December 2012


I’ve had a little experience with Windows 8 now, and I think I can say with some confidence that the experience has been positive. It’s an OS and interface that I will get used to using, although it’s definitely a bigger jump that some of the other “new” Windows interactions that have happened, especially in the recent past. A few specifics…

1. Begs to be touched – I have used W8 on 2 different laptops, neither of which has been a touchscreen. The W8 Metro interface is just SCREAMING to be touched. It just looks so much like a tablet… And that may be where I’m having some challenges here. I have been using a tablet much more in past 6 months so I’m comfortable mashing my big grubby finger into the screen to make things happen. I sometimes find myself trying to poke or swipe at my W7 laptop screen when my brain gets stuck in “tablet mode”, so this is not purely a “feature” of W8-Metro, but the tile layout is definitely touch-intuitive.

2. Loss of control – This is certainly another “learning curve” thing, but I really feel like I have very little control in W8. Call it “Start Menu Withdrawal”. It seems like things either work perfectly, or I’m left staring at the screen with no idea how to fix them. When I set one of these computers up for my Mom, I could definitely see the advantages of the simple interface; once I get everything set up correctly, she’ll be able to use it without too much tech-anxiety.

3. The Windows Store – My experience so far with the Windows Store has been a little less than awesome. I was one of the MANY people who ran into the perpetually-pending-updates problem. {Do a search for “Windows 8 App Update pending stuck” to see the internet joy…} I’m not going to be too hard on them quite yet, I was trying to update a bunch of apps {those things we used to call “programs” or “software”} on Christmas Eve, so I would imagine there was significant traffic coming in to their servers, but it looks like this has been a recurring problem for a few MONTHS for many users. I’m going to try and update a few more apps later this morning to see if I managed to fix all the problems, otherwise I may have to take a little trip to the Geek Squad people for some help. {And their first question will be “Did you try turning it off and back on again?” No, dipshit, that idea never occurred to me…}

4. Random navigation – It seems like there have been a LOT of times that the program I’m working on seems to just close all by itself and dump me out to either the Desktop or Metro or some other {seemingly} random program. I know that this is due to me getting used to a new touchpad and some of the touch-screen activated features that I’m accidentally activating by touching the edges of my touch-pad, but it’s definitely caused a little “salty” language to pass my lips.

As I said, overall I’m pretty satisfied with W8 so far. It looks good, it {usually} works well, and it just might encourage me to request a massive, touch-screen monitor for my next computer at work. Make that a DOUBLE massive touch-screen set-up… I’ll be so much more productive that way…

 

 

A month or so ago, I was browsing at bestbuy.com. I do that fairly often, or at least I used to. I was looking at cell phones and had to add one to my cart in order to see the price. I didn’t buy the phone that day, and I don’t remember if I removed it from my cart or not. The next time I checked bestbuy.com, there was 1 item in my cart, but when I clicked on my cart, there were no items visible. Huh, that didn’t seem right… I was thinking about buying a new CD, so I added a $15 CD to my cart. At checkout, the total cost of my order was $215. The only item visible in my order was a $15 CD. And bestbuy.com was going to charge me $215 for this $15 CD. Something’s not right here…

I’ve had to contact bestbuy.com’s Customer Service before, and although it’s very clearly run through an overseas call center, I’ve had positive experience with them before, so I contacted Customer Service to have them clear my cart. The people I talked to in Customer Service were thoroughly unprepared to help me. The only thing they seemed to be able to do is help me place an order. I didn’t want to place an order, I wanted them to fix my cart so I could place orders without talking to Customer Service and without paying $215 for a $15 item. I managed to convince the Customer Service person that I needed to talk to someone in Technical Support, but the Technical Support person was no more helpful than the Customer Service person. After explaining my problem for the 3rd or 4th time, the “Technical Support” person wanted to transfer me back to Sales. Not helpful.

Talking to Customer Service didn’t seem to help, so I took a couple screen shots to make it easier to explain the malfunction and emailed them to Customer Service. After almost a month, I hadn’t received any response. I thought maybe the Customer Service email account couldn’t accept emails with attached image files, so I sent a text-only email asking if anyone was looking into my problem. After a couple days I got a response.

“Thank you for contacting Bestbuy.

I understand you are having diffuculty using the shopping cart on http://www.bestbuy.com

Simply go to your cart and you will find a link or a button nearby saying to remove items from your cart. Please click that button. That should delete all the items inside your cart.

We appreciate you informing Bestbuy of your concern. We wish you success in all your future transactions on Bestbuy.”

Clearly, this is the stock response they send to anyone who’s a little slow at online shopping. The assumption here is that I’m too stupid to click the “remove” link. I realize that many people who contact bestbuy.com Customer Service are not very computer/internet savvy, so I understand that this type of response is probably appropriate in many cases. I’m not a computer genius, but I’m also not a cyber-knuckle-dragger. I think I have done everything I can from the customer side of the bestbuy.com website to fix my cart and it didn’t work. I need Technical Support. It’d be nice if bestbuy.com was willing to provide that technical support, but they haven’t been helpful yet. The problem can be pretty easily summarized with a single picture:

How can I have "1 Item" in my cart and "no items" in my cart at the same time?

How can I have “1 Item” in my cart and “no items” in my cart at the same time?

Will this problem be fixed? Only time will tell. At one point when I was talking to Customer Service/Technical Support on the phone I jokingly said “So the only way to fix this problem is to cancel my account and never shop at bestbuy.com again?” I was expecting to inject just enough humor and shock into the conversation to get some help, but the person I was talking to said “Well, yeah, I guess that would work.” Wow. I actually had someone in Customer Service at a major online retainer tell me that I should cancel my account and shop somewhere else. That’s great. As a 40-45 year old male with disposable income and a minor obsession with electronics, I would have thought that bestbuy.com would be bending over backwards to keep my business… I guess amazon.com and walmart.com are going to be my go-to spots for online shopping if bestbuy.com can’t help me. Either that or I should stop spending money on electronics… but I don’t see that happening.