The Number You Call For Technical Support Really Does Matter

When you call technical support or for information about any company, the number you call really does matter. For the past few months I have written articles about my experience with Straight Talk. Yet when I have needed support from Straight Talk, I have found that either email support for a simple problem, or calling its corporate office, resulted in better customer service than calling the standard technical support phone number. FYI – the Straight Talk corporate phone number is 800-876-5753.

I also discovered that when you call DIRECTV, if you call 800-531-500 and press 0 0 quickly, you can usually cut down on your wait time. I received this tip from a DIRECTV representative when I called before. It seems to work, but like any tip, your mileage may vary.

So if you can stand listening to music for countless minutes on end, or just sit holding a phone to your ear, how do you find the best number to call?

My first step is to do a Google and find out what others are using. You would be surprised at how many recommendations you will find.

There is another trick you can try. When you are prompted to push a number, do nothing. Remember those old rotary phones? The system may be fooled into thinking you have an oldie but a goodie and connect you to a real person. Remember, your mileage will vary depending on which company or business you call.

Give GETHUMAN [link below] a try. This website has a listing of phone numbers for a wide assortment of companies and businesses that others have found useful. They even offer a listing of phone numbers for some elusive companies like Google and Facebook.

What tips do you have? Share your experiences with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Gethuman

InTheMO

All of us have a variety of choices that we need to make each day, and making the right decisions is essential for our happiness and satisfaction in life. Whether we’re trying to figure out where to go or what to do in a city, we don’t have to guess because there are plenty of other people who have experienced the options for us and have shared their experiences. These firsthand reviews really help you to make smarter decisions, and InTheMO uses them to help you find the best spots in a city.

Like you would expect, you can connect with your friends, share your favorite places, follow city guides, and get recommendations for other spots that you would probably enjoy. Those features are pretty standard for services like InTheMO, but one area in which the site really excels is video content. They can create videos for businesses and post them on the site, and not only are they high quality, but they really help you to get a good feel for the businesses. This video production offering is only one of the business services that InTheMO provides, and businesses looking for more exposure might be able to take them up on what they can do.

inDinero

There should be an image here!It’s not always fun to see your financial situation in full detail, but it’s important. Some people get around this by simply ignoring their finances, but as we know, this is a dangerous approach. It’s way too easy to just get into a routine of spending money without considering where it’s actually going and if you can truly afford what you’re buying. Financial management tools for consumers can provide needed assistance, but businesses need help, too. In some instances, their financial situation can be on even shakier ground and be shrouded in uncertainty. A tool called inDinero gives businesses the lowdown on what’s going on with their finances.

When you login to inDinero, the graphical dashboard provides a fantastic overview of the financial health of your business using real-time data. Since it can connect with many of your financial accounts, the data that you see is current and automatically updated for you. With inDinero, not only will you see how things are going right now, but you’ll also see what the future holds, which is essential for any business.

MerchantCircle

Business professional networking is an important yet sometimes neglected aspect of social networking. Business professionals who invest time and energy in tools like LinkedIn can have great results, and these results show that the tools are legitimate and valuable. While the practice of business professionals networking online is nothing new, businesses on their own aren’t always included in the fun. Resources like the Yellow Pages may give you some basic business information, but MerchantCircle makes business listings social.

If you have a business, then it would be worth your time to see what kind of exposure MerchantCircle can give you. As you would expect, all of the basic business information is here, but it’s the social functionality that helps the listings go above and beyond. For example, Facebook integration is present, customers can write reviews, a blog can be created, special coupons can be shared, and so on. As a business owner, you can also share your expertise by responding to questions from potential customers. This enables you to position yourself as a thought leader, which will bring benefits for years to come.

Groupon

No matter where you live, if you don’t make an effort to find out what’s going on locally, then it’s almost like you’re a tourist in your own town. When you live somewhere, you could have this tendency to avoid digging deep in your own community because to you, doing something recreationally may mean leaving town. With that said, there’s probably a lot of cool stuff that you could experience in your own town if you just knew about it. Groupon wants to make you more aware of what’s happening around you and save you money in the process.

A nice selection of large US cities are supported on the site, and when you find the nearest city to you, you’ll see that Groupon offers a daily deal that you can be a part of. What this means is that each day you’ll be presented with an opportunity from a local business that you can take advantage of. Groupon is all about collective buying power, and since there’s strength in numbers, they’re able to work with local businesses to setup amazing deals. If enough people agree to be a part of a deal, then the deal becomes available and everyone benefits. Just to give you an idea of the savings that you can benefit from, the current offer in my city is 79% off the normal price. You can’t beat that!

Buzz.com

When you’re wanting to get recommendations for businesses that you should pay attention to, are you more likely to listen to complete strangers or close friends? I’m sure the majority of us would agree that recommendations from our personal friends mean more than recommendations from people we don’t even know. Our friends know who we are and what we like, which means that their recommendations are personalized. Additionally, we know who they are, so we have a good idea of the motivation behind their recommendations. A site called Buzz.com connects you with personalized recommendations from your friends and family.

As a user, you can favorite the businesses that you love, and that helps your inner circle to be aware of your preferences when they’re researching a particular business. In turn, seeing the businesses that your friends have declared their love for helps you to know what’s worth your time, and the ability to ask for suggestions makes the process much more interactive. Buzz.com is from AT&T, so you know that their business listings are going to be qualified.

Loopthing

In this day and age, consumers expect businesses to have Web sites. Have you ever tried to find a company online only to discover that it didn’t have a Web presence? Isn’t that frustrating? In many cases, it may even turn you off to the company completely. After all, how could they be so clueless? Granted, most legitimate business do maintain their own Web sites, but we’re also starting to see that businesses are developing their own social networking profiles. Sometimes we think of social networks as just being places where individuals connect, but that’s not always the case. Loopthing helps businesses become social.

Using this service, businesses can create their own profiles that include information about what they do, who’s involved, where they’re located, how to contact them, etc. Businesses can also upload media and other files to appear on these profiles. In addition to helping make connections with individuals, these profiles also encourage businesses to connect with each other. As a consumer, I may be interested in checking these profiles out, but in the end, shouldn’t the corporate Web sites have this information anyway?

CoTweet

My line of work requires me to help run a few companies’ Twitter accounts, and while this can be a lot of fun, it can also be challenging. Since I’m not directly employed by the companies and serve as a consultant, I only know so much. This means that when certain questions are asked, I have to turn to people internally to help me answer them. If you’ve ever tried to have multiple people run a Twitter account, then you know how complicated it can be. I’ve always just used the main Twitter site to manage everything, but I think I’m going to start using CoTweet whenever I have to operate an account for a company.

Just like with Twitter, you can tweet directly through CoTweet and monitor keywords, but this service takes thing up a notch by enabling you to manage multiple accounts and multiple users. I’ve already started using CoTweet with one of the companies that I work with and the user management makes it possible to assign tweets for certain people to respond to. This helps to make sure that things don’t get lost in the shuffle. I also like the ability for users to classify themselves as being on duty when they’re available so that messages get directed to them. Twitter is certainly becoming chaotic, but CoTweet will help us calm down and catch our breath.

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Recession Could Limit Windows 7 Deployment By Businesses

The current economic recession may limit the deployment of Windows 7 by businesses who may not have the resources needed to upgrade. In a recent survey by a company called ScriptLogic Corp., their survey of over 1,000 companies shows that 6 out of 10 companies in the survey may not upgrade to Windows 7.

But what may really be a good indication on how well Windows 7 will be accepted will be if large companies such as Intel upgrade. You may recall that even Microsoft’s long time partner refused to upgrade to Vista and stayed instead with good old reliable Windows XP. It should be interesting to see which road Intel takes.

According to a recent article it also states that:

ScriptLogic Corp, which provides help to companies in managing their Microsoft Windows-based networks, sent out 20,000 surveys to information technology administrators to learn the state of the market.

Many companies have rejected Windows Vista as unstable. For example, the chip maker Intel Corp, Microsoft’s long- time partner in producing personal computers, has stayed with the older XP system.

The survey found about 60 percent of those surveyed have no plans to deploy Windows 7, 34 percent will deploy it by the end of 2010 and only 5.4 percent will deploy by year’s end.

Forty-two percent said their biggest reason for avoiding Windows 7 was a “lack of time and resources.”

That dovetailed with another part of the survey, which found that 35 percent had already skipped upgrades or delayed purchases to save money.

But there were reasons other than money for staying away from Windows 7. Another 39 percent of those surveyed said they had concern about the compatibility of Windows 7 with existing applications.

The survey quoted Sean Angus, a senior personal computer technician at Middlesex Hospital, as saying he would wait until the first “service pack” was released for Windows 7.

We have heard this before about waiting until after the first service pack before upgrading. Unfortunately businesses didn’t jump onto the Vista train, even after 2 service packs. But will companies hang on to Windows XP for a little longer?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source.

There Is More To This Story Than Just The Article

Some times there is more to a story than just the article itself. It is whether the article generates any comments pro or con. So when Mary-Jo Foley over at ZD-Net reported that Microsoft has placed a limit of 25 upgrade coupons per customer, she also asked for the comments from any business owners. As of 3:15 CDT today there were no responses. I found that odd since Mary-Jo has been a respected reporter trailing Microsoft for many, many moons.

She states in her article that:

Any small business customers or consumers worried about bumping into the 25-PC ceiling for the program? Or are you covered by your volume-license agreement and not counting on coupons for your Windows 7 upgrades?

Would could conclude that no business owners with 25 or more computers have read the article. Or that businesses may ignore Windows 7 like they did Vista and stick with XP.

I believe it is going to be interesting to see exactly how larger businesses with 25 or more systems handle the upgrade to Windows 7. Can Windows XP have a few more years to live? LOL

Comments welcome.

Source.

Tupalo

Whenever you travel to a new place, you probably at least do a little bit of research to find businesses that you’d like to visit whether they’re restaurants, stores, or anything else for that matter. Of course, you shouldn’t just do this when you leave town because there are probably plenty of destinations in your own area that you’re not familiar with. It’s easy to miss what’s in your own backyard because you can get into a routine, but if you open your eyes and do your research, you’ll probably be surprised by what’s around you. Whether you’re searching locally or beyond, give Tupalo a try.

This site enables you to explore cities all over the world to see what you can find. Feel free to comment on places that you’ve been to and be sure to check out what other people have to say. Discussion groups also exist for locals and tourists to get together and talk about what’s going on. The success of a site like this depends on participation by the community. Right now, Tupalo feels pretty empty and has more general listings than reviews, but hopefully they’ll figure out a way to be unique and attract an active audience.

TechCrunch Wants Bloggers To Band Together To Stop Hype Cycle

Are bloggers the cause of the recent ‘Hype Cycle’ of information that is causing misinformation to take place?  Well according to a recent article over at TechCrunch they are asking that bloggers band together to stop the hype. They blame bloggers for the recent articles about Twitter failing as a prime example of hype gone wild. What struck me was that I had personally wrote about Twitter and if it would fail or not. But is this really just hype or is it a realistic look at one social networking web site that could be setting up itself up for failure?

The article states that:

And judging by the fact that some bloggers pronounced Twitter “done” the same week the company was featured on Oprah, it’s clear that hype cycle has spun ludicrously out of control.

Which makes me ask. If a business or company is featured on Oprah does this guarantee its success? Or if someone wrote an article 10 years ago featuring the demise of the American car companies, would this be hype or a rational assessment of why the car companies would fail sometime in the future? 

There’s an element to the hype cycle that reflects human nature. We get excited about technology and tend to overestimate what it can do in a year and underestimate what it can do in ten years. That’s not all bad: Being underestimated is why a lot of start-ups catch giant companies off guard.

But the blogosphere has turned an already frustrating hype cycle manic. The famous example was Cuil—a company lauded in the morning as a “Google Killer” and trashed before our first cups of coffee got cold. Not quite as extreme is what we’ve seen with the giants of Web 2.0: MySpace, Facebook and– believe it or not– the three-year-old Twitter.

Were bloggers not supposed to write about Cuil? Was it outside the box when bloggers shared their thoughts? Was it unfair to criticize Cuil and trash it when the hype subsided and we found that Cuil wasn’t as good as we first thought? What happened to Cuil anyway? Why wasn’t it a Google killer?

I personally believe that bloggers are beneficial to the Internet by providing different views of companies, businesses or technology. Is it hype when someone disagrees with another bloggers opinion? Should we all be sheep and not share our own opinions or thoughts?

Guess what, gang? Building a company is hard. No one gets every single thing right. Bloggers harping on each mistake are like the fat guy sitting in the bleachers at a baseball game berating a star player for not hitting a homerun in every at bat.

I was recently criticized for making comments about Windows 7 and how it basically was just Vista in sheep’s clothing.  Wait a minute. Since I am a Microsoft MVP and if I wrote about how wonderful Windows 7 will be I would be labeled a shill.

I believe I have a right to express my opinions about anything I wish. Whether some call it hype or not is their right as well. Let us not forget that opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one. LOL

Comments welcome. 

TechCrunch article

Workstir

The Internet has made it easy to find all sorts of companies online. Most businesses have a Web site these days, which makes it easier to discover them. Tracking down businesses all over the world may be one thing, but sometimes it can be difficult to find service providers in your own area, which is rather ironic. In turn, businesses may be having a hard time finding local clients. Workstir serves as the middleman by connecting the two parties together.

You’re probably thinking that craigslist already does this, and while similarities are present and craigslist has a huge community, Workstir does offer some advantages. For instance, the service providers have profiles that include comments and ratings from clients so that you can be sure that the individual or business is qualified to do the job. When you post a need, you just have to wait to receive offers from local providers. As a provider, new work requests will be delivered to you through e-mail so that you can stay on top of what you might be interested in.


Google Gmail Down – World Collaspes!

The sky is falling! Google Gmail servers were down for a few hours. After reading some of the blog reports concerning what happened, Google having issues was a great catastrophe. Over at the Google blog they reported the following:

If you’ve tried to access your Gmail account today, you are probably aware by now that we’re having some problems. Shortly after 10 9:30am GMT our monitoring systems alerted us that Gmail consumer and businesses accounts worldwide could not get access to their email.

We’re working very hard to solve the problem and we’re really sorry for the inconvenience. Those users in the US and UK who have enabled Gmail offline through Gmail Labs should be able to access their inbox, although they won’t be able to send or receive emails.

It seems to me that people want to believe that Google is infallible. Though Google may be the king of search. their equipment is man made and their technicians are human.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Dell – Things Are Not Good

Dell originally had warned that the economy for technology was slowing down some in Europe and Asia. But the major computer manufacturer now says things are also slowing down here as well.  Dell also indicates that businesses are also slowing down on the purchases they make. In this article from Fortune on Cnn Money it also states that:

Dell shares tumbled 10% to a new seven-year low after the company gave its latest grim assessment of the business climate. Outlining the areas of weakness, Gladden pointed out that in the U.S., spending by small and medium-sized businesses is down, and the financial sector, currently in a credit crisis swoon, was a bit challenging. “There’s not a lot of IT spending going on in the financial businesses,” Gladden said.

Overall big business spending, which accounts for about 80% of Dell’s revenue, was “mixed but weaker than we expected in the aggregate,” Gladden said.

Internationally, the U.K. remained a tough environment, Germany had been solid but turned weak in recent weeks and sales in China, which had been slow during the Olympics, had not snapped back as expected, said Gladden.

Which is not very surprising. With the US economy slowing down it was just a matter of time before technology got hit. Also there may be less spending on IT at some financial institutions such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and others that fall by the way side. :-)

Comments welcome.

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