Who'se been keeping secrets?

  flecc 23:01 31 Jan 2003

I recently complained in here of some extremely poor service from Simply's werbsite sales, and have tried a circumvention by placing an order with their Business division. (Business, Pensioner!)

Result was impeccable next day service, but as importantly, the delivery included their business catalogue, an altogether different thing from the tatty leaflet we private users normally receive.

In there were some newly introduced KVMs at a promotional price which you should definitely not be in the dark about so I'm here to "blow the gaff"!

I've long used the expensive Belkin 2 port but that's an old design now proving troublesome with much newer hardware, failure to correctly boot keyboard and mouse for example.

Simply's product is the Avocent Switchview, a large range but the one's that are of interest to us are the 2 and 4 port, and it was the 4 por I wanted to update to. Prices first, the 2 port at £64.99 and 4 port at £79.99, VAT extra, may not seem unusual, but the introductory offer includes two of their rather special cable sets.

Instead of the usual scruffy multi-wire, these integrate the three leads into one sheath with PS2 "flyers" at each end, slightly longer at the computer end to accommodate those machines with wider separation of PS2 and SVGA conections. These are very neat, of extremely high quality and fully and correctly colour coded with Mauve/Green/Blue connectors making for extreme ease of use.

The other special quality is the sophistication of the product. Where the old Belkin shortcuts were inaccessible, unreliable and limited, the Avocet's are perfectly executed, totally reliable and well integrated into Windows.

For example, Ctrl-Ctrl, a quick double press, switches the keyboard into Command mode (lights flashing), A,B,C, or D selects the computer to go to and Enter actions it instantly it without sequencing through all options, unlike use of the Manual switch. A very useful integration with Windows gives this option:-

Ctrl-Ctrl, computer letter>, Winkey, U, S, Enter

selects the chosen computer and shuts it down, cutting out all that exhausting work with pressing switches and desktop shortcuts. You too can have a Starship!

The other notable improvement is that no power supply is normally needed, it's self powered except where an exceptional use (very long leads for example) demand something extra and a socket for a 6 volt input is provided for that purpose, technical requirements for this are included. By contrast the Belkin type is encumbered by a separate power supply, a great inconvenience for a small peripheral.

I've been using one for a little while and immediately dropped into keyboard mode since it's so easy to use.

So a black mark to Simply for keeping us in the dark, but a Gold Star for supplying such a good product. Product codes are:-

2 port = CM41743

4 port = CM41744

The business desk number is 0870 727 7000

I'm on Simply's records so had no difficulty, but I doubt if the excellent telephone sales people would opt out of commission because of a petty restriction, it would be a first in my experience!

regards, flecc

  flecc 23:09 31 Jan 2003

Oddly an item has been lost from that shortcut string, there's an Enter between Computer Letter and Winkey. Still very fast though.

  zanwalk 23:16 31 Jan 2003

I've just ordered a lower spec one from click here

Thanks for the info though.

  flecc 23:21 31 Jan 2003

Ah, I'm very sorry to hear that Rayburn, no possibility of a cancellation I suppose?

There's often a seven day option so worth checking immediately. I couldn't report earlier since I had to have a few days use to prove it's efficacy in a very complex setup.

  flecc 23:34 31 Jan 2003

I'd been aware of the Ebuyer product for a long time, the price is excellent, but the Avocent's technical advantages were undeniable.

I really hope you find the option to cancel before delivery.

I wouldn't normally advise this because of the importance of keeping good faith, but with a low service supplier having a product markedly inferior to the current standard, I feel it could be legitimate to withhold signature for the product thus forcing it's return.

If this is accompanied by a courteous letter explaining honestly your motives, that their product had been to seen to fall well short of current standards, they would accept the reasons. Indeed a good company would be grateful to be kept advised of such a failing, whatever the manner of that advice within reason.

  flecc 23:34 31 Jan 2003

The postage and packing would still be payable though.

  zanwalk 13:51 01 Feb 2003

Thanks for the advice flecc, I have emailed the company to hopefully cancel the order before dispatch, also notifying them of my reasons, I now await the response, will keep you informed.

  zanwalk 07:19 08 Feb 2003

Well the Switchview finally arrived yesterday (Fri) afternoon around 3pm, having ordered it on Monday, (and according to the invoice, it was dispatched on Monday), my 'next day' delivery experience was a little different to flecc's!

Ebuyer also obliged by cancelling my order with them, although it took two emails and around 48hrs to receive a response, but never mind, I was grateful to them for cancelling the order before dispatch.

I haven't yet tried the Switchview out as my second computer is still a boxful of parts, hope to get that sorted this weekend.

Many thanks for the tip flecc!

  flecc 10:41 08 Feb 2003

A pleasure Rayburn. Messrs Simply can indeed be very variable, but it's usually the online side that's the one that forgets orders.

Cancelling a "forgotten" one though brings more fun.

They then some while later "forget" the cancellation and the previously totally lost order appears after all! This weird and multi stage process appears to be the only path that actually works with total reliability, albeit with considerable time delay!

  Spook Tooth 11:33 08 Feb 2003

Thanks for your efforts in keeping us informed. Have noted this new info and will act accordingly - that is when I get around to it!

  flecc 14:06 08 Feb 2003

Pleasure Spook Tooth!

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