Archive for April 2006

Corporate users aren’t ready to Switch

April 25, 2006

I am very excited about the new Intel-based Apple Macs. On my suggestion, my mother just purchased an iMac and she’s thrilled. I’m thinking about one for me as well.

But all the Apple fanboys are writing that this will finally be what it takes to get corporate users to switch to Mac. Fat chance.

The problem is that corporate users need their corporate applications. Every department has some custom application that was written for Windows in Visual Basic or C++. It could be the accounting system, or the sales contact manager, or the production scheduling system, whatever. These are mission critical applications, and people often keep them running nonstop on their Windows PCs. Even if they primarily use Microsoft Office, they still need the ability to cut-and-paste reports from these custom systems.

It just isn’t cost effective for companies to replace these systems all at once.

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Classical FM Under Siege

April 21, 2006

Great article in Audiophile Audition about the decline in classical FM radio in the USA.

The customer is no longer always right

April 19, 2006

For several years, I have been very happy with mobile phone service from T-Mobile. Before joining T-Mobile, I tried nearly every other mobile phone provider, switching as soon as the contract expired due to my disgust with the lack of customer service, hidden charges, or other deceptive practices. T-Mobile has kept me satisfied for over three years, more than double my tenure with any other company.

Things changed last week. I called customer service to inquire about a $200 charge on my mobile phone bill. I learned that the charge was imposed as an early termination fee for cancelling one of the two lines on our family plan.

Indeed, the contract allows them to impose this penalty for early termination. My fault. But I then asked the supervisor for a credit because I have purchased my telephones at full retail price. Remember, the mobile phone companies offer “free” phones that are actually subsidized via the monthly subscription fees, and the early termination penalty simply helps them recover the telephone subsidy.

“Sorry Dr. Glockner, we can’t do that.”

I’ll remember that in 11 months when my contract expires. I know there are other providers that have the latest smart phones, and they will be quite happy to get my business. Yes, they also have deceptive practices. But at least I’ll be $500 richer for not having to purchase the latest smartphone at unsubsidized, retail prices.

Bravo, Best Buy

April 7, 2006

I just received a shipment from BestBuy.com. Normally, I don’t shop at the online sites from bricks-and-mortar shops, with the exception of ordering something for in-store pickup. But BestBuy.com had something on sale that was not available at my local stores.

Anyway, this was the first time I received a product that was not ‘cocooned’ in a giant extra box. The product was well insulated with the manufacturer’s packaging, which included a durable cardboard carton. Best Buy simply wrapped the carton in a very durable plastic wrapper. In other words, there’s no large outer carton full of styrofoam peanuts. I’m sure this also keeps the shipping costs low.

The only thing that would have been better is if Best Buy used biodegradable plastic. The plastic wrapper is probably going to sit in a landfill for generations. But it is a big improvement.