Saturday, June 30, 2007

Why in Blazes would you buy an iPhone on Ebay?

I'm not sure what the scoop is in other areas of the country but I just passed the local Apple Store and they are still selling the phones they have in stock today. No shortage of the little buggers as far as I can tell. The auction prices are as high as $1500 for one 8GB. According to the tool up on the Apple site, every Apple Store in every state in the Union has iPhones for sale. Who's buying iPhones on Ebay? The rest of the world? Idiots? There are no lines folks. Heck, go buy two and some accessories for your $1500.

iPhone and Google Apps for Your Domain Config

I had a few issues configuring the iPhone's mail client to work with my domain hosted Gmail account. If you have a plain old gmail account the settings are trivial. My personal Gmail account was configured in seconds. Since my company domain is hosted using Google's Apps for Your Domain service I had to configure the mail differently. The steps are simple: 1. Instead of picking GMail as your account type just select "Other..." when you are prompted by the iPhone. 2. For your incoming mail host type in 'pop.googlemail.com'. No extra port information required. 3. For your incoming account name use 'recent:username@domain_name'. (See this note from Google as to why you probably want this configuration.) 4. Enter your password. 5. For your outgoing mail host type in 'smtp.googlemail.com'. Again no extra port information. 6. User your email address as the account login 'username@domain_name'. No extra "recent:" needed here. 7. In the advanced settings make sure SSL is turned on for both incoming and outgoing protocols. Any other settings (message retrieval, preview count, etc) are up to you.

iPhone Activation Issues

My only issue yesterday with configuring the iPhone was activation. The process itself is painless, you hook up the phone, walk through a few screens, enter in your information, but then the phone has to actually activate. This normally ends when you see a globe on the phone and a message saying something like "Activating Phone..this can take some time". While this was happening I was able to sync content to my phone but once that was done I wanted to play around a bit while waiting for the activation. Since I thought this was something happening over the cellular network I disconnected the dock cable. Well, the activation process seemed to stop right there. So I called AT&T. The initial folks handling the call were helpful, but when they tried to transfer my call to an "activation specialist" they dropped my call. So I called again. This time they told me they couldn't help me and that I had to call another AT&T support line. I called that line and the recording said to call back during normal business hours. WTF?!? So I called back the first number I dialed for AT&T and the woman gave me the number for Apple iPhone support (800-MY IPHONE) because Apple was doing all the activations. (That would have been nice to know the first time.) So I called Apple. I waited about 3-5 minutes on hold when a lovely woman from Canada took my iPhone serial number, my name and a call back number, listened to my description of the problem, and fixed it in two seconds. All I needed to do was power the phone off and back on again. The iPhone immediately connected to the cellular network and I was making calls. Thank you Canada! (an Apple) The whole ordeal took about 20 minutes but the first 15 spent with AT&T were clearly not pleasant. I can't blame the AT&T support people entirely. I'm sure the secrecy around the launch was detrimental in them getting all the information they needed to help me but their execution was poor as well. Not that the AT&T staff were not friendly or helpful but they dropped me and managed to give me bad information. Not a good way to treat a customer that just dropped $600+ on a phone and upgraded their cellular service to boot. In any case the ordeal is over and the phone works great. While I was waiting I managed to configure my Wi-Fi connection and surf the web from the iPhone. Wow....

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iPhone Launch

I picked up the iPhone yesterday and as far as purchasing the product goes, this was the most successful product launch for me ever. Apple clearly anticipated how many people would show up and had enough units to go around. They had extra staff giving out accurate information about the process and any technical details on the phone, activation, and the rate plans. They also gave out free water and coffee to everyone standing in line. Apple orchestrated getting about 10-20 people in the store at any given time so there was no rush, no commotion, in the store. You could buy your phone and accessories in relative peace. Don't get me wrong it wasn't subdued. It was very exciting but it didn't feel like a massive product launch where you spend your time driving around looking at lines, sitting on the curb, and often coming home empty handed. Apple deserves a hand on their mechanics and execution yesterday. As always the folks at the Menlo Park Mall Store in Edison, NJ did a great job. That part of the customer experience was flawless.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don't Look Back In Anger

There are some songs which if they were released on a 45 I'd just put on the side and let the needle run from the outside to the inside all day long. (If you don't know what a 45 is let me interpret the first sentance as "I could listen to the song all day long.") Don't Look Back In Anger from the album "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" by Oasis is one such tune. It is the most straight up rock song that's been written in a long time. It smacks of A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. For me Don't Look Back In Anger is truly another hymn suitable for any service at the Church of Rock-n-Roll.