God Of Nothing

Life, The Universe, and Everything…

Otterbox

Defender Series for iPhone 4

I don’t normally endorse any kind of products other than software or online services, so this is rare.  That said, I do appreciate excellent customer service which seems to be a dying art form among most companies.  Sure you might get the token “How can I help you?” but the actual follow-through is just unseen.

I am exceptionally hard on my devices and toys.  When I was a child, my parents were astounded that I could pull apart a Tonka Toy steel truck, and did so to many trucks.  My father couldn’t do it without tools.  So you can imagine how I am as an adult with my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and other assorted electronics and gadgets.

Knowing of my own destructiveness, when I bought my pretty, new iPhone 4, I was a little worried and apprehensive as to how long it would last before I smashed it into a thousand tiny little pieces.  Of course, I purchased the additional insurance and then began my search for the perfect case, not just the flimsy bumper that is so commonly seen.  Several hours of online researching later, I found Otterbox.  It was a little higher priced than what I had paid for other cases in the past, but this was a full case with a holster, the Defender Series.  All other previous cases were nothing like this. The Defender has a hard plastic shell surrounded by a silicone skin.  The inside has a velveteen-like backing to keep the iPhone more secure against shock and damage from rubbing against the interior of the form-fitting case.

I was set.  I ordered it online, and a few days later it arrived.  I followed the instructions online as to how to put my iPhone inside, very simple task, and was happy as could be.  A few weeks later, while quickly getting into the car, the holster caught on the door frame and my iPhone went flying as the holster hinge broke.  I thought for sure that my iPhone would be cracked, but it was safe and secure.

When I got home, I visited www.otterbox.com.  To my dismay, there seemed to be no option to purchase a new holster.  Feeling dejected, I found their customer service email and sent them a request to purchase a new holster.  The following day, I received a reply, they did not sell replacement holsters, but they would send me a replacement (at no cost.)  I did have to provide my receipt and a part number, but Otterbox replaced the holster with no questions asked.

Well, again almost a year later, I have broken the holster again, snapped at the hinge.  I am definitely hard on my equipment, surprised it lasted this long.  Two emails, my request sent to Otterbox, and their reply. That’s all.  I should be receiving my replacement holster in a few days.

Otterbox proves customer service is important and not a lost art.  I strongly recommend Otterbox if you are looking to keep your devices safer.  While there may be no case that will keep any device totally safe, I’ve dropped my iPhone over four feet and the Defender has kept it in one piece, this case has proven itself well worth the cost.

So check them out, they provide cases for all sorts of mobile phones and devices.

Thank you Otterbox.  I appreciate your products, your outstanding customer service and I am a customer for life.

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June 8, 2011 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Google Voice, Dial Me In!

Google Voice

I am constantly amazed by how many techno-savvy people I run into on an almost daily basis that have never even heard of Google Voice (GV), probably one of the best communication tools on the Net and its FREE.  Where else can you get a free local telephone number that you can configure to ring your mobile phone, your home phone, and your work phone, all at the same time, only Google.

Actually, I’ve never really been a Google fan, Gmail looks a little slapped together, I prefer Windows Live Mail, which has a downloadable client which is part of Windows Live EssentialsGoogle Sites, their free websites don’t look as professional as Microsoft Office Live Small business, although they are doing better and Microsoft has started charging for the once free service.  All that said, you’ve probably guessed I’m a Microsoft guy at heart.  However, Google does have some beautiful products that work better than anything else on the market.  Google offers by far the best search engine on the Net,Picasa is an incredible photo sharing package, and Google Voice, well read on.

I first heard about GV in July on 2009 when it was in beta.  A friend had told me about it and ten minutes later I was online signing up for an invitation and watching the promotional videos on their site.  It took three days to receive the GV invitation.  I was really excited and wasted no time signing up – today you can just signup for a GV number without waiting for an invitation – and choosing my new GV number.   Since then I have used GV almost daily from everything work related calls to selling items on Craigslist and all at the same time keeping my personal mobile number private.  I give out my GV number instead of my mobile number so much that I think only three to five people have my actual mobile.

Originally, Google Voice wasn’t Google at all, but a company called Grand Central, that charged members a monthly fee to use their service.  Google acquired them in 2007 and brought it online as a free service.  Now you can even port your GV number to some mobile carriers.  In my case, I like having both my mobile number and my GV number, but some may choose otherwise for any number of reasons.  Sprint customers will soon be able to use all of Google Voice’s features with either their Sprint number or in combination with a GV number.

GV comes with many useful and well thought out features. The main feature is that when your GV number is called, you can configure it to ring several phone numbers at once, such as your mobile phone, your home phone, and your work phone, as well as your Google Chat applet.  This is useful, especially if you have a more expensive mobile plan, although it can be alarming in the beginning when your mobile and desk phones start ringing at the same time and you’re not quite sure which to answer first.

One of my favorite features is the ability to set the hours your GV number is allowed to ring.  This is very useful for work related calls that you don’t want to receive while you are at home with your family or on the weekends.  Many companies are allowing the use of personal mobile phones for work use.  This saves the companies money by only having to pay their employees a stipend, great for them, bad for you.  It allows your fellow staff members access to your mobile number to call you whenever they want.  With a GV number, you just configure your times and those calls go directly to voicemail.  You can also set up groups within your contacts that allow you to set who is screened, which of your numbers are called, or who is sent directly to voicemail.

Which brings us to voicemail and transcribed voicemail that is sent to your email account.  The voicemail feature is basically just like any other voicemail system.  You call your number, listen to your voicemail, keep it, delete it, whatever.  The transcribed voicemail is a great feature.  Each time a voicemail is left; it is transcribed, and then sent to your email inbox.  The only drawback is that the transcription is done by computer and sometimes your message looks nothing like it sounds, but at least you do have a link to the original voicemail.

The last great feature I am going to mention is the SMS feature.  Free text messaging from the Google Voice web page, from your email and from your mobile phone, once configured.  This cuts down your costs if you have a limited text plan on mobile.

If you are like me, you have a smart phone and Google helps you there too.  There are versions of the GV apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, and of course, Android phones.  Third party apps are also available depending on your phone.  Google Voice offers so much and at the great price of free, you can’t beat it.  However, as a disclaimer, International calls do cost but are very cheap, and your mobile phone carrier will charge you for your calls because they are generally greedy but in the two and a half years I’ve used GV, I’ve never been charged for its use.  Just make sure you add your GV number to your A-List, Top 5 or whatever your carrier calls the few numbers you are allowed to call free.

Check it out at the link below.  Let me know what you think or if you are a current user, I’d love to hear from you as to how you use it.

http://www.google.com/voice

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , | Comments Off on Google Voice, Dial Me In!

   

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