Steve Note 9-9-08

Steve Jobs is scheduled to begin his talk today around 1PM eastern. I’m posting highlights and commentary live.

iTunes:

  • 65,000,000 accounts with credit cards in iTunes.  Holy Cow! That’s a ton of customers. Data fraud scares me but the revenue possibility is awesome.
  • iTunes 8 New views, blah.
  • Genius. As a devoted Smart Playlist guy, I’m excited to see how it works! If it’s truly anonymous, I’m in. I have a huge list of smart playlists that are intermingled to each other based on last played, artists, ratings, etc. Genius could help me get out of the “ruts”.

iPods:

  • Classic 120GB $249 Cool. Same old same old. I have an old one. It’s utilitarian, not flashy.
  • Nano 4G 8GB-$149 16GB-$199.Fatty Nano on a huge diet! Voice recording sounds cool thus far. Handy perhaps. New interface, want to try before I buy, but so far so good. Shake to shuffle. I’m in, thanks Apple for keeping it fun! Video battery life seems weak (4 hours), but 24 hours is fine for music and I can’t imagine watching 4 hours of video on such a small screen! Colors – Silver, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink.
  • New headphones for $29 in October! C’mon now, have that stuff bundled and ready to ship with the launch!
  • New in-ear headphones for $79 sound like Shures with Apple influence… perhaps.
  • Touch 8GB – $229. 16GB model – $299. 32GB model – $399. Seems same as 3G iPhone. Nike+ integrated, no dongle needed. I like that, I just don’t do Nike+. Speaker will be minuscule and low quality I’m sure. Shinnier bezel.

Apps:

  • Eh, I think the Apps are OK, NFS is cool, but me paying for apps that I use rarely and only when I’m bored and have nothing else to do doesn’t excite me. I don’t think of the iPod as a gaming platform, more of a utility or productivity booster if anything. Maybe a toy too.

Software for Touch and iPhone:

  • 2.1 Software is free on the Touch if you’ve already paid to upgrade to 2.0. If not, $9.95. Ok whatever, gotta pay somewhere.
  • 2.1 for iPhone on Friday. Faster backups! Less call drops! Better battery life! Woo hoo!

I think that’s going to be it. If iTunes 8 is cool I’ll let you know. Working on the Nano thing for now.

The HP experience

As I said a while back I wanted to share my HP experience with you all. Essentially we had an HP Color LaserJet printer that was printing any color that involved yellow or magenta very very light and it is only about 4 months old. So light in fact that certain colors were nearly white. I initiated a call to HP on 1-2-08 to see if tech support could help me or if I would need to have a tech onsite. Here’s how it all went down.

1-2-08 – Call to Joe in Color Laser support. Joe was very helpful, at least he seemed to be. He was polite and took me through several scenarios about what could be wrong and what could be done to fix it. We ran diagnostics including reset, cold reset, covering contacts on cartridge to verify toner was OK, also reversed location of cartridges to verify electrical problem. Joe said it was a bad DC converter. This call took over 4 hours to complete including hold time and 45 minutes for Joe to enter the job into one of several computers he said he was on, finally got a ticket number and ended the call expecting to hear from a tech the next day. I should note here that we used about 100 pages of test sheets to verify the problem, three pages were completely covered in magenta toner (solid).

1-3-08 – Call to verify that a tech was supposed to contact me. Girl, not sure of name, told me that there we no notes on the job and that no tech was coming. Got mad, told her to get someone here now, she went to find out more and then assured me that there would be someone to arrive on 1-4-08, first thing in the morning.

1-4-08 – Called back to tech support after not hearing from any technician yet, it was late in the day and I had expected at least a call early in the morning. Tech was not issued for the job at all again! The support person asked me to do more diagnostics, I refused due to the length of the initial call and the stand of that tech with regard to what was wrong. This support person told me it could be toner cartridges and that no tech would be sent until I went through the diagnostics again. I became extremely irate and demanded a tech be sent immediately. After assuring me several times that no one was coming I recalled the names of several higher-ups at HP that I knew of, this piqued the interest of the tech and he went to find a supervisor to help escalate the call. I feel if I would not have known these names, I wouldn’t have gotten any help.

I spoke with supervisor Nick who assured me that he would find out what was going on and get back to me by COB Friday evening, 4 hours from then. I made sure that he knew I would be watching the clock and would not accept a late call.

At 1627, 3 minutes before Nick was due to call, I began a call to tech support to reach Nick before COB. After finally reaching him at 1637 he assured me that he was about to return my call, admittedly late. He said the issue had been sent to a tech but that he didn’t’have a name or contact information yet, and that he would call me that evening on my cell phone to relay that information.

At approximately 1900 Nick called with technician Mike O’s (name edited) information, unfortunately he gave me Mr. O’s home phone number as I would find out on Monday morning (1-7-08).

1-7-08 – Call as I still had not heard from a tech. I had found out previously that Nick S. (name edited, not the same Nick) was in charge of the TS group for this area and accidentally gotten his number by calling a wrong number which was confirmed by a call to T. W. (name edited) who was the former supervisor. Nick assured me that someone would be there, M. G. (name edited)

M.G. called to confirm at 11:15.

Arrived 14:30 to replace DC controller board and test. Not resolved although M.G. tried to say it was. I printed various important color docs and showed him it was not fixed. M.G. left at 16:30.

1-8-08 – Expected M.G. to return to office today, later due to previous commitments but today. Called to say he would be in in the afternoon, fine with me. At 16:15 I called M.G. to let him know he was too late, I was not going to wait on him and he should expect to be here at 8:30-9:00 the next day. Did not ask, told him to arrive then.

1-9-08 – Arrived at 10:30, not the agreed upon 8:30-9:00. Replaced the laser lens, recommended cleaning dust more regularly, including removing the side covers and back panels to clean inside. Left at approximately 12:00.

1-10-08 – M.G. called to confirm everything was fine and left his contact information in case of other problems. Finally someone seemed to care, a simple call on his way to another job just be sure that all was well.

THE PRINTER WAS FIXED! IT ONLY TOOK A WEEK!

This is not a good customer service/support experience. Not only was I told things that did not happen, I was told that I could count on people being there or calling at certain times and that didn’t happen. Over a week of my time was devoted to getting a simple printer issue resolved. HP, shame on you, you let me down as a customer.

The last time I dealt with HP, I was so fanatical about their support I wrote a 3 page letter to the head of the Technical Support Group and made sure that the tech was recognized for his hard work and diligence.

Now, HP has become a brand that I will likely never buy or recommend again. A Color LaserJet was a large purchase in our office, the first we ever had, a money saver, a leap forward. My next color laser printer will not be HP, due to this exact incident. Xerox, Canon, Brother, or Ricoh will be getting my business.

I understand that these are technical complicated things that take time to figure out, sometimes trail and error are the only way of solving problems. I’m fine with taking a day or two for parts. I’m not fine with 2 days of missed calls, hours on the phone, lies about when someone is coming and all of the hassle about who is responsible for taking care of me.

HP, you owe me an apology, you owe me for my lost time and frustration. In short, you have a lot to make up for, your customer service is at the bottom of the industry as far as I’m concerned. If you’d like to talk about this further, my contact information is in the sidebar, though I’m sure no one will respond to this, you didn’t respond to me over the last week or so.

Comfy clothes

“I feel like I’m from the 60’s today.”

That’s the quote I heard last week as Erin walked in to work in clothes that really did make her look a bit retro, she was comfortable and looked good doing it.

I think everyone has it, a big comfy sweater or hoodie that just makes you feel warm, cozy and comfortable. It’s the sweater that you should have gotten rid of long ago, it’s maybe a bit frayed, the color has faded and it may even be stretched out beyond hope. Either way when you wear it you’re just comfortable.

I’m wearing my comfy sweater today, a blue Eddie Bauer one, it’s warm and cozy all the time, the blue is more gray now and the button holes are a bit stretched out, barely staying closed at the neck. I love this thing though and when the time comes, hopefully not that soon, I’ll be sad to see it go.

As Weezer once put it:

If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away
Watch me unravel I’ll soon be naked
Lying on the floor, I’ve come undone

Do you have clothes that define you, that make you feel just so? I love my sweater, enough to right a post about it even!

A long weekend comes to an end

As I’m sure most of you have heard the Midwest was hit by a pretty good winter storm this weekend. I went into Friday fully expecting the worst, no power, high winds and tons of snow. Thankfully not all of that came true. The power stayed on, the winds didn’t last that long really, and we had about 8 inches of snow, most of which fell overnight on Saturday night but had a good coating of ice underneath.

I spent part of Friday eagerly awaiting the storm. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. The anticipation of it all, the mystery of what was yet to come. Even the meteorologists weren’t sure what was coming. I wondered how bad it would be, as I said, not that bad. But the wonderment that I felt while waiting for all to start was unbearable. I stayed up too late on Friday waiting on it, a drivel of snow and not much else. On Saturday morning the dusting fianlly gave way to a few inches and not much else. I stayed up late Saturday watching the ice fall, waiting for the change to the heavy snow that was expected. It didn’t come, I went to bed. I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow, underneath the ice lurked. I figured yet another day of staying inside and doing nothing awaited me.

It’s been a long weekend though. Friday consisted of shopping, dinner, and way too many people out and around for my own sanity. Saturday I was lazy most of the day, I had no plans with Erin because we expected the snow to start much earlier than it did. I cleaned the house a bit and watched Waitress and Sicko. Neither were great, but at least now I’ve seen them. I didn’t really leave the house at all on Saturday.

It was nice, was being the operative word. I didn’t even bother getting dressed, just lounged around and did nothing in particular. Today was different. I’m getting a bit lonely and cabin feverish. I went out today, I spent a good hour or so cleaning the 8 inches of snow off my car and then chipping through the half inch of ice that was under it. I drove around town a bit, checked out the roads for work tomorrow and then went to Marsh to pick up some much needed supplies, Swiss Rolls in particular. I love those things.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. I feel like I live 6 inches inside the walls of my apartment. It’s just not quite home yet. I feel like I live in it, not “in” it really. There’s something about it that’s not quite right. I’m going to take my vacation time that is coming up over Christmas to paint. I’m planning a color scheme of a bright green, a cadet blue (lighter though) and a soft gray with whiteish-gray as my main color on the walls. Basically each room gets a color on one wall, with the whiteish-gray on the other 3. The hallway is going to be the tough one, probably something neutral. I’ve also decided that I’m going to fix my bar. I have a small half-wall dividing my kitchen from my living room. The bar is small, 7 inches wide. Just wide enough for your keys and wallet but not much else really. I’m going to expand it a bit, make it a bit wider, add a small area for eating at the end. Still working on color but I’m pretty sure it’ll be something a bit more colorful than the plain bright white that it is now.

It’s been a long weekend and honestly I’m ready for the week to start. I’m ready for it now. I’m heading to bed soon and when tomorrow is here, the week will start anew, back to the hustle and bustle of regular life. I have 11 days off coming soon. I wonder if I’ll survive?

It’s cold out…

Of course as usual we played poker last night. Had a good game really, we wound up quitting because it was getting late and a bit boring really. Less chips next time guys. I split the pot with Jake and Ben.
I worked out my schedule for Spring yesterday, turns out I have 4 classes (all of them) with Ben. That’s pretty cool I guess. at least I’ll always have someone to study with.
It’s cold. Like brrrr cold out. Yesterday it was 87 degrees and even at 11pm it was still warm enough. Today at noon you still wanted to wear a jacket or something. I hate Indiana weather. Hot, cold, whatever, just make up your mind and stick with it.
I was driving to school from work today. The radio was blaring, traffic was flowing, it was good. I noticed that the trees are starting to change color. Kind of sad really. The crops are almost harvested completely now. I’m reminded of those crisp fall nights back in the day when all we had to care about was being home on time. We didn’t care where we were going or what we were doing. A big trip involved leaving the area code or county, now it involves planning and leaving the state and stress. Those days when crusing around listening to our favorite songs and screaming the words at the top of our lungs. Those nights when sitting at the truck stop for a while was the greatest, even when nothing was said that really mattered. What really mattered then was being there. I guess I always get this way around fall. It’s the end of all the good times and the start of new ones. Falls of the past are some of the greatest times ever for me. A cold nose, a walk to nowhere, running late to band practice, just listening to the crackling leaves in the wind. There’s no time for that now, life has gotten in the way.
Fall is here. The summer has ended. Goodbye old friend.