It's destined to be...well, it's destined to be. I needed an illustration of how to ride a bike, so I voluntold one of my kids to help me. The result is a riveting minute of skills, both bike and technical.
Oops, I did it again. Just had to make a blog about NCAA tournament expansion. Don't Expand the Tournament.com is what happens when March Madness meets Digital Dementia. Because I don't have anything else to do.
Let's see if I can maintain this record of PlumChoice performance.
12/5/2009 PlumChoice Support - Fail
Again? 15 minutes waiting for a tech to respond on chat. It was 2:30ish am, so they weren't staffed for prime time, but it's not an isolated incident. Arghh, especially on the heels of yesterday's fiasco.
For my brain: the issue was a spy/malware screen popping up after using a Facebook relative app. I used PlumChoice's SAFELink to get a screenshot and send it to them via chat and e-mail. Nothing, except waiting on hold at chat for 15 minutes. No e-mail this morning confirming the submission. Nothing.
Thankfully the computer is still running well because I don't want to spend a couple of hours waiting for a phone call. I'll contact support later.
Since Nov 2005, PlumChoice techs have solved my PC problems remotely, quickly and affably. (Glowing review here.) The $25/month PC Maintenance on our 2002 PC is almost essential, given our family's computer dependence. Having PlumChoice as my personal IT service made me happy, until August 2009. That's when they started missing appointments.
Over the past few months, they have missed a handful of appointments. That doesn't sound too bad, but each of those times was an hour I had to wait by the computer for a phone call. Ugh. I understand an occasional day with staffing or technology issues, but the appointments were missed far enough apart to rule out being an off day.
Perhaps today was "one of those days." PlumChoice missed two appointments with me, at 10 am and 1 pm. Then I spent 15 minutes on hold (with really bad music...really) to see if I could get worked in. I had things to do, so I just scheduled a 5 pm call instead of waiting around for the first available tech.
A tech called for the 5pm appointment and is working on installing software for the $10/month Protect and Assist plan on our new computer. Since I have to stay close to the computer, I'm on the old computer looking up PlumChoice reviews and competitors in the event I need to switch my PC service provider. This post is link storage for what I find.
Because of the hassle involved with finding a new provider, I'll stick with PlumChoice for a bit. However, I'm concerned that the decline in customer service is symptomatic of something larger in the company - at first I chalked it up to growing pains, but I'm not sure now. Time will tell whether it's a hiccup or a choking hazard in their growth and quality. Hopefully they'll be able to right the ship and I'll again enjoy computer confidence thanks to the quality of my personal IT staff.
Link storage for PlumChoice reviews and competitors info:
"The Billerica, Mass.based company plans to use the money to expand its
reach in Web-based technical support services to homes and small
businesses." Please don't sacrifice quality for quantity. Expanding your reach is only beneficial if you maintain a firm grasp on the bedrock of your initial success - providing a quality service at a sustainable price.
I finally succumbed to familial pressure to join Facebook, because I need another distraction from all the things I don't get done. Now I'm testing the Typepad integration with it. Fascinating, I know.
Update: FB had a neat "import blog button" that worked well. Cool.
In May I participated in an online homeschool conference. The workshops had interactive chat and could be listened to later, so it was cool and convenient. It didn't require much new techno learning on my part, just downloading some conference software and playing with iTunes. Though it won't replace being physcially present, it's a nice chance to learn from people you may not otherwise hear.
My next virtual conference will require some techno learning. I'll need to figure out how to use 2nd Life so I can attend the BlogHer '07 conference.
What's Blogher? It started in 2005 as a conference for women bloggers and has grown to include an online gathering place for women bloggers.
Being the learning junkie I am, I would love to hang out at a
BlogHer conference. However, I can't make it to Chicago, but I can
still attend the conference virtually via 2nd Life.
My geeky self is quite excited about that. What's better is there is no fee to attend virtually. Woo-hoo. It will cost me some time to learn how to participate in 2nd Life, but it will be a fun experiment.
I'm interested in the "Business of You" workshop track. It seems like a nice fit for blogging writers. Here's the description:
Business of You: This track is devoted to personal and business
advancement. We will discuss speaker and media training, self-branding
and promotion, mentoring, turning your blog into a book or a business,
and even managing your time, your finances, your blogging policies and
best practices...the business of you.
If you're interested in attending virtually, go here for more info. Let me know if you'll be there.
Do you want to know "Google's views on government, policy and
politics?" I know. You were just wondering about that. Now you can
read the Google Public Policy Blog.
Information is powerful. Google is a worldwide distributor of information, granted it has a lot more user control than traditional information distributors like newspaper & tv, but it's still a huge purveyor of ideas. The user has to be able to critically sift through all they find on Google.
I'm used to thinking of Google as a search engine, a tech company - even a verb. I'm not sure what to do with this new idea of them shaping public policy, but as an observer of how technology affects our lives I had to note it in my blog.
Now that I think about it a bit more, other companies have influence on government, so it makes sense for Google to have a blog focusing
"on issues like
net neutrality, censorship, innovation regulation, immigration,
R&D, national security, and trade" ("just to name a few"). Google's
public policy team, who author the blog, say that they hope to foster a
"dialogue" with Google users about political issues in order to "do a
better job of fighting for our common interests." (from this post on readwriteweb.com)
Do other big companies, particularly oil, have blogs about issues affecting their business?
Since my brain hasn't processed this info yet, though I have been thinking, I'll leave you with Josh Catone's conclusion from his Google the Vote post:
"Lobbying and PACs are the more traditional road for corporations to
influence American politics. Google's latest approach leverages social
technologies (the backbone of web 2.0?) to bypass Washington
completely. By creating platforms for candidates and talking directly
to the people, Google has positioned themselves as a major force in
shaping American political policy (and by extension, have a far
reaching global effect). At the same time, Google's political forays
will likely strengthen their brand -- not just by helping them get what
they want politically, but also by associating their name with yet
another staple of American life: the democratic process."
I was working on a blog post inspired by the shifthappens presentation about the exponential growth in technology and information we are experiencing, which is an inkling of what our kids will face. Jack had just watched the presentation and was watching the News Hour when a story about Intel's new computer chip came on. (Audio here.) I stopped blogging and to watch the perfectly apropos story. Not being able to sleep, Kara was downstairs on the love seat. I figured it would be a 2-for-1 deal to watch the story and snuggle with her. At the end of the piece, she piped up with the above quote. Somewhere in the news story she had picked up the word expand and was compelled to explain it to me. (Of course, some of us expand more than others, but we didn't go there.) She's one smart elf.
Hey! It sounds like Guy is talking about a Big Book. It seems some principles of communication apply throughout life, from preschool to the boardroom. Another reminder of what I should teach my kids. It's also a reminder of the usefulness of storytelling.