Telus Announces The Arrival Of The Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 24, 2014 by itnerd

Telus just dropped me a note to let me know that the GALAXY Note 4 has arrived on their network. Keeping in line with the Note series tradition, the latest iteration has an impressively large QHD display and a long list of top-tier features including:

  • Massive QHD display: 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED (2560 x 1440).
  • 2.7 GHz Quad-core processor + 3GB ram: Equipped to handle high-demand apps while multi-tasking.
  • LTE ready + Next-gen WiFi: Super-fast connectivity, featuring up to 75 mbps through our 4G LTE network and compatibility with the latest WiFi technology (802.1 ac)
  • Improved S-Pen: Doubling the levels of pressure sensitivity from 1024 to 2048, the improved S-Pen feels more like a pen on paper. Feeling even more natural as you write, create and share.
  • All day battery + fast charging: Quick charging features can get you from 0% to 50% in roughly 30 minutes.
  • Refined multi-window: Running multiple apps all in one screen gives users the capability for true multi-tasking. Users can now even choose between full, split or pop-up screens.

I’ve requested one from Telus to review. As soon as I get it, I’ll post a review.

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

Posted in Products with tags on October 24, 2014 by itnerd

My day got a tiny bit brighter today as Carbon Computing gave me a call to say that after testing they’ve determined that the hard drive has failed on my ailing MacBook Pro and they’re going to get me a new one. I should have my MacBook Pro back by mid next week. I told that to my wife over iMessage and here’s what she asked me:

Don’t you find it odd that they determined that the drive failed after you went public with this on your blog? 

My response is that I’m going to Carbon Computing a pass on that front. Though my wife is correct in terms of how the optics look from the outside. Thus there seems to be a light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel.

More updates as they come.

Rogers Lights Up LTE-Advanced Network [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 24, 2014 by itnerd

I got a note today announcing the fact that Rogers is rolling out their LTE-Advanced network today. The company says it’s the next evolution of wireless technology that combines its 700MHz and AWS spectrum.

The following cities now have this access:

  • Vancouver
  • Edmonton
  • Calgary
  • Windsor
  • London
  • Hamilton
  • Toronto
  • Kingston
  • Moncton
  • Fredericton
  • Halifax
  • Saint John

More locations will be added in the near future. So what does this mean for Rogers consumers? They’ll get faster speeds and better signal coverage indoors and out. That means a better mobile data experience for Rogers customers. Seeing as I have to do a review of a Rogers device this weekend, I’ll try it out and let you know what I find.

UPDATE: I won’t be testing this on the weekend as the device that I have from Rogers doesn’t support LTE-A. Here’s more info:

Right now devices that can take advantage of this new network technology are just starting to become available. The current LTE-A compatible devices are iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Note 4. We’re working with those vendors to implement necessary software. Once that software is tested it will be deployed to customers as an over the air software update that will allow them to take advantage of LTE-A.

However, the good news is that as Rogers is going to get me a device that supports LTE-A soon so that I can test this out.

Review: 2014 Mazda CX-9 GT AWD – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on October 24, 2014 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of the review of the Mazda CX-9. First let me wrap up a few loose ends. At the end of my week with it I registered 13.4 L/100KM in mixed city and highway driving, a lot of which was in rush hour traffic. I am not sure if the driving conditions contributed to this final result. But seeing that it’s a big seven passenger crossover, I’m not surprised with the result.

So what is the Mazda CX-9 GT AWD going to cost you. As equipped it was $48,090 including freight and PDE. But the CX-9 starts at $33,995 so you can find one that fits your budget. If I were to cross shop it against similar vehicles, I’d pick the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder. You may also want to look at the Infiniti QX-60 and the Acura MDX as well if you are looking for something that would compare against the GT trim level that I drove this week. You’d want to pay attention to how each of those vehicles handles as I suspect that the CX-9 will win on that front with all with the exception of perhaps the Acura MDX which will be close because of the SH-AWD system that includes torque vectoring to improve the handling. A lot of these other vehicles miss out on some of the features that the CX-9 comes with, or you have to check option boxes to get them which will really add up. Thus I believe that the CX-9 will win on that front as well.

So to the woman who wrote in asking me to review the CX-9, my advice would be to take a good hard look at it. It looks good, it handles well, its got the technology you need and I think it’s a great value. I also think its perfect for people who want to look sexy while hauling around a lot of stuff. That’s a win-win in my mind.

Apple Is Quickly Losing Me As A Customer [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2014 by itnerd

Frequent readers of this blog know that I really like Apple products. However after my experience today, that is likely changing.

Now after I took my sick MacBook Pro into Carbon Computing in downtown Toronto, I got a call on Tuesday afternoon saying they can find nothing wrong with it. I then offered them to e-mail them proof and during that discussion I was told that how I acquired that proof might not be valid because the SMART utility that told me my hard drive was failing I was using may not be compatible with Yosemite. I pointed out that I got the same result with Mavericks which the SMART says it is compatible with. The tech at Carbon said he’d do more testing and call me back on Wednesday.

So, Wednesday came and went and no phone call. That’s a fail because if you promise something, you need to follow through. By not doing so, you send the interaction south. So I called on Thursday morning, left a message for the tech who was “on site” at the time and got a call back on Thursday afternoon. Apparently they were running tests that would take another day or so because they claim that Apple won’t let them replace the drive unless it fails. Again I offered up the screen shots of the testing that I had done which he declined. However the tech suggested that if I wanted to move this along, I should phone Apple and get them to “give them a code to authorize the repair.”

I was stunned. Carbon Computing is an Apple dealer. That makes them an extension of Apple, should they not be my advocate? Is that not what good customer service is all about? To them, that’s clearly not the case. But I decided to call Apple anyway.

Here’s where it gets frustrating.

I called and got a tech on the line and related my story which also includes the fact that this is the second hard drive failure that I’ve had. She then put me on hold and two minutes later, she hung up on me. Which only sent my feelings about Apple heading downwards. I then phoned back and got another person on the line who was smart enough to get a call back number.

TIP: If you work in a call center, ALWAYS get a call back number in case you get disconnected.

In any case, I went through my story again. The person then suggested the following:

  1. He wanted to do additional troubleshooting with me. That’s a fail seeing as Carbon Computing has my MacBook Pro. Besides, the troubleshooting that he wanted to do I had already done and confirmed my diagnosis. I again offered proof, but he declined.
  2. I should get my computer from Carbon Computing and take it to an Apple Store because “Carbon isn’t Apple.” My other option is to do a mail in repair.

I have to admit that I was close to exploding at this point. But I didn’t as it would have been counterproductive. I am flabbergasted that he wanted to throw an authorized dealer under the metaphorical bus like that. Plus I would have gone to an Apple Store if the wait time was not so long as I noted in my original post from the weekend. And as I check today, they are not any better. He was also unwilling to do much of anything else. So I escalated and I was put on what turned out to be a 20 minute hold. That’s right, he kept a customer who was not in a happy place on hold for 20 minutes. He eventually came back with a “tier 2 agent” who I had to explain my story to again. The best that he could do was offer to phone Carbon Computing to get a complete picture and figure out what to do next. As I type this, I am awaiting a call back.

Both Apple and Carbon Computing have displayed miserable customer service. First, I have done all the hard work by diagnosing the issue and while I get that they have to confirm my diagnosis, it would make sense to me that if I’ve got proof of what I’ve done to speed the process along, either Apple or Carbon Computing should take it as it only helps them to help me. The fact that they don’t want to do that is bizarre. Second, each side wants to throw the other under the bus. In Carbon Computing’s case, they’re throwing Apple under the bus by not escalating on my behalf and by putting me in a position to do it for them. In Apple’s case, they’re throwing Carbon Computing under the bus by claiming that they’re not Apple. If you’re re-sellers aren’t as good as Apple Stores, do not suggest taking your computer to an “Authorized Service Center” like you do on this page. Instead, put all of your re-sellers out of business and handle all your service yourself in a faster manner than you do now. Suggesting that “they are not Apple” is like Toyota saying your local dealer isn’t as good as the factory when you need your car fixed.

Apple customer service used to be at the top of the food chain. I now see that it is going downhill. If I get my MacBook Pro repaired, and given the events of today I’m dubious of that, I am leaning towards not purchasing an Apple product again as it is clear that they can’t or won’t take care of their customers. I am stunned that it seems neither they or Carbon Computing wants to do the right thing and get my computer fixed. That makes it incredibly difficult to recommend either in good conscience.

Updates as they come.

UPDATE: Apple did phone me back and they said that they are waiting for Carbon Computing to do additional testing and they will reach out to me on Monday. Color me seriously unimpressed. It seems that neither party is willing to do anything to address my issue which is a failing hard drive unless they are forced to.

McAfee Delivers New Product Portfolio For SMB Market

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2014 by itnerd

McAfee, now part of Intel Security, announced a new line of security suites that provide small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with a simple, flexible and cost-effective way to safeguard both their data and devices.

McAfee Small Business Security suite is optimized for businesses with up to 25 devices. For larger businesses, with up to 250 devices, McAfee Endpoint Protection Essential for SMB and McAfee Endpoint Protection Advanced for SMB are designed to protect devices and data while offering new cloud capabilities for additional management options. These suites are designed to help businesses improve user productivity, while providing protection against malware and exploits.

Now the challenges that these types of businesses have to deal with is complex. McAfee has been kind enough to provide me with an infographic (Warning: PDF) to help to illustrate them.

Six Apart Acquires Topics

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 23, 2014 by itnerd

Six Apart, an international provider of award-winning blogging software, has recently acquired a digital publishing product called Topics.

Topics will allow users to easily upgrade and scale massive websites without the hassle of migrating to a new platform. The product works by pulling existing data from multiple stores into a unified API that allows the assets to be redistributed on any outlet, including redesigned desktop, mobile and tablet templates. This new offering will have a number of exciting benefits for Six Apart’s clients, including:

  • Saving customers time and money when revamping and managing large websites

  • Streamlining front-end development and permitting creative teams to code in any language

  • Compatibility with existing CMS platforms including Movable Type, WordPress and more so users can continue to work with the technology they already know

To learn more about Six Apart and its award-winning products, including the flagship platform Movable Type, visit http://www.sixapart.com.

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