Apple’s Customer Strategy

First of all, I think I should mention that I re-combined my blogs (cooking, fitness, and domestigirl) into a single blog. Also, I’m going to stop trying to stick closely to knitting content. This is a Kirsten blog and I am a geek, so periodically there will be geek content. Sometimes I will post photos of random things I find interesting. And heaven knows there’s a fairly high percentage chance that I’ll find some other new hobby that I feel the need to discuss. However, I get that lots of the people who happen by here aren’t that interested in geeky content, so I promise to try to do a good job of categorizing my content, and I have created RSS feeds for each of the categories on my blog – they’re accessable over there «< in the left sidebar. So now that I have a new “Geek Stuff” Category, I need to rant a bit about the problems inherent in owning a Macintosh. I have one because my work is largely unix-based (told you I was a geek) and, really… prepare yourself… I hate Microsoft. I know, I know, it’s a tired old sentiment, but I do love my mac and it does all the stuff I want. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get a yearning to do something *outside* of the sterile, bounded environment defined by the offerings of the Apple Store. For instance, last week I found myself at a customer site in New York. Being a Wall Street Investment Bank, they were fairly protective of their internal network. I was allowed to use one of *their* systems, on *their* network, and not install any additional software. Since our team communicates largely via IRC and Skype, this put me in a difficult position - I couldn’t get a network connection for my system, and I couldn’t use their system to communicate. So, I need to find a way to use the cellular system to communicate, either on my computer or using a handheld. After an extensive amount of research (too much, as is my normal habit) I determined that I had 2 options:

  1. A Blackberry Handheld. The Treo, while more full functioned, is much more likely to die if I drop it. Based on previous experience with my cell phones, this means that I would probably have a single trouble-free month with the phone before a clumsy moment rendered it useless.</p>
    • A Cellular Card for my computer </ol> If I get a Blackberry, I can:

      • … sync it with my mac if I buy PocketMac
        • Install IRC software on it to stay in touch with my team (only works with the BlackBerry 7230, 7280)
          • I can’t use it as a modem for my macintosh, though </ul> If I get a PC Card:

            • I have found a company in Germany which makes some software to make it work on a Mac. Of course it won’t be supported by my cellular service – in fact when I called to ask if the configuration would work the woman wasn’t sure what I meant by ‘macintosh’. “Does it have a PC slot? Can it do wireless? Then it’ll work!” OK, sure. </ul> So it turns out that either one can be made to work. And since I’m a geek-with-a-mac, neither will take me much time to get working now that I’ve invested 3 hours in finding out how to do so. But I ask you, what kind of strategy is this for Apple? They’re trying to target their systems to neophyte computer users, making them more accessable and less threatening. It seems like they might want to try to make it a little easier to do something like setting up a cellular modem on my system since most of their users wouldn’t even know where to start looking.

              I’m heartened by Apple’s recent forays into partnerships with different technologies… their Itunes agreements have given me hope that they’ll start looking into other similar possibilities. It’ll be very cool when I look at adding some new functionality to my life and find that it ‘just works’ with the system I love so dearly.

              Until then, I’ll just keep on googling to find the configuration answers to the puzzles, and sharing them here so I don’t forget where they are.

              For now, I just need to figure out if I need to decide if I can do enough of my work on the blackberry or if I’d rather be able to connect my Mac anywhere.

Dialogue & Discussion