Computer had a problem and wouldn't even start...
Thread poster: Ricardo Horta

Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 8, 2010

I don't know if this is the right forum to ask this, but here it goes.

A couple of months ago, I bought a macbook. A few weeks later, the battery wouldn't charge (the power supply unit light wouldn't even turn on) and I couldn't turn the computer on, since there was not enough juice in the battery. I couldn't even turn it on by plugging the power supply unit to the wall socket (and removing the battery). I didn't know anyone who had a similar computer, so I couldn't borrow a different battery.

I then contacted the store where I bought my computer. But there was a problem. I was translating some confidential texts and I couldn't let anyone access those files. So, I asked if I could remove the hard drive. They said that would void my warranty. I then asked if they could remove the HD in front of me and give it to me. The tech guy, now being very rude, said no: "You must send the computer to the Tech Support in the same exact configuration as it was sold!!!". So, the HD couldn't be removed and handed back to me. They told me that it was against their rules to see their clients' HD contents, but I thought:

1. Yeah right...
2. I would be breaching my non-disclosure clause on the contract by giving someone the chance to read / copy the files.

Luckily, it was just some sort of power supply unit problem and a few hours later I was able to charge my battery. I didn't have to send the computer to the Tech Support. They just gave me a new power supply unit.

Has this type of situation happen to any of you? What did/would you do?

Ricardo

[Edited at 2010-06-08 01:14 GMT]


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:02
Spanish to English
No, it hasn't happened to me Jun 8, 2010

But I'm just curious about the contrast between your extreme conscientiousness and the way other translators, with no bother at all and no regard whatsoever for the confidentiality of their clients' documents, use the Google Online translation tool, where everything goes into Google's big translation memory.

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Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I was told... Jun 8, 2010

... that those texts contained "highly sensitive information" and I couldn't discuss it with anyone or let anyone see what was in there. If I had any doubts about the texts, I should ONLY contact Mr. X, Mr. Y or Mr. Z and not anyone else, even if they too worked for my client.

Having worked for those people before, that was the first (and only) time they stressed that out, so I took it seriously.

In any case, I keep some level of confidentiality about my work. I think that's what the clients want.

Ricardo


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:02
Spanish to English
I agree with you Jun 8, 2010

Especially when the confidentiality of the information has been heavily stressed. And I cannot help but wonder what you would have done if the computer had had a more serious problem.

But, you and I know that as translators we are supposed to keep any information that goes through our hands confidential. I just wonder at the people who don't seem to see any necessity for the minimum of care.


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Karletto
English to Slovenian
+ ...
What about confidentiality agreement? Jun 8, 2010

Before you put the PC in thair hands you make them sign confidentiality agreement. Something like this -> http://images.beliefnet.com/imgs/tout/story/passion_statement.gif

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:02
French to German
+ ...
Confidentiality issues Jun 8, 2010

As per myself, I have found a solution to confidentiality issues, namely a special encryption software (there are some of those on the market and there is even freeware available).

All the documents received for translation go to a special folder. This folder is password-secured and encrypted, so that I even do not have direct access to it without entering the password. So this is basically a strongbox locked in a fallout shelter...

Furthermore, I do not leave anything - and I really mean *anything* - even distantly related to jobs on the computer's desktop for everybody to see. It also suits me because, and except for the non-removable Macintosh HD icon, I want my desktop to be empty.

Therefore, and if my iMac must be handed over for maintenance or repairs, it can be done without doubts and/or "remorse".

PS: as per the folks working in Apple Authorised Service Centres, they of course will not have the HD removed without an actual necessity to do so.

[Edited at 2010-06-08 07:35 GMT]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:02
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Support abuse Jun 8, 2010

I cannot find it right now, but one TV network made a program in which they delivered a laptop with a minor hardware defect (and spying software) to several tech support centers. The problem to be fixed did not require actually booting the computer.

What they found out was that most technicians peeked into folders and documents that should not concern them at all... Many checked browsers' history, bookmarks etc. Some even went so far that they copied their clients' documents and photos!

Therefore I would say that utmost caution is recommended in such cases!


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Laurent's advice is brilliant Jun 8, 2010

I actually once had a slightly similar problem but not as severe. My external HD failed and I took it back to the store to exchange it for a new one. The problem was - all my backups where there and I just could not allow the store to hang on to it - they might have found a way to fix it and it was full of documents protected by the NDAs. Luckily it was Staples and they are truly great with returns. I explained my problem and asked them to destroy the HD in front of my eyes. In the end they gave me a new HD and the old one as well telling me to destroy it myself. When I asked how, they told me to imagine it was my old boyfriend and to have a go at it with a hammer. Worked like a charm - there was nothing left of the poor hard drive after this.

It will not help you in Portugal though as I know how notoriously unhelpful they can be there. So for your purposes Laurent's advise is really great. Mind you, the last time I had a problem with equipment bought in Portugal, they offered to send it for repairs and it took us all of 6 months to get the thing back. I was told we were lucky - could have taken a lot longer. I imagine waiting for a macbook for such a long time is not an option.

Ines


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Backup Jun 8, 2010

ricardonhorta wrote:

I was translating some confidential texts and I couldn't let anyone access those files.

Has this type of situation happen to any of you? What did/would you do?

Ricardo


You should always make a regular bootable clone of your entire hard drive, to an external FireWire drive. Preferably every day.

AFAIK this is almost impossible on a PC but with the Mac it's absolutely simple, using freeware such as [message me privately, we're not supposed to post the names of software here]. The Mac's own Time Machine can't do this.

That way, if anything bad happens to your internal hard drive, you always have a recent bootable clone and you can just keep on working.

What would you have done if your HD had crashed and you'd lost all of your data?

"Regular backup is one of the Buddha's Threefold Paths to Enlightenment"



[Edited at 2010-06-08 09:53 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:02
French to German
+ ...
Just in case one wonders about back-ups... :) Jun 8, 2010

Burrell wrote:

I actually once had a slightly similar problem but not as severe. My external HD failed and I took it back to the store to exchange it for a new one. The problem was - all my backups where there and I just could not allow the store to hang on to it - they might have found a way to fix it and it was full of documents protected by the NDAs. Luckily it was Staples and they are truly great with returns. I explained my problem and asked them to destroy the HD in front of my eyes. In the end they gave me a new HD and the old one as well telling me to destroy it myself. When I asked how, they told me to imagine it was my old boyfriend and to have a go at it with a hammer. Worked like a charm - there was nothing left of the poor hard drive after this.

It will not help you in Portugal though as I know how notoriously unhelpful they can be there. So for your purposes Laurent's advise is really great. Mind you, the last time I had a problem with equipment bought in Portugal, they offered to send it for repairs and it took us all of 6 months to get the thing back. I was told we were lucky - could have taken a lot longer. I imagine waiting for a macbook for such a long time is not an option.

Ines


Hi Ines,
thanks for mentioning the fact that we should always do back-ups, just in case the HD fails (knock on wood, I hope this will never happen!).

I have an external HD with sufficient capacity - like the engines made by Rolls-Royce, which had "sufficient power" - and a software which will run back-ups automatically.

This is what I consider to be a minimal investment in the face of the possible loss of all my data should my HD go ad patres.

[Edited at 2010-06-08 09:48 GMT]


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Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I had backups... Jun 8, 2010

...but that wasn't the problem.

The problem was the files on the HD were accessible. Yeah, I should have encrypted them, but I didn't. Now I save my files on an external drive

Even though the tech guys do sign a confidentially agreement, the truth is some don't respect it and like to see if the clients have music, movies, PHOTOS (especially the type you're thinking about) they might enjoy. I said "some", not all.

Ricardo


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes Jun 8, 2010

Yes ricardo, you're right.

There have been numerous cases of criminals being discovered when they took their computers in for repair and the repair guys found "incriminating material" on the hard drive - and told the police.

I'm not saying you're a criminal but I am saying that computer repair people *do* look at what's on your HD and *do* tell others about it.


[Edited at 2010-06-08 10:30 GMT]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Notoriously unhelpful? Jun 8, 2010

Burrell wrote:

It will not help you in Portugal though as I know how notoriously unhelpful they can be there. So for your purposes Laurent's advise is really great. Mind you, the last time I had a problem with equipment bought in Portugal, they offered to send it for repairs and it took us all of 6 months to get the thing back. I was told we were lucky - could have taken a lot longer. I imagine waiting for a macbook for such a long time is not an option.



Bit harsh, methinks.

I don't think one or two bad customer experiences in any country is reason to draw a negative inference about customer service in that country as a whole. Sure, like anywhere, there is poor customer service from some vendors here in Portugal, but others are truly far better than I've encountered anywhere else.

For future reference, if an item is under warranty here, and is sent in for repairs, you are entitled to a new replacement item if the repairs are not carried out within 30 days. And, where it's not an option to wait that long, there are vendors who offer you equipment on loan. It's a matter of informing yourself of your consumer rights here, like in any country!





[Edited at 2010-06-08 11:26 GMT]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:02
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Sorry, if I offended you Jun 8, 2010

I am just speaking from my own and my family's experience. I lived in Portugal for 3 years and my husband did for 22 years. We regularly go there for our holidays as my husbands kids still live there.

Just the latest experience we had - my husband bought some sort of machine for sanding wood. The same day the belt went, he took it back to the store. They wanted to send it for repairs!! Even though it was clearly faulty when he bought it earlier that day! There was nothing he could do however much he argued. When he asked when he would get the machine back, he was told - 6 months. I am not making this up. In the end we bough the belt on ebay and got it delivered to Portugal, mind you it arrived the day after we left back for England but that's another story.

If the system is changing, it is great news. I am looking forward to checking this out when we go to Portugal this summer.

Ines


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not offended ... Jun 8, 2010

Burrell wrote:

I am just speaking from my own and my family's experience. I lived in Portugal for 3 years and my husband did for 22 years. We regularly go there for our holidays as my husbands kids still live there.

Just the latest experience we had - my husband bought some sort of machine for sanding wood. The same day the belt went, he took it back to the store. They wanted to send it for repairs!! Even though it was clearly faulty when he bought it earlier that day! There was nothing he could do however much he argued. When he asked when he would get the machine back, he was told - 6 months. I am not making this up. In the end we bough the belt on ebay and got it delivered to Portugal, mind you it arrived the day after we left back for England but that's another story.

If the system is changing, it is great news. I am looking forward to checking this out when we go to Portugal this summer.

Ines


... just felt I needed to put in a good word for this "back end" of Europe

Enjoy your holidays
Debs


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