As a number of perturbed status updates I’d posted to my Facebook profile in the wee hours of Friday morning suggested to my friends this AM, the health of my Mac Mini, Cylon.local, took a bit of a nose dive last night. Now, it’s probably just a hard drive failure, which is actually not so bad 1, but I won’t know for sure until I take the little fella down to Tekserve‘s “ER” this weekend and get it properly diagnosed.
So one of the thoughts that naturally occurred to me is that there’s at least some small chance that Cylon.local won’t be coming back; perhaps the resurrection ship was simply too far away when the dreadful moment arrived.
I’d just bought a Mac Mini for my parents this past Christmas, so I already know the value proposition of replacing it with the latest model.
But, while I’m entertaining the notion of replacement hardware, it occurs to me that Dell rolled out a competitor a few months ago, called the Inspiron Zino HD. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m quite happy with the Mini’s performance over the last four years, and I’d be happy to keep it for as long as it’ll stick around with me, but any sensible man would think to check in on his options.
So I Google
mac mini dell and learn the product’s name. Another query with its name serves up a link that takes me directly to the Zino’s product page on Dell’s website.
I’m checking out the product description, the product porn (the photos gallery), the product video, and their convincingly-constructed selling points — everything’s looking pretty swell. “Not bad-looking,” I find myself thinking, “It’s got native support for HDMI… it’ll run Boxee and iTunes… what’s it cost?”
And then it hits me like a brick between the eyes:
There’s no way to buy this computer from this page. While many manufacturers have individual “catalog” and “shop” pages for any given product, it’s astounding just what a pain it is to actually get from the Zino’s “catalog” page, to its “shop” page in Dell’s online store — there wasn’t a single link on that page to take me straight to a purchase opportunity.
Here’s a screenshot of the full page, so you can hunt around for yourself:
And what makes this perhaps most embarrassing of all is the fact that Dell’s primary sales model has been direct-to-consumer, from the day they opened their doors for business.
- 1.Thanks to the trusty Time Capsule I managed to snag with a friend’s NYC teacher’s discount — thanks, Jenny! ↩