Archive for June, 2008

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Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Spam singles

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Yet another sign that modern society is on the brink of collapse into decadence: single serving spam wrapped for life in little foil pouches. All 210 delicious calories are ready at a moments notice, the mere thought of want.

Spam singles

When society really ends? The day they do this with bacon.

V-Moda: worst customer service ever

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

When they work I love my Vibe Duos, but unfortunately they are not working so well right now. I raved about them as the best iPhone headset on the market in my review on Gear Live and my follow up post about the 2nd generation Vibe Duos with an answer/hangup button. Unfortunately I can no longer say I recommend either the Vibe Duos or any product made by the V-Moda company.

While their earbuds are amazingly comfortable and sound great they have severe build quality issues which results in frequent failure. After repairing the headphone sheath as described in the review and then replacing them entirely when they stopped working I have had to replace them two more times directly through the V-Moda warranty program for a total of three replacements in under 9 months.

The first time I replaced them through RMA I was a little irked that the process took almost two weeks. This time around V-Moda has gone silent once I shipped the defective earbuds back to them. UPS has proof that they were delivered and signed for, however V-Moda initially couldn’t find them (and wanted the tracking number again), and now refuses to even respond to emails regarding the warranty program.

It’s sad really – the Vibe Duo’s are the most comfortable, and among the best sounding headphones I’ve ever used. When they work I sing praises to my fellow man about the glory that is the Vibe Duo, but since in the last 9 months since I bought my first pair I’ve been through 3 pairs, and without their delicious sound for more than 6 weeks I can’t honestly recommend anyone purchase them if they in the slightest value reliability or customer service.

I’ve filed an official complaint with the Better Business Bureau to see if that might get me traction on getting my promised replacement pair. The full text of the complaint is below for public record.

Complainant Information
About 3 weeks ago my Vibe Duo earbuds stopped working and I contacted the company asking for a replacement pair. They sent a form letter with a ticket number (Ticket ID: ZWL-207849) and asked that I mail the broken earbuds to their mailing address. (V-Moda, 6464 sunset blvd. suite 500, hollywood ca 90028)

I sent the earbuds back via UPS (tracking number: -tracking number redacted-) and then didn’t hear anything back for 2 weeks. UPS confirms that the package was delivered 2 weeks prior, 2 days after shipment.

I re-contacted them asking for status and they took 3 days to respond and their response was that they needed the tracking number. I sent an email providing the tracking number and have not heard back from them. I have sent them two additional emails asking for status updates and to complete the RMA with no response. Each of my last 3 emails has included all of my contact information as well as the tracking number.

Resolution Sought: I would like the RMA to be completed and to receive the replacement earbuds for the ones sent their way (at their instruction).
Date Problem Started: 05/28/2008
Date of Transaction: 05/28/2008
Amount in Dispute: $110.00
Invoice Number: ZWL-207849
Complaint Type: Refund Promised
Product or Service: V-Moda offers “high end” earbuds.

Update: Mere hours after the posting of this article V-Moda got back to me with status on the warranty replacement and the happy news that they would be shipping the replacement Duos right away. The communication did not mention if the Better Business Bureau or this article had any influence on their response but the timing certainly is suspicious. The note included an apology stating that they had moved offices which had caused delays. While finally getting contact is nice V-Moda’s inability to properly set expectations was inexcusable.

Good customer service does not always mean instant resolution on an issue, but it always means rapidly responding to contact and setting expectations properly. After 9 days of sending mails to V-Moda with no response any customer is going to be frustrated – a frustration which could have simply been avoided with a quick email on day one stating that they had received the communication and would have an official response within two weeks.

In conclusion I can no longer heartily recommend the Vibe Duos to iPhone owners seeking headsets. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Vibe Duos, they sound great and are super comfortable but after 3 failures and such abysmal customer service I’m left with both a sour taste in my mouth and a sadness in my heart that if history is any indication my replacement Duos won’t last longer than 3-4 months .

Holy orange creamsicle!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

If you want to win this:

Then go here to enter the latest Gear Live contest. It might only be a 1st gen iPhone on the eve of the 3G launch, but it’s at the right price: free! There are other prizes too, but who cares: orange creamsicle iPhone!

We could start a fund for you

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

A short video interview with Nate on the ride to the airport from the end of the Berlin trip. The fund is started – send me money to contribute!

The bacon chocolate martini

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Question: what do you get when you combine three of my favorite things; bacon, chocolate, and liquor?

Answer: the bacon chocolate martini at the Capitol Club, Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Chocolate bacon martini

Bless the Capitol Club, and bless Ali and TB for doing dinner with me last night at the Capitol Club. Good luck gals – twins on the way!

Update: A few days after posting this I’ve gotten a couple of emails asking for more details so here they are. The bacon chocolate martini is far from a martini – it’s not crisp nor light. It’s thick, heavy, and delicious. In fact, think of it more as a dessert than as a cocktail. The Godiva chocolate liquor used gives an almost milkshake like texture to this rich sensual delight.

The drink itself is more focused on the chocolate than the bacon. The bacon infused vodka adds more of a bacon note to the drink than an overwhelming bacon flavor. The candied bacon garnish is a sweet finish and tastes delicious dipped in the chocolate between nibbles. The Capitol Club was smart to start with maple cured bacon and then candy it – the ultra sweetness added by this process works perfectly with the natural salty flavor of the bacon when combined with chocolate.

An exercise in driving efficiency

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Having just driven downtown to pick up Mike and give him a ride to his car I was struck (brutally and repeatedly) by the fact that American drivers suck. At least in the small corner of Berlin that I saw drivers were efficient, courteous, attentive, and knowledgeable of the rules and customs of the road. Cars, bicycles, and pedestrians shared the road with very few slowdowns and no rudeness or sense of danger for those not protected by thousands of pounds of metal car frame.

For such a relaxed people the inhabitants of Berlin all seem to have the German sense of efficiency drilled into their very cores related to driving resulting in quick and productive transport.

P.S while on the topic of cars, I want one of these:

The definition of fast

Back from Berlin

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Sunrise church

I’ve been back in the USA for about 36 hours and I’m finally pretty much caught up on sleep and free of jet lag. As great of a time as I had in Berlin I’m quite glad to be home. I’ve finally got the last of the photos from the trip that are worth posting uploaded to my Berlin photoset on Flickr.

The HP event was actually really fun and informative to attend. To be honest I was a little worried that it would be a pretty mundane event announcing 5% faster this, and 8% smaller that but my fears turned out to be unfounded. HP launched both a massively improved Touchsmart as well as the stunning and lustworthy Voodoo Envy.

Another one of my 101 goals is completed and I’m left with a desire to return to Europe and explore more of what it has to offer.

German toilets: torrential downpour

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Admittedly I’ve only seen toilets in 5 or so buildings in Berlin, but so far they all flush like this – without a whirlpool, and apparently using gallons of water per flush.

Berlin in brief

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Berlin is awesome – I suspect that is a condition which actually applies to much of Europe as well, but as I don’t have time to go personally verify that statement I’ll stick to Berlin for the time being. The culture here is delightfully efficient while maintaining an easy going pace and a friendly atmosphere. Every German I’ve met has smiled at me when speaking, and seems genuinely happy to see me – certainly not something you could say about the States.

Hotel Concorde at sunrise

HP has put us up in the Concorde, a beautiful 5 star hotel in the West German town center. It’s a great location which makes walking hither and yon an easy task. As busy as I’ve been I’ve taken every effort to get out and explore, taking photos along the way. I’m way behind in posting those photos, but I’ll try to catch up in the next few days and get another batch uploaded to my Flickr stream.

Ciao for now – off to get ready for the first day of interviews.

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