstie's reaction.

Kirstie loved surprises.

And Gary loved providing them…

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wimbledon is here

When Kirstie walked into the Eflex Computers offices yesterday, everyone stopped and stared. Hair in a ponytail, tight-fitting Lacoste tee shirt, bright white Addidas tennis shoes…and a very short white skirt.

But it’s not just the look. Kirstie also had a racquet. And balls. A set of matching green towels, and a huge kit bag big enough carry Andy Murray in.

Everyone thought she had gone mad.

No, said Gary. She does this every year. And she’ll come in like this for the next two weeks. It’s Wimbledon, of course. It’s her time to shine.

What do you mean? asked Paul, Alex and Jan.

Well, said Gary as they all took a break from building cheap laptops and computers, it all starts back when Kirstie was a kid of 11. She was playing tennis in the local park with her mum, and dad, and little brother when this guy came up and said he was a tennis coach. He had been watching Kirstie and thought she had a lot of potential.

This coach turned out to be none other than John Lloyd.

What, said Jan in amazement, the one who married Chrissie Evert?

No, said Gary, this was a different John Lloyd, from Hull.

Oh, said Jan, but you made it sound like it was the John Lloyd.

Yeah I know, said Gary. Anyway, this John Lloyd was very taken with Kirstie, and became her coach, with her parent’s permission of course, and spent the next year working on her game. Anyhow, she became so good that when she 14 she was selected to play for West Midlands Youth Tennis, and entered many tournaments around the country.

And one of these was at Wimbledon.

Ah, said Jan, is that where those towels come from?

That is correct, said Gary.

Anyhow, Kirstie got to play on the centre court at Wimbledon in front of 30 people, and it was the best day she ever had.

Did she win? asked Paul.

No, lost 6-0, 6-0, and only won two points…and that was only because her opponent double-faulted twice on her serve.

But you’ll never guess who she lost to?

Who? wondered Paul, Alex, and Jan eagerly, who?

Beth Cartwright of Norwich.

Who’s she? asked Alex looking baffled.

I dunno, said Gary. But I told you, you wouldn’t guess!

Anyway, that was the best day of her life, and the highlight of her tennis career, as she soon discovered boys, her practise went out the window, and that was that.

But ever since that momentous day back in 1996, Kirstie has this love affair with Wimbledon, and every year she dresses up for the part, and sort of re-lives the experience. Of course, she loves tennis anyway, and always supports the British players, hoping, like everyone else, that one of them will do well, and lift that coveted trophy.

But can he do it? Can Andy Murray become the first British player to successfully hit enough balls over the net to win Wimbledon since Mr Perry went large all those years ago. It’s got to happen one day…

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gaming on your home computer

Geoff Hurst, to Bryan Robson, Robson to Ball, Ball to Stiles, who spreads a cross field pass to Gazza who suddenly beats three men on a sixpence with a flick, a twist and a mini Cruyff turn, shares a one-two with Shearer, and then squares it to Stanley Matthews who races on to the ball and thumps into the back of the net! GOAL!!!!

England 3, Slovenia 0!

And they’ve only played five minutes.

From the kick-off, the Slovenians shoot, a long, high kick that bounces harmlessly out of play.

Shilton gathers the ball, places it on the six-yard line, and gently rolls a pass to Jack Charlton, ‘The Giraffe’.

But this surprise move from Shilts has caught Big Jack out. He doesn’t seem to know what to do with the ball now, now that it is at his feet.

But he doesn’t panic, and starts to walk forward calmly, team-mates buzzing around him, anticipating a pass, creating space, taking opposing players with them, waiting for Big Jack to offload the ball.

But Big Jack doesn’t release the ball. He suddenly seems to like having it under his control.

And then he seems to get an idea.

Ignoring everyone around him, the giant centre back has a new ambition – cross the halfway line.

My God, everyone shouts, he thinks he’s Bobby Moore!

Charlton ambles up the field, side steps one Slovenian, and then another. The crowd begin to cheer wildly. They like this bold move, this sense of confidence.

Pass it, Jack! Pass it, his England colleagues scream.

But instead of passing, Charlton continues out of defence, beating two more Slovenians, with a shimmy, and shammy, and then a third with a Ronaldo step-over, until he finds himself surprisingly deep into enemy territory.

But he doesn’t panic, does Big Jack, and beats one more Slovenian with a nutmeg.

And suddenly, the pass is on to his brother Bobby, who is bursting into the area, pointing wildly where he wants it.

And brother Jackie doesn’t fail, sliding an inch-perfect pass into Bobby’s path, and the rest is a formality, a Charlton rocket thunderbolting into the net from the edge of the D.


The Charlton Brothers hug each other beaming widely, while John Motson screams, “England 4, Slovenia 0” in the commentary, adding, “Boy, this England team really mean business tonight.”

And the fans go wild, as the England players celebrate…and Gary, and Paul do high-5s.

Nice pass mate, says Gary to Paul.

Cheers, good finish, says Paul. If only it would be this easy on Wednesday, eh?

As easy as Fifa 2010? Yeah that would be heaven, says Gary.

Thank goodness too for the Intel Home Gaming PC, says Paul. Makes playing Fifa 2010 a whole lot easier and quicker after the overhaul we’ve been giving them.

Well it is one of our most popular models from the old range, so hopefully it will become even more popular, eh? says Gary. The new components inside mean it now has even more power and performance than ever before. This system really is priced to sell and I doubt anyone will find a better price anywhere else.

I should say so, says Paul. Anyone looking for a low priced PC for gaming with a dedictaed 1Gb graphics card that can give them everything they are looking for in a mid range PC, then this baby is definitely the one for them at £379.99.

Built in a very stylish Galaxy III case, too, says Gary.

Their friends will be green with envy, says Paul.

Friday, June 18, 2010

England Algeria 2010 World Cup

So, England’s second match in the 2010 World Cup is just hours away – and once again the staff at Eflex Computers have taken a break from building their customised computers and cheap laptops to tell us what they make of the team’s chances.

Let’s go to Gary’s Big Brother Diary Room to find out…

Jan – I take back everything I said about Heskey, apparently he makes a terrible cup of tea. In fact I have it on good authority that he has never actually made a cup of tea in his life. Why? Apparently he keeps missing the cup when he goes to drop the teabag in! My good friend Mavis Pinshaw told me so. She’s out there now. She’s the laundry lady to the England team. She says they’re all terrible dribblers; leave such a scummy mess on their kit after every match.

Alex – My kid reckons they should stick Peter Crouch in goal. He reckons the mere sight of the beanstalk between the sticks would stop anyone from shooting because they would be too busy laughing, or being confused by the sight of him between the posts. He’s taller than the actual goals, isn’t he?

Kirstie – (unfortunately she was unavailable for comment as she hasn’t been able to stop crying since she discovered Beckham was only with the squad for moral support. She was hoping to get a peek of his athletic support, but now that looks very unlikely with Golden Balls very much wrapped up in a suit for the next few weeks!)

Gary – The way I see it is this: we should just shoot on sight. That jabalaba ball is wicked. As poor Greeny found out last week. Trouble is everyone is shooting from too close to the goal. They should be shooting from the halfway line. Just pepper the Algerian net with shots all game long, from around the halfway line. Rooney could do it, and Lamps has got a hefty shot on him. Stevie G too. Even Barry. Glen Johnson’s got a great left peg on him. But not Heskey. No. Just leave him up front on his own to pester the defence, while the others just shoot, shoot, shoot! One of them is bound to go in eventually! Especially if Lamps does most of the work. It’s a well known fact that half of all the goals he’s ever scored are deflections. You just don’t know what will happen.

Paul – Geez mum, why didn’t you tell me Mavis was going over to South Africa? She could have got me a ticket! You know how much I wanted to go! You’re so mean mum. Mavis could have got me a job even. I would even wash their jockstraps if I had too – by hand! That’s how much I love our boys. I’d do anything to go! What’s Mavis’s number, mum? I could give her a call, she might be able to get over there still. Mum….mum….?

Back to building computers and laptops then Paul :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

House hunting with eflex computers

There has never been a better time to buy a house. Prices have dropped, and mortgages are being offered again, so it’s not a question of affordability for Eflex Computer lovebirds Gary and Kirstie.

No, the sticking point is location-location!

At the moment the parents-to-be are camping out in the storeroom at the Eflex HQ. It’s cosy, if a little claustrophobic. Pretty airless too come to that, but Kirstie has fun popping the bubble-wrap in the evening, while Gary busies himself fashioning cardboard huts. He likes to build a new one each night.

So finding a new home is quite high on the list of priorities for the pair of them, especially with a young ‘un on the way.

The sticking point?

Well, Kirstie has her eye on a two-bed job in the swanky, leafy suburbs of Beltup Vue, just off the M5.

Gary fancies the top-floor apartment in the block overlooking Molineaux. It’s been vacant for years, and the price has dropped staggeringly…and it looks right over the ground. Gary says the pitch is so lovely you would only have to look out at that, and there would be your countryside view. He reckons if you arranged some pot plants cleverly on the windowsill, you could actually create the impression of a garden from both a standing, and sitting position.

As you can tell, Gary doesn’t do gardening.

But Kirstie would adore a little patch for the young Parfitt to run around in, and has been trying to make Gary see sense.

Of course, seeing sense is what Gary is good at. After all he realised how he could make a successful business with refurbished cheap laptops, and PCs, and has built up an ever-expanding computer company.

It doesn’t help Kirstie that Paul has been sticking his oar in. Paul lives near Molineaux too, and in fact it was he who pointed out the apartment to Gary. For some reason Paul had his binoculars with him one day and just happened to be gazing up at the block of flats when he saw the “For Sale” sign on the window, and immediately rang his pal.

Gary went to have a look at lunchtime, and fell in love with the place. Paul did too, but obviously he wasn’t Kirstie, so that wasn’t much good.

Gary has been using all his business savvy to persuade Kirstie that buying this apartment actually makes sense because a) it is cheap, and b) it would be an ideal first-time buyer investment.

It would give them time to save more, and buy an even better place in a few years time, whereas if they go all out for swank now, they will find it harder to move on later.

Kirstie wasn’t sure if that was quite right at first, but Gary’s pretty good with the psychology…and Kirstie has now started to wonder.

To be honest the only thing Kirstie has really been worried about is the lifts. As we all know, lifts have a tendency to become public lavatories, and Kirstie is not too keen on the idea of going up and down in a toilet every day.

Paul says that’s easy to get over – Kirstie should just stick some bubble-wrap up her nostrils before getting into the lifts, because bubble wrap is known for its’ odour absorption. Kirstie has threatened to stuff the bubble wrap somewhere on Paul where the sun doesn’t shine.

So for now, it’s back to the storeroom and cardboard huts for Gary and Kirstie, while Paul continues to wander around the streets with his binoculars…

To be continued.