It’s been a long day

Today was one of those days that started off with me getting up a little too late and then got worse from there. I wasn’t “late” to work but I don’t think I was really on time either. I just can’t seem to get enough sleep this week really.

Right now I’m training to be a sawyer at work too. I’ll be running the bridge saw cutting the stone slabs down to the pieces that will be eventually edged and polished by my CNC machine or one of the other machines in the shop. It’s yet another one of those things that I say “Man, I wish I remembered more geometry from high school.” Remember kids, pay attention to just about everything in high school and college, you never know where you’ll end up and what you’ll end up doing. So now I’m sort of doing two jobs, it definitely keeps me hoping around, but I’m always happy to learn something new.

I got an email from one of our clients late today that basically means I’ll have to work a little late at least one night this week. Oh joy. I don’t mind, honestly it’s nice to work in the quiet shop, just me and the machines, no other distractions like phones and people to bother me. It’s a big order and that’s always good for everyone.

There’s still water in the basement here at The Green but it seems like it might be going down a bit, so hopefully it’ll be dry by the weekend. The snow storm for tomorrow is pretty much a non-starter, the one for early next week is still a bit too early to tell. Let’s hope.

Comcast Cares

So the other night I finally went to check the mail at my apartment. I don’t get much mail there so I only check it once a week or so, usually just the electric bill, the cable bill, and junk mail.

I walked down the parking lot  and headed to the box. Opened it up. Found the cable bill and the junk mail. Headed back home. Piece of cake.

I got upstairs and opened my cable bill. $125!!!! Not cool man, usually it’s about $86.

I called Comcast to see if there was a reason for this change. The call center was closed…. Not impressed.

Then I remembered that Comcast was on Twitter and I had see some tweets from @ComcastCares that he was helping people with issues. I fired off the tweet.

10 minutes later, I had a tweet back from @ComcastScott, apparently he reads @ComcastCares as well. He asked for me to email him some information to further the case along. I did. 3 hours later, I had my email answered that a person would call me in the morning to resolve it. 11:00AM on the dot, I got a call from Comcast Executive Offices to correct the bill.

There was an error on their end and they were going to take care of it. My bill is now $10 cheaper than it was before and everything was taken care of in 13 hours. I didn’t have to wait on hold at all. I felt served by customer service instead of working for them to help me.

I was a bit busy at the time so I did have to email back to Comcast to get the exact amount of the new bill again later, but that was my fault for not having a pen and the emails from@ComcastMelissa and @ComcastKim were exactly what I needed.

I sent 1 tweet and 1 email, it took no time at all, Comcast did the leg work and fixed it for me. I didn’t have to call, wait on hold, unplug, replug devices, explain my issue to 3 different people and finally wait while a CSR typed up far too many notes about a mistake that wasn’t mine.

Whether the “Executive Offices” are anything more than a call center with a directive I have no idea, I don’t care, it sounded like people were working for me, to help me.

Comcast cared and served me.

Thanks.

iTunes Plus: Everything you need to know – Crave at CNET UK

Don’t think that just because of the new iTunes DRM-Free thing that you can share and distribute your songs all over the Internet to anyone you please:

Be warned: your account information is stored in every file

Although iTunes Plus files feature no copy protection, files downloaded still contain the email address you have registered with iTunes. So although files can physically be shared with, and played by, friends and family, any of your purchases that end up on file-sharing networks, for example, can be traced back to you.

via iTunes Plus: Everything you need to know – Crave at CNET UK.

I don’t particularly care to share my music all over the world, I just want to be able to share it all over my world, all my devices anytime I want.

Latest Mac Rumors: Netbooks and New Mac Minis

There are a number of rumors circulating about what news Apple might make at next month’s Macworld expo. Last year’s Macworld brought the announcement of the Macbook Air, and two years ago, it was the iPhone. So what will be the big announcement this year? Depending on who you ask, we may see an Apple netbook, an iPhone Nano, or maybe just an updated Mac Mini.

via Latest Mac Rumors: Netbooks and New Mac Minis – PC World.

I’m excited about this. I already have an Asus eeePC 1000HA but the thought of netbooks reaching more of the masses is great. I think that probably netbooks will become the new “couch computer” in the next few years, you know that computer you piddle with while you’re on the couch watching TV and whatnot.

I use mine all the time for blogging and just general surfing.

Mac Mini? Nah, that’s not going to be a mainstream thing I think. It was a cool thing at first but PCs are too cheap to do just the same. One niche I’ve found, grandparents computer. It’s easy to use and setup, with remote control software its easy to maintain, and the lack of confusing buttons and system popups make it not scary to those who may have never used a computer before. I’ve set 2 up in that manner, one was nearly flawless, email, surfing, digital photos, all worked perfectly well and I only spend about 15 minutes a week showing them new features. The other? Well the user wasn’t ready for it and didn’t see the utility of it, not Apple’s fault.

Beautiful Silence…The Network is Down!

The phones have been down here at work for the last 2 days. They  went out around 10am yesterday and didn’t come up until after 11am today. The new highway work they are doing led to a “network issue” wherein they cut the main phone line for our business park rendering approximately 20 businesses entirely impotent. We rely on email, fax, and phone calls to do everything in our business, without it, we’re dead in the water.

How can you plan for this? We were using iPhones to check some critcal email accounts. But faxing? How can you back this up without email? How can you provide alternatives to email when most of the organization is not on smart phones or laptops? We used our cells to communicate with key customers about the issue, but still I’m sure something got dropped along the way. I’d really be interested in any thoughts you might have out there…

I enjoyed the peace of no phones ringing though, unfortunately ringing phones provide money for us and in turn a job for me.

OneWebDay 2007

Today is OneWebDay a celebration of the community that exists on the web. It’s a day to celebrate this great huge thing that exists all around the world. In my opinion it’s the one thing that we can all share in. There are no borders, no real class systems that block people from coming on board, there is just this space that we can all share, create and explore together. This isn’t something that can be necessarily controlled, what is taboo in one place may be perfectly fine in another. A space exists for all, whether it be large corporate sites that are entirely commercial to user generated content sites that make money for the creators as well as the owners of the site to totally informational sites about every subject under the sun and beyond and even blogs and other personal sites that are merely there as an outlet to express themselves to others around the world.

I’m proud to be a part of that community, I not only contribute here with my personal thoughts, links and stories but I have also built several websites of varying success for commercial enterprises. The tools that we use to build this community are not just tools; they are works of art. We can use simple tools like notepad and other text editors, complex HTML and WYSIWYG tools and even drag and drop tools that don’t require any knowledge of design or code. Anyone can create a page or site in just a few minutes.

Of course the real gift to community is not the design, layout, and technology of the web, but the content that can be delivered on it. Sites like Wikipedia are not particularly well designed, simple text, images and links are all it takes to get the correct information to you. Other sites like sports sites, news sites, and most social networking sites are enormous arrays of code, images, text, video and community modules that function as a huge organism in and of itself. The content makes the site however. How do you want your information? Do you want simply information in its simplest form, which in my opinion is simple hyperlinked text or do you want to watch a sports event clear across the world with live video? You can have both or something entirely different, look around, if you want it, you can find it and if not, build it, someone else might be looking for it too!

We all contribute here on basically level ground. A large corporation and purveyor of information like CNN must compete with a simple young blogger for readers. Perhaps CNN offers the most complete analysis of the particular story of interest but if the blogger is eyewitness to the event they may have insight that CNN could never hope to have. We are a community and as such must interact with all around us, big, little, corporate and personal.

The community on the web has changed for me in the last year greatly. I’ve changed the way I work on the web and on a computer in general. With my recent acquisition of a Mac I have been thinking of getting a Windows virtual machine software solution to install my software on. I realized quickly though that there is really nothing that I need Windows software for. I use the web for nearly everything I do, I use Quicken, iTunes, and MS Office all of which can be used on the Mac and everything else can be found on the web. We don’t need smart computers anymore, we need a smart network that we can always be connected to.

Since the last OneWebDay I have changed my social networking approach. I’m on Facebook but greatly reduced my friends after a long hiatus from the site altogether. I didn’t want to be involved in the community in the aspect that it was being used. I like using sites like Facebook to stay in touch with friends, but pushing all of their information to me all the time got annoying. I don’t need to know every little thing that people do. I see social networks as a solution to email, a simple way to keep in touch with select people about select things without the need to remember everyone in particular all the time. Sites like Twitter make it possible to send out quick updates on your stream of consciousness quickly but low adoption by the masses have hurt them into being a true way of communication. In the future I think that these sites will catch on with the generation yet to come but being connected in general will continue to grow in ways that we can’t even begin to think of yet.

Tools like the iPhone, Blackberries and smaller and smaller laptops have made keeping up on the happenings of your friends, business contacts, and even news stories all over the world nearly entirely ubiquitous. This is the future, always connected to each other. The way that it’s implemented will be crucial to the future though. There has to be a happy medium between pull and push information. I want to know what my friends are up to, but I don’t need to know exactly what they are doing all the time. I want to know about important news topics during the day, but I don’t need it right now all the time. I want to be able to contact anyone I need at the drop of a hat though in various ways including SMS, email, and voice. Connecting the infrastructure of the old media, phone, television and radio with the infrastructure of the new media like SMS, podcasting, and the web in general will be the next step. How can I get one device to connect me to the world anytime all the time without being cumbersome or bothersome?

I encourage you to participate in this community, in whatever way you can, a blog, a photosite, a podcast, reporting news important to you (firsthand or not), even just adding comments to forums, blogs, and other chances at be social in this space is important. We have built this community and must continue to help it grow.

OneWebDay