Saturday, April 5, 2008

More iPhone Support Center, plus World Domination

Akshun J , well known Internet Apple non-fan, humorist, Blogger, and generally good person (if for no other reason than he likes my stuff.... :) ) posted a comment on my last post about the experience I had with the Apple support center, and it went this way:

"It's all a secret plot. A Romulan conspiracy to overthrow the Federation.

Although the best cosmetic surgeons have made him look human, Steve Jobs is clearly a Romulan. Who could doubt this? "

And here I thought he was a deity (humorous first minute of this video):

Actually, I can not complain. Turned out the second iPhone return box was because someone at Apple had read my comments in the first attempt to get the iPhone fixed via the Apple web site, realized I needed to send in the iPhone, and sent the box. Another call to 1-800-my-iphone got everything cleared up.

More importantly: I talked to two very nice people at the support center. Bridgette and Jamey. They were helpful, knowledgeable, and also clearly both native speakers of my language (which is a Polyglot of AmerEnglish and Geekish). They both realized right away they did not need to run a script with me on how to do things to diagnose my problem, and jumped right in to actually solving my problem. Add to that the whoever read my web submission at the support center realized that the "headphones" (that ended up being a docking station for some reason) being sent were not going to fix the problem, and sent the return box.

I did get an email noting that the dock had been returned and that there was no charge. Nice.

In this day and age, getting to talk to competent people in a support center was a pure joy.

I use Linux all day long every day, and I love it dearly. The new Ubuntu 8.04 is looking very spiff. I can't wait for the Mint 5.0 version of it! The people I have dealt with for support on Linux have all been very good as well. But that is a different deal. This was a good support center experience from a commercial vendor, and that is rare. Good on you, Apple. Keep up the good work.

Honesty also forces me to admit one last thing. When my little Internet tablet was gone, even for only two days, I felt amazingly bereft. My backup phone is a Motorola C168. Nice sound quality, and loud enough ringers. Light weight. Impressive talk time. But it was just a phone. I am used to being able to look things up on the Internet no matter where or when. At dinner the other day my daughter was telling me about "Red Pandas", which I had never heard of, and right there in Taco Palace I was able to get a quick look at one, and see what they were related to, and know that there are only 2500 of them left. The ability to do this was so very cool. Made the time I was spending with my daughter that much better because I was able to get up to speed fast.

I borrowed a Blackberry Curve the other day to see what its Internet access looked like. Yuch. I welcome the day the iPhone has competition, but as of right now, it does not.

I totally get Akshun J's dislike and distrust of Apple. It is not very far away from how I feel about Microsoft and the things they did to stomp out anyone and anything in their way to world desktop domination. Apple could very easily (now that they have something like 14% of the laptop market) be positioned in the near future to begin to do and act the same way as MS. In fact, in an odd turn of events, they might even force MS to become more open as they continue to watch their market share eroded from the bottom by Linux and from the top by Apple. The way MS rigged the OOXML fight shows us that that day is not yet here though.

Similarly Apple has proven that they will deal roughly with small companies and developers, although in the case of the iPhone SDK there is at least some concession that Apple is not able to fully control the iPhone platform, as much as they dearly want to. Apple needs the developer community to support them. Unto itself the iPhone is a blank slate waiting to be written upon. Example at lunch today:

We were waiting for the veggie dumplings to steam over at Lai Lai's, and my daughter asked me if she could borrow my iPhone. She looked at it, then at me and said is disgust as she handed it back "You haven't hacked this yet." I admitted that I had not. She wanted to know what was taking me so long. I had had the phone for over a day at that point.

Without all the extra things I put on the phone when it is hacked, she did not think it was any better than her RAZR. Of course she was not looking to Netsurf. She wanted to play games.

I am trying to decide if I will hack it at all, or if I will wait to see what the App Store looks like. The guys from iPhone DevCamp think that their way is better of course, but I have to admit that the idea of being able to get stuff for the phone in a vendor supported way is tempting after this little experience.

Or, I may put Linux on it. They say the new PWNED way of getting into the iPhone is going to let them be able to put whatever they want on the iPhone. I won't for now because the experience at the support center is going to keep me on the Apple side of things (even if I decide to hack it in the near future). It is not blind, unthinking loyalty though. Quite the opposite. I am always watching to see what the vendor is going to do next.

Beside, if I go too darkside, Akshun J will reach through the Internet (being a series of tubes) and poke me.

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