Category Archives: rants

An Open Letter to the Microsoft Partner Program

An open letter to the Microsoft Action Pack Regional Service Center for Australia:

To: sppartner@microsoft.com
Subject: MAPS digital distribution – broken link?

Hi there,

Following the email I received today (Subject: “Important: Action Pack software now available digitally”), I tried to follow the provided link to access my Microsoft Action Pack Subscription content online: http://partner.microsoft.com/MAPScontent

This link seems to direct me to a survey about my company’s marketing activities—a survey that I was unable to fill out because it is badly broken. Not only is the layout broken (screenshot), but it would not accept my answers, complaining that I hadn’t answered all the questions. In the end, I had to select ‘no’ for every answer in order to get it to accept my submission. This then took me to the Partner Marketing Center home page, where I could see no sign of my MAPS digital content.

I continue to be amazed by how horrible a job your web team does. Why would we ever take marketing advice from Microsoft?


Kevin Yank
Technical Director, sitepoint.com

Streetwise Will Throw Away Your Mac’s Serial Number

Over the past week, I have decided once and for all to keep my computer out of the hands of Streetwise, a popular Apple retailer here in Melbourne.

I have previously written about Streetwise, an Apple Authorised Service Centre, and its policy of holding onto computers while they wait days for replacement parts to arrive so that they can maintain a high Apple Service Rating.

Missing Serial Number

That original post came about when I had to get the palm rest of my MacBook replaced under warranty, and in the past week another shocking outcome of that repair has come to light: when the Streetwise technician replaced my palm rest, he did not transfer my MacBook’s serial number sticker (which is attached to the underside of the palm rest—inside the battery compartment).

When I contacted Streetwise about this last week, service manager Jedda Wignall was appropriately contrite. “It is incredibly unfortunate that you have been hit with this inconvenience, as could have been put in a precarious situation as a result,” he wrote (sic.). “The technician who performed the work is no longer with the company, and I would like to think that this situation would not arise again.”

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Apple Service Rating Update

For those who’ve asked, here’s an update on the situation with Streetwise and the Apple Service Rating that I wrote about in my last post.

Streetwise replied almost immediately to my email complaint:

Hi Kevin,

I’m not sure why the technician on Saturday would have told you that – perhaps there was some sort of misunderstanding.
I do apologise if you felt that was inappropriate in anyway.
I can confirm that the part to be fitted would not be an issue and you can use your machine normally while we wait for the part.
As the technician is not in today – I will discuss the matter with him when I see him and to see if we can resolve this one way or another.
We will attempt to call or leave a message when the part actually comes in. Do you wish me to order the part for you?

Best Wishes,
Gary Chee
Service & Returns Manager

Quite the reversal. I asked Streetwise to go ahead and order the part. Two days later:

Hi Kevin,

The top case has arrived today. Could you please drop off your Macbook so we can install it for you?
Please allow us at least half a day turn around time to sort it out for you.

Thanks,
Gary

Still no explanation for the original incident, you’ll note. I queried this in my reply:

Thanks. Will do!

Has any explanation for the original mixup been forthcoming?


Kevin Yank

http://old.kevinyank.com/

Streetwise’s reply was about as vague as can be, but reading between the lines I believe my complaint was taken to heart:

No worries Kevin – I’ve spoken to the tech and he said there was a small mixup – but I hope that’s been cleared up.

Cheers,
Gary

The repair was completed the same day I dropped off the computer. In total, I was without my MacBook for about four hours. Not bad at all!

The next day, I received an automated email from Apple requesting my feedback on the support experience I had had with Streetwise. As you can imagine, I was very forthcoming, and ticked the box that said ‘You may contact me for more information about my experience’. Two months later, I have not heard from Apple on the matter.

Apple Service Rating Harms Customer Service

Streetwise is my local Apple retailer. It’s where I bought my MacBook laptop and my Epson printer, and it’s where I was planning to buy a lot of other computery things in the near future.

Unfortunately, my MacBook is in need of a little in-warranty TLC (a crack has a developed in the casing, a common defect). So today I dropped by Streetwise, an Authorised Apple Service Centre, to get it looked after.

I discovered that, in an effort to gain the highest possible “service rating” from Apple, Streetwise has decided to make it really inconvenient to get a minor problem with your MacBook fixed. I therefore walked right back out with my cracked MacBook in hand.

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Workaround: Mac OS X Leopard Docked Folder Icon Madness

My copy of the newly-released Mac OS X Leopard arrived on my desk on launch day before I even got to work. I resisted installing it until I could update my system back-up that night, but at this point I’ve been using the new operating system for a full 48 hours. Aside from a couple of apps needing updates, the upgrade has been a blissfully uneventful experience.

Thanks to the pervasive tweaks to the user experience in Leopard, using my Mac is a more uniformly pleasant experience … with one major exception: the display of docked folders (now called “Stacks”). Thankfully, I’ve found a work-around.

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Irresponsible Technology Blogging

Though it has been a long time since I received anything truly worthwhile from them, I have somehow managed to remain subscribed to the Web Development Zone newsletter of TechRepublic.com. Its content has remained consistently unremarkable for at least the past year, which, I suppose, is why it has failed to attract enough attention for me to consider unsubscribing … until now.

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Did Not Depart

“DID NOT DEPART”, read the stamp on my arrival card as I handed it to the customs officer and stepped out into the cool Sydney night. This was not Spain. It was not even London. I had spent ten hours in transit with nothing to show for it but a free meal.

British Airways failed to get our flight off the ground today due to “maintenance requirements”, which I can only assume means that someone broke the plane. After hours of waiting in the departure lounge to learn our fate, we patiently accepted the proferred meal vouchers, and then listened to the announcement: British Airways staff had been desperately attempting to find us accomodation for the night, but all the hotels were full up due to the NRL Grand Final. A crowd gathered, the shouting began.

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