Friday, June 28, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Private lessons at Tech for Rookies will take students step-by-step through the basics, including these How To’s: turn them on and off, receive and send mail, populate the address book, use the calendar, download the most useful applications, create documents using the Pages word processing program, keep the device updated, and answer other questions that can turn rookies to fans.
The lesson may also appeal to those contemplating a purchase of one of these mobile devices, but need some assurance they won’t feel like a klutz after shelling out the purchase price.
For more information, contact: email@example.com, or call 773-320-5681.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
It was my last day. My letter of resignation had been accepted by the store manager. I had already removed my name tag from the cord I wore around my neck. The blue t-shirts with white logo were on a pile in the recycling box. I emptied my locker of business cards no longer valid. Now, it was time to say goodbye to a job I had coveted for more than 6 years, a dream job I felt incredibly fortunate to have won.
I opened the door that led from “back of the house” to retail and found myself staring at staffers lined up on either side of the product displays. An Apple tradition for all departing members, my coworkers were clapping and smiling as I slowly inched down the gauntlet. Customers, who had never before witnessed this leave-taking, looked to each other to figure out what this older woman had done to deserve such treatment. Those that had previously seen an Apple goodbye, joined in the applause.
As for me, I cried. From the rear to the front, I cried. I paused to hug team members who had welcomed this woman -- old enough to be their mother or grandmother -- to the Apple store in Old Orchard. These “kids” who had listened patiently whenever I raced to their side, pulled on an elbow, and asked, "How do we...? What do you suggest..." or other questions.
Now, rewind the scene to three months earlier when I first learned my application, audition at a recruitment event, and responses during three interviews, won me a spot. When I received that phone call, I believed I was the luckiest woman alive. Imagine, to work in a wonderland of iMacs, iPods, iPhones, iPads; to learn the credo and policies, to understand the lingo; to wear the blue t-shirt.
Mind you, I have had impressive jobs in the past. I was a press aide to a Chicago mayor (Jane Byrne), a communications director for a Chicago school superintendent (Ruth Love), an account exec at a prestigious public affairs firm (Jasculca/Terman), and owner of my own public relations business until I retired to write a memoir. But none of those posts filled me with the awe I felt at becoming an Apple Specialist.
And as I suspected, I loved the job. Selling was easy because I truly believed (still do) that Apple products are superior to its peers. I relished taking customers on "test drives" and showing them how to operate the computers and mobile devices. Older customers were my specialty because I was able to say, "if I can do it, you can, too." They would stare at my grey hair and be willing to listen to my enthusiastic spiel.
So, why did I leave Apple? Because when talking to business customers, I found myself asking, “so, how are you promoting your company?” I couldn’t stop my PR background from leaking out. I realized I missed being my own boss, and decided I wanted to take another stab.
So, after exiting Apple, I re-entered entrepreneurship. I printed business cards, announced the launching of Elaine Soloway Public Relations, built my own simple web site, wrote blogs, and became active on Facebook. I hired myself to promote my business, and used the hook, “Is It Risky to Reveal My Age.” Amazingly, that pitch garnered an almost immediate story in the Chicago Tribune.
While the column brought me attention and business (PR works!), more importantly, it proved I did know a good story when I saw it, I could write an effective pitch letter, and that relationships cultivated through social media could help get my e-mails opened.
ESPR is over a year old now and I’m proud to say I manage a handful of clients -- just enough for this small shop to handle, and enough to supplement income drained away when the economy did a nose dive.
But, coupled with the satisfaction I had made the right decision in leaving Apple, is the feeling of nostalgia whenever I enter its stores. When I visit North Michigan Avenue or North Avenue, it takes me a minute to reveal, “you know, I once worked at Apple.” And, if I’m in the Old Orchard mall, my visit isn’t complete until I head to my old home, pull on the elbows of former coworkers, and win hugs.
Happily, the kids haven’t forgotten me. As for this former Apple Specialist, I’ll never forget them, my blue logo t-shirt, and the best job I ever had.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Imagine your folks are selling the old homestead and downsizing. You’ve been ordered to clear out all the stuff you’ve stored with them over the years. There are cartons in the attic, basement, garage -- all must find another home.
Something sort of similar is occurring now if you've been a user of Apple’s MobileMe. Our “folks” have warned that come June 30, 2012, they’re tossing out our stuff. So, many of us are scrambling to find suitable storage for all the documents we thought safely tucked away over the years on MobileMe’s iDisk.
Fortunately, by now -- as opposed to when the iDisk was first born --there exist many other storage options. Some offer mega space for those who require acres, and others offer a more modest amount for people like me who don’t have the same giant needs
The Unofficial Apple Website (TUAW) is the place to start if your stuff has a hearty appetite. Remote FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or Amazon S3 servers, none of which I understand, are there for the big boys.
But, if your demand is petite, like mine, David Pogue of the New York Times speaks our language. He explains, “MobileMe’s most original feature was synchronization: wireless, automatic, seamless auto-updating of data among your gadgets. Your address book, calendars, e-mail, notes, Web bookmarks and other information were always up to date on all your machines ... and always backed up. That’s all part of iCloud now. But when MobileMe dies, three other useful features will die with it: iDisk, iWeb Publishing ... and Gallery.... Apparently, Apple wants to get out of the storage business.”
Pogue offers replacements for “those three orphaned services, that are not quite as slick, clean and well integrated into your Apple gadgets, but ...offer a lot of choice and a lot of power.”
For the former Gallery online photo storage, he picks SmugMug out of competitors like Flickr, Shutterfly, PhotoBucket, Snapfish, 5oopx, dphoto, Fotki, Picasa, PhotoShelter. As for me, I’ve been a Picasa user all along and will just stick with that service.
For the iDisk, which served as an online “hard drive” and sat on the desktop of my iMac, it was a great way to transfer and save files between computers. Pogue suggests Dropbox or SkyDrive. I’ve been a Dropbox user, along with iDisk, because I’m obsessed with saving documents in the cloud, rather than on thumb drives or CD’s. Thus, I’ll stick with Dropbox.
iWeb Publishing was a simple way to create Web pages. After June 30, you can still use iWeb to design Web pages; you’ll just have to find a new company to host them. Another route is replacement web publishers. Pogue suggests Jimdo and Weebly. But, I’m already a Google Blogger and website user, and here I shall remain.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Although I don't simultaneously use my hands, feet, limbs, and various mechanical contraptions to play music, I do like the imagery of a one-man band to help explain how my Apple devices boost my ability to get a lot of stuff done no matter my locale.
First, let me define "stuff," lest you think I spend my time watching videos or playing Angry Birds, which by the way, I still haven't figured out how to do.
My stuff falls into three categories: work related, social media, and personal.
Let's start with the one that pays my bills and allows me to purchase the aforementioned Apples.
Since Apple and Microsoft are rivals, Apple prefers that its users turn to its iWork suite of programs, rather than Office. I'm aware you can use Office for Mac, but if you have "drunk the Koolaid" - a reference to loyalists' adherence to all things Apple -- like me, you'll want to embrace the whole megillah.
If you do, you can draft a news release, feature story or pitch letter (that's my business) using the Pages word processing program on your desktop Mac. Then open iCloud on Safari or Firefox (my favorite browsers) and drag the file onto the iWork website. Miraculously, when you open Pages on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, your draft will appear right there.
The process is even easier on the mobile devices because when you create or edit that piece on your iPad (my preferred mobile), it automatically travels to iCloud; no dragging needed.
Now, before you interrupt to tell me Microsoft Word is demanded by your correspondents, let me put your mind at ease: While in Pages, you have the option to send documents as Word files. And you also can open documents that have been sent to you in Word by converting them to Pages.
So although Apple and Microsoft seem to turn their backs on one another, in truth, they swivel, shake hands, and play nice.
While I have many friends who vow they'd never use Facebook and can't fathom why anyone would we interested in what they ate for dinner, those of us faithful to the site, feel otherwise, particularly if you're in Public Relations like I am.
Apple's mobile devices enable me to update Facebook (Twitter and LinkedIn, too) whenever I have a spare moment. Either through it's App or via its page on Safari, I can update or link while I'm waiting for any number of tardy appointments, spouse pickups, or during TV commercials.
Because I check my email on my iPhone or iPad, I'm alerted to upcoming bills or sales at my favorite shops. I did all of my holiday shopping online (Zappos, J. Crew, Amazon, Harry Potter merchandise) prone on my couch. Believe me, I wanted to do all of this gift buying at local stores, but $10 shipping fees discouraged me. Be assured, if the item is staying in the city, I buy local, small business all the way.
Go for a test drive.
If you're still not persuaded Apple can help you perform like a one-man band, take a test drive at one of their brick-and-mortar stores. Also, sit in on the free workshops offered at all locations. Once equipped with your own rhythm section, play on!
Friday, September 23, 2011
If you're Jewish like me (more cultural than religious), or are a non-Jew who wonders why your Jewish coworkers disappear on various September and October days, today's post turns to technology for enlightenment.
iPhone users can download a $0.99 App titled, "Jewish Days." This application can help you remember when the Jewish holidays occur and what each one means.
Here's their quickie explanation of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, which are commonly referred to as the High Holidays or the Jewish New Year.
Rosh Hashanah, which begins the evening of September 28, is the start of the civil year in the Hebrew calendar. It is a new year for people, animals, and legal contracts and it commemorates the creation of man.
Yom Kippur, which begins the evening of October 7, is also known as the Day of Atonement. According to the Jewish Days app, it is the most solemn and important of the Jewish holidays. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
For many children, the most beloved portion of the synagogue service during the High Holidays is the blowing of the Shofar, a ram's horn. An iPhone App, also priced at $0.99, called "Shofar Hero" contains the four kinds of ritual blasts. FYI: The blowing of the Shofar is the only specific commandment for Rosh Hashanah. Just as trumpeters announced the presence of their mortal king, the Shofar is used by Jews to proclaim the coronation of the King of Kings.
Another $0.99 App, called "Synagogues Finder" uses your current location to identify houses of worship nearest your home. So if you haven't gotten a seat lined up for the High Holidays, check out this helpful listing.
Not to worry if you're sans iPhone. You can turn to the Internet for even more information about the High Holidays. Holidays.net outlines "entertainment and some fun Holiday things for you and your family." The site includes stories of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a Shofar to blow, some holiday recipes, and even pictures for the kids to print and color.
JewishFaq provides instructions (when to light the candles and when to drink the wine, for instance) and prayers for the holidays. The website includes both the Hebrew and English wording for each prayer.
My Jewish Learning is a great site for All Things Jewish. Here, you can explore more about the High Holidays and read an article, "Jewish Husbands, Jewish Wives, and Jewish Partners." You may feel compelled to comment.The Jewish iPhone Community's goal it to make easy to find Jewish mobile applications. It creates a virtual community of users of mobile device; i.e. iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.
I hope all of the above clears up some of the mystery about the High Holidays. But, if you're still fuzzy, and want a deeper investigation, you could point your mouse to amazon.com where you'll find a thorough listing of Jewish books.
And while you're on that site, don't forget to check out "The Division Street Princess," a sweet memoir about growing up in Jewish Chicago during the 1940's.
You didn't think you'd get away without a commercial, did you?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I was awoken by the sound of sobbing.
I reached for my eyeglasses and looked around the bedroom to find the source of the disturbance. Husband was on his side, fast asleep. Not him. Dog was at the draped windows. Flat. Not him.
Then, I looked to my left, to the bedside table where my Apple devices were plugged into their chargers. A tiny pool of water, likely caused by tears, surrounded the iPhone 3G.
“Sweetheart,” I said, as I unplugged the old phone. “What’s the problem?”
“You love her more than me,” she said. It wasn't true; the phone’s service was disconnected, but she was perfectly serviceable as an iPod and sleep timer. I made sure I frequently let her know of my appreciation. 3G was listing to the left, hinting to where my iPad was tucked under its lime green cover.
“No, no, you’re wrong,” I said to her. “It’s new, that’s why....”
“What’s all this racket?” It was the iPad who suddenly flung open its magnetic shield.
“Oh, it’s that baby again,” he said. “All night long, sniffing and crying. I can’t believe you can sleep through all that mishegas.”
3G did have a whiny tone. “I used to be your favorite,” she stammered between sobs. “Remember when you first got me? No one could pry me from your hands. Oh, we had wonderful times together. Then, you had to go and replace me with the 4 and left me up here by myself. Did I complain? Now...”
3G was interrupted by PowerBook G4 who previously sat quietly on the makeshift desk in the bedroom. Its cover stood upright, the screen lit. “For christ sake, a computer can’t get a decent sleep in this place. Green lights, red lights, and now all that blubbering.”
“Just because you’re a computer, don’t think you’re such a smarty.” It was the iPad who now sidled up next to the 3G. “We can do most of the stuff you do. And you’re an old fart; don’t even have Intel. Why should we listen to you?”
It was time to mollify this crowd. “Listen everyone,” I said. “I love you all. Even though I may not use you all day, that doesn’t mean my affection has waned in any way. But I promise to be more sensitive to your feelings.”
Unable to fall back asleep, despite dear 3G offering to lull me with my playlist, I plugged all back into their chargers and went downstairs to the kitchen to see if a glass of milk could knock me out.
A tumult was underway on the first floor. Desktop iMac in my home office had been eavesdropping (we have a network) and was attempting to loosen its cords to join the fray upstairs. iPhone4 was doing her best to restrain him.
“You want to talk about abandonment,” iMac shouted. The router shook. “I’m stuck inside the house 12 months of the year, 24/7. At least the rest of you are mobile! You get out; you see things. You’re not forced to stare at four walls, window blinds, and these stupid reproductions she calls art.”
Now it was iPhone4’s turn: “Just because I’m mobile it doesn’t mean she pays any attention to me. Ever since she got that, ugh, iPad, she’s been complaining her fingers are too thick for my keyboard.”
“Enough already!” I said. “I can’t take it. All day long I move from one Apple to another just to keep all of you happy, yet you’re still complaining. Please, let me get some peace.”
I crept from my home office and flopped on the living room couch. Once everyone quieted down, I fell back asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, a vision appeared. It was the 13” Mac Air -- saucy, winking at me, cooing, “Oh darling, ....”