Tag Archives: oem

Is a URL Shortener Really What Twitter Needed?

Twitter’s Chirp conference closed out today with the news that the company will soon roll out it’s official URL shortener. CEO Evan Williams noted that it would be “stupid” not to add native link-shortening capabilities into Twitter, since most Twitter clients already have that feature. “Everyone else has solved that problem. We are probably not going to give people a choice. If they want to use a different shortener, they can use a different app.”

In the weeks leading up to Chirp, people all over the world were seen asking for various new features on the popular microblogging site. Not once did I see anyone think that they needed yet another link shortener. I understand the new TwittAD feature. I’m loving the enhanced search capabilities. I enjoy coming up with new ways to find interesting people to follow. I’m even already digging the new front page design.

What I DON’T get, though, is why the heck we need yet another way to make our links smaller. Users want more apps. They want to easier ways to show off photos and videos. They want to come up with better ways to network and connect. These are the things, in my mind, that the Twitter team should be focusing on. It’s all about what the needs of your community are, guys.

Don’t “short” your computer when it comes to awesome software. The same holds true of your mobile devices! Check out our software center to find out what’s new today.

We had some excellent little discussions going on over at the Facebook fan page today. Did you miss out on any of them?

How OEM's Respond to Customer Calls

The following email was sent to me in response to a discussion in our live chat the other night. I wanted to share it with you, and hope it provokes thought for you.

“I’m a technical toad so I sit in on your ustream when I can. Thanks for so much insight into all of the toys and technology in such a unique way.

I happened into the stream the other night when you had Ponzi’s mom on a live call regarding her horrific ongoing experience with her “carousel” of calls. Having worked in a call center for Boise Cascade Office Products, I’m so familiar with her anguish. My email is three-fold here so bear with me if I get a bit “wordy”…

As “call takers”.. most are logged into a “tote board” which reveals calls being taken, those being held waiting for a representative and calls dropped by just “giving up”. Most of the representatives that were engaged in “difficult problem sharing” were usually called into the office for “spending too much time on one call” and their “reviews” would reflect this as a “minus”. Rather, we learned that if we wanted to keep up with the payroll increases or even keep our jobs… we had to literally SPEED THRU these calls, leave a short note in “screen 7” as to the resolve of the issue while the next call came in. Screen 7 automatically would forward thru encoding to the department for their follow up. So you see the “carousel” spin round and round with no concern for the customer and certainly no brass ring. They eventually write off their loss as their time is more valuable than waiting on hold…. OK Nuff Said…

2nd “fold” for my reason to writing is that when I tuned in… I also stuck around to listen to what you were saying about the PEOPLE that owned PCs really don’t account as “important” to the OEMs. I had to totally agree. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been trying to revive my circa 2002 Gateway 450 SX4…. which kept freezing, jamming, dropping connectivity. I tried my hand at reformatting and it seemed to work… for 1/2 hour… then again the issues came back… Needless to say… I reformatted 6 times totally. Loaded items one by one and waiting… so far so good… This problem kept repeating itself even after scanning the disk time and time again to verify it was in good order… All checked out.

So the internet search began… I so cannot buy a puter right now… (caregiver to a friend with terminal cancers has led me to leave my job to be here for him). I did find in a forum somewhere.. that overheating can cause my issues… all of the Windows Updates from restoring with disks from 2002, literally was cooking my poor lappy. I LOVE this lil thing and scoured for something affordable that didn’t have VISTA on it. (Reasons I’m sure you understand not to go Vista)

At any rate.. after researching “cooling pads” I’ve lifted my laptop with a stand by Rubbermaid $14.00…. placed a thin quirky fan that is designed to slip onto a windowsill (Clearance $2.25) under the stand and I’m BACK!!!!! WOOHOOO WHAT A RIDE!!! I know I’ll have to replace the HD soon but for now, my window out of the cancer ward is OPEN.

3rd and final fold is this… I had to go to Gateway’s tech site to learn how to remove and change out the HD and MOBO Fan… and although I learned Gateway had been acquired by Acer, thinking I now had a product from an “extinct species”.. was THRILLED to have a pop up from Gateway asking ME to fill out a survey about their website!! I just completed this survey and wanted to tell you.. there IS an OEM out there that CARES!!! GO GATEWAY!!!

Just had to share this with you while I listen to your “Unboxing the Time Capsule” segment… there IS a God!!”


What PC OEMs Can Do

“Justin” caught our earlier thread on Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows and Apple and PC OEMs (the companies who make PCs for people). I won’t share his specific identity unless permitted, but he has given me pause with this particular message:

I’m watching your recent clip on Mac vs PC, and you state we need to view Apple as a PC OEM, because whatever they are doing right, it can’t just be the operating system. Well, I’ve got to disagree. I’m OEM free, built my machine from the ground up. I have forever been a PC/Windows user until OS X went Intel. If you google my name, you’ll see I’m commonly credited with being the first to get OS X running native on standard PC hardware. At the time it was just a novelty. Fast forward 2.5 years and a lot has changed. OS X is now rock solid on off the shelf PC hardware (given you’ve done the homework on what’s compatible). About a year ago I started toying around with OS X again, dual booting into XP. Now for the last 6 months, OS X is the ONLY operating system on my PC.

Certain OEMs are getting it right in some respects, as evidenced by an open call from last week which will be posted here soon (in which the caller was drooling over an HP Blackbird largely because of the engineering that went on inside the case). That’s great to hear, but every single product that trickles out the door should sport an equally awesome structure – and if it isn’t up to scratch, then the community should say so.

Apple won’t hand OS X over to just any OEM (if it ever does) – but OEMs who care most about their brand and community may stand a better chance for the offer (should it ever happen). Until then, OEMs are sitting underneath Windows – and so are workaday users. There’s so much a PC OEM could do to connect, enthrall, and extend the community beyond computer hobbyists.

The reason I initially started messing around with OS X again was simply for Final Cut Pro. I actually believe Final Cut will play a big role for Apple in the coming years. Mark my words that within 10 years (probably 5), FCP will completely replace Avid in the professional video/film world. Apple has been REALLY on the ball with Final Cut, while Avid has been slipping. But I digress. Final Cut brought me to OS X, and everything else got me to stay. I think it all comes down to the same argument you have for the iPhone vs Windows Mobile — it’s all about implementation. You were playing devils advocate with Kat, pointing out many of the things she liked right off the bat are available in Windows as add-ons or plugins. It’s not about the feature, it’s about the implementation. It’s like comparing Shadow Copy on Vista to Time Machine. Sure, they do the same thing. But my grandmother could use Time Machine. And she can’t even use a word processor.

I play devil’s advocate because I’m right – Windows, at its core, has similar features to OS X. For the most part, average users just need to access email, the Web, and a few multimedia apps. And that’s why Windows works well, and that’s why OEMs have to try even harder to do something with their community in general.

I’d go as far as to say that the first OEM which “insources” a good chunk of their own support and documentation to vetted community members will gain wide support. That’s a PC OEM I could totally back. If Microsoft did more with their community, and gave it products that were truly worth evangelizing, it would naturally happen.

People want to paint me as someone who has completely abandoned all hope for Microsoft, Windows, PC OEMs, etc. – but that’s simply not true (and my continuous advice and support only underscores my as-much-as-possible balanced approach to this industry). I have more advice and help to offer them than I do any other company out there.

Not one OEM has come to me and asked me what they could do better – not one. And if they did, that’s exactly what I’d tell ’em: IT’S NOT THE FEATURE, IT’S THE IMPLEMENTATION.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple is also a great OEM (all though I would argue an over-priced one). I would buy a Mac Pro in a heart beat if I could afford one (although my machine is comparable, and a fraction of the price–pretty much all the parts are from various SlickDeals). But like the Windows Mobile argument, a device can only be as good as it’s operating system. What makes a mac a mac isn’t the Apple logo, it’s the operating system.

The Mac is more than a logo, too – far more. A device is the hardware, the software, and the community. That last part is typically what gets left off – and Apple doesn’t have to foster community because the community follows it. You might state that so does the world of PC, but that’s so incredibly fragmented (and, quite honestly, filled with people who are FEATURE and not IMPLEMENTATION). I got raked across the coals by the very people I was trying to help back when Jim was taking feedback on Vista – some of them ate me alive because I bothered to question Redmond.

Don’t tell me about a product you made – tell me about a product you want to build, and the entire community will tell you what to do and what NOT to do with it. Don’t give us wacky slogans that make absolutely no sense – just give us an experience we’re genuinely excited to share with everybody around us.

Both Microsoft and PC OEMs would be a bit better off if they took the time to listen – truly listen – to their community. We’re out here trying to help. Evangelists aren’t hired, they’re just… there.

OEM System Restore Discs

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Do you remember the last time you went to restore your computer? Of course you do. You looked in the box, shuffled through all of the papers and discs… and found NO restore disc.

My degree is in English Education. Some day, I seriously want to give Grammar lessons to the community. Come on people! Nouns! Verbs! Sentence structure!!!!

Calming down…… breathe in, breathe out…….. calming……. ok. I’m good.

One of our chat room members, JJ, asked me if I know why Microsoft no longer ships actual recovery discs. It’s cheaper that way for Microsoft! Ok, seriously though…

I think the reason discs are no longer shipped with new computers boils down to manufacturers. For one thing, this cuts down on piracy issues. Companies want to make sure that the copy of Windows you bought with your computer STAYS with your computer, and isn’t given to someone else to use. The biggest reason, though, most likely deals with customization. Each manufacturer has Windows customized the way they want it to appear on your computer. Instead of having to use a disc to reload the Operating System, you simply push a key combination on start up (or something to that effect, depending on manufacturer) and restore the computer to factory settings. You no longer have the mess of installing Windows, looking for drivers, and all infinite other things you must do to get your computer up and running again. This simplifies the task for you, and ensures your computer is restored the way the manufacturer intended.


I personally would rather have the discs in my possession. I am a ‘hands on’ kind of guy. I prefer doing all that myself! Also, what about computers I can no longer use? I have an old IBM Thinkpad that just doesn’t run the way I need it to anymore. Since I have a legal copy of Windows, and the key for it, I have to call Microsoft and say “well yeah. The computer doesn’t work, but I own Windows, so now I want to use it on another computer”, and get the disc shipped to me. What a pain! And we wonder why so many people are moving away from Microsoft? Look at all the people who have had it with Vista and are moving to Macs or Linux. It’s insane, I tell ya!

Wait. That’s a rant for another video. As always, I love your feedback! Leave me a comment, shoot me an email… just comment!

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The PC De-Crapifier

Long overdue: an OEM’s worst nightmare. Jeff Jarvis oughta love it, but I doubt Dell will. Nothing illegal here:

The PC De-Crapifier is designed to remove a specific list unwanted software in an unattended fashion. Before running, the user may select exactly what software should be removed. Currently, it is targeted for use on most Dell machines; however it will theoretically run on anything that has the software listed below…

Hey Dell – if you really *ARE* listening, and you really *DO* believe in your own marketing hype, why don’t you put some truth behind the new “Designed For You” campaign? Ya know, offer a HUGE CHECKBOX next to the “Install software that doesn’t ship natively with Microsoft Windows” option and have it unchecked by default. First, you have to make that option available. Second, you could call it… “Really, Truly Designed For You.” Welcome to the blogosphere!