Friday, February 19, 2010

The Customer Is Always Right... Unless She's A Moron Like me

I like to think that I'm a pretty bright chick.  I'm somewhat technical.  I've been noted for my ability to turn a phrase.  I can usually figure stuff out and think on my feet.

I work in a technical and creative field.  Typically, I'm assisting those less capable and swallowing my frustration at their inability to understand what is seemingly simple, at least from my perspective.  Hell, I'm paid to write guides to help people understand things!!!

Well, reality check time, self!  It's a good thing I'm cute because I'm not that bright, after all.

My parents gave my son a Guidecraft easel for Christmas.  The little wooden stand up kind with the primary colors that you can use a chalk on one side and wipe off board on the other.  Very cute and just what he wanted.   Of course it didn't come with markers so I let them use some crayons and some old dry erase ones we had lying around.  Only, I couldn't get them to erase.  I scrubbed the crap out of it and only got a little to come off.  I used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  I used soap and water.  My husband even got into the act and tried rubbing alcohol.

I figured I'd better get some good dry erase markers.  Figured "Expo" is the go-to brand.  I bought them and had the same issue, throwing every thing but the kitchen sink at this thing to clean it.

I asked around and got a lot of home-remedies and tried them all.  The latest was Lysol Wipes.  Not Clorox Wipes or Pledge Wipes.  LYSOL-BRAND wipes.  Tonight I bought them and began the scrubbing game again.   Elbow grease does not begin to describe.

I was ANGRY.  I got my camera and took a picture, gearing up to write a scathing letter to the company in response to their shoddy craftsmanship.  I scrubbed a little more and notice some curling in the corner.  I couldn't believe it!  Is this piece of garbage DE-LAMINATING TOO!??!

I scraped at the corner some more until it began to peel... and peel some more...  and that was the moment that I began to laugh heartily at what I'd almost done!  I'd almost wrote a blistering complaint to a toy company about their sorry excuse for a wipe-off board and I could just imagine their reply:

"Dear Valued Customer:
Thank you for your letter.  We are sorry you are experiencing difficulty with our product.  We've looked at the picture you enclosed and we believe we have a solution to the problem you are having.  

If you'd simply remove the protective covering from the easel, we believe you will no longer experience any issue wiping away the marker.  To accomplish this, simply start and any corner and, using your fingers (the fingers are the things at the ends of your hands) peel the plastic up and away from the surface of the board.

This should right the situation.   If you have any other issues, please DO hesitate to contact us until you've thoroughly examined the situation.  We're busy people and, frankly, don't have time for your stupidity.

The Smart and Competent People at Guidecraft"

Yes.  I'm that dumb.

But in my defense, that plastic covering was REALLY ON THERE!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

If The iPad Is Such A Big Fail, Then Why Do I Still Want One?

I guess the iPad is supposed to be a big Apple Fail. I think, like a long anticipated Sci-fi blockbuster, there has been too much speculation and fan fiction. The bar was set so super-high that the iPad would've had to have rocket boosters to get there. I'm pretty sure I saw an early rendering of the imagined tablet that actually HAD rocket boosters.

I agree that the name sucks for sure. We'll get used to it. I'm sure many iPod jokes were made when it was first released. "What is it, an alien space craft?!" "Why call it an iPod? Does it have PEAS in it?"

Many say it's just a giant iPod touch or are upset that it can't be used as a phone. I agree, a little bit. I must admit I'm itching to get my hands on one so I can take a picture of myself holding it to my ear like a giant novelty phone. (Hee Hee! I get the giggles just thinking about it!)

(insert that silly image here one day)
For my work I had a need to prototype a faux iPad out of paper and foam board. and now I have my picture.   Wouldn't we all look ridiculous trying to have a phone call converstation?!?!?

Many are pissed off it doesn't have a camera. Me too. Although, I was certain Apple would omit a camera, before the evidence of a camera in a future generation was uncovered. They can't give it a ALL up at once. Like my Grandma always used to say, "Why by the second generation of the cow if you got all the milk from the first cow for $499?" (or something like that).

Still doesn't support Flash. Another low point for sure, but neither does my Touch and I still have one of those.

Not powerful enough to replace a laptop or a netbook. True. But I don't think anyone is expecting that you will go toss all your other personal computing devices in the trash. And, be honest. What are you doing on your laptop 85% of the time? Surfing. Watching video. Listening to Music. Email. Gaming. If you say that you are compiling complex data or working feverishly on spreadsheets your a dirty rotten liar!

Not small enough to replace an iPhone or an iPod touch. Also true. But I would argue that, as a woman anyway, I have PLENTY of purses that would neatly accommodate an iPad in a pretty little neoprene case. And I'm sure there are going to be many more stylish bags on the market with a perfect little iPad pocket. Hmmmm... my credit card is tingling just thinking about the possibilities.

So, those are the reasons why it's supposed to be a fail. Well, here's why I think it's a win (maybe not a home run, but still a win).

1.) Tight. Have you seen this video on the Apple website? Call it good marketing but it just makes you want to hold one. They show the guy curled up on a couch watching video on his lap. Ever try to curl up with your laptop? Not comfy, at all.

2.) Data Plan. Big win! The only device available (I repeat, ONLY DEVICE) with a very inexpensive data only plan. No phone. Just data. Who talks on the phone anymore anyway? I am *this* close to dropping my phone and rolling solely with email and text on an iPad while I'm on the road. Hey. I have a Google Voice number that sends a transcribed text message (however imperfect) and a link to a voice file. I'm good to go.

3.) eBooks. Kindle this. Kindle that. Blah blah. eInk, my Aunt Fanny. Who cares?!? So the iPad has a reflective screen which makes it hard to read in the sun. Go sit under a tree. It's more poetic anyway. Plus, the sun is bad for your skin. Kindle is a big fat UNITASKER. "Ooooh, look at me! I can read digital books!" "Yeah, well I can read digital books, too. Only my digital book reader is using this new-fanged invention called COLOR. Oh, and the content is in enhanced with these still and moving pictures, I think it's called something like 'multimedia'. Oh and the pictures can TALK too! Amazing!"

4.) Interface. Call it a giant iPod Touch if you want but did you see how you go through pictures, browse your music library or your book shelf. It's hot! Suddenly my touch seems woefully inadequate.

5.) Feel. I think many people are underestimating the touch-ability factor of this device. Personally, once it's in stores and people can hold it in their hands, I think it's going to explode.

Sure it's not perfect but neither am I.  (close, but not quite).  It's a personal media and gaming device with Wifi and 3G. How can that NOT be a win.

I'm not running out to buy one right now but mainly because a.) They are not in stores yet and 2.) I don't have the money. But if someone wanted to give me one (anyone?), I would love it and cherish it and call it "Touchy". I'd take really good care of it. It'd feed it (data) and walk with it every day. I'd play with it and tell it I loved it.

Can I have one, Mom? Pleeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!!!!!!  I'll be good.