The Click Sound

I heard this click sound this week. I remember this sound back from my architecture days. It is this feeling when everything falls into place and you simply ‘know’ you got this right.

I have the exact same strong feeling that we nailed it. It may be correlated to this blog post by David Skok, or the number of growing customers by the day and their feedback, but it’s a combination of many data pieces together.

It’s not that we have completed our mission, we’re far from it! It’s that I simply clearly see what we need to do and in which order – I have the blueprint in front of my eyes.

Happy end with Apple

The good news is that my Mac Book Pro saga came to a happy end.

In the last episode Omer and Oren, my colleagues went to the Apple store in Burlingame (CA) to hand the computer for returning repair.
Again, they had to prove that something was broken, luckily for me, the Genius turned to the store manager who decided to take the faulty mac and get me a new one instead.

Just before total frustration, a person with good instincts for customer service, made the right judgment call! I wish this could have been done sooner, but at least I’m back working on my Mac!

The “Other Side” of Apple

I have all the latest and greatest from Apple. iPhone, iPad, iPod nano, Mac Book Pro and Mac Book Air, and if they had other products that I would need I would certainly buy from Apple. In addition, I’ve also encouraged all my employees at Totango to go for a mac as their prime laptop and we provide iPhone 4 as part of our employment contract.

The reason I love apple is for it’s user centric approach and elegance, I simply enjoy using their products.
Apple products are usually reliable, however, I got one Mac Book Pro, which wasn’t, and this story is about my journey with Apple service.

So the story starts on Feb 2011, when while I was creating an investors presentation my computer simply crashed, the screen went black and there was nothing I could do but to restart it. This happened several times while editing the presentation, and I figured it may be a problem with a corrupted file. So I started a new file (the default black presentation) and this problem occurred again.
As I was in the bay area at that time (you can guess who the investors were…), I rushed to the Palo Alto Apple Store, on University Avenue, where my computer was checked by one of Apple Genius guys. The result of the diagnostics was that “it may happen, and you should reinstall you Mac OS X” and so I did. The next morning 10 minutes prior to the presentation, It happened again and I had to give my presentation as a PDF, you can imagine how good it went.

This problem went on and on, and I had a very angry support call with Microsoft, as I figured these guys really can’t create a decent software for the Mac. But while we were troubleshooting the problem together, other software caused the same problem: Preview, QuickTime and other, and these are all Mac native software. This is when I realized it is probably something with the graphics card.

This was April, and I was in Israel, so I had a 60 minutes support session with someone from Apple support on the line. I went through all the magical key strokes which diagnose your computer without any luck. As the agent wanted to wrap up the call by saying “I think it’s fixed, please let me know if something happens again”, I guess the typical support summary sentence when they don’t really know if they fixed anything or not, I suggested the test before ending the call, and then again, online, in front of the support rep, the black screen of death hit again, and it only took me 10 seconds to reproduce the problem. No luck here.

The next time I was in the states, and this was on May, I rushed to the Apple store in Manhattan, the one of 5th ave and 59st. (beautiful store), after waiting more than 30 minutes for my scheduled appointment, my Mac Book Pro was tested by another Genius, who was certain he’s on to something: “It’s the hard drive!” he said, “you have too many errors, all your data is lost and we need to ship it for repair!”. Well, I figured there was nothing I could do now about the data (it’s good that most content was replicated to the cloud), at least it’s going to be fixed within a week.
Rolling forward to next week: I got my computer by mail to the bay area where I was visiting customers. I was eager to put my hands back on my working mac, right? wrong!

Not only that the problem was not fixed, I ran few graphic software and immediately the black screen of death reappeared. In addition, my anti-glare screen was replaced with a glossy (errrr!!!!). I thought I was getting nuts.

Well, the next phase, was to call Apple support again, explain the history over and over again, escalate to level 2 and to level 3, and the great outcome is….

I will have to re-ship my mac book pro for another repair, wait for a week, hope to get a mac with the right parts, and if you ask me, will the problem be resolved? I’m afraid we’ll have to wait and see.

What did I expect?
I expected a service which is elegant and user centric. By now I should have had a new Mac Book Pro delivered at my door instead of the four months saga that’s been going on, and is still not over. During this time, I had to buy another Mac Book Air, to really be able to work, while as a side job, spend time over the phone with Apple support. I guess this may happen on big systems when procedures are not 100% aligned with common sense and proper customer service.

Sorry for the long post, had to get this off my chest!

Lean Startup Israel – New Meetup Group

Hi,

In the past weeks I’ve been busy in setting up a home for the lean startup community in Israel. Many people offered to help and I believe there is a room for the lean startup community in Israel.

For this, we’ve opened a new Meetup group. Please join and to get informed of the lean startup group meetings. We haven’t scheduled the first meeting yet, but it will be schedule for the next couple of weeks within the next few days.

The link for the group is http://www.meetup.com/lean-startup-israel/

Further updates on the lean startup israel group will be available on the Meetup mailing list.

Looking forward to meet you,
Guy

Cloud load testing

As a company which operates in the cloud space, we’re experimenting with building a product development company without any servers.

So far, we’re using various cloud services to run our business:

  • Google Applications – for mail, calendar and documents and our internal wiki
  • Beanstalkapp – as our subversion code repository
  • Balsamiq – as our online mockup service
  • Dropbox for file sharing and of course
  • Amazon EC2 as our deployment environment for testing and production

Now days, we’re looking for a good cloud load testing solution. I posted a question on Twitter. I thought others would be interested in my non-formal survey results as well:

  • http://www.keynote.com/
  • http://loadstorm.com/
  • http://www.cloud-intelligence.com/home
  • http://www.soasta.com/index.html
  • – many thanks to Yaron and Paul

    We haven’t tried any of these services yet, and I’ll happily update here on our experience and results.

    If you’re familiar with other online solutions, please add your comment as well.


    Salesforce API and Axis2

    Here’s a useful tip for Java developers integrating with the SalesForce API.

    All Salesforce Java examples use Axis 1.3. If you’d like to work with Axis 2 stream, simply use the following switches on the WSDL2Java command line:

    wsdl2java -Eofv -g -uw -u -uri enterprise.wsdl

    This will save you a lot of time and frustration. To read the explanation, just have a look here

    Spring Roo Initial User Experience

    I’ll start by saying that I admire what the Spring guys are aiming with Spring Roo. I really hope that this effort will be successful.

    The promise is great; up and running enterprise Java applications in minutes, however, after being burnt in the past, most developers still would like to keep sense of control over their code base.

    After watching the Google I/O keynote, where it was clear the Spring and GWT guys are working together, I wanted to spend 60 minutes on Roo and see how it goes.

    So, I went into the Roo website and followed the command line instructions. Documentation is great and also the command line behaves very well. Didn’t dive yet into the auto-generated code, but I have a good feeling that the guys at SpringSource knows what they are doing.

    after 5 minutes, the user experience is just great. And than came the maven piece…

    I finished creating the first project as described here, and followed the instruction:

    roo> perform tests

    And than waited for 16 minutes and 3 seconds while seeing screens like this one:

    I understand it’s not Roo, but maven behind the scenes, and that it was the first time maven was running on my laptop, hence the time it takes. However, I do expect to see much clearer messages about what’s going on, and why it takes so long…