02 January 2014

Further observations on the white heat of technology

(For those of you befuddled by the title, I ask you to check this blog entry posted elsewhere.)

As a follow-up to my previous article, here are some further notes of interest:

Reverse logistics done right

Total turnaround time from dropoff at the UPS Store to return delivery to my home address was exactly four weeks. Here were the subsequent steps that occurred:

  1. An e-mail was sent advising me of the work that needed to be done, contained in a generated PDF file. The attached note was in the form of an estimate, together with an acknowledgement that the warranty applied. The covering e-mail gave a reference number, a URL for viewing the status of the repair, and the notice that, if the warranty did not apply, I had 45 days to approve the estimate in order for repair work to commence.
  2. Approximate two weeks later, when I logged in again, the status showed that the work was finished, and the package had been picked, giving the UPS tracking number.
  3. Five days after that, checking the tracking number out revealed that the parcel was on the truck here in the GTA. It arrived that afternoon.
  4. The following day, I received an original copy of the original estimate in the mail. I am aware that the border does slow mail down by up to five days, so that was not surprising, but I figure they send the hard copy in the case that the underlying e-mail account was no longer functioning. Don't laugh — I know of three people who had their Yahoo accounts compromised in the past year.
The work was done correctly, and they gave me a new battery and camera strap as well. I was impressed.

The power of the tablet

We finally broke down an acquired a tablet — in our case, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. It's very easy to use!

Aside from the various fun apps (in my case, linking to different radio and music services from the CBC, NPR and the BBC; for my wife, it involved setting up WeChat), there are some fascinating ones that can really help out in buiness:
  1. Set up Dropbox on your home computer, and link it to the tablet's camera. The pictures you take will be immediately uploaded into the cloud and synced to your computer.I can see many collaboration opportunities in many functions in the office, shop, and outside with customers and suppliers.
  2. A similar syncing scheme is also available for taking notes (typed, audio or photo) in the field. I'm using Google Keep, which is right for my needs, but there are other options out there.
  3. Skype can also be set up. Android has an app for that!
I would recommend using Wi-fi connections as much as possible, as data roaming charges would be otherwise quite prohibitive (my tablet is not locked in to any of the telcos). Fortunately, most workplaces and many restaurants (think McDonalds and Starbucks) are already doing that. If you have not yet gone down that route, I'd say it would be money well spent, especially since the necessary security is quite cheap now.

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