[My Internet went down last night. Sorry this is posted late.]


The beat goes on. The WheelTug subsidiary seems to be assembling a team of subcontractors with the capability – it is hoped – actually to produce (like, for real) the parts needed to make all this work. Expect delays; perhaps outright failure. But I continue to believe that the upside is worth the risk.


John Bercini: ‘Check out this link. It’s a great news aggregator.’


George Hamlett: ‘This from John Mauldin’s March 1 letter:’

I have been a Sprint customer for at least ten years, I think. They are losing customers at a very serious rate. Some two million are expected to leave this quarter. I am one of them.

My new Treo phone stopped working. It is only a few months old. I gave it to my assistant to take to Sprint and get it exchanged, as I have insurance on it, which I pay $5 a month for. Also, Sprint has the worst customer service. It can take hours to get through the lines at their nearest store, and you can be on hold for a long time on the phone, so I let my assistant deal with them. After waiting forever in line, she got to the desk and explained the problem. They took the phone and came back and said they would not replace it as I must have dropped it in some water, since it was corroded on the inside. They are not responsible if I drop it in the water. She had to get out of line and call me.

I told her I had not dropped it in the water and I wanted a new one like the contract said. I spend almost $5,000 a year with Sprint, and I wanted them to honor that contract. She once again had to get in line, waiting for an hour to get to another clerk, who told her he could not do anything, but we could call customer service. After she endured yet another conversation and waited another hour, I told her to come on back to the office.

I called my friend who is an expert in the cell phone business, and he said AT&T was the best. I got in the car with my daughter, we drove five minutes to an AT&T store, and in an hour I had a new iPhone from Apple, at a lot less per month than Sprint. No waiting in line. Very friendly and knowledgeable service.

Tiffani has bought a new Apple Macbook Air. It is amazingly thin and light, with a full keyboard and lots of cool features. She loves it. I liked the look, but did not want to spend the time learning a new system. I have always teased people who use Macs as being members of a cult.

Then I started using the iPhone. I am simply blown away. I love this thing. Yes, there are some features I wish they had, but not major ones, and I bet the next versions will have them in a year or so.

So, I let Tiffani persuade me to go to the Apple store near my home. We actually set up a private 30-minute appointment online with a sales representative. When we met, he carried a sign that said we were in a private meeting. I was blown away by the MacBook Air. I am going to get one before my next trip. It will reduce my carry-on weight by 4 pounds or so.

And for $99, they will let me come in one hour a week for a whole year for one-on-one personalized tutoring on any program or aspect of anything Apple makes. Any question I want.

It is likely that when we move next, we are going to convert the office to Apple. I can run my Microsoft software but not have to deal with viruses and garbage.

I wonder how many people like me are going to get an iPhone and start to think about other Apple products. And love the service?

Memo to Sprint board: steal someone from Apple to come run customer service. Or watch your customer base continue to erode.

☞ The rest of his letter, on recession, inflation, and muddling through, is interesting as well.


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