Tag Archives: Apple

Why I think many are missing the point of the iPad: it was invented for people like me!

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I was among those waiting with bated breath to see what Steve Jobs would be unveiling last Wednesday morning at the latest Apple event.

I was among those really impressed and excited by what I saw when the iPad was unveiled. I’m not really surprised about the many who are jumping on the critical bandwagon, but I think they are missing something big.

First, about the name. As someone tweeted a few days ago, there are lots of people who still giggle about male and female plugs. Kinda silly, I think. Picking a name is really hard, especially one that’s not already mostly taken. I don’t think the name is all that important.

What I think many of the critics miss is that I believe the iPad is aimed at people like me.

I’m a baby boomer. But I love technology. And I especially love it when it loves me back.

Here’s an example:  For years, I had a cell phone. I could barely use it…I could never remember, for example, exactly what combination of buttons I needed to hit to retrieve a voice mail. I could never remember how to text. And texting was just way too much trouble. And so on. While I wanted to love my cell phone, I felt it hated me and wanted to make my life as difficult as possible.

The Mac Plus (from wikipedia)

Granted, I’ve been a Mac person since 1986. I remember using a DOS PC at work in the mid-80s, struggling to make flyers with Harvard Graphics. OMG, it almost killed me. I could tell it hated me intensely. What took me 6 hours at work, I did in 15 minutes on my Mac Plus when I got home. I felt like my Mac wanted my life and work to be easy. It wanted me to spend my energy being creative rather than wrestling with remembering command lines, trying to change and move text with command lines, etc. I did better work, learned more faster, tapped into more creativity, etc. as a result of my Mac.

My beloved University of Chicago

It’s not that my brain wasn’t capable of doing geeky stuff. I took a computer programming course in 1971 in my last quarter in college at the University of Chicago and got an A. That was in the day when you turned your punch cards in to be run through the mainframe overnight. In that class, we learned several languages and had to invent our own programming language. It was hard, but I loved the hell out of it. (I even remember the error message I invented… I thought it was so cool I figured out to tell exactly what card the error was on, so in celebration, I wrote this error message:  “Roses are red, violets are blue, Card #6 is fucked up, and so are you.” We found way to make everything fun in the late 60s/early 70s, didn’t we??? :))

I loved understanding how computers worked, the whole flow chart binary logic decision tree thing, and so forth. Having that very basic knowledge made me not afraid of technology when it came to every home and workplace several years later. I was a fairly early adopter, especially when the Mac came along because it exactly matched my brain.

But I digress.

When the iPhone came along, I was one of those in line at 6 p.m. on launch day at the Pioneer Place Apple Store in downtown Portland. From what I had heard, I would finally have a cell phone that loved me back. And I was so right! Bascially, in less than 5 minutes, I had figured out how to do the whole thing and do it with joy. It really was that good!

Where I bought my first iPhone

Now many of my more geeky friends have looked down on the iPhone because the “phone” part is not geeky enough for them. But I don’t think Apple was trying to make the geekiest possible phone. They were making something incredibly useful for people like me: people who want their devices to be joyful to use.

My iPhone has made my life more joyful and efficient and less stressful and painful. Mostly because I grokked it immediately and it is just effortless and fun.

About the iPad, I’ve been hearing comments like this: “It won’t replace my laptop.” Well, hello, it’s not designed to do that. I’ll still need my laptop for the geekier stuff I do. I wouldn’t dream of doing without it, I’m not looking to get rid of it.

Also: “It doesn’t have a camera.” So what? I’ll still have my iPhone, and use its camera. Or my Flip video cam. Do I really want to hold up a flat thing that is a little less than the size of an 8×10 piece of paper and use it as a camera. Hell no. I want something I can whip around with one hand with essentially no effort (and allows me to be a little discreet sometimes).

Also: “It’s just a bigger iPod touch.” Uh, no, not really. Having the iWork suite of programs on it puts it light years ahead of the iPod in my book. Do you know what a joy those programs are to use. Let’s just put it this way: once I did one presentation in Keynote, I could not go back to Powerpoint if you sat on me.

Also, it is big enough for practical book and other print media reading. I don’t enjoy that so much on my iPhone because either the font size stays too small or there’s not enough real estate for enough words.  Yes, I have a Kindle (first generation). I’ve loved it, especially the part that makes it possible to download a book and read it immediately. But woe to those of us who buy a Kindle book that has charts, maps or any kind of images. Just an utter fail. Can’t even make them out, and you can’t enlarge them like you can the font text size.

From what I see, the iPad totally overcomes that issue. For magazines and newspapers as well. Have you seen the quality of the photos and images on the iPad. And what you can do to go further??? Looks like it will be another joyful experience! As joyful as reading a dead tree magazine or newspaper, if not more so…

It seems to me that Apple has, once again, found a way to make experiences I like to have more enjoyable. It makes things I love that love me back!

And that’s really Apple’s point, is it not?

Do you call this technical support?

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So I wanted to do a simple thing, change my credit card on my .mac account, which is now a mobileme account.  The original card expired, then the replacement card was stolen, and replaced again.  I knew my account was going to be expiring in a month or so, so wanted to make sure there was a valid card on file.  I couldn’t find a place to change my credit card after looking for about 30 minutes on the mobileme/apple/etc. webmaze, so I clicked to chat with a technical support rep.  

Here’s what happened:

  • You are chatting with Alfred C., a MobileMe Support Representative
  • Hi, my name is Alfred C. Welcome to Apple!
  • Alfred C: Hello Marie I see that you would like to change the credit card information correct?
  • marie deatherage: right. i can’t find where to do it, my old card expired
  • Alfred C: Okay I currently show that you are in the extension period but when you are in the extension period you are not able to change the information until the end of the contract on December 28.
  • marie deatherage: so how do it keep it from expiring? what if i don’t remember to do it on dec. 28th?
  • Alfred C: Try to remind your self because if you do not do it on the 28th it will expire then you will have to renew the account again but the longer you hold off on renewing the higher chance that the data will not be able to be recovered.
  • marie deatherage: well, if you don’t mind my saying so, that is one ridiculous system. this can’t be the way apple does business
  • marie deatherage: can i speak to someone in a supervisory role?
  • Alfred C: It is only because you are in the extension period sorry.
    If you would like to renew it today I would have to cancel the account then you can change the card information and renew.
  • marie deatherage: can i speak to someone in a supervisory role please
  • Alfred C: Sure what is can I please let them know what it is regarding?
  • marie deatherage: it is regarding what we are talking about here. what a question?!
  • Alfred C: Because I tried explaining the reason for the issue so not sure what you were going to ask them.
  • Alfred C: One minute
  • marie deatherage: Hello? It’s been more than one minute?
  • Alfred C: Still trying to get some one for you thanks for your patience it may take more than one minute
  • Alfred C: Thanks
  • Please wait while I transfer the chat to Kirk.
  • Hi, my name is Kirk. Welcome to Apple!
  • Kirk: Hello Marie
  • marie deatherage: hi
  • Kirk: I understand that you are trying to change your Credit Card on your account, is that correct?
  • marie deatherage: yes. my credit card was stolen. i want to change it so when my account is up it can renew with a credit card that works. Alfred C told me I can only give a new number on Dec. 28th and not before, but since my account expires on Dec. 28th if I forget to do it right at that moment, it will be closed. This is just ridiculous, and I can’t believe Apple would operate in such a manner. Please tell me you don’t have such a ridiculous policy.
  • Kirk: The issue is occurring because you are in the extension period that we added to some members accounts.
  • Kirk: What we can do is, cancel your account right now and then you can reactivate your account with the correct card and I can add the remaining days of the extension back on to your account
  • marie deatherage: That’s ridiculous! Why would you decide to do this in such a crazy manner? I don’t want to cancel my account, I know what kind of havoc that can wreak. Are you seriously saying Apple doesn’t let customers replace stolen credit card numbers at any time? Do I need to ask Steve Jobs if this makes sense to him???
  • Kirk: This is only happening with some accounts. Please log into:
  • Kirk: http://www.me.com/account
  • Kirk: After you have logged in, on the left you should see Billing Info. Please click Billing Info for me
  • marie deatherage: it shouldn’t be happening to any customers!
  • marie deatherage: okay, done, now what?
  • Kirk: You should be able to change your credit card information there. Please try and let me know what happens
  • marie deatherage: okay, done, now what?
  • Kirk: The credit card information has been changed
  • Kirk: It will renew using that new credit card
  • marie deatherage: great. so why didn’t alfred c. tell me how to do it in the first place, why all the runaround?
  • Kirk: I am not sure
  • Kirk: Some people are unable to change the credit card information and we are trying to resolve that issue. He must have thought you were one of those people
  • marie deatherage: well, please tell him not to say that to any other customer. and please don’t repeat it to another customer like you did at first. we will think apple is losing its way.
  • marie deatherage: i started the convo by asking him how to locate that credit card info in billing. that’s when he told me i couldn’t. can you see how this sounds to customers??
  • Kirk: Yes, I understand
  • Kirk: I would like to apologize for that
  • marie deatherage: and it won’t happen again, i plead?
  •   Kirk: It should not happen again. I will let him know and our other agents know just to make sure
  • marie deatherage: Thank you, that makes me happy and I bet it makes Steve Jobs happy. I have a feeling he would throw a fit if he heard this was happening and customers were being told they have to remember to renew on a single day or their account would be cancelled
  •   Kirk: Yes, that is something that does need to be addressed so this confusion doesn’t happen again.
  • marie deatherage: I agree. Promise me you will see to it, okay?
  • Kirk: I will. I am writing it up as we speak
  • marie deatherage: Thank you! You da man!
  • marie deatherage: I will help! I will blog about it!
  • Kirk: You’re welcome. I am glad I could help
  • Kirk: I hope you have a wonderful day Marie.
  • Kirk: Was there anything else I could help you with?
  • marie deatherage: no, you solved all my ills in one fell swoop! have a great day yourself!

Would love to hear your thoughts…