In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 15, 2011 / 13 Tamuz, 5771

Google, Apple among tech firms that 'get it' on serving customers

By Mark Kellner

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Though the notion might evoke thoughts of an old "Twilight Zone" episode, a book titled "How to Serve Your Tech Users" should be required reading in many precincts.

But the folks at Google and Apple, among others, could probably just skim such a book. These two firms are among the very few that "get it" when it comes to meeting the needs of their users. In Google's case, individual customers pay little or nothing for the bulk of the firm's services, and yet such folks are often treated as if we're royalty.

Ditto for Apple, whose next version of the Macintosh operating system, code named "Lion," should arrive for upgrades/downloads any day now, along with a new iOS operating system for iPhones, iPads and the like.

These two firms stand in stark contrast to, for example, the Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, firm that's supplied me with service, at around $300 a year, for the past seven years or so. This company, which shall remain nameless for now, has a help desk so unprofessional, it makes the fictional Dunder Mifflin look like a case study for the Wharton School of Business. I'm sure I'll get my issue resolved, eventually, but not without aging a bit in the process.

The no-stress way of doing things is what's so very appealing about many aspects of Google's and Apple's interactions with customers. Take software: with Google's Chrome browser, updates are automatic, or easily suggested. Clicking on the "About" button in the Mac version of Google's Chrome Web browser, I got a reminder to restart the browser and upgrade, a process accomplished in what seemed to be nanoseconds. (Mostly, the upgrades are even less intrusive, occurring when the program starts.) Fast, easy, no fuss - a sharp contrast to, well, anything in Microsoft Windows, where a series of permission requests for most upgrades could tax even Mother Teresa's patience.

On the Apple side, I'm usually greeted by periodic messages from Apple saying my programs are ready for an update. At most, I might have to enter a system password to authorize the changes, or restart a computer for the changes to take effect, but that's about it. The "fuss level" is way below what it once was; as I was writing this column, five Apple-created applications on my iMac were updated without a hiccup.

In both cases, of course, Internet connectivity is essential: because I have a live link to the net, my computer and the servers at Apple and Google can communicate and do the update tango with ease. To be fair, the same can be said for my wife's Windows-based notebook in many cases.

But the Google and Apple connection seems a bit more seamless, and not just in updates. Consider Google's launch of Google+, a social networking portal that's already claimed about 10 million users, according to news reports. It's supposedly a "Facebook killer," allowing users to share bits of news, links, and whatever else in a manner that seems more elegant than Facebook.

While I haven't explored Google+ to its full potential yet, I am impressed that, once on board, it was integrated with anything else I had from Google, including the aforementioned Chrome Web browser and even Google's iPhone app. A simple tap of agreement and I was connected there, too.

A final kudo goes to Google's Gmail service: that site is undergoing a redesign that users can try now. It looks neat and clean, and is highly customizable. Giving such a level of control to the user can only be a good thing, in this reviewer's opinion.

As more services venture into the computing "cloud" of network-based applications and storage, this kind of user-focus is essential. Few customers will happily suffer uncooperative or hard to use platforms, or companies whose idea of customer support turns into a self-parody. There are tons of other suppliers out there, and allegiances can shift quickly. Ms. Tech Businessperson, you've been warned.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.


© 2011, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com