Advertisements

The New Sunset Ridge

Our district built a new school to replace an 85 year old building. Last night Sunset Ridge held an open house to show the taxpayers and stakeholders what this $25,000,000+ school.

Learning Center (a.k.a. Library) Check Out Desk

Maker Space

Maker Space

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Find of the Week: Snazzy Labs

I’ve discovered a helpful YouTube channel for anyone with a computer that they want to use better or to fix. Focusing on Macs, Snazzy Labs offers helpful information to make using a computer more fun or efficient.

Check it out!

 

Customer Service

Certainly, the activity I dread most when I return to the US is dealing with customer service. I expect piled up junk mail and sometimes that requires a customer service call. This time though my calls have all been tied to technology problems.

I forgot my newish desktop computer’s password and the number of my failed attempts to log in locked up my account and required a call to Apple. I figured it would take 15 minutes tops to resolve the issue. Boy, was I off. It took almost 2 hours. I wasn’t on hold for long as I used the service where you give them your phone number and someone calls you right back.

All the time was spent answering questions, many that had nothing to do with my problem. Before I knew it, for some reason the clerk was warning me that I’d have to delete my hard drive. Because I forgot my password? I resisted that and eventually got a senior representative who helped without doing anything to my hard drive.

Then we’ve got a problem with our printer, which is less than 3 years old. I tried several solutions posted online and on YouTube. I was pretty proud that I learned how to remove, flush and replace the printer head. I really thought that process, which took hours, would fix it, but alas, no. I called Canon and the operator guided me through a couple other fixes, which didn’t work. She then said Canon would give us a 15% loyalty discount on another printer, but I’m loathe to buy another Canon since this one didn’t last very long. I don’t like planned obsolesce and believe a printer should last 5 years. I realize now I’m a dreamer.

I hate spending so many hours on customer service problems. In Asia, service has been always so punctual and effective. I wish I could say the same about the US.

Can anyone recommend an inkjet printer which they consider reliable?

Freezing? For Real?

A friend invited a new guy to Easter brunch. He’s an American doctor, who focuses on research, in particular on cryopreservation, i.e. getting frozen at the moment of death so that if medical science figures out the cure for the disease that killed you, they can bring you back.

I thought this was the stuff of sci-fi, but no, it’s being done now in the U.S. and in other countries like China. Check this BBC story out if you doubt me.

It’s not as expensive as I’d imagined — $200,000 in the US and $400,000 in China because the companies here figure the rich would pay that. To get just your brain frozen, it’s  $80,000. You can get tissue or animals frozen too.

While they haven’t yet developed the technology to thaw someone out, they have succeeded in unfreezing frogs and other simple animals.

There are already a few hundred people who’ve been frozen including these folks.  One company that does this, Alcor has over 1200 people signed up for future freezing. You can put cryopreservation into your insurance policy.

I just can’t get over this. I wouldn’t want to be frozen, though as a child watching sci-fi shows I thought it would be cool (no pun intended). But now . . . no thanks.

Who knows what sort of world you’d wake up in? Even if you could convince a good number of family and friends to sign up, there’s no guarantee you’d all wake up at the same time and even if you did, you could find yourself in a very odd or hostile world. Also, before they freeze you, you must be declared legally dead. How is someone declared legally undead?

Yet some people are signing up. Would you?

Good Customer Service, Apple

I had time to go to the Old Orchard Apple Store today with my Mac Mini. My problem is I set this up in China and then when I brought it in I just expected to set up an appointment as I figure they’re quite busy. (I had trouble signing up for an appointment online, which is a long, dull story.)

The genius who helped me cordially asked if I could just wait 20 minutes. Sure since driving back and forth would take longer.

After 15 minutes I was helped by a knowledgeable, friendly genius. The problem was simple. I wanted to sync a Bluetooth™ keyboard to my Mac Mini, but couldn’t get past the window that wanted me to input a password to move forward. It was all worked out fairly quickly, which was delightful.

Bravo, Apple.

Magic of UX

I had to watch this video for my Introduction to Technology for Librarians course. I love UX, i.e. user experience, but wasn’t prepared to be as delighted and inspired by this talk.

Josh Clark shares current and possible technology that’s based on how regular people operate rather than on what insider-geeks can cobble together (which is what he asserts the failed Google glass was.)

The talk runs 45 minutes, but the time goes by quickly because it’s so amazing.

Finished!

Yesterday when I pressed submit, I finished my library course on technology. I got a lot out of it and enjoyed the lessons and readings, but it still feels good to be done, to have one less item (or three or four really) off my weekly to-do list. I’m celebrating by doing some pleasure reading this weekend.

I’ve resumed Emile Zola’s The Killing, which continues the saga of the Rougon-Marquart clan as they descend on 19th century Paris, a city of corruption and excess.

Of course, I’m also grading homework, preparing quizzes and preparing for the end of my semester in China, which alas won’t end till Dec. 30th.

Word of the Week

Octothorpe, n., Another word for hashtag or pound sign.

I found this on Codeacademy.com where I’m doing some homework for my library class. I think it’s rather pompous of Code Academy to use it.

Good Customer Service

Alas, it’s easy to come across bad customer service in the US. I abhor the automated phone (“Press 1 if you want our address, Press 2 if you want your balance,” etc.) service. I dread calling about problems. When I can, I’ve gone back to writing actual letters to companies. More and more, that’s not even allowed. O, mores! O, tempora!

Today, I called to ask American Express if they’d remove a late charge I incurred because I didn’t get home and see a bill till the day after it was due. Although the service could be better by eliminating the raft of “choices” callers are given and the request for a “security code” which isn’t a password or digits from your social security number so I don’t think I have one so that results in a loop that’s low grade frustrating.

Yet once I got a real live operator the conversation was almost ridiculously positive. Since I was an “outstanding” customer with an “amazing record for paying on time,”   they would wipe away the late fee. The operator could not praise me more for my excellence. It was over the top, but it made the call pleasant rather than a fight.


Another satisfying customer service was with Apple’s telephone service.  I chose the option to have them call me. There was a bit of a fail there as someone else answered the phone and though I hurried, by the time I got to the phone, the robot operator decided no one was there and  didn’t hear me so it hung up. Then I called them back rather than wait 10 minutes.

Apple makes you call them back when they call you, which is somewhat odd. I had to wait for assistance, but Apple gives you a choice of three types of music to listen to as you wait. That’s fairly good. (Though why did you call me, but not have a technician ready?)

The guy who helped me did a stellar job. His communication skills were top notch as he was knowledgeable, patient and sympathetic. We went through some processes with the Disk Utility feature and found out that the El Capitan operating system I’d recently downloaded was corrupted. Before fixing the problem, I had to back up all my files so I had to get a new external hard drive. (My current one had gone kaput.)

Saturday I called Apple back again and the customer service was mediocre. This clerk didn’t have the same communication skills and didn’t listen well so she had me do some of the same time consuming procedures I’d already done. She was reluctant to trust the first guy. She just wound up making a reservation at a Genius Bar where they did fix my computer by uploading El Capitan again.  The “Genius” I spoke with today was as good as good as the first Apple employee I spoke with. They all get extensive training, but the second person didn’t take it to heart the same way.

If you communicate clearly, treat me with respect and do what you say you’ll do, you’re well on your way to good customer service.

 

Perfect Strangers

The Italian movie, Perfect Strangers tackles the place of smartphones in people’s lives. What behaviors do they enable? Are we slaves to them? Seven long-time friends in their 40s gather for dinner. There’s three married couples and a single man. During dinner they talk about how technology has infiltrated their lives and they decide to play a game. Whenever someone gets a text or call, they must share it with the group.

Secrets and lies come to the surface and a couple twists show the fragility of trust, respect and friendship. Perfect Strangers could easily be a play as most everything takes place in one room. The acting was compelling and the story, with its many surprises, was absorbing.

As much as I liked watching, I’m grateful that my friends aren’t like this.

Previous Older Entries

Disclaimer

Dear Fellows, The State Department has requested that any Fellows who maintain their own blog or website please post the following disclaimer on your site: "This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellows' own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State." We appreciate your cooperation. Site Meter
%d bloggers like this: