I recently had a nice experience as a tech consumer, a lifetime warranty that was honored and a product that worked as advertised for something where there is a lot of debate. First the warranty was for a 1GB ram chip. When I bought my laptop almost two years ago, I bought 2GB of ram from a third party dealer. It was much cheaper than the ram offered by Apple, but of course I would have to install it myself. Which is dead simple as most laptops now make a special door to install ram (it wasn’t always like that… many laptops from the late 90s had to be taken apart to get at the ram). At any rate, late last year one of the ram chips started crapping out. First I would get a kernel panic, which I thought might be something else, but then I noticed after restarting, that the ram read at half the capacity (512 MB). I ran Apple’s hardware diagnostic and it indicated the chip was going bad. Eventually, it just quit working all together. I still had 1GB in the system, so it wasn’t a big deal, but it is nice to not have to close anything during the day as I work. So I missed having the 2GB. I thought I would have to buy a new chip, so I went to check the company I bought the chip from www.4allmemory.com and there on the page was a lifetime warranty link. I checked my original invoice and sure enough, it was covered. So I called half expecting them wanting me to explain the problem and what I did to verify it was the chip and do everything I already did to verify the chip was bad. Instead the friendly person simply said pack it up and send it in, and they will send a replacement. That’s it, no fuss, no hemming or hawing, just great service. Ok, it did take them two weeks to send the replacement, but it was great just to receive it at all.
The product that works as advertised was of course from Apple. I recently purchased the iWorks package, as I had really wanted to get Keynote for a while now. I mentioned using Keynote in the previous post, but I wanted to say what a good experience it was to use something that just worked as expected. And where it didn’t work as expected it exceeded expectations. Some people may prefer to not use a tool like PowerPoint or Keynote, because it is so over used. As a participant of many presentations, I would say do this only if you have an outstanding ability to speak. Otherwise, it will be difficult for your audience to follow what you are saying. Having a Powerpoint or Keynote at least gives the audience something to read. I don’t do presentations often, but when I do, I like them to look good. I want to be clear, a good presentation doesn’t require keynote or fancy presentation effects. And certainly there are thousands of bad presentations that use PowerPoint or Keynote to no benefit. So it is important to first have good content, with the right points, and a solid message to communicate. I recommend working on the outline in another program and not think about the presentation tool. However, when you go to build the presentation there is nothing like Keynote to add the right, but subtle effects, that make the presentation “smooth”.
Some people think a presentation is just giving people information, and programs like Keynote just obfuscate the message. Presentations are much more than dissemination of info, they are a chance to connect with your audience. So there is a bit of entertaining required. Ultimately the best use of a tool like Keynote is to not over do the effects. Keep them subtle and consistent. Don’t use every effect just because you haven’t used it yet. What sets Keynote apart from PowerPoint is that for those who are less artisitic, you can choose from a number of elagant presentations. And of course the outstanding transitions (which will probably be incorporated in an upgrade to PowerPoint users once Vista is released), which can enhance a presentation. All this to say that I learned how to use Keynote without opening a manual. It is incredible to be able to use a program and access advanced formatting features without having to resort to the instructions. It was enjoyable to work with this program, exploring its capabilities. Want to play a video in your presentation, just drag and drop. When you come to the slide, the video will start playing. No need to link to the video and leave the presentation or worse have to exit the presentation.