Tag Archives: technology
I recently had the chance to attend a Nokia Canada announcement event at Air Canada Club alongside a handful of other Toronto music + culture bloggers. The invite wasn’t clear on what the event was for – just that they would be making an announcement, Alan Cross was a guest speaker, and we were invited to stay for The Killers show happening a little later in the evening.
I’ll never turn down a free concert – yes, even a free Killers concert.
Surprise, surprise, I am eating my words from last fall where I talked about how horrid The Killers are live. Yes, when I saw them WAY back in 2004 they were indeed horrible. But almost a decade later, they have learned from all that bad press and found their groove. Thank god. Playing to a stadium sounding the way they did in 2004 – charging what they now charge – would be a joke.
There’s something to be said about road experience. They have it now, along with a huge budget to back it up (and maybe ensure the auto-tuning that happens on the album is in place during the show, so Brandon’s vocals actually hold up).
Beyond the fact that vocally, he sounded worlds better than what I remembered, his stage presence was off the charts. No longer was he just singing songs and not looking at the audience, acting too cool for anyone. No, he was the picture of a leading man – introducing every song, interacting with the audience, building the energy up, running around the stage, having fun with the band – he was in complete control. It was like I was looking at a completely different performer – there really is no comparison with the brooding Vegas douche who needed vocal lessons that I witnessed during the Hot Fuss tour.
They also smartly stuck to the hits – meaning it was still a Hot Fuss heavy set, which made it extra nostalgic and enjoyable for me, since I tuned out after that album.
Anyhow – back to my original reason for being there.
As it were, the event was to announce the release of Nokia Music in Canada.
The speakers for the evening were delayed because the Killers decided to soundcheck at the exact same time the event was scheduled – I’ve never seen a band soundcheck a huge empty venue before (or watched a show from the ACC Club box seats), so that was actually kinda neat.
When it did begin, Alan Cross told us about the future of mobile music, and how Nokia Music has done what (in my opinion) Apple should have done a long time ago, and is offering up free access to their massive music collection with the purchase of any of their Windows smartphones.
I wondered what the catch was, because free music services always seem to have a catch – but the only catch is that you have to buy the phone. As it should be.
Of course, they do need to make money to pay the artists, so if you want to avoid the 6 song skip limit I grudgingly endure with Songza on my Android, you can subscribe for unlimited skips. Definitely worth it.
They gave all the bloggers at the event a Nokia Lumia 520 to take home so we could personally try out Nokia Music – along with an amazing wireless speaker from JBL, Monster earbuds, and a one year subscription to Nokia Music.
I have made it no secret that I do not enjoy Windows 8 and its weird unnecessary app start screen in place of the start button – so I was skeptical about a Windows smartphone to say the least – but after playing with it for a couple weeks I can officially say it’s a solid (and very affordable!) smartphone.
For one – it looks 100x prettier than both the Android, iPhone and Blackberry (all of which I have owned at one point). The way it lets you personalize the screen is, for me, the most attractive of all the smartphones by far. The way that Windows 8 fails as a desktop, it wins as a smartphone. It makes perfect sense to have an attractive app home screen on your phone.
Nokia Music is amazing, because not only can you listen to all the music you want – it will take a look at your personal music collection and recommend artists for you to listen to.
You can also make custom mixes from your favourite artists. I made a ‘Broken Social Scene, Elliott Smith, Nirvana’ mix that purely played only songs I love – something that doesn’t happen so much on my other music apps.
The BEST part? You can download mixes right onto your phone so you don’t need a data connection to listen. Do I need to repeat that? The worst part about Songza is that it cuts out in the subway when my data connection cuts off, leaving me music free.
There’s no need to worry about such a situation happening with Nokia Music. This is particularly awesome for me as it means I can listen to my mixes when I take Mr Bojangles on walks, even though I haven’t switched my phone service over.
The Windows phone definitely wins against my Android in terms of music performance, beauty/simplicity of the layout and homescreen, and touchscreen ability (you can use it with GLOVES ON).
But, I am hesitant to switch over until they acquire an Instagram app. That is the whole reason I got an Android in the first place. They already have all the other necessary apps – Instagram is the only one I would legitimately miss out on. But this is the first incarnation of the Windows smartphone so there is a lot of room for improvement on all the apps.
I can’t wait to see where Nokia and Windows go with these new smartphones. I can definitely see myself switching over soon enough. The music alone is a good enough reason.
Have you tried Nokia Music? Would you consider switching over?
Back in February I posted about the unbelievably awful experience I had with Best Buy over Christmas, and the two months they left me without a computer – only to give me back my laptop just as broken as it was when I first brought it in.
The situation was a shitshow from the start, and I’ll still never buy from a big box store again, BUT, after reading my post, the head office in Vancouver called me up and told me the store would be in contact with me to work something out.
The wonders of social media, friends.
So the store manager called me and apologized for the unnecessary wait, and he offered to set me up with a new computer. Thrilled that something good had finally come of this ordeal, I quickly accepted and he gave me some times to come into the store to see him directly.
Of course, this is the store that is full of fail, so when I got there during the time he told me he was working, dragging my super heavy 17 inch laptop with me, they told me he was already gone for the day because the other manager came in early. These people!!! The worst.
So I dragged it in another day, and after a 10 minute wait he finally showed up, took a look at my computer and said he could give me a laptop for the current value of mine (600$). I wasn’t expecting to be able to choose one that day since on the phone he said they would have to look at mine and get approval, but now he said they could do it then and there.
Having no clue what I wanted other than a 17 inch screen, he gave me two options, and I went with a Samsung model he seemed to be pushing on me. Only upon looking at the receipt on my way out did I see this computer he recommended was on sale, and worth $160 less than my computer (it wasn’t even on display in the store). I had asked about an HP that was actually $600 but he told me Samsung lasts longer and that this particular HP was a cheaper model that would die sooner – having quite the love affair with my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone, I was inclined to believe him.
I’m still annoyed that I ended up with a cheaper sale computer, but the worst part is that it is running Windows 8. What a nightmare. While I’ve finally (mostly) gotten used to it, for about three weeks I really wanted my busted two year old laptop back just so I could have Windows 7 again. On the positive side, this laptop does have a faster processor and a lot more space than my old one, so I can’t really complain. If I could get the stupid right hand side panel to stop popping up EVERY single time I move the cursor slightly to the left I might not hate it so much.
Had I known when he first called me, that it really meant I’d have to give them my old computer to keep, and get Windows 8 instead, I’m not sure I would have agreed to it as fast as I did.
BUT they did make an effort to fix a major fuck up, and the new laptop is still a newer, better laptop without a busted hinge, so its still a nice little win against the corporations.
Have you ever complained to or about a brand and had them actually listen and fix their mistake? Share, please!
Thought you guys might find this infographic from VentureHarbour interesting.
It seems unreal to me that 87% of the world’s population has a cellphone?! Also nice to see that streaming will continue to contribute more and more to artists incomes. Digital album sales are up significantly, and that is only going to continue as the years go on. Music apps are easily the most important and most used apps on my phone, and I’m sure it’s the same for all of you.
Came across this post through Pinterest, thought some of you musician types might find it useful. Have you used any of these? Are there better/more affordable apps out there that share similar features and capabilities? Share in the comments, please!
From what is listed I have only used Shazam (as I’m not a musician), which I adore and use all the time when I’m watching TV or a movie. Spotify is somehow STILL not available in Canada, so forget that crap. RDIO is better (and free for the first six months) anyway.
I generally hate writing negative shit on my blog. I think the purpose of a blog is to share great things and hopefully inspire people (as cheesy as that sounds), not to wallow in your own anger or to hate on anyone or any brand.
That said, the photo posted above that I found through googling ‘best buy sucks’ showed me I’m not alone in how Best Buy cunningly screwed me up the ass with a metal fist, and it would be nice if maybe somehow my little rant combined with others horrible experiences gets them to be a bit more transparent with their warranty’s - or at the very least – prevents others from throwing away hundreds of dollars on them as I foolishly did.
I Decided To Buy My Laptop At Best Buy
I bought an HP laptop about a year and half ago – my crappy desktop had finally shit the bed months prior and I saved my pennies from my first few paychecks of my new job to finally get with the times and get myself a laptop. Of course, I figured to be safe I should purchase the warranty, thinking that would let me avoid any bullshit should it crap out early on as laptops tend to do. I agreed to the 3 year warranty which meant another almost $300 added onto the price of the computer. For me that was, and still is, a lot of money, but I figured it would be worth it should anything happen.
Random Hinge Explosion = “Physical Damages”
Fast forward about a year, and I am leisurely opening up my laptop as I always have – and the hinge EXPLODES in my face – I did nothing out of the ordinary. It was closed – I opened it – and it just immediately came completely undone and some of the metal snapped off. Horrified, I thought – thank GOD I bought that damn warranty – and breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I could just take it back to Best Buy’s trusty ‘Geek Squad’ and have it fixed in no time.
That was TWO MONTHS ago (if you’ve been wondering why my blog’s been quiet – my lack of a functioning computer at home since before Christmas is the big reason).
I took it in, and the worker asked me what was wrong – I told him how the hinge busted out of nowhere, and it was also overheating here and there, and the screen was starting to go a little red.
He filled out all the forms and had me fill out all the forms, then tried to sell me data recovery, you know, in case they delete all my files while fixing it – and then told me that HP may not cover it because it is a physical damage. I explained to him that I didn’t drop the laptop – in fact I rarely ever moved it from my desk where I used it – and had done nothing to cause this damage. He said they would do some kind of test to ‘check’ if it was my fault or not, and go from there.
The next day, they call me and leave a message asking me to call back. I try to call a couple times and no one answers, so I figured it wasn’t important.
Physical Damage = VOID WARRANTY!!!
Three weeks pass by and I’m starting to wonder what the hell is happening so I try calling again, and again, and again. No one answers, and when someone finally does, he puts me on hold as soon as he picks up, and then the call gets rerouted to the front desk where they tell me they can’t help me, but they will give my number to the Geek Squad guys to call me back when they get a chance. At this point I decided to just go all the way to Best Buy, where maybe I would actually be able to talk to someone who knows what’s going on.
I get there and ask about my computer, and he looks in the back and brings it out to me telling me they would not fix it because it had a physical damage – therefore VOIDING the warranty I spent $300 on. This means they wouldn’t even fix the fact that it was overheating or that the screen was going red. I paid all that extra money, literally, for absolutely nothing.
This is the trick with buying these “warranty’s”. They make you think you need it, but there are all these little fine print rules they make up and conveniently forget to mention when pushing it on you, that make sure they never have to actually fix it – they just get to keep your money and increase their profit.
The ‘Geek Squad’ Doesn’t Answer The Phone, Or Call You Back
Worst is the fact that they kept it for that long knowing it wouldn’t be fixed – and never even bothered to call me to come pick it up. Who knows when I would have ever heard from them had I not went in. The people at Best Buy Yonge/Dundas are probably pretty busy, but not to busy to do their job, or you know, maybe pick up the phone one of the 20 times I tried calling.
So when he tells me this I immediately freak out – as I think anyone who just lost their job and writes online for a living would. I don’t have any extra money to get it fixed, and I can’t believe that they won’t even fix at the very least the non physical problems with this piece of junk they sold me. I ask to talk to the manager, and the manager brings out another guy, and eventually after I publicly humiliated myself and shed some tears feeling all the stress hit me at once, they say that they can have their people take a look at it for me – but that they can’t make any promises. Their people? Why were they sending it back to HP and blaming it on them for rejecting it when I thought I bought a warranty from Best Buy in the first place – not HP?
Anyway I was happy that they seemed to be at least trying to help me out.
$1400 To Fix a $700 Computer… Umm
But then, a few weeks back, I get a call from the Best Buy repair place quoting me $1400 to fix it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT. THE. FUCK. I could buy a MacBook Pro for that price, or two new HPs. My head almost exploded, again.
So I rejected the charges, and asked when my computer would be available to pick up. They said in a few days, so I waited to get the call that I can finally come and pick up my computer. Of course, days and weeks passed, and no call. Yet again I had to call and call, and be ignored. Yesterday they FINALLY called me back and said I could come get it. Had I not hassled them I can’t help but think they would have just kept it indefinitely.
The Lesson Learned = Avoid Best Buy At All Costs
Apparently hinge problems are incredibly common for laptops, so this nice little excuse they have of voiding the warranty if any physical damages happen must mean they get out of actually having to fix it at least 70% of the time.
I guess I have learned my lesson – I won’t be wasting money on a useless warranty in the future and I sure as shit won’t be buying anything from Best Buy ever again. I highly recommend you avoid them as well. What a nightmare.
Best Buy goes ON AND ON about how their people are not on commission (remember all those annoying commercials?), but, you should know that the BB stores are rated based on how many warranty’s they sell and employees that sell more are scheduled for more hours – hence all this bullshit. Stores that don’t sell enough get in line to be cut. The salespeople are still trained and pushed just as hard as Future Shop to push that garbage on you in fear of losing their hours, so be strong and say no.
Now that I finally have my laptop back I have duck taped up the hinge, and can only hope the other side doesn’t explode too. At least I can still use it until it completely dies.
Have you ever been screwed by a useless warranty, or one of these big box tech stores that upsell you useless shit they know is useless? Please share your story below. I hate wallowing alone.
And if you’ve ever had a problem with Best Buy, please join me in tweeting them @BBYCanada with the hashtag: #bestbuyworstbuy. Even brands as clueless and careless as them pay attention to social media – it’s the fastest way to create change.