Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A taste of the ridiculousness of San Francisco

Check out the NOSO Project, which will give you an idea of just how ridiculously over-connected this town is. We now have designated disconnection times to spend with others who are over-stimulated like we all are. Watch the video.

I just avoided registering and didn't checked out the upcoming NOSOs. They're all not in the Mission. My district is so not the coolest ever.

It's time for a NOSO moment right now. Back to not watching Bill Maher.

Someone ought to tell those guys...

Guy Kawasaki laced into a New York company's Craigslist ad on his, well, rather prolific blog today. Kinda funny, kinda sad. He goes on to say some rather heartfelt things about how to hire people from a non-incompetent standpoint.

I checked out the original ad that he was talking about and, seeing that they didn't edit their ad yet, dropped them a line with a link to Guy's entry. Just trying to change the world I guess. ;)

The New Space Race

I just spent the last couple hours on TED. It's really an amazing concept and one in which I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who believes in a better future for humankind spend some quality time with.

The last video I downloaded from TED was one about Bill Stone, a different breed of explorer, the kind of which we've only imagined since the by-gone days of the search for the NorthWest Passage. He's got a plan to build a new fueling station on the southern pole of the moon to facilitate space exploration - and in only 7 years.

Very inspirational.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New Cost of the iPhone: Pick Your Plan

Srmana Mitra has been covering the major players involved in building and benefiting from the iPhone. Her recent post is about AT&T and, clearly, they look to rake in the cash by jacking their new iPhone customers. But how long can they do so until customers react?

Someone ought to look at the average cell phone bill since moving over to AT&T with their iPhone. Add at least another $20 to everyone's plan (data package), right? Or at least a good majority since I suppose some were previous data plan subscribers. There's also been quite a few people going with the PickYourPlan offerings they have for those who don't want a contract. I was on Pay As You Go before, so logically I'd go to PickYourPlan since I don't have a SIN and don't want a 2 year commitment.

I'm now spending about triple each month on my phone bill because texting is 3x the price (0.15 each), plus the per minute rate is more (0.13 vs. 0.10), plus Internet ($20), plus increase long distance charges... I'm actually considering dropping the plan and hacking the iPhone to support my old Pay As You Go, not only because of the costs, but because I get a #$%ing balance notification every couple hours, even at 4am (since it vibrates for this it can disturb your sleep 4 times per night). I talked to AT&T about it but only got an apology out of them. How friggin' difficult can this be for their engineers to fix???

So yeah. Buy AT&T stock right now. Their margins should be up 20% for their mobility unit over the next 6 months. Then short the suckers. Eventually their lack of concern for properly supporting a fine device such as the iPhone with the respect it deserves ought to send their churn rates through the roof as soon as Nokia or Motorola get their act together - or Apple releases the iPhone II on a different network. After all, how long can we deal with the disrupted sleep?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Delta Customer Service Problems and Lost Opportunities

Want to ruin a great holiday? Fly Delta.

I know airlines in America aren't what they used to be but these guys, along with air Canada, take the cake. What I really dont get is how delta staff miss so many opportunities to make things better when flight problems make life difficult for the passengers. There was one exception in our circus of delta bloopers, but it really only served as evidence of potentially better service.

On the delta flight from salt lake city to Honolulu, our flight was forced to turn around over Nevada due to a hydraulics problem. Having landed heavily back in salt lake, delta informed us that we'd lost only the guage, not the hydraulics, so after 90 minutes the mechanics fixed that which should not have failed and we were back in the air. Where they went right was in serving passengers one single alcoholic beverage for free.

Skip ahead 8 wonderful Hawaiian days - more mechanical problems have caused delays for more flights. Our delta flight connecting us through LAX was delayed by an hour causing us to miss our flight to SFO, so instead of putting us on the next flight from LAX to San Francisco, they put us on a direct flight home to SFO: good right? Not quite. That flight was supposed to be 2 hours later than ours to LA but it too was delayed an hour! We had 4.5 hours to kill. The delta customer service answer to, "can we at least relax in the delta lounge?" -- "we dont have a delta lounge in this airport." check again guys, its there between the security desk and our departure gate. A blatant lie.

Of course our flight was full - plum full, unless there's a seat in first class. So now emily and I were put at other ends of the plane, an absolutely miserable finish to our holiday together. My complaints fell on ears trained to spit back out: "there's nothing we can do about it sir."

So what happened to coupons and Vouchers? A voucher for food would have been nice while we waited at Honolulu. Lounge access should have been an obvious step too. Then when we couldn't sit together why wasnt my boarding pass accompanied by, "we'd like to offer you guys two tickets to anywhere delta flies in the US, and here's a frequent flyer application form. We are sorry about the situation and hope you take this opportunity to consider flying with us next time so we can earn your trust and ensure you get great use from your frequent flyer account in the future."

Im writing this on the iPhone, hence the above mistakes. I must remember to link to the youtube video where a delta flight remains stuck on the ground for 7 hours and


Ps. In flight food options? Something vegetarian? "There's only one kind of sandwich. Turkey." Go fly Delta now!

UPDATE: Their email comment form needs work. I can enter flight numbers and dates, but if I don't have my ticket number it just returns an error on the next page saying "missing field" and almost leads you to believe that their entire system is down. No information about which field is missing or anything. Hint: *try javascript form verification boys* (just a start). Ultimately I managed to send a link to this post here to their "customer service" team via email.

Here's that well done video of a Delta flight where the passengers sat in the plane on the tarmac for 7 hours. Brutal.

I'm starting to get the impression that Delta's customer service problems are really stemmed from extreme employee apathy. Would you agree?