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RIM: Time to Bend the BlackBerry to the Consumer Curve
Last week the trackball on my BlackBerry Curve decided to quit on me. The thing couldn’t roll down a hill if it tried and, well, the phone’s dated version of the operating system was starting to make me look like a mobile T-Rex. (I always thought if I were to be a dinosaur, I’d be a T-Rex.)
As a true CrackBerry addict, I had opted to replace my Verizon Curve 88330 with the new Curve 8530. Yes, rather than a Droid, I went with the BlackBerry because I am a Blackberry Messenger fiend, love the speed of the e-mail and my fingers can’t live without the physical keyboards. However, within a few minutes of using the new trackpad equipped Curve, I was just downright disappointed in the Canadian smartphone pioneers. What used to be a groundbreaking mobile operating system a couple of years ago, has been minimally updated with only new skins and a slightly improved interface. The attempts to catch up to the Apple iPhones, Palm Pres and Motorola Droids of the world haven’t been executed correctly.
Take RIM’s shot at its own application store. Deemed Blackberry App World, the application store is not even preloaded on the brand new device! In order to get the application portal on the smartphone I had to search for it via Google, and download the application. Yep, I had to download the application to get applications. Counterintuitive, much? I’m not sure how RIM expects its customers to know this store is even available and that it contains hundreds of applications, nonetheless that it compete with application-centric phones like the iPhone and Android that have simple, preloaded application marketplaces.
Once running, the store is actually quite nice and easy to navigate but its inventory is a different story. I couldn’t find a number of applications for my phone, including TweetGenius and TwitterBerry. And don’t think it is just a coincidence that the two missing applications were social networking based.
Sure, Facebook makes a decent application for BlackBerry, but unlike the Palm Pre or the iPhone it lacks social skills. There is no integrated contact management with the option to fill in your current address book with different social networking information (though the Facebook app does have an option for that it isn’t integrated in the OS or within other social networking applications). Even when new and promising features like visual voicemail seem to be preloaded, they end up requiring a download and what feels like a 10-step process to configure. Unfortunately, while RIM is attempting to bring these newer features offered by its competitors and the social Web ecosystem to its own operating system, the implementation is halfhearted.
RIM, what worked a few years ago just doesn’t anymore. Although you may continue to attract enterprise customers with superior security and e-mail, to compete today in the consumer game you need products that add simplicity, engage with Internet integration and offer easy access to compelling third-party applications. Yes, there remains a dedicated group of consumers (eh hem, me) that are still looking for the BlackBerry bread and butter – the strong email support, the speed of services like BlackBerry Messenger and good hardware – but they aren’t willing to deal with lagging features and incomplete experiences. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel (seriously, we don’t want the scroll wheel anymore), but continuing to drop the ball isn’t going to work anymore. Please, get it rolling again.
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With winter looming, van-lifers have one of two choices: park the rig for a few months and end the road trip season, or continue cruising through the cold. No matter which category you fall into, you’re here because you’re looking for information on how to winterize your camper.
If you’re staying put, you’ll need to ready your rig for several months of sitting, potentially in wet or freezing temperatures. If not, you’ll need to figure out how to keep your vehicle cozy as temperatures drop.
We’ll start by looking at how you can stay warm on the road, then provide a few essential tips for readying your van to hibernate for the winter.Seal everything up tight
To help ensure your van retains as much heat as possible during cold winter nights, make sure there aren’t any spots where heat can leak out and cold air can slip in. This is also essential if you plan to store your van, as it prevents water from leaking in and causing mold and other issues.
The job is largely a matter of checking that your windows and doors are sealed properly. You should be able to see if the rubber around them has any wear or gaps, and you can also check for water leaks after it rains. If you find any holes, you can close them up with the window sealant available at any hardware store. For more severe problems, like large sections of missing rubber or no seal at all, consider replacing the rubber seals entirely. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to do this yourself, but some seal brackets require specific tools and you may need help from a shop.Cover the windows
Uncovered glass allows a lot of heat to seep through, so cover it up. The van life community’s preferred solution tends to be Reflectix, which is easy to cut to size and doubles as a window cover to provide privacy. This flexible insulation not only keeps heat inside your vehicle during the winter, but it also blocks the heat of the sun in the summer, so you can use the stuff year-round.
[Related: The safest ways to stay warm in a power outage]
The shiny aluminum surface, however, can make the atmosphere inside your rig feel a bit sterile and claustrophobic when it’s in place, so most people paint it to add a dash of color and make things feel homier. I recommend painting the exterior face black so your van will look less conspicuous when parked in an urban setting, then painting the interior side whatever color you enjoy most.Insulate all around
Paneling the interior walls is a common way to improve a van’s aesthetics (you’ll feel less like you’re living in a car), but you can add insulation at the same time. This is easiest to do the first time you panel the interior, rather than waiting until you’ve put some miles on your rig. As you put the panels up, fill the space behind them with spray foam, boards of polystyrene foam, or even just recycled fabric. If you already have panels in place, you may have to take them down to get the job done.
The more insulation, the better, but keep in mind that every inch of insulation you add takes away an inch of livable interior space. Try to strike the right balance based on your vehicle’s design.Get a carpet
Whether your camper’s floor is uncovered or you’ve layered on wood paneling, that surface will get cold and uncomfortable. Covering the floor with some sort of carpet will not only help retain heat, but it will offer a cozier surface for your feet, hands, knees, and anything else that touches the ground. Thicker is better, but a small area rug will do well in a pinch.Use a quality sleeping bag
While a lot of van-lifers prefer to feel more at home by sleeping in a bed that has normal sheets, you may find you prefer a well-insulated sleeping bag when winter hits.
For moderate temperatures, I really like the duck down sleeping bag that Marmot made with the renowned fabric designer Pendleton. It looks and feels great, which helps make your van life feel less like typical camping. If you’re looking for a more spacious double-wide sleeping bag, the Kelty Tru.Comfort 20 is outstanding. For extreme cold, you’ll want to look for something with a cold rating of zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower, like the Kelty Mistral 0.Set up a space heater
For most van-lifers, keeping warm on a day-to-day—and night-to-night—basis involves merely bundling up. For some, however, long nights without a source of heat can make the lifestyle unbearable. That’s where a space heater can become essential.
Space heaters tend to be an imperfect solution, however, because they require a constant source of fuel. Propane heaters are the most effective, but they require you to lug around a bunch of fuel, operate inconsistently at high altitudes, and some models have safety issues. Electric heaters offer more safety and function more reliably, but they suck up a lot of energy from your power station, and high-efficiency models won’t heat larger vans. And while there are some out there who take on the potentially difficult task of installing wood-burning stoves, doing so requires lots of space and can have safety issues. So it’s really about weighing pros and cons and choosing the option with the flaws that least discourage you.
If you’re looking for options, Lasko makes a portable space heater that won’t suck your battery dry too fast. The Mr. Heater Buddy is a popular propane option. And if you have the space and budget for it, Cubic has some solid wood stove setups.How to prepare your van for storage
If you decide to park your van for the winter, first make sure there are no air or water leaks. I discussed this in more detail above, so if you skipped that section, go back and take a look. Otherwise, run through this checklist before you let it sit:
Test the engine coolant mix to ensure proper antifreeze levels. A ratio of equal parts coolant and water will work in most climates, but if you plan on parking in colder temperatures you can adjust that to 60/40.
Drain your plumbing system, if you have one, including the water tank, heater, and lines, to keep it from freezing and bursting. This water should be pretty clean, so feel free to dispose of it by watering plants or pouring it down a sewer drain.
Remove the vehicle battery and power station and store them someplace warm, or keep the battery plugged into a Battery Tender. Batteries can lose their charge when sitting for long periods, or become corroded if sitting in wet weather.
Store your rig in a garage or outdoors covered with a heavy tarp, if possible.
Check your van monthly for condensation, mold, pests, and other issues. Maintain it as necessary.
Research In Motion’s Bold 9700 debuted this week and though some industry watchers tout it as the best BlackBerry to date, others are questioning if the new handheld and imminent Storm2 are enough to keep RIM in the running in the smartphone sector.
The Bold 9700 is coming within weeks of both AT&T and T-Mobile releases for $199 after rebates, a significant drop from the original model, the Bold 9000, which cost $299.
RIM’s (NASDAQ: RIMM) 9700 release is widely seen as an effort to shore up the mobile maverick’s top spot in the enterprise — a move attracting some criticism as RIM faces increasing competition on the consumer side from Apple’s ongoing success and Android-powered handsets.
Taken on its own terms, however, as a BlackBerry aimed at professionals, the Bold 9700 impresses and is a good fit for its carrier partners.
While conceding that the Bold 9700 won’t lure consumers away from the iPhone or Android smartphones, Avi Greengart, analyst at Current Analysis, said the new Bold is “the best BlackBerry RIM has ever built.”
“The Bold 9700 adds 1700 MHz HSDPA to a mix that already included 850/1900 (for AT&T’s 3G network) and 2100 (for most international markets); that means that this is the first 3G BlackBerry for T-Mobile USA, and it allows RIM to sell a single SKU around the world,” writes Greengart in a research note.
Beyond benefits to RIM and carriers, there’s plenty to like about the 9700, which runs on the BlackBerry OS 5.0, as it swapped out the trackball from the first version for a trackpad and comes in with a much more compact design, bringing it in line with the Curve and Tour form factors.
In addition to the usual enterprise-friendly features offering push e-mail, Microsoft Exchange support and data security, T-Mobile users will be able to use the Bold 9700 to place calls over Wi-Fi. AT&T’s version includes Wi-Fi but without call support.
Greengart sees RIM leveraging consumer loyalty with the Bold 9700 price point.
“This ($199 price) is a significant price drop relative to the original, but still a premium price compared to the Curve 8900 which offers many of the same features,” he said. “As such, this is really more of an effort for RIM to maintain high margins among existing BlackBerry users; consumers upgrading from a feature phone to their first BlackBerry will more likely gravitate to the Curve line, which starts well below $100,” said Greengart.
Like Greengart, however, other industry watchers agree that while the Bold 9700 will be successful with RIM fans, it fails to offer any compelling reason for consumers to purchase it over recent competitors in the space such as the iPhone 3GS, Palm Pre and Android newcomers including the Motorola Cliq and HTC Hero.RIM versus Apple
William Stofega, analyst at IDC, thinks the hand-wringing is somewhat alarmist.
IDC’s preliminary mobile phone market data for shipments in the US, from vendor to the channel during the second quarter, show the BlackBerry Curve in the No. 1 spot, followed by the 3GS. The Pearl checks in at No. 3, with the 3G at No.4, and RIM again takes the fifth and sixth rankings with the Bold and Storm family respectively.
Apple just reported its best quarter ever, with a record 7.4 million iPhone sales during the past three months. RIM in September reported during its second fiscal quarter earnings that it shipped approximately 8.3 million BlackBerrys, but still disappointed Wall Street with its outlook for the next period.
He said that while there’s no denying Apple’s success, down the road, the company is still vulnerable in terms of overseas expansion and in the enterprise, compared to RIM.
“The iPhone is a US phenomenon, which is fine, but the story really is how well it will do in the rest of the world. Even with the deals it’s making in China, Apple has its work cut out for them,” said Stofega. “In these emerging markets, price and customization is critical. You can’t just drop an experience that does well in Cupertino in Guangzhou and have it work.”
He also said RIM is still going to grab the majority of IT mobile budgets, despite the iPhone’s strengthened OS and encroachment into the office. “Apple’s just not even close in terms of security, not to say they won’t ever catch up, but you can’t dismiss all the moving parts RIM has going for it in encryption and security, it’s a big deal, and that’s why corporate America still buys BlackBerrys.”
Stofega also adds that he believes workers prefer having a physical keyboard on their handsets, which is lacking on the iPhone models.Challenges ahead
Enterprise dominance aside, RIM is still aggressively courting consumers. While the professional-use centric Bold 9700 may fail to entice casual shoppers, the imminent release of the Storm2 is a bet to do exactly that.
The touchscreen star of its consumer line up, the Storm2 9550 may be formally unveiled Oct. 28 to arrive on Verizon. Though RIM has not disclosed any details of the new device, it’s been showing it off recently to analysts, including Stofega, who also previewed the Bold 9700.
RIM, and the rest of the industry, also has to play catch-up to Apple’s App Store success.
In terms of mobile apps, which are largely believed to be the long-term driving force in determining any individual handsets success, emerging platforms that will make it easier for developers to create apps across multiple operating systems could help level the playing field, Stofega said.
“Eventually, if more small independent developers can push a button and port their app to all the OSes, they won’t just choose to develop for the iPhone,” he said. “That can help RIM and everybody else. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, as well as how the Storm2 does.”
blog / Strategy and Innovation Is Mapping Consumer Insights the Secret to Surviving in a Competitive Market?
If there is anything that businesses find hard to pin down as an absolute, immutable reality, it’s consumer behavior. Big Data helps, and so does market research. But beyond facts and figures, statistics and postulations are a deeper amorphous intangible human emotion and what influences it. As such, consumer insights are a significant aspect of getting to know the consumer one caters to. In fact, it could well be the difference between success and failure for a business.Making Connections Using Consumer Insights
The seed for this was planted after some consumer insights the brand had received. At puberty, 49 percent of girls are so affected by the fear of failing that they avoid trying new things. While it would have certainly resulted in a spike in their sales, what’s possibly of equal significance is that it resonated on a deeply emotional level with its target audience. That emotional connection with a brand, the ability to get the zeitgeist of the times — maybe even be the brand that brings the change — was possible through some focused consumer insights.COVID-19 and Consumer Insights
Gaining an insight into what could move a consumer is fast becoming integral to the success and longevity of consumer-goods-centric businesses. This was brought to the forefront during the pandemic. More people began looking at environmentally sustainable options, for instance. Then there was the increase in pet food demand because more people found themselves turning into pet parents. Those that could read the proverbial writing on the wall, would certainly have benefited from such customer insights.What Customers Want
Consumer insights, therefore, is something that allows brands to gain an in-depth ‘insight’ into consumer behavior. This is done by, first, collecting customer data. It is followed by analyzing and interpreting it and then drawing conclusions that can help with the development of the specific product/service. This holds true across the gamut of products and goods that fall under the consumption umbrella, from food and clothing to homes and appliances. Every segment of consumer goods is better served by gaining in-depth customer insights.
Given that this activity too is data-centric, customer insights are frequently used synonymously with other data-driven surveys that collect and analyze factual details to enable business development. Customer insights, however, are more nuanced and quite dissimilar. Big Data, for instance, is entirely facts and figures focused; market research looks at a broad-based market, upcoming trends, and competitors to design a development plan. But these methods, while very important, lack comprehensive analysis and understanding of the consumers themselves.Data vs Emotions
Consumer insights strive to look at the emotional element of consumer behavior — why they buy what they buy, etc. Knowing this helps create more targeted campaigns that could appeal to customers. That Harvard Business Review identified hundreds of emotional motivators across the consumer journey attests to its considerable heft in making business development decisions.Advantages to businesses implementing consumer insights
A Microsoft study concluded that businesses that relied on customer insights data outperformed competitors by 85 per cent. While browsing habits, transaction history, and mobile app preferences will certainly provide some amount of insight, that’s just scratching the surface. Comprehensive surveys and research tap into a deeper understanding of the ‘whys’, ‘whats’, and ‘hows’ of consumer behavior. This, in turn, provides a holistic customer insight that will be more helpful to brands.
The benefits to brands who delve deeper into customer behavior are undeniable:1: The profit lies in the details
Leveraging this mechanism helps businesses create customer-centric marketing strategies based on details — such as societal and cultural motivators when it comes to consumption — that could have been overlooked. The move to buying sustainably packaged or manufactured products in recent years, for example.2: Staying on top of trends
Future-proofing businesses with development plans that are built on the foundation of customer insights by ensuring they are on top of buying trend shifts.This is how brands get future-ready!
Apart from the obvious benefits to businesses, customer insights are an ever-evolving aspect of data gathering, dependent as they are on something as intangible as customer behavior. There are some broad factors to keep in mind to ensure this:1: Improve Product Offerings
Any kind of customer insight should be keyed towards providing customers with a great experience, whether it’s a service or product. The information can be used to make changes where required and ensure repeat/loyal customers.2: Staying the Course
For businesses, staying updated and vigilant about navigating and adapting to this inherent unpredictability is a must. Customer insights simply cannot be a one-time, two-time, or some time strategy. Or something that’s pulled out at the last minute to save a flailing brand. It needs to be embedded into the company’s ethos, as an essential way forward for any business.3: Customized Marketing
The Buyback and Resell scheme, for instance, allowed customers to sell their old IKEA furniture to the brand, which they would then resell to prevent second-hand pieces from being wasted. It was a great way to combine sustainable action with smart shopping. It also inspires the feeling of giving back among customers.4: Long-term Planning
It’s never too early to plan. In fact, it’s a necessity in a highly competitive market. Customer insights, with their comprehensive, holistic, and deep-rooted detail-gathering processes, allow brands to do just that. Create a business plan for the future, based on the insights received.5: Building Loyal Customers
Knowing your customer, more importantly, knowing what they want and why they want it — and endeavoring to give it to them — is a sure-fire way to create and retain a loyal customer base.Course Correct
For marketers and business development aspirants and executives, gaining information about customer insights, studying its significance for consumer-driven businesses, and understanding its relevance to make future-ready businesses are necessary tools of the trade. And, they can find all this in a comprehensive program with Columbia Business School’s Mastering Consumer Insights. This Emeritus course is targeted at mid-to senior-level marketing professionals to help understand customer insights and its importance holistically. The course covers everything, from exploring different methods of deriving consumer insights that will help in making better business decisions, to building a customer-centric business model. The modules look upon the psychological and economic aspects of customer behavior. It also looks at both qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
In today’s rapidly changing environment and a highly competitive market, being tuned in to your customer’s needs is a necessity. After all, a satisfied customer is the one who keeps coming back.
By Gauri Kelkar
For feedback or collaboration, write to us at [email protected]
Have you ever ran into a scenario where your Mac displays the incorrect time? It can throw a lot of things out of whack across all of your apps.
Despite all the things that can go wrong when your Mac’s time is incorrect, it can be pretty easy to fix the problem. We’ll walk you through some possible fixes in this piece.Why is my Mac showing the wrong time?
Your Mac may show the incorrect time for a number of reasons; some of the most common are:
Location services can’t determine your correct time
The Mac hasn’t been powered on for a long time
The Mac might have been brought into a new time zone
Someone may have changed your time on you
More scenarios are also possible, but these are typically the most common. Regardless of what caused it, the steps to fix it are outlined below.How to fix incorrect time on your Mac
To fix a Mac displaying the wrong time, take yourself through the following troubleshooting steps:
Restart your computer
This one should seem obvious from anyone involved in IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? This can sometimes fix this problem without any headaches.
Check your date and time settings
Look at your date and time settings from → System Preferences → Date & Time. Check to see if the Mac is set to change your time automatically based on your location or not. If it is, and your Mac is showing the wrong time, continue through the steps below. If it’s not, turn it on and allow your Mac to set your time automatically based on your location.
Make sure you have location services enabled
Setting your time and time zone automatically requires location services be enabled on your Mac. You can double check you have this enabled by going to → System Preferences → Date & Time → Time Zone and then making sure the Set time zone automatically using current location check box is enabled.
Make sure you have an internet connection
If you have your Mac set to set the time automatically, make sure it has a solid internet connection so it can refresh your time based on your location. If it can’t connect to the internet properly to check your date and time, things like time zones and daylight savings can throw it off and keep it from updating when the time changes.
Keep your time zone in check as you travel
If you moved from one side of the country to another, or even did something as simple as cross a state border, then you may have crossed a time zone. These are fidgety things that rule the time of day based on your position in the world. If you move out of your time zone, then your Mac might still be showing the time from your previous time zone and needs to be updated accordingly.
This will be done automatically when you connect to the internet if you have automatic time enabled, but it may need to be done manually if you don’t have automatic time enabled by going to → System Preferences → Date & Time → Time Zone.
Set your date and time manually
In the case of some software glitches, you might need to set the time manually. You can do this from → System Preferences → Date & Time by un-checking the Set date and time automatically check box. You will then need to fill in the time manually based off of your knowledge of what time it is.
Keep your Mac’s battery charged
If you keep your Mac powered off for a long period of time, then all of its on board power source may be depleted. Some Macs may rely on a system or PRAM battery to keep certain functions like timekeeping in check. When the PRAM battery dies, your Mac will try to source power from the system battery instead. In cases where both have died, timekeeping may be affected. You should probably contact Apple for hardware support if you suspect PRAM battery issues.
Reset your Mac’s NVRAM
If your Mac is having trouble keeping track of your time no matter what you do, you may want to try resetting your NVRAM. This component in your computer deals directly with timekeeping and some software glitches related to your NVRAM can trigger problems with the time that gets displayed.
In almost all other situations where any of the above suggestions can’t fix a timekeeping issue on your Mac, you should probably call Apple and see what they have to say.Good to go?
In most cases, one of the steps above should have fixed your timekeeping woes on your Mac. If it didn’t, then your best bet is to check with Apple.
A patchy WiFi connection that keeps dropping out of service over and over again can be a major inconvenience.
The culprit could be anything from an out-of-date router and slow internet speeds to an incorrect computer setting or a huge outage on your internet service provider’s end.
Table of Contents
To help you figure out why your WiFi keeps disconnecting, we’ve put together an explainer with a list of causes and solutions to help you bring that speedy WiFi service back to life.Why Does My WiFi Keep Disconnecting?
Whether you’re trying to send an important email or you want to do a conference call on your PC or mobile device, a dropped WiFi connection can be an impediment to your life. Some of the main reasons why your WiFi keeps disconnecting include:
Being in Airplane mode
Slow speeds owing to signal, slow DNS server or packet loss
Outdated WiFi driver software
A recent update created bugs that disrupt the WiFi connection
Power management issues
Poorly configured wireless adapter
Router is out of date or damaged
Router is damaged or placed far from your device
Interference on the network
Massive service outage
Being in an area with limited or no internet connection
WiFi driver isn’t compatible with your the current version of your operating systemWhat to Do When Your WiFi Keeps Disconnecting
While there are varying reasons why your WiFi connection keeps dropping, you can troubleshoot most of them yourself. Before we go into more complex solutions, try some of these quick checks to get your WiFi back up and running again in no time.Quick Checks
Check whether your WiFi switch is set to On.
Ensure that you’re using the correct WiFi connection.
Make sure everything on your router is plugged in the way it should be.
Check the lights on your router to see if any seem unusual or other than green. You can use your router manual to know what each light means and how to resolve any problems.
Move your device closer to the router especially where there’s lots of interference. You can also get a WiFi range extender to boost your WiFi signal’s strength.
Plug an Ethernet cable into your device and check if the connection is strong again. If it works, the issue is with the wireless signal.
Check with your ISP whether there are any connection issues or service outages in your area.
Remove any objects or electronics that could be interfering with your router.Update or Reinstall WiFi Adapter Driver Check Power Management Settings
Your computer’s Power Management settings may disable your wireless adapter and cause it to disconnect temporarily. You can make a small adjustment to your settings and resolve the problem.Check DHCP Settings
DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) automatically distributes IP addresses across the network so that your devices can connect and communicate over the web. If there’s a problem with the DHCP, your WiFi won’t work properly.Resolve Dropped or Lost WiFi Connections
If your WiFi is still disconnecting even after trying the steps in this guide, you can factory reset your computer or your router to return them to out-of-the-box factory settings. You’ll lose all your settings and data during a factory reset so make sure you backup any data on your computer.
Once you reset your router, give it time to set itself up and check your WiFi connection again. If all else fails, contact your ISP for more guided assistance or get WiFi without an internet provider.
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