Save Minutes During Long Holds on iPhone and Android

If you’re like me, you’ve had one or two run-ins with customer service. All too often, a customer service call comes with a long hold time that eats minutes off your monthly allotment while you sit without solution or satisfaction. Here is one method of cutting through this inconvenience and preserving your precious minutes.

LucyPhone by Decogram is a free app for the iPhone and Android devices that sits on hold for you and calls when customer service picks up. The app works by calling customer service and “setting up” the call on your behalf. When a live customer service agent picks up, they’re greeted by “Lucy” and informed that by pressing 1 their customer will be on the line. At this point, Lucy calls your mobile, or whatever number it is you told it to call, and you’re instantly in touch with the rep having wasted none of your minutes doing so.

Here’s how it works:

1. Lucy will call you first then “patch” you through to the company.

2. Use the company’s phone menu just as you normally would. Get put on hold? Press ** (that’s star star) and your phone will be disconnected but Lucy will stay on the line.

3. Once a live agent is on the line, Lucy will call you back immediately and connect you both. If you get put on hold again, just press ** again.

There is a major drawback to LucyPhone. Many customer service representatives and some IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems are not accustomed to Lucy just yet. Smaller single-city electric companies, for example, may have a significant hold time ending with an agent that hasn’t been trained to know that Lucy is legit. If you’re pressed for time and are unfamiliar with the company you are calling and their willingness to work with LucyPhone customers, it is probably in your best interest to try it when you’re not in a hurry.

On the upside, many companies are becoming aware of services like this and many larger companies are training their staff to listen for automated callback services. The best way to find out if this app would work for you with companies you deal with regularly is to give it a try.

Twitter Promises To ‘Be A Force For Good’

The hardest thing for any company to do in our current economic climate is to portray itself as a force for doing only good. The ‘no evil’ approach may have worked before the bubbles all busted, sending our economy and the world reeling from a cloud of evil and mistrust. Between the crooked affairs of most corporations in our country and a lack of confidence in our government officials, trying to portray yourself as a do no evil company is somewhat naive.

According to several news sources it appears that the only one that may benefit is Twitter itself and not anyone else. In one article it stated that:

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in business, and am still learning, is to never trust anyone who says “you can trust me.” That’s a big red flag that they’re planning something really messed up in the near future. And likewise, a company shouldn’t be out there saying “don’t be evil” or “be a force for good.”

First because it’s basically impossible to balance a profit motive with a goodness motive. And in fact the nice thing about capitalism is that everyone acting in their own self interest tends to be good for everyone else, too, if appropriate government forces are put in place to stop monopolies, pollution, etc. Being a socialist is a great way to get laid in college but it’s no way to run a society.

And second because when people, or governments, or companies start talking about being a force for good, there’s a good chance that a serious amount of self righteousness is brewing behind the scenes. Everyone who fights a war thinks they have God on their side. And some of the most atrocious moments in history were done in the name of good.

I recall that in the movie Patton, one German officer mentioned that he wondered whose side God was on as the Allies spearheaded a drive toward Germany itself. This just showed how some people think, even when the rest of us know what is right and what is wrong.

How about a ‘don’t be stupid’ motto for a company? This might be a more honest approach, IMHO.

Comments welcome.

Source

Remember When Apple Cut The Price Of The iPhone? Will The Same Happen With The iPad?

When Apple originally introduced their 8GB model iPhone, it was priced at $599. Sixty days later, Apple reduced the price by $200 to $399. I recall when this happened there was an outcry by the first early adopters who had paid full price. Apple gave these people a $100 credit in their Apple store to be applied to future purchases.

So now that Apple had let the genie out of the bottle, and firmed up a April release date with the cheapie unit priced at $499, now is a great time to wait. Why? Apple like most companies will lower the price as more people buy the iPads. They have done this with their iPhones and iPods and there will be no difference with their iPads. Wait for a few years until the price hits the $299 mark or lower and millions of these will be flying off the shelf.

Also in a few years, Apple will vastly improve the device. Heck, we might even get a USB or Media port included as well. LOL

Comments welcome.

Source – Apple iPhone price cut

3G iPhone – Should You Wait 60 Days For A Price Cut?

Just in case you missed it the first time, Apple did a big $200 price cut on the original iPhone just 2 months after it was released.  In a posting from Steve Jobs, he announced a freebie to help soften the blow. But let us think about this? If the new 3G iPhone is being offered at $199, how long before it drops down to $99 ?

Here is a refresher from what happened last time:

I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.

First, I am sure that we are making the correct decision to lower the price of the 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, and that now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to ‘go for it’ this holiday season. iPhone is so far ahead of the competition, and now it will be affordable by even more customers. It benefits both Apple and every iPhone user to get as many new customers as possible in the iPhone ‘tent’. We strongly believe the $399 price will help us do just that this holiday season.

Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. Or has Apple learned a lesson about cutting prices to fast and pissing off consumers? :-)

Comments welcome.

Source.

AVG 8 – A Service Pack Is In The Works

This morning I received a comment from Claus Valca who has a great site with some of the latest information concerning AVG 8. On his site he has spoken with Karel Obluk from Grisoft who indicated the hope that all issues involving AVG should be corrected in service pack 1, when it is released. Claus also provides us with information referencing his thoughts on link scanners in general.

Ron,

Thanks for the kind words regarding my posts about AVG Free v8 and offering links to your readers to them.

I posted another one on Sunday you might be interested in.

More Perspectives and Tips on AVG Free version 8 – http://grandstreamdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/more-perspectives-and-tips-on-avg-free.html

Anyway regarding alternative link scanners.

I found a number of helpful links on this subject you might want to look over and consider adding in to this post:

Pre-Scanning of URL Links for Safe Web Surfing – http://grandstreamdreams.blogspot.com/2008/03/pre-scanning-of-url-links-for-safe-web.html

Love your blog. I’ve added it to my daily RSS feed list.

–Cheers.

Claus V.

Please check out what Claus has to say on his site. It is a good read.

As I have previously mentioned, if you have experienced problems with AVG 8, hang in there for awhile. Help is on the way. I personally believe that AVG is still one of the best software products on the market in protecting your PC from attacks. For those of you have were frustrated and were going to abandoned AVG altogether, the calvery is on the way to save the day. :-)

Thanks to Claus for the information he has provided and also for the kind words. It is appreciated.

Comments welcome.

Gmail + Outlook Express – Any Problems?

I’ve been using Gmail and access my mail account using Outlook Express. During the past few years that I have been using this procedure, everything has worked very well. But since around the first of the year [this is a guess as to the exact time], my mail delivery seems to hang.

Mail starts to come into my inbox, than will stop. I get the pop-up box whether I want to wait or cancel the operation. Cancel is a no-no since when the operation starts up again, the same emails and downloaded a second or third time. I usually click on the wait button. Sometimes this will take 2 or 3 times before all the mail arrives.

But what I have noticed during the past few weeks is that this now may take 5 or 6 times clicking on the wait button before all email arrives.

So my questions is this. Is anyone else having this problem? More importantly has anyone found a solution?

Commenst welcome.

[tags]gmail, outlook express, hang, wait, cancel, pop up box, inbox, solution, problem,  [/tags]

DTV $40 Off Coupons – You May Wish To Wait

Most of you are aware that on February 17, 2009, the switch is coming for all digital reception. When this happens those who receive their TV over the air will need a new box in oder to continue to use their older sets. You may also know that the government is giving away $40 off coupons [2 per family] to help off set the cost of the new boxes.

But what you may not know is that the $40 off coupons are only good for 90 days. On the government site it states:

Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed. Each coupon has an expiration date printed on it.

As more companies gear up to produce the new boxes, there may be some great deals before the change over date. Because of this you may wish to wait until closer to the change over date to make your purchase using the $40 coupons.

Just a thought.

Hope this helps.

FAQ site is here.

[tags]digital, tv, coupons, $40 off, government, 90 days, valid, wait, cheaper, [/tags]

Apple iPhone Price Drop Coming Soon?

Rumors have it that because of the reduction of flash memory pricing, Apple may be looking at a reduction in their pricing for iPhones. The price could drop as much as $100 in the next three months or so. Over at phonemag they seem to feel that either people should wait for the price reduction or wait for the newer 3G phone that is coming. In the article it states:

Ouch, I have the feeling this is going to really wind up the commentors.  Rumors are circulating that Apple plan on lowering the price of iPhone and iPod Touch models by $100 at some point in the near future – it varies between “by the end of February” and “by mid-April” – while simultaneously hitting delete on the 8GB versions of both devices.  The move would put a 16GB iPhone at $399 while a 16GB and 32GB iPod Touch would be $299 and $399 respectively.

Forbes is suggesting that prospective iPhone buyers hold off until the much-speculated 3G iPhone, about which the consensus appears to be that it will launch in then next three months.  That might seem like a long time if you have cash burning a hole in your pocket, but it’s nothing compared to the tedium of getting locked into a two-year contract with a far slower device.

So if you are thinking about making an iPhone purchase, you may wish to wait awhile to see if prices actually fall. Also you may wish to consider the newer model as well.

Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

[tags]apple, iphone, pricing, lower, new, model, wait,  [/tags]

Why Windows XP Just Keeps Going and Going

Last year the technical college where I live opened a new campus that caters to those who are seeking curriculum in the computer related field. Many of the classes are designed for those who are either new to computers, need specialized training on specific computer software or who want to sharpen their skills in more advanced topics such as networking and the like. Most of the classes being offered are specifically designed for businesses though some classes do cater to home users. As I went through the catalog of classes being offered, I noted one surprising fact. There were no classes being offered for Windows Vista, just Windows XP, which I found surprising since Vista has been out for well over a year.

During the summer I had met one of the instructors who teaches computer courses for the college, I noted her name still listed for the Spring 2008 schedule. I gave her a call and inquired why Windows XP was still being offered and not Windows Vista? In the back of my mind I was sure I already knew the answer but wanted her insight as well. She stated that there was no demand from businesses thus far to even begin offering Windows Vista as part of the curriculum. She stated that back in September 2007 some 90 businesses with 25 employees or more were contacted and none had begun to use Vista. She also stated what was really surprising was the fact that none of the businesses even planned on upgrading to Vista during 2008.

While this in no way is a indication that every learning institute is following the same course of action, nor does it indicate that businesses are not planning on using Vista down the road, it may be an indication of something else. That Windows XP is just to good to give up right now. It seems that Microsoft has done a great job with Windows XP after SP2 and that many companies may be reluctant to change. Since Microsoft is extending support for Windows XP until 2011, businesses may be somewhat reluctant to upgrade until they are forced to.

Again this is just where I live. How about where you live? Are businesses in your area flocking to Vista or are they taking a wait and see approach?

Comments welcome.

[tags]windows, xp, vista, businesses, upgrade, wait, college, courses, [/tags]

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology [MIT] – No, No, To Vista – Stay With XP Pro

The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology [MIT] released a request from their Information Services and Technology department to wait on deploying Vista and recommended those purchasing new computers get Windows XP Professional instead of Vista. It appears there are some incompatibilities in Vista and some of the critical software used by MIT which they state do not work.

MIT goes on to say:

“If you are purchasing new computers, we recommend purchasing the machine with Windows XP Professional and consulting our hardware recommendations available at <http://web.mit.edu/ist/services/ hardware/presales.html> to ensure the computer you purchase will be viable for the next 3-4 years.

WHY WAIT?

Many products that are important or critical to productive and safe computing at MIT do not work, including:

– TSM (backup)

SAPgui

– Cisco VPN

– Authenticated Printing (e.g., Athena Clusters)

Matlab

Mathematica

IT support providers need time to learn Windows Vista to be ready to support you. Please check with your local IT Support Providers as to their readiness to support your IT needs.”

Interesting. The full article can be read here.

[tags]MIT, vista, windows, xp pro, wait [/tags]