Comcast is in the middle of a well deserved public relations nightmare. Leading up to their proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, a customer service call leaked that makes Comcast look awful. If you haven't heard it yet, go ahead and listen to it below. You don't have to hear much of the call to understand what's going on, it's pretty hard to listen to. A customer called in, wanting to cancel their service. It took 18 minutes, and somehow, the customer managed not to scream at the service representative. Do you know that line the automated caller gives you at the beginning of your call, "This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes"? Well, this customer decided he'd turn the tables, and record them back. The result was an unbelievably long phone call where the customer service rep turned into the most annoying and persistent salesman imaginable. As it turns out, that customer service rep wasn't doing anything wrong by Comcast's standards, in fact, he was doing his job. Perhaps a little overzealously, but he's considered a "good employee" at Comcast. In fact, according to interviews The Verge conducted with over 100 current and previous Comcast employees, customer service representatives get more training for sales than they do customer service.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Going paperless is one of the measures institutions and businesses are taking to reduce costs and save the environment. One hospital in the UK found it can do more than reduce our need for trees and our production of waste. Going paperless can save lives, as long as you're replacing that paper with iPod Touches and iPads. Using bedside iPod Touches, portable and easily accessible iPads, and a few apps, doctors have been able to better identify patients with declining health, and have been able to respond more quickly. As a result, they're seeing measurably lower mortality rates than they were seeing without the iOS devices. It's all thanks to the amazing apps doctors have access to, the interconnectivity of the devices, and doctors making use of the technology available to them today.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Here's a friendly reminder that people should never keep their phones under their pillows. Remember, lithium ion batteries can quickly become unstable, and when that happens, they can combust or even explode. You wouldn't sleep on top of a grenade if you had the choice, would you? By smothering the phone, you can also make a battery overheat, which can also lead to combustion. One 13-year-old girl in Texas found the hard way that you shouldn't sleep on a phone, especially not one that has a long history of combustion.
As we near the launch of the iPhone 6, expected this fall, we're sure to see more leaked parts. Today, we have the circuitry that ties everything together, the logic board. The logic board is the hardware that attaches directly to the frame of the iPhone, and all other components, such as the display, camera, A-series processor, and more, attach to it. The holes for the screws in this logic board match to leaked rear casings that we've already seen, adding to the validity of this leak. Not only that, but the larger logic board confirms that the iPhone 6 will indeed be larger than the iPhone 5s, as the logic board is too large to fit into the case for the iPhone 5s.
Friday, July 25, 2014
This year, Apple did something they haven't done before: they made a Mac OS X beta available to the public. Now, you don't have to be a Mac developer or a member of the press to get your hands on the next version of the new version of OS X before it's available for everyone. You can get on the early release program (cleverly named "Apple Seed") here. Apple will then contact you when you can download Yosemite from the Mac App Store. The moment I received the email I excitedly downloaded the beta and updated. After starting the install, I walked away, so I'm not sure how long it took to update. Still, once it finished, I was happy I updated a bit early. There are a few rough edges here and there, so I don't recommend installing it on a Mac that you'll need for work. Still, it's fun to test something early, especially when it's been so dramatically improved over the last version. You can read more about the updates to Yosemite here, but I've got to say, it's definitely something you've got to use to really understand. It looks beautiful, probably the best looking version of Mac OS X yet, and it has some truely fantastic features. Somehow, it's more fun to use. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, check it out.
I'm not going to call Canabalt the original endless runner game, but it certainly did bring a new level of popularity to the genre. The game is simple. No story is provided, but the character is running along rooftops, presumably away from something, while the city behind burns, bombs fall, and strange ships cross in the background. Basically, it seems as though the game occurs during an alien invasion. None of that's important though, because you'll be running too fast to care. Tap the screen to jump, and try not to fall to your death. The game was very simplistic, but now, the developers have finally updated it. The game now has different modes of play, including the crazy "Leap of Faith" mode, where the buildings are invisible. Also, two runners can now play at the same time, each one tapping on a different side of the screen. I like to play the two player mode by myself, for an added challenge. You can download Canabalt for iOS here.
I was a bit young when Seinfeld was popular, but I ended up watching most, if not all of the episodes from reruns on TV. If you haven't watched it, you're really missing out. It's a show "about nothing", or rather, about some people living in NYC and the crazy hijinks they get involved in. It's a comedy that has been referenced and imitated ever since. Now ever episode may be heading to the most popular streaming service: Netflix. Every episode of Seinfeld, on demand? I don't know about you, but I'm going to need more than a weekend to binge watch this. This isn't just a rumor, Jerry Seinfeld himself has confirmed that all 180 episodes may be on their way to Netflix, saying the "conversations were currently in place". If you're not looking forward to this, you have some good TV to catch up on.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Amazon's Fire Phone hasn't received the warm reception Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos were hoping for. Reviews for the revolutionary phone have, for the most part, brushed it off. Engadget, The Verge, Business Insider, Gigaom, CNET, Re/Code, and many more called it either mediocre, or some synonym for the word. They all recommended that smartphone buyers find a different phone, one with iOS, or Android running on it. Reviewers will acknowledge that the phone certainly has some cool features, but the gimmicks aren't enough to make an otherwise bland phone great. The reviews are similar to Amazon's first foray into the tablet market with the Amazon Kindle Fire. The first generation of that tablet wasn't a good choice when compared to the competition, and had some serious flaws. Amazon's second tablet was much nicer than their first, and it looks like they're repeating the same pattern with their first phone. You can find a collection of exerpts from those reviews over at 9to5Mac.
The next iPhone is rumored to feature a larger screen. In fact, there will apparently be two new iPhones this year, one with a 4.7 inch screen and another with a 5.5 inch screen. These will replace the iPhone 5s becoming Apple's flagship devices. The iPhone 5, if you didn't know, has a 4 inch screen. Apple will likely continue to sell the iPhone 5s starting at $99, and the iPhone 5c may become free. Most people are looking forward to a larger screen, and it's easy to see why. However, there are some drawbacks to a phone with a larger screen, and it's not just the fact that they're harder to hold, use, and slide into a pocket. Potential iPhone 6 users should consider both the pros and cons before selecting a new iPhone.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Over the weekend, a hacker claimed he had discovered backdoor access processes that would allow law enforcement and government agencies to access a person's phone without their password. It just didn't sound right to me. His evidence was shaky, at best. Yes, he found processes that Apple did not have documented, and yes, they have unparalleled access to use data, but he hadn't discovered a way to use those programs. Naturally, he jumped to the conclusion that these processes were used by government agencies. Once anyone states anything about Apple security, it makes headline news on multiple blogs. Apple responded to these allegations, claiming that the services were not exposed to developers because they would never need them. They're internally used, are only able to access data when the phone is unlocked, the user has given permission to a computer, and are used for local diagnostics. Apple doesn't even collect this information, and government organizations certainly don't either. Perhaps we shouldn't make such harsh accusations so quickly?