How hard is it to buy a Microsoft Surface? Apparently very… and their support is worse!

by Xavier Comments: 0

Microsoft is the same as with other companies. If you don’t have a SSN and your credit card is outside of US, you are nobody 🙂

But I contacted MS support and they couldn’t even help me get a hold of my order. They just redirected me to the CR office which has absolutely nothing to do with the Surface.

Sid: I understand that you would like to know the status of your Microsoft Surface order you have ordered from Microsoft Store online. Am I right?
Xavier Morera: Yes
Sid: To seek assistance on this matter, I request you to contact the Microsoft Subsidiary for Costa Rica directly. This Customer Service you have reached is for North America. Please give me couple of minutes as I locate the contact information of the assigned Subisidiary Office for your location.
Sid: Please click here to view the full contact information of the Microsoft Subsidiary assigned for Costa Rica
Sid: Please note that our Support Professionals are only trained to troubleshoot issues with North American versions of our products whereas the Support Professionals at the local Microsoft subsidiaries are trained to troubleshoot issues with localized versions of our software and can assist you in your own language.

Oh, and “my language” can be English too…

And then Sid just closed the chat, didn’t even let me finish asking questions.

Sid: I hope your issue gets resolved soon.
Sid: Thank you for using Microsoft Customer Service Chat. Please feel free to come back again. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Chat session has been terminated by the agent.

At the end got a hold of MS Store, and that is the subject of my next post!

Windows 8 & Windows 8 Mail

by Xavier Comments: 0

So I installed Windows 8.
– First impression > Love it
– Second impression > Hate it
– Now > I *may* be able to live with it, just like I can live with…. with a little bit of extra effort

It is hard when something is not one thing but is not something else. In this case MS tried to make it such a simple UI for some things that made it unusable. Just a quick example:

Windows Mail is VERY simple, just like my Windows Phone 7. However, it is so simple that basic things like being able to look for an older mail and copy some text into the email that I am currently writing is not possible. Also, I can’t find how to add an attachment.

Both of them may be user errors, or maybe I can’t see them and that is also MS fault. Remember… don’t make me think! There is too much tax on your brain while using Windows 8! That alone could make this a Vista #2

Quickpass – LAFISE vs BAC

by Xavier Comments: 0

Quiero uno, entonces me fijo a ver como es la cosa. Resumen:
– En LAFISE cuesta $30 mas $1 mensual
– En el BAC cuesta $35 mas $1 mensual y te OBLIGAN a abrir un casillero Speedbox.

No solo lo dan mas caro sino te zampan otro servicio que de por si es CARISIMO! No quiero que me obliguen a tener un casillero.

Cuando van a aprender a ser educados en el BAC en OFRECER y dejarlo a uno decidir. A la gente no le gusta que le VENDAN algo, le gusta COMPRAR las cosas. De fijo les sirve con personas menos dolores que uno…

Trate de buscar el Banco Nacional, pero como bueno banco del estado no es muy claro ni facil entender sus servicios. Punto ahi para los privados.

Ojo Lafise

Ojo el BAC

Y aca esta la parte NO bonita

Que ostinazon con el BAC!

Aca esta la lista completa de proveedores
http://www.quickpasscr.com/nuestros_clientes.aspx

Cuando mayor seguridad implica menos seguridad en los sitios de los bancos

by Xavier Comments: 0

Hoy he sufrido con los benditos sitios de Lafise y del BNCR. El del LAFISE tiene los requerimientos mas absurdos de seguridad del mundo para las claves, ademas de que envia un “otp” por telefono. Para empezar, depende del TELEFONO. Cabe decir que a veces duro un par de minutos en llegar, los cuales espere pacientemente viendo un timer de 3 minutos que me indicaba que se me acababa el tiempo y justo al puro final llega el bendito mensaje. Me senti como en una pelicula donde ocupaba desarmar una bomba. Bueno, en fin termine mi pleito con el sitio de LAFISE.

Ahora al del Nacional. La clave es igual de estupidos los requerimientos. Cuando van a entender ellos una cosa, al igual que LAFISE:

SI EL REQUERIMIENTO PARA LA CLAVE ES MUY ALTO, ES DECIR LA CLAVE TIENE QUE SER MUY DIFICIL, ENTONCES NINGUN SER HUMANO SE LA VA A PODER MEMORIZAR, SOBRE TODO TENIENDO QUE CAMBIARLA FRECUENTEMENTE, POR LO QUE VA A TENER QUE ESCRIBIRLA.

Hmmm… ESCRIBIRLA… que tan segura es una clave escrita?

En cambio el BAC, ahi si es mucho mejor la experiencia. Ellos entienden que con un token bonito no es necesario ningun teclado estupido en Java, que por cierto a veces se queda pegado.

Y luego para colmo de males, me urge hacer una transferencia. Pues agrego el destino favorito en el BNCR y ahora tengo que esperar UNA hora para poder hacer la transferencia.

Seguridad es sinonimo de falta de sentido comun para muchos de estos sres.

Hello, I am Xavier and I am addicted to my Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge

by Xavier Comments: 0

Need I say more. It even feels weird, that it reacts so quickly to everything! And I thought I was flying on my Xeon…

Usability issues – learn what NOT to do by going into a public sector phone company site

by Xavier Comments: 0

I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about usability and good practices on design, and one of my favorites is Pluralsight‘s Creating User Experiences: Fundamental Design Principles from Billy Holis, so now I pay close attention to the sites for which I interact with on a daily basis. (And yes, need to update my blog too…)

I learn from looking at all things done wrong and going into Costa Rica’s public phone company site is the equivalent of a roller coaster ride for a UX exercise. Just a few ones of my favorites

You log in and there is no easy navigation at the top. You have to keep navigating through images with some text. The text is explanatory, but no easy way to navigate

Another one of my favorites, you get sort of used to their navigation way and then find out that a lot of links are in fact NOT links. Look at the “link” in the red box. Not clickable!

Another funny one. I created an account with them, they have my phone, cell phone, electricity and everything. Why do I have to fill in all the fields again when I need to ask for something, complain, request a service or so on and so forth. Yes I know, some bureaucratic knuckle head might think “oh! what if I want to ask for something for someone else?”. Well, when did someone else go stay in line for hours (or so) to get your electricity set up? Unless you are reasonably rich, might not be the case.

Oh well… I shall say no more. I want electricity when I get back home hahahaa

Dropbox vs Google Drive: differences that matter

by Xavier Comments: 2

I know this is a bit old already, but I hope someone from Google reads my post and they do something about it (I wish).

So let me summarize this, I have:
– 50GB Dropbox account for $9.99 a month
– 100GB Google for $4.99 a month
– 47GB used in my Amazon S3 account ($7.99)
– 25GB Skydrive which is free… but I hate and never use… even for free

No question about it, Dropbox is superior in everything, except price (S3 doesn’t have really a UI, I use CloudBerry Explorer)

Here are my biggest complaints on Google drive:
– It crashed and I had to re log in. Now it doesn’t let me select the same folder and it tells me I need to select an empty folder. Dumb Google Drive… Dropbox lets me select an older Dropbox folder and it automatically checks if files there are newer or older

– So then let’s outsmart Google Drive. Select an empty folder and drop all the files! It worked with the first versions of Dropbox anyway! I was wrong…. Dumb cannot be outsmarted!

Now I have an extra 45 GB of stuff and I hogged the office’s internet connection!

Google: great price, but please pay attention to these two very important details. I am pretty sure the devs that worked on this had a 1 Petabye connection right into the google drive source storage. But regular people don’t….

Annoying design errors in Google Chrome

by Xavier Comments: 0

There is no questioning on how Chrome is much superior to IE (I never use Safari nor Firefox in Windows/Mac) however I think I found the only thing where I believe Microsoft made a better design decision than Google:

Chrome keeps adding notifications on top, while IE does it at the bottom.

Very annoying Chrome! Given that Chrome *thinks* there are pages I want to translate as well as other actions, I keep having to search for text that keeps moving up and down very annoyingly while browsing.

Very well thought of Microsoft. Someone took a usability lesson once at least!

However, speed is still an issue here. Moving tabs from one browser to another in Chrome is seamless, while in IE it feels very clunky. Something to improve for IE 10 I hope.

Why I will never buy a HP computer… and the reason they are firing 27k people

by Xavier Comments: 0

Update 07 03, what I included in their customer service survey
It is very simple:
– The machine is great and for a great price
– Your HP store is highly unusable. Spend 10 minutes in the apple store and learn how it should be done
– Customer service was great, but I am sure it costs more for you to have a human being taking calls
– Delivery time not too good, not delayed but too slow
– Sell worldwide, not only US. There is more than just US

———————-
Update 07/01/2012: I was able to buy it by talking to customer service. The laptop is really nice, especially for the price. Shipping time was about 3 weeks so that was not too good. Also, had to “format c:” and do a clean install of Windows as it simply just has way too many programs installed, most of them garbage. However, my initial impression still stands. Their shopping.hp.com site is just way too complicated and in general not a nice experience.

————

I am not going to get into too many details or financial discussions. It is not needed. If you just go to shopping.hp.com you will understand in less than 2 seconds why HP is such a bad company and is getting even worse:
– I tried to buy one of their computers, which seem to good to be true to be honest, a nice Pavilion
– But their whole site is CLOSE to unusable. A very dumb group of people (who individually I am pretty sure are very smart) designed this site to be just confusing and impossible to find what you want. You need to memorize the names of the processors or NVidia thingies to know what you want.
– There are way too many options, that really confuses the whole thing a lot more
– Customization steps are sort of decent, but again not for regular human beings. Only for geeks. “Should I buy a 32 GB ssd ram mega gigabyte or not?….”
– Then I try to buy. I reckon I am not in the US, but I tried to buy with both my us paypal account and bank of america card. Both rejected, and then they tell me “you can buy from other retailers”. Yes, I am going with Dell!
Usability gets a -100000. Steve Krug (author of don’t make me think would probably shed a tear if he went into this site)

It was a nice equipment though… it is a shame. If they made a bit of an effort, with the nice specs of those machines they would be able to sell a bit more.

So yes, the second part of my title basically means “if they did things right instead of everything so complex and confusing, they would thrive and grow but when you see an organization that can’t do things easy for their customer, they are bound to run into problems”

Lessons in bad UX design – Carter’s reset password page

by Xavier Comments: 0

I was trying today to buy a thing or two from Carter’s and I realized I forgot my password. I tried to reset my password but oh was I wrong….

Look at the following reset password page and let me tell you what’s wrong with it:

– First, you need to know which of the five questions you answered when you registered.
– Yes I know my mom’s maiden name, the make of my car and the rest of the answers
– But I was never able to reset my password because it never accepted any of my answers

So, the problem here is that the devs at Carter’s think “oh, what a great idea! Let’s be really really sure that only the user can reset his password”. But they did such a good job that not even the user can reset his password.

If they were really smart, they would do the following:
– Allow the user to enter an email address
– Send an email to the user letting him/her know that somebody requested a password reset and with a link
– And then, if the user wants to he or she can reset the password.

Simple… yet some people, in this case devs like me, don’t really use common sense when creating a piece of functionality