Tag - air

11 inches or 13?

So I’m in the Metrotown Apple store in Burnaby, BC. Yeah, Canada.

And I’m looking at the MacBook Airs … which I have been coveting for some time now. The core question is the cause of this post’s odd title. Should I get the 11″ or the 13″?

More screen is better, when you’re tied to a desk. More portable is better, when you want to be mobile. It’s a challenging question, since I’m not sure there’s a huge spec difference other than the screen size. And I’m not certain what the exact mix of my use will be.

The weight is almost immaterial … 2.38 pounds versus 2.96. If you get the slightly upgraded 11″ model, you can get a processor within 100 MHz of the 13″, plus the 4GB of RAM, which I think is important. One thing I do like about the 13″ is the SD slot … making it simply to transfer your photos, and potentially other data, without having to worry about cables. Other than that, they’re almost identical.

Screen size is the biggest differentiator. Of course 🙂

I’m writing this on the 11″ model right now, in an attempt to convince myself that this is all the screen I need. I’m not certain if I’m being successful …

Which would you pick?

[ update ]

So, I chatted to an Apple sales guy here. He asked what I was going to use it for, and found out I already have an iPad2, which I can pair with my ZAGGfolio for typing. Turns out the iPad screen and the 11″ are almost identical in size. That’s pushing me over the edge a bit, towards the 13″ …

Lessons in customer service from airlines

Most likely you read the title of this and are already thinking: this is not going to end well. Airlines and customer service are like cheese and peanut butter: they don’t go together.

Sadly, you’re right.

Yesterday I was checking in to my Alaskan Air flight (which would be delayed by over 3 hours) when a woman at the check-in counter next to me exploded at the ticket agent. Later she repeated the process at security.

The problem was simple: one of her and her husband’s bags was overweight, and Alaskan was charging her $25 extra. Unfortunately, they informed her at the gate … sending her back out through security to pay at the check-in counter. Even more unfortunately, they had not told her at the gate that she would need to pay more … so she left her purse with her husband at the gate.

So having already gone through security once, she face the prospect of not only going through again to get her purse, but also a third time after coming back and paying the $25.

Naturally, this was a major inconvenience, and made her run a real risk of missing her flight. She crumpled under the pressure, and was not a pleasant woman to deal with for the ticketing agents, I’m sure. (Or for the TSA inspectors, as I saw later in security.) Not cool – understandable, surely, but not the best behavior.

However, consider the airline’s long-term interests here.

They’ve got their cold hard hands on an extra $25 today, but is that woman EVER going to fly Alaskan Air ever again? Not if she has even the slightest sniff of another option. Alaskan better hope that they’re in some kind of monopoly situation in the destinations she needs, because even if she has to pay more, she will actively avoid them in the future. And she will undoubtedly tell her friends, at length and in detail … probably making them slightly less inclined to choose Alaskan as well. Plus, now I’m telling you, and this record will stay in Google’s cache for … forever(ish).

Here’s the deal.

The ticketing agents aren’t bad people. They probably get the fact that asking a client to go through airport security three times is asking a lot. And they probably get the fact that this is perhaps not the best client retention strategy the marketing wonks at Alaskan have ever dreamed up.

But their hands are tied.

Because it’s a company policy, and policies are meant to be enforced across the board. They had no flexibility, no choice in the matter. They were forced to apply it to her.

What’s the better alternative?

Companies should train and trust their employees to do the right thing for the company in the unique circumstances they’re in. Waiving this $25 fee would have paid rich dividends in brand perception, customer loyalty, and eventually profit. It would have treated the customer like anyone working for the airline would like to be treated.

And, it would have not made the Alaskan employees upset with a customer and angry at their own company for forcing them to foolishly enforce this rule. All it takes is a little trust, and a little training, and a little follow-up.

If you can’t trust people to do their jobs, why have them at all?

AppleInsider rips Adobe AIR

Interesting take from AppleInsider on the Adobe AIR thing:

Adobe lists a variety of phone makers and chip manufacturers as its partners in the Open Screen Project, but notably excludes any mention of Microsoft, Apple, and Google. How will ARM, Intel, and Cisco have any relevant impact on pushing Flash on Microsoft’s desktop, Apple’s mobiles and the Mac, or Google’s web apps and Android platform?

And how are the existing licensees of Adobe’s Flash Lite on mobile phones (LG, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, and Verizon Wireless) going to do anything to promote Flash-based rich Internet apps when their devices can’t even run the full version of Flash?

Adobe seems to be hoping that nobody notices these problems and that its vigilant marketing efforts can entrance the public into thinking that a drawing app extended into an animation tool and then retrofitted into a monstrous hack of a development platform is a superior technology basis for building web apps compared to the use of modern open standards created expressly to promote true interoperability by design rather than retroactively.

Everyone, everywhere, wants to go offline

Just saw this article on Webware about Prism, which is technology for extending applications beyond the browser. Yes, there are times when the cloud is just not available.

Very, very cool.

We already have Google Gears, of course, and Adobe AIR (on which some amazing apps are being built), and Microsoft’s Silverlight. And I’m sure there’s many I haven’t heard of yet …

The question is: are all of these frameworks for seamless online/offline development going to survive, or will one or two take the lion’s share of the market?

Whatever happens, these are good times to be a web developer, as with a little effort you’re now able to make your application run close to desktop-quality, even when there’s no internet connection.