Apple sent my wife an email invitation to join its Apple Customer Care program. The program is designed to assess a customer’s reaction to their purchase of an Apple product. In my wife’s case the Apple product she owns is her Apple iPad, which is the first Apple product we have purchased. We have always been a family of PC users, but the iPad I purchased for her as a gift has been a source of delight for her.
The survey, which took her about five minutes to complete, is not the only survey she will be receiving. Apple has asked if she would be willing to receive additional surveys in the future, which she gladly accepted. Apple seems to be concerned with both how its customers use its products and how satisfied the customer is.
Though this type of customer service survey is not new, it is refreshing to know that Apple, even when riding a crest of popularity, still cares what its customers think. My wife had nothing but praises for her iPad but added that iTunes was not very usable in her opinion. She has found it easier to Google for a specific application than to try and find it on iTunes.
According to a recent Nielson survey, Apple commands an 84% market share in the tablet computer market. This impressive lead can be maintained if Apple continues to be innovative in its product design and function. Using customer surveys is a great way for the company to check the pulse of its customers and find out what they like and dislike about their products.
What makes the Apple iPad so popular? It is intuitive and easy to use. I am currently using Google’s Cr-48 to type this in the cloud at Google Docs. While the Cr-48 works best for me, the Apple iPad is just fun to use.
With all signs leading to a MacBook Pro refresh later this week, most likely Thursday, details on the changes may be rather exciting. A new report from BGR claims to have information on the upcoming update and what we might see. The report hints to more than just using Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.
Something Apple has looked into and looks like it will be coming out is a larger trackpad. Like those found on the current models, a larger trackpad can help with gestures and multi-finger swipes that Apple has hinted to and made a big part in most of its devices. These gestures are what Apple is making a big focus on, allowing users to cut down on keystrokes and increase the simple gestures to switch applications or go straight to their favorite application.
The report also claims that the newest machines that are coming out will offer a dedicated solid-state drive of 8-16GB to house the Mac OS X system. This would allow for a faster boot-up and performance from the system. Additional internal storage would be made available in either traditional hard drives or solid-state drives.
The next bit of information doesn’t quite make sense to us, but we have been told the OS on the laptops will be loaded to a separate (internal) 8-16GB SSD while everything else will remain on the regular hard drive. There will be options for just SSD drives but the base models will feature regular hard disks with the SSD combo for the OS.
These reports about a dedicated hard drive for the system have been heard before back in 2006 when Apple was experimenting with “Turbo Memory” that would add the same type of function to the system to increase overall speed of the programs and computer.
Finally a small detail includes Apple shaving off a half pound from the computer on the MacBook Pro models.
Yesterday I received an email from a friend of mine which asked for help with a used computer system he had purchased. The computer had software preinstalled on it but came with no documentation, installation disks for the operating system, nor any serial numbers for the software. My friend asked if there was a program I could recommend, preferably a free one, that could help.
My first thought was Belarc Advisor. The software is free for personal use and does a good job in finding out information on a system where the documentation has been lost, or as in this case, non existent. On their site Belarc Advisor is described as:
The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.
- Operating Systems: Runs on Windows Vista, 2008, 2003, XP, 2000, NT 4, Me, 98, and 95. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows is supported.
- Browsers: Requires IE 3 or Netscape 3, and higher versions. Also runs on Opera, Mozilla, and Firefox.
- File size: 2004 KB.
- License: The license associated with this product allows for free personal use only. Use on multiple PCs in a corporate, educational, military or government installation is prohibited. See the license agreement for details.
This is what I had advised my friend to use and he responded that the software worked fine for him. But I starting thinking. Is there another software that one could recommend? So please share your thoughts with us.
Download Belarc Advisor from here.
Wish to run the Belarc Advisor on your corporate network? Drop by their web site for more details.
Best Buy has announced a test program in which they plan on offering a recycling service to consumers to bring in their used appliances. The test program involves eight states and 117 stores to begin with. On their web site it states:
Starting June 1, 117 stores in the Baltimore, San Francisco, and
Minnesota markets are inviting customers to bring in no more than two
(2) units per day, per household, for recycling at no charge. Customers
can bring items such as televisions and monitors up to 32”, computers,
phones, cameras, and other electronics devices and peripherals in for
The following items cannot be accepted through this program:
- Televisions or monitor screens greater than 32”
- Console televisions
- Air conditioners
- Appliances (customers are invited instead to use Best Buy’s appliance haul-away and pick-up programs)
Best Buy will work with its stores, recycling partners, and
manufacturers to evaluate the success of the test and determine options
for scaling it across the U.S.
Check the Best Buy site for other recycling options available in all all of it’s stores.
Hopefully if this test program takes off, other retailers will join in to help to recycle the mountains of products that currently go into our landfills.
It’s hard to say Microsoft has ever done its Office suite poorly. Ever since Word 1.0, I’ve been an avid user of the product and the family since Office95. While there’s been some bumps in the road of upgrades, like when Office95 users couldn’t read Office97 documents, each version has offered something new.
Now Microsoft has done something never done before. It has kissed off the common file bar we’ve all come to love and rely on. Instead, Office will use something called ribbons. Each ribbon has a specific function, such as format, that groups all common tasks together more conveniently then having to drill down through a bunch of menus only to be greeted with another pop-up box. The fluidness of ribbons will surely increase the productivity of an Office user for sure.
Continue reading “Office 2007 Looks To Be, Well, Killer!”