Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Canned responces

While it is understandable that a certain amount of canned responses can be important. For instance lets say, I don't know, someone decides to post it on their blog? I don't have a problem with that and wouldn't have taken the time to post. However, those that do not apply to a conversation just lowers peoples opinion of a company. For me it makes me that much more likely I will not do business with you.

That said I wanted to share a responce to an email I received when inquiring about the return of my PS3 if I sent it to Sony for repair. There are several reason why I wanted a guarantee of my unit back if it couldn't be fixed. This is a known issue and commonly fixed by simply replacing the Blu-Ray Drive. My PS3 is the 60gb model with the Emotion Engine which allows it to play PS2 games without software emulation, I know all other parts of the PS3 are in good working order, I have no heat problems, etc. Basically I know the quality of the unit I'm sending in. If they send me a refurbished one I do not know the quality of the unit I get back. There are a few other considerations as well. One such consideration is how close do they consider the same model? Could I possibly get back a 60gb that used the software emulation instead if they don't have any with the chip? Any way here is the conversation my name and the tech's name has been removed because you don't need to know them. Also each set and the whole conversation reads from bottom to top with each but the first having my question and then the tech's answer. Switched it so it reads correctly in odrer.

Customer 05/04/2010 07:48 AM
Ineed to send my PS3 in for repair as it will no longer read disks. I have the original 60gb model with the Emotion Engine in it and whether you can repaired it or not I want my original PS3 back. I have heard that sometimes instead of sending the original back a refurbished one could be sent instead. My question is that is there any way to insure I get my original PS3 back?
Response (Tech's Name) 05/04/2010 09:52 AM
Hello MyName,

We apologize for the inconvenience regarding your system's difficulty reading media.

It seems as though your PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system may need to be serviced. You may submit your own Exchange Order using our Self Service Exchange for quick and easy processing on the Internet. Please visit our Online Service Request page for more information. After you fill out the form, we will send you a shipping box from UPS within 5 to 10 business days. Our current turn around time for the service is 8 to 12 business days from the time we receive the system. If your system can't be repaired, it will be exchanged for the same model system. Your serviced system will have a 90 day warranty which starts the day you received it. We do not offer any extended warranties.

If you have not done so, please try the following troubleshooting steps. We have found that they have often corrected issues such as yours:

* Please be sure to try the disc(s) on another PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system. If the disc(s) does not work on another system, then there is most likely a problem with the software, not the console.

* Please confirm that the disc is clean. We recommend using a CD wipe to clean the disc. Please remember to wipe from the center of the disc to the outside in a straight line. Avoids wiping in a circular motion as this may cause scratches on the disc.

* Try playing different CDs, DVDs, and games on the PLAYSTATION 3 console to see if the problem exists across multiple discs.


Tech's Name

Customer MyName 05/04/2010 10:11 AM
So what you are saying is I cannot guarantee the return of my original system?
;">Response (Tech's Name) 05/04/2010 11:13 AM
Hello MyName,

Thank you for writing us regarding servicing your system. If your system can't be repaired, it will be exchanged for the same model system.

Tech's Name

;">Customer MyName 05/04/2010 12:11 PM
Thank you. Since it is no longer under warranty I guess I'll just go through a 3rd party to insure I get my console back.
Response (Tech's Name) 05/04/2010 12:19 PM
Hello MyName,

Thank you for writing us with your kind words. Your feedback lets us know that we are on target. Again, we appreciate you taking the time to write us with your comments and really appreciate your support.

Tech's Name
[End Quote]

It really puts me off especially when the canned responces have no bearing on the conversation.  And really to say "Your feedback lets us know that we are on target." when it is more like they are not even shooting in the right direction.

Edit: Note that blogger can sometimes be difficult in trying to get it to format they way you want rather than how it wants.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reviews (Part 2)

Originally I was going to move on to the positive things in a book that would help me decide to choose it, but I feel a little more about reviews themselves should be brought up.  While I'm sure that I am not the best at writing reviews I know what I need in order for a review to have meaning.  So here is my list of 9 review do and do nots.

1)  Never start a review with "I never do reviews, but just had to for this book".  That really doesn't add more weight to your words.  The fact you have never bothered to write a review more than likely simply means you shouldn't have written this one either.  This is different than one just being your first review instead.  We all have first, but there is a big difference between your first review and saying you had to for THIS book.  Even if I did believe you it wouldn't make a single difference in my decision.

2)  One of the worst things to say in a review is "I don't want to reveal the plot so I'm not going to talk about it".  This simply means you are not going to tell the reader anything that will help them to make a decision.  That is sort of the point of a review to give the person interested in the book enough information (without too much) so they can make an informed decision of whether they might like to purchase it or not.

3) Interject some actual meaning into what you say.  I mentioned this before, but if you take twenty paragraphs and actually say nothing then it isn't a review.  Comments like "if you like fantasy books you will like this one" or "the imagery was amazing" mean next to nothing.  The first is pure opinion and gives the reader no basis on which to help make a decision.  It is great you think because someone likes on fantasy book they will like another, but that generally isn't the case.  The problem with the second it has no substance.  What kind of imagery and how was it amazing are more important than the fact you thought it was amazing.

4) You are writing a review not auditioning to write Blurbs for the back of books.  A good review is going to consist of more than a hundred words.  Usually this will fill up quickly if you follow the previous step and actually interject some actual meaning into what you say.  Still it is quite possible to add meaning and still only come out with a Blurb.  The difference is in the amount so here I mean that you should say something and before the idea is to make what you said meaningful.  Also, paraphrasing the synopsis isn't a review it is simply lazy.

5) Using your word-a-day dictionary will not only prevent you from sounding as sophisticated as some people seem to want to appear, but also points back right the previous in that you may not actually be interjecting any meaning it to what you are saying.  It is great that you might know words like "hyperbole", "symmetry", "overwrought", "analogy", "simile", etc.  The problem is these are generic descriptors and have no depth of meaning if you don't add actual context.  How is the author's use of hyperbole meaningful?  If they simply use things like "The bodies piled around him were so high as to almost touch the ceiling" or use of simile in "His punch made me feel like I got hit with a ton of bricks" then while in context they have meaning this doesn't mean the author is the master of hyperbole and simile.  If you are going to make such a comment as the author uses hyperbole then again make your comments have meaning.  This could be something as simple as an actual line from the book showing your example.

6) In a multiple review environment you should have more to your review then the last person.  This is about quality not quantity.  If you say the exact same thing or paraphrase the last person then you are wasting your time and others.  It would be more meaningful simply to say look at this persons review instead.  That isn't to say you can't agree with them and mention some of the same points, but you should have more to your review than that.  You can mention that your review is in addition to another one if you feel what they said summed it up well.  This would then leave you room to spend time on giving more information rather than rehashing what has been said.

I found 45 reviews of a book I was interesting in reading.  One manage to tell me two things more than the synopsis and the other 44 managed to say the same thing as that one review.  The sad fact is that still not a single one of them managed to tell me anything really significant about the book.  One example of what would be nice to know is that very few books are actually only about one person so if there are significant supporting characters they should be mentioned as well as their relationship to the main character.

7) If a plot point makes you uncomfortable then mention it even if you have to be vague.  If something really put you off or if something made you give 4 stars out of 5 then it could be something someone else might not buy a book over.  You might also say if you are aware of something that might offend others even if it doesn't offend you then it would be nice to mention it.

8) A review is often about the quality of the whole not just part of it.  The meaning to this is with ebook versions sometimes done haphazardly it could have actually text problems.  I've seen tilted pages words from one sentence appearing halfway down the page, and whole pages missing.  Some feel that to give a low review for this isn't acceptable which sadly isn't the case unless you can rate them separately.  A review is everything about a work and you can mention that the quality of the overall finished product isn't up to the quality of the writing, but by not mentioning and rating accordingly you are doing a disservice to everyone.  If substandard is acceptable what is the point in doing it better?

9) Some people like spoilers and some do not so note when you put spoilers in a review.  Personally I have no problem with spoilers and there have been many books I would not have purchased if I could have found spoilers about them.  However we should understand that others might feel differently so while you can add spoilers to your review (please do) note them so others are not put off by it.

Remember while you may have your various reasons for writing a review the reason most people read them is so they can have a better understanding of something they are interested in buying.  Whether it is a book, movie, or a power tool the end results are the same so being thoughtful and informative are the most important things.  Should these 9 rules be the absolutes of review writing?  No, that isn't what I'm trying to say.  Everyone is going to have their variations on the formula to a perfect review and some of their points might be even more valid than what I listed here.  Still these hit those things that will make a review worth while to those that are looking for help making a decision on what to read rather than more wasted space one has to bypass while looking for that help.