Thursday, April 30, 2009

PicoCool - Her Morning Elegance


Wow. If you have any interest in the incredibly creative use of video, you should really watch this stop-motion piece.
I don't know a lot about video - yet - but would love to be able to do work like this. Kudos to the creators and actors.

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dell Customer Service Update


Remember when I posted about my disappointment in Dell's customer service? I was pretty sure that I was going to hear back from someone there right away. But I didn't, so I forgot about it.

But then, a couple of weeks later, BAM! I had messages on twitter from the famous @richardatdell and one of his honchos, @rich_at_dell. They were real, live, personal, non-form-letter messages indicating that they'd read my blog post and wanted to see how they could help. I have to admit that I'm impressed.

If you'll remember, I was in the middle of trying to resolve a technical issue when my warranty ran out . . . so I'm hoping that my warranty will be "extended" for long enough to finish solving the problem.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The telepathic iPod


You've got to hand it to Apple - they're always coming up with exciting new features for their line of consumer electronics products.
I discovered one accidentally on my way home from work today - my iPod is telepathically connected with me and my surroundings.

I'm 41 years old, which means that I came of age in the 80s. I grew up in southern Indiana, a good midwestern boy listening to some serious hair bands.

I also grew up driving a convertible, thanks to my dad who bought his in 1966 (and still has it). So picture me, my mullet flying in the wind, rocking out to Quiet Riot, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue on my way to the drive-in (where I'd sip Bartles & Jaymes coolers and Little Kings - but don't tell my parents).

Anyway, I've always dreamed of driving my own convertible. That dream has only gotten stronger since moving away from Chicago for the warmer climes of Louisville. So this spring, I bought one. My own version of the economic stimulus package, if you will.

Today is the first REALLY nice day of spring - 70 and sunny on the way home from work. So I dropped the top, hit shuffle on my 30-gig iPod, (4,000 songs in every imaginable genre) and headed for home. My iPod was sensing me winding down from the day, and started me off with some John Coltrane as I picked through the traffic downtown.

As I pulled onto River Road and opened things up a bit, the music that reminded me of being 16 again started up. Van Halen - Running with the Devil. VH was a revelation as a freshman - the hardest rocking band I'd ever heard (before that I never got fiercer than Styx or Journey). Next, Night Ranger's "Don't tell me you love me." This, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated songs of the hair era (haira?).
Then, as if that wasn't enough, the set closed out with the Scorpions, who proceeded to "Rock me like a hurricane."
I pulled into the garage feeling like a kid again and gave a hug to my waiting 9-year-old. I wonder what music and experiences are going to shape her teen years?

And what features will those geniuses at Apple think of next?

Posted via email from chimoose's posterous

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seth Godin on Web Design: Do you want visitors to notice?


"Do you want the people visiting this site to notice it?"

It's a subtle but essential question.

For artists, musicians and web 2.0 companies, the answer is probably yes. Yes we want people to see the interface or remark on our skills or cleverness.

For everyone else, it's no. The purpose of the site is to tell a story or to generate some sort of action. And if the user notices the site, not the story, you've lost.

This is interesting. As someone who's relatively new to the business of communicating a message through the web, it's not a question that I've formally asked myself.

But now that I have, I'm not entirely sure that I agree with Seth's answer. I get his point; the message is the important thing - not the delivery mechanism. But I also think that a really well-designed web site is going to reflect the values, mission and message of the entity it represents. And while our site (http://crumpleitup.com) doesn't represent a web 2.0 company, I want it to reflect the fact that we design with excellence. With insight. With clarity and with cleverness.
And that, to me, says that the web site is going to be - must be - noticeable for its design. What do you think?

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous

The art of negotiation


I've been thinking a lot about negotiation recently. It's something that, whether we realize it or not, we do every day.

Sometimes, we know it. We're working with a vendor to get the price down. We're talking to a customer about how to increase the value of the sale. Or we're buying a car.

But often its less obvious. I had a meeting with my boss on Friday to review web site designs. I knew going into the meeting that we disagreed on some fundamental issues. And although I didn't really mean to, I prepared for that meeting as a negotiation. I thought about what his position was, and tried to imagine why. I looked for flaws in his argument - and in mine. I thought about how he'd respond to various approaches.

In the video attached (one of my favorite "Kids in the Hall" clips), you see negotiation as most people approach it - with tunnel vision; fixed on their own point of view. Sure, it's cliched . . . but unless you think at least twice as much about your negotiating partners position as your own, you're not likely to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I thought Dell fixed their customer support problems?


I know. A story about problems with Dell and customer support aren't new. I know about Jeff Jarvis, his experience and the "been there, done that" feel of another blogger writing about Dell issues. But coming back from a trip and finding my recently repaired Dell desktop failing to boot as has been the case on several other occasions -- I've had it.

I wasn't going to do this, but I feel that I need to share my personal Dell Hell story. And the reason isn't because I hate Dell. It's because I like them. It's because I'd like to buy another one (I've bought 6 in 10 years). But I won't - because I've been through Dell Hell too . . . and I can't get anyone there to listen.

I feel kind of left out. I know that I'm a few years late for the Jeff Jarvis version of Dell Hell, and everyone seems to feel that they've cleaned up their act. They have customer service people on twitter! They have a crowsourcing site that everyone loves! But they have at least one loyal customer in Kentucky who is just shouting into the wind. So I decided that I will put them to the test - and take my story to the internet.
I am typing this on a Latitude 4700 that I bought at the end of 2005. Yes, it's a little dated now, but still not a bad machine. BUT . . . my hard drive crashed last summer - all data unrecoverable. Of course, no backups (which is MY fault, not Dell's). They sent me a replacement, I installed it, it works. BUT . . . my speakers started crackling. All the time. I figured it was the speakers, and replaced them. But the new ones crackled too. So, over the next couple of months I spent literally 8-10 hours on the phone with customer service, trying everything INCLUDING reinstalling Windows XP (which, as you know, is a MONSTER P.I.A.)
I was in the middle of working through the next round of solutions with my customer service rep, and she decided that my next step was to live-chat. So I tried . . . except that I couldn't; my warranty expired. Just then.
So I called. Talked to the rudest customer service agent you could imagine. Her name is Rosalyn, ID 133976. She thought that it was perfectly OK to stop serving me in the middle of a months-long fix process, and wouldn't let me speak to her supervisor.
So I wrote to Dell's customer service, who sent me a form letter informing me that I needed to talk to tech support.
I sent another note to customer service, explaining that tech support wouldn't talk to me. Got another form letter back.
I tweeted about it a couple of times, and a friend offered to contact @RichardAtDell. [Side note: I work in social media, and everyone I know, knows RichardAtDell and thinks he's a prince. So I'm not blaming him]. No response.

So I gave up, until now. Dell, are you out there listening? Do you really think that it's OK to leave a long-time loyal customer hanging like you did with me? If so, just do nothing. I've gotten used to it. And my next computer will be a Mac.

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TweetDeck Plugs Memory Leak; Launches Facebook Integration for All


Beyond plugging the memory leak, TweetDeck will also be pushing out its Facebook integration – previously optional – to all users, which lets you view your friends’ status updates and simultaneously update both Twitter (Twitter reviews) and Facebook (Facebook reviews).

Tweetdeck has done it again.

It was already an invaluable tool for managing Twitter connections, but now it's integrated - elegantly - into facebook as well.

Anyone who follows more than 50 people on facebook knows that it can be tough to get to all of the tweets that you really want to see. Tweetdeck lets you do that by grouping the people you follow, and separating those streams from the mass.

Now, I can also see my facebook friends' status updates AND, with the toggle of a simple radio button, update my own status on facebook and/or twitter. I promise that I'm not going to be one of those guys who sends all of his tweets through to facebook - I've always found that annoying (especially when I get them both places), but it is nice not to have to actually GO to facebook to share something cool.

Thanks, tweetdeck . . . looks like it may be time for another donation!

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous

Saturday, April 4, 2009

NIBIPEDIA : Together We Learn


Check out this website I found at nibipedia.com

This is an interesting concept . . . wondering what others make of it. It's a collection of videos meant to be used for educating kids. Curated by adults, tagged and categorized . . . I'm thinking about how it could be used to teach kids about healthy stuff. Or even better, to inspire kids to do healthy stuff. Hmmm.

Posted via web from chimoose's posterous