Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for June, 2005

When tech support works – IBM

Posted by shannonclark on June 30, 2005

For the past couple of months I have been suffering from a laptop with a keyboard where the keys were not completely functional, my space bar in particular would often not register meaning that as I was typing, and I type very fast, occasionally the space bar would not hit and two words (or more) would run together. The result was that over the past few months I have been finding myself resisting writing as much as I usually do and since what I get paid to do is very much based on written results, this was a problem.

So, yesterday I finally looked up the phone number and called IBM tech support for my T40.

A few specific ways in which they made this process better than painless.

1. On their website they had a quick and easy tool which looked up my details automagically – so in one single web window I had my product type and serial number (no need to turn over the laptop and squint at worn codes on the bottom).

2. Their phone number was answered immediately, the automatic system was clear and concise with just a few options and with the most common option being 1 (i.e. I called for hardware support and the choices for hardware support were generally 1) all told it took just a few seconds to get to a person, who then answered on about the second ring, so no long wait on hold.

3. When I explained that my keyboard was sticking and was broken, all that I was asked was what my model and serial number was, he then located the right replacement keyboard, confirmed my shipping address (I had to have it shipped to my home not my business address, which was no problem at all), and he then directed me to a page on their website, accessible via just a few steps, which gave me detailed instructions on how to replace the keyboard.

4. The keyboard arrived this morning at 10am – so less than 24 hours after I called them. What’s more, replacing an IBM Thinkpad keyboard is something the consumer can do (without voiding any warrentees) and all it required was that I unscrew 4 philip’s head screws. A few minutes after getting the new keyboard here I am typing happily away on a brand new keyboard.

As always, the IBM keyboards on their Thinkpads (well Lenova now) are great, the ease with which it was replaced was fantastic. And though they did make a small change in the look, it functions perfectly and I am a very happy IBM/Lenova customer.

In constrast most other firms I have dealt with insist on tying you up on the phone for pointless delays and waits. IBM just identified my problems, provided me a solution and then that was that.

Fantastic and a reminder of why I picked an IBM (and why I got a 3 year warrentee when I did).

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Real Estate Commissions

Posted by shannonclark on June 8, 2005

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog:

I left a short comment on Philip Greenspun’s blog about real estate commissions.

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Streamload – Share Videos and Photos – Online MP3 Storage and Access

Posted by shannonclark on June 3, 2005

Streamload – Share Videos and Photos – Online MP3 Storage and Access

Unlimited data storage – fee for download.

Clearly a business model which can only grow and one which I can see a lot of personal uses for – for example as a backup system. I would be very happy to pay $50-100 for the month when I needed to recover my system.

Also as I think about launching a Podcast and other media ventures, a service such as this, including the ability to accept large (up to 50GB) data files from anyone via their xStremMail service, seems like an interesting one as well.

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Google Sitemaps – My Sitemaps

Posted by shannonclark on June 3, 2005

Google Sitemaps – My Sitemaps

An experiment that Google is offering to allow managers of websites to provide Google with a sitemap of all of the URLs of the site, in standard formats, to help the google crawler update new pages more frequently.

I hope that plugins for WordPress, Moveable Type, and perhaps something for blogger.com come out soon to auto-generate the sitemaps for blogs in a way that helps get more archives into the google search engine, a problem which those of us with years of archives feel most strongly.

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