BestBuy – Room for Improvement

Written: November 1, 2013

I am a geek and therefore spend time in stores like BestBuy, both in person and online. Tonight I wanted to check if they had any new iPad Air tablets in stock at my local Tualatin store, so I visited, and looked for the Tualatin store in zip code 97062:

Best Buy - Tualatin


I phoned the 888 area code and reached a person that knew nothing about my Tualatin store. Hmmm, is redirecting me to a support center that cannot help me, now that doesn’t sound friendly to me.

Being resourceful I just did a Google search for “Best Buy Tualatin”, and sure enough located the local 503 phone number where they could answer my question in under a minute:

Best Buy - 503


The moral of the story is to only provide a local phone number on your web site, even if you are a nationwide company like Best Buy, because loyal customers like me just want our questions answered at the store of our choice. Don’t make your customers call a support center that cannot answer a local question.


Apple Maps Not Quite Ready

Written: October 24, 2013

You have to credit Apple for being ambitious in creating their own mapping app to compete with Google Maps, however a little testing by me recently shows that Apple has much work to do yet. As an example I asked Apple Maps to find the directions between my home and office and it came up with a circuitous route of 2.4 miles while Google got it right at 2.1 miles:

Next, I asked each mapping tool to find direction from home to Rolling Hills Community Church, once again Google came out on top saving me 1 minute of time by taking into account traffic congestion:

Finally, I compared mapping directions from home to Champoeg State Park, Google found a route 2 minutes shorter than Apple:

My first mapping app was MapQuest, then Google, so based on these results I continue using Google Maps. Maybe in a few years Apple Maps will improve enough to consider using.

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Latest Mac OS X – Mavericks

Written: October 22, 2013

Today is the big day to update your Mac OS X operating system for free to the latest release called Mavericks, or version 10.9. The 5.28GB download will take about 45 minutes to download (remember, no DVD media), then installing and restarting another 45 minutes or so. Apple claims some 200 improvements with this version of Mac OS X, so you can get a better idea of specifics here or at the Apple site here.

On my setup there are two external monitors and with Mavericks it added a menubar to each external monitor. I can see how some users would welcome that, however for me I want the maximum screen space available so I figures out how to turn off menubars for external monitors right away. My first external monitor is just as fast as the laptop display, however my second external monitor is connected to the USB port with a device made by Diamond using software called DisplayLink, which is now dog slow. So I’ll have to wait for an updated version of DisplayLink to get back some of the lost speed.

Most of the changes that I see with Mavericks are cosmetic, reminding me of the recent iOS7 update for the iPad.

Go ahead, update to the latest Mac OS X, just pick a time maybe near the end of your work day, or when you can be doing something else productive for awhile during the installation process.


Maybe Your Next Laptop Will Be a Tablet

Written: October 14, 2013

My wife’s 15″ HP laptop display is going out, so we have to decide what to replace it with. Your home or business is likely facing the same decision in the near future.

HP Laptop


I asked my wife what she used the laptop mostly for, and discovered that it was:

Then I learned that she wanted something more mobile than a bulky laptop, so today I let her start using a Nexus 7 tablet that I’ve been using to test mobile web sites with.

Nexus 7 tablet


For the times that she is at her desk and wants to really type fast I gave her a Logitech bluetooth keyboard:

Logitech Tablet Keyboard


When shoe goes mobile the Nexus 7 can fit into her purse, when back at home she can either carry the tablet or place the tablet on the holder and type away with a full-size keyboard. After we added an account for her on the Nexus 7 (something the iPad cannot do) she supplied her Google credentials and then had access to all of the Apps used on her Android phone, quite a convenient feature of the Google Play store.

The tablet uses the same micro-USB connector for power as her Samsung phone, making the desk less cluttered by using a single charger.

She’s used Windows 8 and Android operating systems before, so there wasn’t much of a learning curve to become productive with the Android-based Nexus 7 tablet.

Perhaps your next laptop replacement won’t be a laptop at all, rather some tablet with an optional keyboard.

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