Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Ten Commandments of Calling Tech Support

1. Avoid calling on Monday.
2. Try to call in the morning.
3. If you call on a Monday or any evening (after 4PM pacific), be prepared to wait on hold a while.
4. Do not call if it's 30 mins or less before they close.
5. If you are emailing tech support and they ask you to call, then call.
6. Be prepared that you MAY have to spend an hour or more on the phone working with the technician.
7. Be in front of your computer, have it turned on, and be connected to the internet if at all possible.
8. We are going to ask for your name. And your phone number, maybe two. And your email, and probably your address. And maybe the serial number off your product. Even if you have given us the info before, it may be in a different system, or the previous guy didn't input it, or we are required to ask for it or confirm it regardless of the circumstances.
9. Don't call if you are upset, angry, frustrated, impatient, irritated, etc. whether it's about the product even just life in general. Go cool down and relax then pick up the phone and dial.
10. We have no idea on the status of your rebates, or how to get them. We don't know where your free gift is, or what that extra charge is for, or why you didn't get 10% off. We are not the ones to talk to about how you have suffered and want compensation or reimbursement for loss of use, loss of time, lemon laws, shipping charges, or incidental damages to your property or business. We also can't authorize refunds or outright replacements. That is the job of our customer service group. Call them and PLEASE leave these topics out of the discussion with us in tech support.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fix Your Product!!!

As you may know, I work in technical support.

The uninformed generally expect their computer to work like a toaster. Turn it on, press the right button for a given functionality. Or, install new functionality from a disc.
Thus, the conclusion that when new functionality doesn't work right, it is the fault of the new program they installed.
Or, if the new functionality doesn't work, it is the fault of the computer and not the software.
Put simply, the uninformed computer user thinks in terms of distinct, separate modules that either work or don't work.
Rather, different pieces of software have interactions with each other and the operating system. There may be nothing wrong with the software, and the operating system may seem to be functioning normally. But at the level at which the software is trying to interact with the operating system, the operating system is not responding properly, and this results in the program not working.
The concepts of incompatibility and operating system corruption represent a total challenge to the idea of "computer as toaster" and that makes these people upset. Reloading the operating system or removing one program to get another to work is too much trouble for them- they want it all and they want it now.
Your computer is not a toaster. Your computer is a bowl of cake batter. It tastes good up until the point you put in the wrong thing or one of the ingredients goes bad. If you are lucky, the offending part will be modular (think chocolate chips) and you can pick it out and try again. Otherwise, you will have to throw it out and start from scratch. Backup your local data and make use of internet-based apps so you have less data locally. Always be prepared for the possibility of complete loss.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Celebrity editions of Game Shows, etc.

"Celebrity" Family Feud-
"Celebrity" Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader-
"Celebrity" Don't Forget the Lyrics-

If you watch any game shows you know that "celebrity" game shows have been the trend lately. I wondered why, and now I think I know- the economy.

Think about it for a minute- the celebrity lends their appearance on the show to promote the charity, and the winnings that are dispersed to the various charities are completely tax-deductible to the network- as opposed to winnings paid to your average Joe. It saves them money.

In other economic news...

Fast food chains used to take multiple coupons as long as you weren't mixing the discounts. Recently, both Carl's Jr. and McDonalds have put new wording on their coupons that you can only use one per visit.

My wife and I splurged and went to Olive Garden. Prices on entrees have gone up $1.50-2.00. We were shocked to find that adding broccoli to our fettuccine alfredo with chicken would cost us $3.95! Broccoli!
A tip- if you go to Olive Garden and split an entree with someone, they will charge you a fee for an additional salad. This allows them to keep refilling your salad bowl. One bowl of salad is totally enough for two, so make sure to let them know you only want one bowl of salad.

Verizon Wireless used to have a lot of great online discounts. Now, except for a few phones, these discounts have turned into mail-in rebates. I don't do mail-in rebates for four reasons. 1) You have to wait up to 2 months or more for your money, 2) Your name will end up on a marketing list, 3) Rebate processors are widely known for nitpicking your rebate submission to find a reason to reject it and then not tell you, and 4) mail-in rebates are just plain gimmicky.
And with these Verizon Wireless rebates, you don't get a check. You get a pre-paid debit card. Which, in the fine print, may even result in your purchases with said card being tracked- I don't know.

Oh do I have a lot to complain about with Verizon Wireless. I am on my New every Two upgrade time. I don't know if I want to even bother upgrading my phone... every new "feature" on the phones I am looking at would require additional monthly service charges:
Visual Voicemail? $2.99/mo
Browsing the web? $20/mo unless you want to pay outrageous MB charges
Rhapsody Music? $19.99/mo
VCAST TV? $19.99/mo
Verizon Navigator? $10/mo

I could up my "select" family plan to the "premium" plan, but that's $40/mo, and I am the only one using the premium services. I can't justify it.

Verizon locks down their phones so you can only use apps you purchase from them, and even on the expensive smart phones with GPS were you can load your own apps, they lock down the GPS module so it only works with their own Verizon Navigator service.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vacation Compound

So what is a "Vacation Compound?" I found myself asking that when I read the news that McCain, after losing the election, was going to his vacation compound to relax with his family after losing the election.
"Vacation" sounds good. "Compound" sounds like Waco or a prison camp. It all seemed "oxymoronic" to me until I googled it.
"Vacation Compound" is another term for a small resort.
I wish I had my own little resort to go to when times get tough!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Time to Shock You

...at least my religious friends out there.

I don't want my church to be a ministry, I want it to be a fellowship of believers engaged in helping one another.

I don't believe in invitations.

I don't believe in mandatory tithing.

I believe in equal-elder rule.

I believe in formal church discipline.

I read material from John MacArthur, James White, and Tony Campolo.

...but I am not a Calvinist.

I don't want to identify with any denomination.

I believe in the priesthood of every believer.

I am not KJV Only.

I like the NRSV.

I insist on expository preaching instead of topical preaching.

Women in the pulpit are not a problem, women elders/pastors are.

I think God is OK with rock music.

My favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I think God is OK with women wearing pants.

I think it's OK to skip church for a special event or family time once in a while.

I like to go to church with no tie, my shirt hanging out, and casual shoes.

To me, prayer is a continual conversation rather than a daily appointment.

I think there's room for Christians to disagree on abortion, even though I am against it.

I plan to vote for Obama.

I like to go to the movies (although I haven't been able to afford it).