Typecast

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I was recently interviewed by a reporter about my love of typewriters.

Yes, I have a bit of a thing for typewriters, film cameras, and flower print. I currently own two lovely typewriters: an IBM Selectric II, and a Brother Charger 11.

The reporter told me about typecasting, and I was immediately hooked.

Typecasting is similar to a blog, except instead of text, it’s scans of something typed on a typewriter. Not image-to-text conversion; just the images of what you typed.

It’s nice for three reasons: Firstly, you get the joy of typing on a typewriter. After all, computer keyboards are overrated for typing – the tactile feedback and instant gratification of a typewriter keyboard will never be matched. Secondly, it’s more personal. The little bleed or empty spots of the letters from the typewriter show up, and it’s much less perfect refined. Thirdly, you are actually typing on a typewriter, not just in a typewriter font. Typewriter fonts try to replicate the little errors and blank spaces in the letters of typewriters, but they’re just never right; with a typewriter, the letters follow the curves and crevices in the grain of the paper, and it’s all just so beautiful.

The day before, I decided that I should make a personal blog: One about me, not the stuff I like. I installed wordpress and added a post, but it was all just so…. normal. Another blog. zzzzzz…..

The night after the reporter came and interviewed me, I knew that I should convert my personal blog to a typecast. However, nobody had created a platform for it yet.

So being my ingenuitive self, I decided to create the platform myself. With the help of my glorious friend Amit Eyal, we toiled through the night. (Correction: because he lives a 10 hour time difference from where I do, I went to sleep right when he left for school, then woke up when he came back.) What we had was beautiful: A simple, usable CMS for nothing but uploading images.

Here’s the section on how it works – computer-illiterate, you may want to skip to the next paragraph. It has a hash database with one auto-increment column called ID, and another called file. There is a password-protected admin page with a file upload link. When you upload the image file, it will move the image to the img folder and add the filename to the database; at this point, it will also add the auto-increment the id to the next number. Now, on the homepage, it will call all of the database values with the id descending (this orders it reverse-chronologically). Then it echoes the img and a tags with the correct image file (which it got from the database) and Voila, you have yourself a typecast.

I would ultimately like to make it free and open source for anyone to start his own typecast. Also, it isn’t necessary to have a typewriter – you can just handwrite a note, scan it, and post that instead.

Click here to check out my new personal blog, which is our original typecast.

 

 

The Impact of Customer Service

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Customer service makes a big impact on how people look at your company. Here’s two examples of personal experiences with customer service – one bad, one great.

The Bad

Recently, my sister’s MacBook had a little breakdown. The trackpad stopped working.

I knew how to fix it, I just take it apart and switch out the trackpad. So now, I just needed to get the trackpad.

I found a site on like called Mac Parts Online. I clicked on my sister’s model of MacBook, then clicked on the trackpad. It redirected me to a shopping page, where I then ordered the trackpad.

Upon arrival, I found that it wasn’t the correct model of trackpad. This trackpad was for an aluminum MacBook!

I went back to the site and looked for an email address or phone number. I found a contact page and over the course of a week sent them messages three times. I never got any response.

Eventually, they started responding. After some arguing, they regretfully accepted it for a return. On top of that, I had to pay a 25% restocking fee.

So first, your site misinforms me about what product to get, then you don’t reply to my messages, then you finally accept it for return, and charge me 25%?!

I know I won’t be shopping here again. Ever.

  • Website was misleading
  • Slow response
  • Unfriendly Customer Service
The Great

I was recently looking around for some photography gear. I found a site called Photojojo, full of a ton of different nicknacks and photo related toys and supplies.

I found a lens called the Diana+ that I was really interested in. Upon reading the description, I could tell this was going to be fun.

Simply attach the plastic lens and its adapter directly onto your SLR’s body (Nikon or Canon) and shoot away. With one part Diana camera (old school lo-fi plastic) and one part modern DSLR you’ve got yourself one mighty fine recipe for unconventionally amazing photographs.Finally! A way to re-invent your style while kicking it digital with the hip kids and their plastic cams. (And for future reference, Thomas Kinkade = not hip).

Instead of a machine writing this, there’s a real person writing and not just filling out a form description made by some manufacturer in china.

As you may have read, it works on Canon and Nikon SLRs. But what about my NEX-5? I have a nice NEX-5, but it doesn’t take Canon or Nikon Lenses.

So, I thought, I could just get a Nikon to Sony adaptor and I’ll be set! I’ll put the Diana+ Lens in the nikon adaptor, then the Nikon adaptor onto my NEX adaptor.

But there was one potential problem with this – would there be a problem because the lens would be two adaptors away from the CCD in my camera?

To answer this, I turned to Photojojo. I found their contact page quite easily, sent them a message, and within a day they responded.

Hey there Max!

I can’t say for sure since I don’t have your camera or that snazzy Sony to Nikon adapter to test it out, but best I can tell I think that setup would work great!

I don’t think the extra distance will make much of a difference and that combo of adapters is your best chance of using Diana lenses on your camera so I’d say give it a shot!

If I’m totally wrong and it doesn’t work for ya we’ll take the Diana Lens and Nikon adapter back easy peasy!  (Just be careful to keep all the packaging together and don’t rip the boxes when you open them if you can help it).

Hope this helps!  If you have any questions, I’m just a keyboard away.  And once you get it all set up please let me know how it works for ya (and feel free to send me some pictures too! – I love seeing what folks come up with!)

 –

Julieanne

Silly Putty Enthusiast and

Photojojo Customer Support

Upon reading this email, I just wanted to hug the person who responded. They talked to me like I was their best friend in the world. They were nice, personal, helpful, and still professional. They also said that I can refund it, and the way they used very personal language like “snazzy” and “easy peasy” just made me know that I was an appreciated customer. This is customer service.

I then proceeded to order the lens, and I then got a shipping notification. It said that I could watch my order come on this “Shiny new page.” I clicked on the link, and here’s the page I got:

 

Look at that. It even gives me a little picture showing the package on it’s way to California. They used really cute language, like saying the went out to the “photojojo tree”. Every little word of this is spiced up and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  • Easy to use site
  • Personal yet still professional language
  • Quick, helpful, nice, personal response
  • Easy return policy
Who wouldn’t want to shop here?!
Why
We all buy things online. But whenever you buy something that you can’t use/try out immediately, there’s always a risk – it might not work, it could be broken, it could be the wrong model.

If we can trust the site, then we are far more comfortable with taking that risk, as if it were to ever happen that there was a problem we know that the site will be helpful. Machines can’t really manage returns, and when the person on the other end is mean and nasty you don’t even want to bother trying to talk to them.

That’s why with Photojojo, I want to order from them a ton of times just so I can get their snazzy emails that make me feel so nice and fuzzy and warm and happy and unicornaliscious. (See what I did there? Seems like something Photojojo might say.)

If you own a company, Customer Service should be your first priority, followed by quality of the product. After all, what’s the good of a great quality product – with the wrong part number that can’t be returned due to your awful customer service? You’ll end up like Mac Parts Online – with dissatisfied customers who will definitely not return.

Do your best to be a Photojojo – Be professional, personal, and make people want to talk to you, not just need to talk to you.

Goodbye, MacBook

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No, I’m not talking about the white one (post here).

I bought an aluminum MacBook in 2008, and it has lasted me until today. I loved it, it was reliable, and has lasted through three software versions. I have used it for three years straight, rarely skipping more than 8 hours without using it.

And today, it has finally left us.

I’m not getting rid of this computer, as it was my first real computer and has signatures of apple engineers on the bottom.

You’ll get to find out what computer I get next when I write a post about it. :)

Oddly, however, today is the same day that Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position at Apple. Coincidence? I think not.

Oh, How Far Computers Have Come

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Computers have come a long way in the past half century. I’m going to compare two computers, one from 1946, the other from 2011.

Lets start out with one of the earliest computers, the ENIAC. ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator. It was able to do simple equations, like find the circumference of circles. It was able to process at 0.1 Mhz. To put this into perspective, the iPhone can run at 800Mhz, which is 8,000 times faster! The ENIAC weighed 30 tons, used more than 18,000 vacuum tubes, had 3000 switches, and produced the same amount of heat as 3,000 lightbulbs. Yet, it could only hold 20 numbers at a time!

Here’s a picture of this goliath dinosaur.

Now I’d like to introduce the new Habey SOM-6670 E6XX Tunnel Creek QSeven computer module (quite a name, right?).

Check out the size of this little thing:

The orange thing is post-it notes.

 

That little thing can pump out a bit more than 1GHz, which is 10,000 times faster than that ENIAC. And look at it’s size!

This tiny little computer is capable of decoding two 1080p HD video streams simultaneously to an external monitor. That ENIAC could barely contain 20 numbers!

If you don’t believe me, check out this video.

Pretty awesome, right?

As you can tell, computation has come extremely far in 65 years. Yes, the ENIAC was created in 1946!

And the speed of computer evolution only increases as time goes on. In only a few years, we will have some ridiculous technology. It was only a few years ago that laptops were big, bulky, and not so powerful. And now we have computers like the MacBook!

I’m quite excited for what the future of technology holds for all of us!

Email: Empty or full?

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According to the most recent NYT Tech talk podcast (my favorite), Responding to your emails quickly and moving them and archiving them immediately is very important. They also state that That empty inbox is a beautiful sight. But to tell you the truth, I have to disagree. I always love to get emails. Also, if you have one email you use for your work stuff and everything else, You know that it is hard to know on weekends when that email is useful to read or should wait until the next workday. For this I would highly recommend getting a gmail account and getting all of your personal emails there. Using outlook? On the Gmail help site they show how to set up your gmail account in outlook. Have OS X Mail? Just type in the full email address, not username (username@gmail.com) and your password. Mail will automatically set it up for you. Notice that this is a prime example of where Macs are so much easier than PCs. But the point is, delete the emails you never want to be reminded of, organize some of them into folders / mailboxes, and the rest? Keep is your inbox! Wondering where something is? There is a place for searches called a search box! I use mine all the time. But the question is, If you have an empty inbox, where does the rest go?? I love having stuff in my inbox. with a flick of 2 fingers (a scroll wheel on a PC!) I can go back in time and see some conversations from a long time ago. Do you disagree with me? I am begging of you to post your answer in the poll in the sidebar! Also, There are 2 comments on this whole blog. Please, comment! you can select anonymous, so you don’t have to give your name or anything! I will do my best to answer your comment/question. To add a comment/question, just click the 0 comments at the bottom of this post!