Now here is a bit of Tech that I am REALLY interested in. It is called Leap Motion and it is a gesture-control system for your computer.
Forget trying to find an App for your phone or a tablet to act as a remote for your computer, just use your fingers from across the room to act as a mouse and keyboard. I might even get to say “goodbye carpel tunnel”. Yay!
I could definitely see using this for presentations in the board room, or for controlling the Mac Mini attached to my living room TV.
ReadWrite.com has a great article on it: http://readwrite.com/2012/12/24/is-this-the-hottest-tech-company-of-2013
Check out the official page here: https://leapmotion.com/
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I was recently gifted with a great new BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet (64 GB, 7″, etc.).
Although I’ve worked on BlackBerry devices (in all their flavors), I’ve never actually owned one.
This was my first, first-hand experience with BlackBerry and RIM as a company.
After un-boxing the unit and leaving it to charge for the day, I came home from work and turned it on.
A good solid 5 minute boot process and I was presented with the Welcome screen.
Well, sort of presented with a Welcome screen. The unit requires, and I mean REQUIRES, that you have a wireless network in order to do anything.
Even to log into the device for the first time.
Not a problem, I have a nice solid wireless network… except the BB Tablet was not going to cooperate and connect. Hmmm… strange. Let’s set up an open, non-encrypted network… still no go. Let’s try a different router. No go. Let’s try a hotspot off of my phone. Still no love.
That’s odd. Let’s just get into the unit and see what sort of settings I have to work with.
Well – that’s the problem. I could not connect to the wireless network so I could never accept a licensing agreement, and as such, I could not log into the PlayBook.
Well obviously this must be a firmware issue… a simple upgrade to the latest OS build and all should be well.
After downloading the BlackBerry Desktop Manager Software and installing it on a dedicated, freshly formatted laptop, I was unable to access the device because “the setup has not yet completed”. Well no SH*T!
Blood pressure starting to rise, time ticking by, 10 tabs of Googling, and no resolution in sight.
I did a number of de-bricking procedures, and boy, I gotta tell you, that 5 minute boot time was really starting to get on my nerves.
So I get the unit up, fully up-to-date, and logged in, and no NICA network interface controller (also known as a network interface card, network adapter, LAN adapter and by similar terms) is a computer hardware component that connects a computer to a computer network. is detected on the unit. OK folks, it’s a defective wireless card, let’s RMA this bad boy.
TIME INVESTED TO DATE: 3.5 hours.
Now the real time waster begins.
BlackBerry Tech Support was courteous but not helpful.
After calmly explaining all I had done to get to where I was, they asked me to go through it all again – with them on the phone. OK, let’s do it!
TIME INVESTED ON PHONE BEFORE I WAS FINALLY ESCALATED AND THE WORD RMA A return merchandise authorization (RMA) or return goods authorization (RGA) is the process of having a product repaired or replaced in order to receive a refund or credit for another product from the same retailer or corporation within the product's warranty period. WAS FINALLY USED: 1.5 hours.
OK – finally some headway. Finally get escalated to TIER 2.
“OK Mr. Lehmann, let’s start from the beginning and go through this ONE more time”. Oh yeah, now we are having fun.
An RMA was FINALLY issued by TIER 3.
“OK Mr. Lehmann, we’ve issued an RMA, it will take approximately 2 to 3 days for you to receive an email with details.” Wait, what? 2 to 3 days to issue an email? Seriously?
TOTAL TIME INVESTED: 5.5 hours.
Three days later I haven’t received my email. Now I am Googling other RIM RMA stories – most good reviews, but some that sound very very similar to my own. See this post on Serious Mobile discussing their RIM RMA Experience.
I email RIM to ask for an update. No response in 8 hours. I email them again and follow up with a phone call.
After answering WAAAY too many questions about the nature of the RMA and what I was told was going to happen (including, “do you know who you spoke with?” and “well, what did Jeff say? Was he going to issue an RMA?”) they finally come back with: “Oh yeah, now we have your case here, here is your RMA ticket number.” So, were you going to honor the RMA without me calling to hound you? You had my emails on file, were you going to respond? What’s going on with this company?
But before they would issue the number or tell me the number or FRICKING GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, they would like to advise me that I have been selected to escalate to TIER 4 technical support to help resolve my issues with connecting to wireless networks. Are you F*CKING kidding me? (by the way, this is where having your own blog comes in handy; I can say virtually anything I like without worrying about someone pruning my rant).
I was also given a fairly lengthy lecture on how if ANY damage was discovered on the PlayBook then RIM would either a) not proceed with ANY repairs or b) charge me $149 per incident. The representative fairly belabored the point.
Essentially, and I’m seriously paraphrasing here, I was told, “we know you don’t understand how to use your device or how to connect to a simple wireless network, and it is unlikely that we will be able to reproduce the problem, and as such, we should all just save the shipping costs and close the case.” That’s NOT what she said, but that’s what I heard. Does that make sense to anyone reading this?
Seriously this tablet is NOT worth this much time and effort. Hell, I haven’t even seen the interface to start looking for other defects.
In truth, it really felt like an insurance company doing EVERYTHING in its power to discourage you from filing a claim.
I know RIM stock is in the tanks and the company is on shaky ground, but like Fox Mulder, “I want to believe.”
(Oh, and that was another peeve I have about the Welcome screen, on which I spent a great deal of time – the default Country is United States. WTF RIM? You’re a Canadian company, have some goddamn balls and show some pride. Default it to Canada!)
TIME ON PHONE: 0.5 hours.
TOTAL TIME WASTED ON BLACKBERRY PLAYBOOK (TO DATE): 6 hours.
Truthfully, in all my years in IT, and with all of the equipment and failed hardware I have encountered, I have NEVER had to work for an RMA as much as I have with RIM.
Failed hardware is fine and excusable. It happens, I understand, I am OK with that.
But making your customer jump through so many hoops to get a simple repair performed when it is abundantly clear that an issue exists is inexcusable.
I am glad that others have been happy with their PlayBooks but at this point RIM has a long way to go to make me a satisfied customer.
BlackBerry PlayBook PROS:
BlackBerry PlayBook CONS:
- RIM RMA Process
- Clunky, LARGE, BlackBerry Desktop Manager
- 7 minute boot process
- Who knows, I haven’t been able to turn this thing on
This is more of a telling of a story to-date… If my experience changes or if BlackBerry actually comes through, I’ll be sure to update this article.
As a side note, I also purchased a Google Nexus 7, which also arrived DOA. I called Google to say, “Hey, this thing sounds like crap, what can we do about it?” and the representative said, “OK, I am so sorry for the inconvenience but we are going to have to get you a new unit. We need to do something called an RMA. Shall we proceed?” I asked if they wanted to do diagnostics and I was told No, it’s a known issue, they simply swap them out.
Way to change a negative experience into a positive one Google! RIM could learn something here.
Google RMA procedure, start-to-finish, took 15 minutes. Full stop. This includes the brief, 2 minute survey at the end of the conversation.
/END OF RANT (for now)
UPDATE: January 17, 2013: FedEx delivered a new device (new serial number). Setup proceeded at a reasonable rate, although from the time of opening the package to the time I actually got to see the desktop/launch area took ~40 minutes.
Compare that against my Nexus or an iPad that takes perhaps 4 minutes to be “completely” up-and-running and you are looking at a staggering difference in the end-user-experience.
Now for some testing of this device.