Do You “Forgive & Forget” when a Company Apologizes? Apple & Amazon Hope You Do.

photo credit: So gesehen. via photopin cc

I have made several comments on this blog about the new “Maps” in iOS6. I really wanted to like it. I still want to like it.

But, ouch, I just don’t (so far).

I personally ran into some trouble with the maps already, and described my adventure here.

Basically, the bottom line is this:

We rely on maps to show us the way, and errors are simply not acceptable.

The internet has been blazing with complaints.

Apple’s Apology

Tim Cook
photo credit: Wikipedia

And to everyone’s surprise, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently issued this apology:

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

This wasn’t the first time that an apology was issued by Apple. Steve Jobs himself issued an apology over a pricing issue with an early iPhone (although he never really admitted to doing anything wrong.)

Amazon’s Apology

Jeff Bezos
photo credit: Wikipedia

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos issued an apology in 2009. People who had George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm on their Kindles woke up one morning to find them …. gone. Vanished. Amazon had removed them. People cried foul. After a big kerfuffle, it was learned that Amazon removed them because they didn’t have the right to sell them in the first place.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, offered this apology:

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

My Thoughts

Does this work? Do we forgive them?

I can’t speak for others, of course, only for me. But I can share my thoughts.

Amazon, I think, back in 2009, did a dumb thing, a quick knee-jerk reaction to their problem. But Jeff Bezos’ apology is outstanding. It sounds sincere, honest and direct. He admits that they blew it, and that they deserved the flash of anger that they received. I’m good with that. Amazon makes great products, supplies awesome content and provides stellar customer services.

Amazon: All is forgiven.

Apple is another story. They are not completely off the hook as far as I am concerned. I’m delighted that Tim Cook admits the mess and has gone so far as to suggest alternatives. BUT … if I may say … I wish they could hand the maps back over to Google for a while longer. It appears to me that they released a product that simply wasn’t “Apple-ready”. I am a solid Apple fanboy girl lady. But that means that I expect no less than perfection from their awesome products. These maps fall short and it thoroughly surprises me that they “let it out” for iOS6.

Apple: Apology Accepted (but) Disappointment Remains.

Weekend Distraction: RoboSockets: Link Me Up

I am not a great stick-to-it kind of game player. I enjoy them, but I can’t usually “stay” with a game for more than a few minutes. I jump around from app to app.

And then I met these cute little robots. This is one of only a short list of games that I have actually played all the way through to the end. No thinking required, just mindless fun.

The robots drop down from above. One, then another, then another and another.

Here’s what sets this apart from other matching games: Each of these little fellows has some hands. You will be happy to see the four-handed robot drop from the top, but you won’t be as pleased when you see the one-handed guy come floating down.

And this is because your job is to LINK them. Hand to hand. If a robot has a hand on the left, hopefully you will soon get a robot with a hand on the right so that they can connect, hand to hand.

When you connect 5 robots, they “POP!” and disappear off the screen. You’ll be delighted with the “pop”, because you need the room as they keep raining down. Clearing these robots also fills your “energy bar”.

You’ll continue to strive to pop chains of robots because if you don’t, they keep building toward the top and ….. uh, oh. End of Level.

Occasionally objects other than robots drop down. Sometimes you’ll see a drill drop down and with that you can clear an entire line of robots. Other times you might get a mystery box. Inside will be a robot, but since he is hidden from view, you won’t know how many hands he has, and his placement will be pure luck. When the box disappears, you’ll shout out a “yay” or an “oh, no!” as you see the robot that has entered your mix.

This game is fun and completely addictive. Kind of a “match three” plus “tetris” combo.

RoboSockets is 99¢ in the iTunes store.
(There is also a free version available with the first few levels free to try.)

My First 24 Hours with the iPhone 5 w iOS6

My impressions, (phone and iOS6) no particular order:

Good: I love the way it looks and feels. It is longer and slimmer than the iPhone 4 and significantly lighter. There have been complaints that it is so light it feels “flimsy”, but I don’t agree with that. I think it feels just fine. Better than fine. I like it a lot.

Good: Because of it’s longer shape, you now have 5 rows of icons. For an app collector junkie like me, this is great news. At this moment, I can actually fit all my “first screen” choices on the first screen. :)

Good: It is definitely faster. Always a good thing.

Bad: I think the battery might be an issue. I don’t believe my iPhone 4 dropped as fast as this battery drops during the day. It’s still plenty of power, but the percentage at 5 o’clock, for example, seems far less than it was at the same time of day with my previous phone. However, I used the phone quite a bit this day. Several long phone calls, a number of podcasts and considerable time getting to know Siri. So I really can’t submit an educated opinion about this, yet. Just an observation.

Good: “Do Not Disturb” is awesome

Bad: Maps, oh, my. I used Apple’s new Map app for the first time today. It did not go well. A street that I had to go down was blocked. I went to the next closest parallel street and pulled out the map app. Following my little blue dot, I expected to find a way to circle back. Sadly, on this suburban but tree-lined road, the map gave me TWO large errors. First it told me that a road was coming up shortly that would take me back, but when I got to that point, there was no road at all. :( A bit further down the road, the map promised a second road that would take me back. When I arrived at that point, this “road” was just a private dead end. :( Ouch. Two fails in one short experience. Such a shame. This is an iOS6 issue, so if you update your older device, you will also have to work through the changing maps.

Good: Siri. Altho she is not new to the iPhone, she is new to me, and I think that in spite of our difficulties the other day, I believe we will get along just fine.

Good: Dictating messages. Again, new to me. But this is such an awesome feature, I’m planning to dedicate a post about it, soon.

I don’t care: that YouTube is gone. I found an amazing substitute. Again … I’ll blog about that shortly.

another I don’t care: They moved the earphone jack down to bottom of the phone (it had been on the top). I think this might take a bit of re-organizing on my part, but nothing I can’t handle. If you are among the people who drop their phones in their pockets upside down, this will be an improvement for you.

Good: Reply with a message to a phone call. This will be handy … and it will also be a blog post in the near future.

Good for me, Bad for others: There is a new connector to attach your phone to power and/or sync. It is smaller but to me the real thrill is that you can attach it to your iPhone with no worry about orientation. I remember way back in my iPod days of being warned to be very careful putting the connector in properly with the correct side up. An “Apple genius” told me that this was a major source of un-fixable damage. So I have always been oh-so-careful about connecting that cord to all my Apple devices. With the new connector…. no more worries. You can’t do it wrong. So I’m delighted.
However, if you have docking devices, they will not work with this new connector. I have none, so I’m not bothered by the change. But for people with docking alarm clocks, speakers, etc, this new connector means that all that equipment is useless.

My Experience As a Regular Person Setting Up the New iPhone 5

The box arrived late in the afternoon. I had ordered my new phone on the first day, but not until the “first wave” was all sold out. That was fine with me. I didn’t mind waiting. (I enjoy the anticipation :) )

Let me start with the order process: This was the very first time that I did not buy my Apple product at the Apple store. I have always purchased there, and I have always let them set it up and get me started. They are truly awesome at getting you “good to go” as you walk out the door.

* Note to readers who are considering getting an iPhone for the first time: If you can get to an Apple store, go there and put yourself in their hands. They will have you all set up and comfortable before you leave the store. You don’t have to do a thing.*

But this time was different. I decided to take the route of least resistance, without the pressing crowds (Apple stores are always crowded, especially when there is a new launch). Since I happened to be near an AT&T store, (and that is my carrier), I stepped inside and quickly found myself at the counter where I ordered my phone. So simple, and no crowds. I was feeling smug.

Then they told me it would be shipped to my house. This was good (but a bit scary) news. I knew this was the way it would happen, but I quickly found myself developing cold feet.

Now this is exactly the reason I have always gone to the Apple store, before. “Shipped to my house” now meant that I, me, JUST me, not an “Apple Genius”, would be responsible to set up my new phone AND activate it.

“The Scream” Edvard Munch photo credit: Wikipedia

Set it up? Activate it? Move the number from my old phone to my new one? Me? {Deep breath}

They did assure me that if I had trouble, I could bring it to them and they would activate it. And I knew I could go to Apple, too, with either setting up or activation issues. So with those safety nets in place, I agreed to be brave. “Sure,” I said with false bravado, “Just send the iPhone to me. I’ll be panicked fine.”

It arrived quickly. I felt a “yay!” and an “uh oh” in an odd simultaneous thought.

Someone very dear to me once taught me “if you touch it, do it” and, remembering that advice, I got right to the task.

Opening the box I was pleasantly surprised at the appearance of the new iPhone. It is much thinner than the 4 that I had, and longer.

There were instructions in the box from AT&T. They were short and sweet. Once again I felt that odd mix of confidence and fear.

There are two ways to upgrade a new iPhone. (If you are getting your first phone, this is not an issue. Just turn it on and follow the steps). Since I was upgrading, I had to make a choice. I could do this over iCloud (no wires) or through iTunes (attach the phone to a cable and my computer). Since I frequently still sync with the computer, and my phone was all backed up, I chose to do it through iTunes.

The other decision I had to make was to do a “restore” or set it up “as a new phone.” A “restore” would mean that my NEW phone would look exactly like my OLD phone, with all the tweaks and personalizations in place. My apps would be organized the same, my ringtones would be the same, etc. etc. As nice at that sounds, I could also use a housephonecleaning, and by setting it up as “new” I would be building it up app by app, tweak by tweak, clean and tidy.

I decided to go with the “restore”. Me = Lazy.

Decisions made, it was time to begin.

I turned on the iPhone.

It greeted me with a black and white screen, with “iPhone” on it.

Step by step, VERY clearly, it took me from selection to selection. Select language, enable location, etc. I never felt uneasy with a choice or questioned what I should do. It was all very clear.

It told me when to plug into iTunes.

When the screen came up on iTunes (once the iPhone was plugged in) I was given the choice of “restore” or “new phone”. I chose restore, and the iPhone and iTunes played together nicely for about 40 minutes. When they were done, I unplugged and admired my new iPhone!

Oh… wait. I hadn’t activated it. Whoops. What now?

I referred back to those directions, and AT&T said that the phone could be activated by either going on-line or calling a number.

I chose on-line. I carefully used the address that AT&T provided, but it simply did not work. I tried several times. Nothing. I didn’t panic, because I knew that all I had to do was to take the phone into an AT&T store the next day and they would do it.

But I decided to try the other method, by calling the phone number supplied by AT&T. This was easy and very clear. I was asked by a robot for the number of the phone I was calling about (I gave them the phone number of my OLD phone that I wanted moved to my NEW phone).

Then they asked for my zip code and the last four numbers of my social security number. Once they had that information, the robot-lady told me that I was done. I was instructed to turn the phone off for 5 minutes, and when I turned it back on, I would be activated. I did exactly that …. and all is well.

Success! The new iPhone is set up and activated. And in spite of all my fears, it really wasn’t difficult at all. :)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note: I discovered that after the “restore” I needed to reset my passwords for email, reset the device lock, and reset my voicemail password, but so far other settings appear intact.

Tech Trivia: Most Watched YouTube Videos Ever

What are the most watched YouTube Videos ever?

As of September 2012, Justin Bieber is holding the top spot, with “Baby”. His video presently has 782,065,258 views. That’s 782 MILLION. Yikes!

He is followed by Jennifer Lopez’s “On The Floor” and various other music videos.

But what about the most-watched NON-music video?

With over 483 MILLION views, it’s “Charlie Bit My Finger – Again!”

Cheeky Siri

I am American, but I watch a lot of British television.

Sometimes British words are just better … more descriptive … than those we “American-English” speakers have available.

And so was the case yesterday afternoon.

Siri and I are just getting acquainted. I’ve updated my iPad to iOS6, and she was included. I spent the afternoon with her the other day and she gladly told me the weather, updated some sports scores, suggested a few restaurants and let me know how many days there were until Christmas.

So I thought we had a pretty good start with our relationship.

Until this exchange:

I set my iPad on a stand on the kitchen counter. I was planning on calling out the names of some songs for her to play on the iPad while I did my chores.

But first, polite as I am, I said “Good Morning, Siri!”

(ok, I’ll digress, here. I do admit it is a whole other story we could do about actually talking to (greeting) your Apple device. Yes, I do realize I could have skipped the “good morning” part. :) But we’ll let it go for now.)

So back to the kitchen:

Me: “Good Morning, Siri.”

Siri: (in her Siri voice): “Hello. (pause) And by the way, it is 12:06

WHOA! She was letting ME know (in her Siri voice) that 12:06 is technically no longer ‘morning’!

Cheeky.

That’s the only word for it.

Cheeky Siri

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

google “funny siri” for other insights into her “personality” :)

Here is a link to get you started:

Siri-isms

Even quicker … google “funny siri” in GOOGLE IMAGES

Emoticons in iOS6 and How to Access Them

I enjoy emoticons. And iOS6 has added quite a few new ones for our emoting-pleasure.

Emoticons are not a new feature of iOS6, but in iOS6 many more have been added.

So for those people who are enjoying their first iPhone, or who have just upgraded from an earlier model, this post will either alert you that you now have a host of newly added emoticons, or show you how to get to them in the first place.

I previously wrote about accessing your emoticons, here. But for the sake of the continuity of this post, I’ll refresh those directions today.

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add a New Keyboard > Emoji

And now, when you go back to your keyboard to type a note, an email, or a text message, you will see a globe in the lower left corner.

Tap the globe and the emoticons will appear for you to browse through. Tap any emoticon and it will appear in your message.

You’ll notice 5 symbols to choose from across the bottom, and each of these will take you deeper into pages of symbols, faces, fruit, people, animals and more.

Here are some sample clips of the emoticon choices. It looks like there is MORE of everything. More faces, more animals, more fruit, more flowers and more symbols. Old is mixed in with the new. Cats are new, “See No Evil * Hear No Evil * Speak No Evil” Monkeys are new, phases of the moon are new, along with a host of other bits of this and that.

When you have selected your emoticon, just tap the globe once again, and you will be returned to the standard keyboard.

Note: Apple tells us that “When sending emoji to non-iOS devices (other mobile phones, computers, or applications), the emoji may not appear as expected.” I experimented by sending some emoticons in an email to a friend who read the email on a non-iOS computer and she did not see any emoticons. So be aware that “may not appear as expected” also means “may not appear at all”.

Weekend Distraction: Little Things for Your iPad

After all this commotion this week about the release of the new iPhone and all the good (and bad) of iOS6, well, I’m ready for a “little” Weekend Distraction.

I like my devices to occasionally deliver a little peace. A little down-time. A little Zen.

It’s time for “little things”.

This is a hidden pictures game that doesn’t try to hide the pictures within a scene, rather it just assembles mass quantities of “little things” into the shape of a bigger thing, and your job is to find some named little things within that big thing.

You can zoom in (my eyes thank the developers for that feature) to find those little things.

The background music is soft and soothing. Truly relaxing.

Just open the app and zone out. No thinking required. No interacting with anyone.

Find a few little things, then return to the real world if you can (it is a bit addictive!).

Little Things is $2.99 in the iTunes App store.

Get Back Your Maps Street View in iOS6: Live Street View

I sure do wish that Apple and Google could get along. They should have learned how to share the sandbox back in Kindergarten.

Google Maps was one of the things that made the iPhone so awesome. I’m grumpy, now. :( I didn’t know how much I’d miss Google’s Maps.

Especially Street View. I love street view. I have written about it before. It is so very helpful when traveling. Boo. 3D is pretty. But I don’t want to “fly over”. I want to walk on the street.

Apple is telling us that they are going to be improving their maps. Well, duh. If it wasn’t ready, they shouldn’t have released it. Errors are being reported across the internet.

We have come to expect Apple to make “good stuff”. We depend on them to make “good stuff”. This isn’t the “good stuff”. It’s a step backwards, and that is not very Apple.

Improving “awesome” is awesome. Improving “not ready” is a fail.

Some people don’t care. I heard a TV commentator say that he could care less about Maps, that he knows where he’s going. But those of us who have used Maps know that it is so much more than that. The traffic, the public transport, the reliability. Sigh.

Google apparently is making or has made an app but I’m guessing that Apple will drag its feet before approving it for the App Store.

So what to do?

In the meantime you can go through your browser and bring up Google maps. Click on the action arrow and you will be given an option to add it to your home screen.

This means you now have an icon to take you to Google Maps and it brings back the direction capability for public transport. Ahhhh.

But it does NOT give you Street View.

Fortunately, there is an App that does bring you Street View, and it does a very successful job of it.

It is appropriately named “Live Street View”. There is a free version that comes with ads, but for 99¢ you lose the ads and gain the ability to bookmark.

It is simple and basic. It does the job. Across the top you can tap Map or Satellite or Hybrid.

Simply tap a spot on a street and you get ….. STREET VIEW !! Hurray! And if you turn your device, it turns with you.

Live Street View is a quick and easy solution to give us back our beloved Street View, for now.

Live Street View is 99¢ in the iTunes store.

One Feature at a Time: How to Set “Do Not Disturb” in iOS6


Yesterday was the Day. iOS6 was released.

I’m a cautious updater. I go slow. I usually wait for several days before I even think about it. My logic is that if there are any big bugs, I’ll let others suffer the consequences, and I’ll learn from their experiences.

But yesterday’s release looked like it was going smoothly. And I had made some time. So I hooked up my iPad to iTunes and pushed the update button. (you also have the option to update directly from your device via the cloud).

I enabled the update and held my breath. (I have a love/hate relationship with updates. I love the new features, but I hate the stress of worrying that it might not go smoothly. I do know the root of my worry. It’s because of the 80′s and those old blue screens of death. That blue screen was traumatic. Those days may be gone … but, oh, the scars! But I’m getting better. And this is why I love my Apple goodies …. they behave themselves and have always updated properly for me.)

The update to my iPad 3 was smooth and quick. Now it’s time to start looking closely at the update and learning about the new features.

I think I mentioned that I go slow.

NOTE to my dear Blog Readers: I’ll be exploring one feature at a time, and every few days I’ll toss another here on the blog to look at more closely.
Just ONE at a time. Slow and steady. That’s how we “everyday folks” can cope with all this stuff.

My first feature of interest is the new “Do Not Disturb”.

If you have an iPhone or iPad then you are well aware of the all the notification noises. You get dings and beeps and jingles and jangles. You can put your phone on mute, but then calls are muted, too.

Enter “Do Not Disturb”. This is something I REALLY think I’m going to like.

Here is how you enable “Do Not Disturb” in iOS6:

To turn it on, just go to your settings, look for “Do Not Disturb” and move the switch to “on”. That’s all.

By enabling it, there will be no noises. Even that screen light-up won’t happen.

You can tell it is enabled because you will see a little crescent moon up in the status bar.

Here is the thing that makes this special over the “mute” button:

You can tweek the settings so that people in your Favorites list CAN get through. This means that you can set your phone on “do not disturb” at night but if your children or parents try to reach you during the night, their call will get through (as opposed to just having everything silent with mute.)

You also have the option to allow calls from someone who calls twice within three minutes.

You can turn this on manually, but you can also schedule it to come on during your regular sleep (or work) hours.

When you are ready to “be disturbed” again, just look at your phone. All your notifications will be there, you won’t have missed a thing, but they simply will have arrived without all the noisy fanfare.

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