Creative Outlet – a blog full of stories and personal musings

6Feb/100

Blog Update

Just prettied up the blog a bit. New theme, removed the ads on the side and put them inside each post (as a small banner), added disqus comment system and more! I feel pretty happy about how it turned out. Hope you will, too.

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20May/092

The Future in TVs

Today I have been to a conference with all the "major" players in the TV slash home theatre slash Blu-Ray players which gave us a little insight into the future of their products.

"Interestingly" enough, all of them pretty much sang the same song: Ecology.

Sony decided to do it strangely, though, by only putting a lot of the ecological technology in one of their models while the rest of the companies, except Samsung, put in sophisticated and interesting features to take down the watt usage.  Samsung is mostly focusing on their new LED TVs, which got a rather low watt from the factory.

Sony did do something quite original. It got a sensor, which detects both movements as well as body heat. If you leave the front of the TV for an extended amount of time, the picture will turn off. When you are back, it turns on in the blink of an eye. If you leave for a longer time, like as if something came up, it will enter standby after a preset amount. An extremely interesting thing for families with children, who'd get up and walk away without turning anything off.

What was kind of an annoying step towards the wrong thing, is that everyone have made some of the same damn thing but called it something completely different than the other company;  Streaming of music and videos to other products  hooked up to a network, using one remote for several products like TV remote also handles Blu-Ray Player and a means to connect your TV to the internet with sort of "widgets", like RSS feeds, weather, youtube etc. You could just imagine the wasted potentional by not communicating and creating an new open standard. It'll certainly cut down on a lot of extra development hours.

My absolute favorite is Philips new Cinema 21:9 series. Basically it is mimicking the display as seen in cinemas and after having seen it in use, I was absolutely blown away. It is just as amazing as seen on this picture:

philips-cinema-21x9-lifesty

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1May/091

A few tips on RMA – mostly electronics

I work in a PC retail store that sells general electronics. I'm a part of both sales and support and over the years, I've noticed just how little customers know of their rights, how it is done and what they can and cannot expect. So I've decided to write up a little list of things, that might help further people out so they know what they can and cannot do.

This is mostly relevant in Denmark and on the subject of components for PCs and general electronics. A lot of the tips offered will work in most situations but the laws might be different in your country.

So you got a faulty product and it's within the guarantee? Read through this list to ease the pain of getting it repaired or exchanged.

1) Troubleshoot the product first. Many times (at least 20% at my work) your product is not faulty, but is simply not used right or there are other things influencing it.

So, to avoid being made a fool of, research your means of troubleshooting your product. Google is an excellent tool in this situation or you can see if the manufacturer of the product got a forum or a support board. See if anyone got the same problem - if they do, it is most likely a known problem but they will also describe what they've done to make sure that this is the actual issue.

There are also several tools available, at least for PC hardware, that can test your setup. Then by the rule of elimination, you can figure out which one of your parts are faulty. Instructions about this can be found on google - but I can write up a little guide too, if it is needed. Just ask.

2) Check if the manufacturer of your product got direct support. This means that you can, most likely through their website, set up a RMA and/or a case. In Denmark, they will need to pay for transportation back and forth so a repair will not cost you a dime.

Products that most likely are under direct support:

  • TVs
  • Home theatre systems
  • Laptops
  • Big server solutions
  • Cameras
  • Printers

Manufacturers that got direct support in most areas of the world:

  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Canon
  • Acer
  • Asus

Obviously there are many more, who values a great support, so either contact them or look up on their website. Note that most PC hardware is not covered with direct support, except perhaps harddrives. Also note that if you are required to send it out of country, they might not like if you demand free transport, even if it is stated by law. This can be a hard thing to swallow, but if you want to go all the way out, ask for a local representative for your country or a supervisor. Present your case calmly, obviously.

3) Still not 100% sure what to do? Contact your place of purchase and ask what to do next. Don't be "that guy" and demand stuff, be reasonable and friendly - and you will also get helpful advice back. Explain what you've done so far and what the next logical step will be. You can also ask if there is anything more you can do as a customer.

4) In the end, if you are quite sure what is faulty - then take it to your place of purchase and turn it in as an RMA. Only do this, if you are absolutely positive if there is no direct support on your product. Remember to present a very throughout description of the problem and what you've done so far. The difference between a bad and good description can be several days on or off the testing time. Note that no one will do anything on your product, until they find the error itself.

So your product is now in to be repaired or exchanged, what can I expect?

First of all, be patient. Understand that there are huge gears rolling and you cannot be favored over other customers. You will, most likely, be put in a queue. When you turn the product in, you can ask about how long it will take  before it is looked on or if they know how big a queue is ahead of you. It can give a little idea on just how long time it might take.

Most places got a RMA system, which keeps you updated on what is going on or where you can go in and request an update on the situation. Make use of this, but you will in many situations get a very vague description. If you have not seen any update on this for a week or more, try to contact them and hear about a general update. Do not contact them every day, just because you think it will be quicker that way. All you will do, is delay time that could be used on other things and generally be wasting the time of everyone, including yourself.

Note that many products needs to be sent to a place that can repair it. Most retailers can only test that the error is there and then send it on.

It has now taken a couple of weeks, what are my rights?

This, unfortunately, sometimes happens. But you are covered, at least here. According to Danish law, a RMA case is only allowed to be in, in an "acceptable" amount of time. This is a very subjective thing and if asking a lawyer, it can be anything from 3 to 5 weeks. Check up on the status on your RMA through their system, so you at least know something is going on. If it's been sent to an external place, you can contact your place of purchase and hear, if they got an update on it - but note that some repairshops needs to be contacted by email, so an update can take awhile to get. If the status has remained unchanged for some time or you simply have not received any update on it, when approaching week 3 to 5, ask about what will happen now. Don't tell them your rights, as they will already know it. Be friendly, understanding and most of all, respectful. It's another person you are talking to. Do not be demanding, either.

If the repair is stretching out too much, your place of purchase might offer to exchange the product for you. If it is an outdated product, that can no longer be obtained, then you are entitled to get a similar or better product. Do not expect you can get something that cost the same, as your product did back then. Prices will always decline, so your $100 product back then can cost $20 now. Tell them what criterias you have, i.e. if it's a TV that you purchased just because it had 2 HDMI plugs, then tell them that so they can find something that is just as good or better.

If they do not have a similar or better product at all, you can ask for another product all together. If they don't have anything you want at that time, you can ask for all your money back - but you will need to send them in everything you got with the product when you received it. This includes manuals, original box etc. Note that this is according to Danish law. It might be very different in your country.

If ever in doubt, ask them.

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21Apr/091

A little experiment on writing

I've always wondered why it is so easy to write emotional things for me - while a lot of people simply cannot. Ever read a novel/book with characters that seemed to have absolutely no face to them so you can barely relate or care about them? This is exactly what I talk about, writers - mostly men, seem to be scared of making their characters 3 dimensional so the reader has to focus more on the events happening in the books instead of what effects the events got on the characters.

This is usually something you see in movies. Short of maybe romantic comedies, you very rarely feel any kind of attachment to the protagonist or the other character.

I'm not saying I'm a good writer for having this ability -- I just think that maybe writers are simply choosing this. I'm sure if they tried, they'll be able to create an amazing person you just want to hear more about.

I will give it a go;

The man was sitting on a bench.

This is starting out slowly. We know there is a man on the bench. It is past tense, which is just something I prefer. I'm not very good at it - randomly taking a shortcut into now and future tense.

People were walking past, barely noticing him.

He is a person who does not stand out with the way he dresses or behaves - this could also mean he is quite a loner.

He was sitting on the edge of the bench, looking at the ground infront of his feet. His hands firmly gribbed around the edge of the seat.

Something is obviously troubling this guy.

A tear falls towards the ground, his hands clenching and unclenching on the wood. A silent sob escapes his lips.

Holy crackers on a stick, this guy is sad and is finally letting it all go. But who is he and why is he so sad?

He wipes is nose quickly with a shaky hand and stands up, staring into the ground. He steps forward.

He is trying to pull himself together and move on, either towards what he is sad about or away from it.

Little did he know, that this was his last step. He stepped out on a rock, that slid away underneath his weight. He falls backwards and hits his head on the concreate floor. It starts to rain, as a small pool of blood emerges from his head.

The man is now dead and you are pissed off, because you know I'm the only one who knows more about this man than you do.

Did my experiment work? Please tell me.

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14Apr/090

Ah, yes — quick, get an axe!

Imagine a direct, mature world where you could be yourself and everybody would love you for it - love you for your honesty, your life glow and your views on things. A celebration of independence. Yet here we are, forced to follow trends like a herd of sheeps. Think of the possibilities if there are no games to be played in social encounters. Everybody says what they think and mean instead of sugar coating it or dropping subtle hints, only Sherlock Holmes could get a conclusion out of?

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17Mar/094

Going strong! I got a blog I can say FUCK on!

Now to crawl to bed and let life restart itself.

Ever noticed how we try to work so much so we don't have to work so much, yet we do?

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