Posts Tagged ‘mac’

Day 2A: Stick A Fork In It, We’re Done

September 9, 2009

As I was editing and publishing the previous post, Chad (one of the Senior SCM Engineers for the Mac products over at Quicken) sent me a workaround for the updater problem.

@QuickenChels was true to her word.  Someone from the company responded to me (same day, I might add).

The workaround they provided me was 8 steps (took me about two minutes to do) and fixed the problem.

And we’re done.

I don’t want to harp, but as you’ll note in the previous e-mail.  This all could have been avoided.

Intuit has some very sharp and very motivated people.  I’m hoping that this incident helps them to avoid these type of issues in the future.

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Day 2: Me, Myself And (Finally) Intuit

September 9, 2009

When last I left my blog, I had posted my frustration with Intuit (“Intuit Hates Quicken Mac Users (And Puppies)*) and then sent Twitters to @Intuit and @Quicken.

That was yesterday.

This morning, Jeremiah Owayng’s wrote an excellent blog, “How Customer Support Organizations Must Evolve” where he used Intuit as a positive example.

A bit cranky from my “brain dump” on the blog yesterday, I responded to Jeremiah via Twitter and then on his blog about this incident.

That seemed to get some traction with regard to getting people from Intuit on the case.

Within the hour (quicker than that, actually) I got replies from @QuickenJim, @prgully and specifically from @QuickenChels who seems to have taken the charge with putting me in touch with someone who can help me.

When last I left it with her, someone from Intuit was going to respond directly to me.

In the meantime, she put something on their live community (see “QuickenFor Mac 2007 and Snow Leopard“) and she responded in the comments section of my first blog post.

Things are going smoothly, and I await hearing from someone at Intuit to resolve this problem and I will of course do a third blog to discuss how/when this was resolved and provide some of the details as to how Intuit snapped into action.

Here’s the thing though, and I mention this in my response to @QuickenChels’ comment.

It’s frustrating that it had to come to all of this.  The blog.  The Twitter.  The comments.  All of this.  Just to get the original support that I was looking for on Friday.

The individuals who have responded to me today have been relentless and have given me options (like the Live Community) that weren’t discussed by the original technician on Friday.  Had I seen that level of commitment and knowledge on Friday from the original technician, we’d be having a different conversation and I’d have had a more positive experience.

I would like to be clear about something as well.

I was not, nor am I currently, looking for anything more than the level of support that any customer would get when contacting Intuit with the same problem.

I’m not looking for special treatment.  I’m just looking for a solution to my problem and to know that Intuit is concerned with resolving my issue.

They have shown me this now, but that was not there on Friday.

I say that, to say this.  What makes great customer service?

This whole incident reminds me of the Four Season and their use of the “Golden Rule.”

Put simply, the “Golden Rule” and that’s about treating customers and employees the same.  Treating them the way that you would like to be treated.

The best example of this (and it is discussed in the book “Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy” by Isadore Sharp) is when a customer showed up for a charity event with former President and First Ronald and Lady Nancy Reagan, not knowing the event was a a black tie affair.

The customer was noticeably uncomfortable and a Four Seasons employee overheard him talking with his wife about it.  He asked the customer to come with him and told another employee about this customer not having a tuxedo.

The other employee changed out of the tuxedo he was wearing, got into his street clothes, pressed the tuxedo and gave it to the customer so he could go back in and blend in with the other guests.

The Four Seasons gave this customer the shirt off their back and at the time they didn’t know who this customer was from a whole in the ground.  All they knew is that he needed a tuxedo.  He had a problem and they could solve it for him.

The customer turned out to be the head of A.T. Kearney, and that positive experience made him shift the bulk of his company’s business to the Four Seasons.

When you empower employees at all levels and when they strive to do right by their customers – you get stories like this and you reduce the number of stories that start out like mine.

Stay tuned to “Part 3” when I do hear from Intuit and we go to the next step… See my “Day 2A” post where the issue has no been resolved…

BTW, it is worth your time to read Jeremiah’s blog post on this topic (and not just because I commented on it) as well as follow him on Twitter.

Intuit Hates Quicken Mac Users (And Puppies)*

September 8, 2009
* I have no proof that they hate puppies, per say, but it made for a more dramatic headline.

I should clarify the statement that Intuit “hates” Mac users.

To say that Intuit “hates” Mac users is to say that they’re even thinking about them.

Based on my experiences with Intuit, they are clearly not.

My most recent experience with Intuit has left me with the impression that they have little to no regard for their Mac customers at all.

Quicken 2007 For Mac has been one of the most miserable software experiences I’ve ever had, PC or Mac, and last Friday it was made even more frustrating by Intuit’s failure to assist me with the most basic of software problems.

The Problem: one of my credit cards was not downloading into Quicken.

Background: I’ve had the above issue with one of my credit cards not downloading into Quicken for a few weeks, but haven’t had time to sit down and fix it.  Friday, I set aside time to do exactly that.  My first call was to the credit card company and after talking to an extremely polite (and rather sincere) customer support technician, he determined that the “OL-249” error message I was getting was the result of a Quicken problem that has to do with an out-of-date security certificate.  He then provided me with the URL that contained the updater file and instructions and I figured that would be the end of it.

Fair enough.  I thanked him, hung up, read the instructions but was unsuccessful in getting the updater to work.

I then contacted Intuit using the “chat” feature on their website.  I explained how I was getting an error message on their updater and the Intuit customer support technician asked me, “Are you using Snow Leopard?”

“Yes,” I replied (almost knowing what was going to come next).

The technician then proceeded to tell me that this updater did not work on Snow Leopard.

The end.

Seriously.  The end as in that’s all he could tell me.

No work-around.  No ETA on when it would work in Snow Leopard.

See the transcript below.  The conversation just kinda…ended.

Which is fine for him.  But I’m left holding the bag on this thing.  So what next?

Step 1) Blame The Customer?

I admit, this might partially be my fault.  Given Intuit’s miserable track record for supporting the Mac, made evident by the lack of regular updates and the fact that the application is riddled with the most basic of user interface quirks, I should have taken the time to resolve this problem before my Snow Leopard upgrade.

That said, developers smaller than Intuit have had copies of Snow Leopard for quite some time now and most companies have been posting regular updates to their software in anticipation of the mass upgrade of users.  I should note that history has proven that Mac users update to new OS versions en mass and often in record numbers (this version was no different, in fact a few sources were anticipating it to be bigger than Leopard. Ars Technica has those numbers if  you want to dig them up).

That said, Intuit’s “official” response to Snow Leopard is that the Quicken For Mac web page claims support for v10.6 (Snow Leopard) and the next version of Quicken for Mac (which is a rewrite from what I’ve read) is scheduled for February, 2010 (see Intuit Blog).

One would then assume that “support” today for Quicken 2007 on Snow Leopard means “full support” as in, even the updaters work.  One would assume…

Further, since it’s a solid six months before the next version (and not everyone will be updating day of release), I can hardly be the first (or last) person that is going to need to use this updater.

So, nope.  I’m not going to take blame for this problem.

But, so far the only thing Intuit has expressed to me is that they have no desire or interest to help me.  So what’s my next move?

Step 2) Speak Louder

The technician “assisting” me in the chat was powerless to help me and had little to no information on how to help me.  Kinda weak.  He had neither a work-around or an ETA on when this would be resolved.

So, I’ve written up this blog.

I will Twitter @Quicken (and @Intuit) and am prepared to continue to Twitter them until I get a resolution.

Step 3) What Do I Want?

I would like either a work-around to resolve this problem (now), or an acceptable ETA as to when the updater will be fixed to work with Snow Leopard.

By “acceptable,” I’m thinking within the next 30 days or less.

That’s it.  Very simple.  And the type of thing I should have gotten when I contacted their customer support.

Step 4) What I’m Willing To Do In Return?

I will update this blog with any replies I get from Intuit.  I’ll leave the comments open (unless comments become unreasonable) and will try to document this problem through to what I hope is an eventual resolution.

I would like to think that in addition to solving my problem, someone/somewhere at Intuit marketing might want to use the topics discussed in this post to mend the broken relationship between Quicken For Mac and Mac users such as myself.

We shall see what happens next…

Chat Transcript

I have posted the chat transcript below (I have removed the technician’s name because it’s not relevant)

Quicken: Welcome to Quicken chat support. My name is Sehkhomang. Please give me a moment while I review the info you
provided.
Noah: OK.
Quicken:: Hello Noah.
Quicken: I understand your concern and I assure you that I will assist you in the best possible manner.
Noah: Yes.
Quicken: When was the last time you were able to download transactions into the Quicken program without any issue?
Noah: I can still do it for one of my credit cards. The other one that I’m having issue. It was about May 28th or so.
Quicken: Which version of Quicken are you using? Is it the Quicken for Mac or Quicken for windows?
Noah: Quicken For Mac 2007 version.
Quicken: Are you using the new Snow leopard?
Noah: Yes.
Quicken: Noah, I understand your concern and I would like to inform you that we are aware of this issue with the new snow
leopard.
Noah: And?
Noah: Is there a way to fix this with Snow Leopard?
Quicken: As of now we have no solution to fix the issue. My apologies; I am trying my best to help you.
Quicken: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
Noah: Give me an ETA on when this will be fixed, please.
Quicken: To be honest with you, I am not sure when this will be fixed. Please contact us back after 1 week to check if the
issue were fixed.
Noah: This is ridiculous. It’s bad enough that full support for Snow Leopard isn’t coming until Feb of next year, but how do you not have a fix for this issue when developer editions of Snow Leopard have been available to companies like Intuit for months?
Noah: Please tell your managers that this is unacceptable and I will be writing about how Intuit failed miserably with their
support for their customers.
Quicken: I really appreciate your feedback and I can imagine your frustration.  Had I been in place of you I would have feel the same.
Noah: Fail.

Asus, FTW

January 20, 2009

I love, and I mean love, my Mac.  It’s a shiny 24″ iMac with a snappy processor, 2GB of RAM and 750GB of hard drive space and a “sidecar” Western Digital My Book Studio Edition 1TB external Firewire 800 hard drive for Time Machine backups and extra storage space.

The iMac is also, unfortunately, bolted to the desk in my home office which means the rest of my home is computerless.

One solution is my iPhone.  The iPhone is good for simple surfing to check a stat on IMDB or look at e-mail, but it only gets me so far in my living room.  One of its greatest limitations is viewing Flash-based websites (grrrrrrr).  Adobe?  Apple?  Hello?

Anyhow.  Off topic.  So, while the iPhone is great for when I’m out and about, at home I started thinking that I might want something a bit more substantial for the rest of the house.  Nothing fancy.

My Laptop Requirements

Operating System: I’m trying to maintain a Windows-free environment, which has less to do with what a clusterF*** Vista is, and more to do with wanting to support “alternative” computing platforms like Mac and Linux.  So I did not look at any Windows-based computers.

Usage: could best be described as “super-low-end.”  I need a large monitor for web browsing, e-mail, blog writing (of course), offline text editing, listening to podcasts, watching video and light image editing/management.  Honestly, my ideal machine would be a TRS-80 Model 100 if I could get the Internet on it…

Optical Drive: no requirement.

File Storage: the smaller the better, since most files will be stored online or immediately moved to my iMac for archiving.

Software: Firefox, Adobe Flash, Open Office, VideoLAN, Gimp, Picasa, Adobe Acrobat, etc.  Any additional software will be Open Source since another goal is to keep this machine’s software licensing costs at zero.

Price: $400 or less.

Mac = No Op

The first thing I did was price a MacBook Air, and quickly determined that at $1,800 it was well out of my price range.  Ditto the MacBook.  Even a refurbished or used MacBook would come in $200+ above my price requirement.  MacBooks, in their current configuration, are sadly either “too much” machine or just too expensive.

Netbooks

The “need” for a laptop in the living room was actually prompted by Molly and Natali on Buzz Out Loud raving about how nice it was to have a lightweight laptop at trade shows and whatnot.

This led me to look at the Netbook-class of laptops.

The Dell Mini didn’t do it for me.  I read on Engaget that Dell announced the Adamo at CES , but without a delivery date or a price, I’m not going to wait around for it.

The HP Mini and Lenovo S10 are both nice systems, but I played around with their configurators and could not get a final configuration that didn’t exceed my price requirement.  That said, I would have stretched my pricing requirement to meet one of these models had I not looked at the Asus Eee PC and found exactly what I was looking for.  (I think)

Asus, FTW

Goung outside the “top 3” PC manufacterers (and Apple), I decided to look at Asus, the company that started the Netbook product category, and was very impressed with the Asus Eee PC 1000.

Operating System: Xandros-based Linux (“netbook-friendly” interface).  There’s also an eeeUbuntu distro at GetEasyPeasy.Com should I get frustrated with the factory install.  I also found a great community website at http://www.eeeuser.com/

Core Specs: 10″ display, Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM.  I’ve seen a few posts that suggest for $35 you can replace it with 2GB ($35) with “parts on the floor” if needed.

Additional Specs: Webcam, mic, speakers, Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3 USB ports and media card reader.

Hard Drive: most of the Netbooks I saw featured 5400 RPM drives, but the Asus (and HP actually) are using very small Solid State Drive (SSD) technology.  The model 1000 has a 40GB SSD.  8GB for the OS and another 32GB for files.  I like this because I don’t like the idea of a physical hard drive on this type of device since the spin diminishes performance and requires additional battery power.

Battery: 6 cell battery with a 6 hour lifespan.

Price: $400.

With any luck, I’ll be setting this up and doing some configuration while I watch Lost on Wednesday night. More to come.