Sunday, June 10, 2012

An unsolicited advertisement (no poker content)

About ten years ago, while I was still living in Minnesota, there came a time when I needed to hook both a Mac and a PC to my home cable internet connection. I needed a router. I kind of randomly chose one made by Belkin. I was having a devil of a time getting everything to work together correctly. (There are, by actual count, 14 billion menus and submenus in the Windows operating system just for connectivity.) Putting my male ego aside, I finally called Belkin's customer service line for assistance. The guy on the other end was wonderful. Of course he had a prepared algorithm he was working from, but it was also clear that he understood what each step did, and could improvise as needed. He was smart, friendly, and infinitely patient. It took nearly an hour on the phone to diagnose and fix the problems, but then it was done, and the router never gave a speck of trouble thereafter.

That experience was so good that I made this one of my life's pre-made decisions: If something I need is made by both Belkin and other companies, I'll buy the Belkin.* I now have half a dozen Belkin doodads, and they have all performed flawlessly. None of them has died yet, despite years of constant use.

(Let us pause to reflect on the awesome power of one experience with a company's customer service department. If good, it can win brand loyalty for life, as Belkin did with me. If negative, it can engender a foul, "never again" blood oath, the bitterness of which lingers even beyond the grave. Either way, the experience gets shared with countless friends and/or blog readers. Yet many companies seem to try to keep customer service cheap by making it so intolerably unusable that nobody really bothers with it. Penny wise, pound foolish.)

My new computer is great, but it presented me with a niggling little problem: The USB ports are near the back, instead of near the front, as on my old computer. As you can see below, this means that I couldn't push it all the way back to the wall, because the USB cable ran into the speaker. (This photo makes it look like I could just use one of the other USB ports, but the depth is such that they all cause the same problem.)

I thought, "I wish somebody made a right-angle USB connector." Which was immediately followed by, "Hey, maybe somebody does." Google quickly told me that not only do such things exist, but that one of them is made by Belkin! to the rescue, and yesterday the clever little gizmo showed up in my mailbox:

It has two separate axes of rotation, so you can make it fit just about anywhere. It feels amazingly sturdy for something so flexible.

And for about $8, the problem is solved:

(OK, to be honest, the problem is not quite solved. This Dell has its power cord sticking straight out the back, which limits how close to the wall I can get it. But I found another company that makes a right-angle adapter for that issue, and I expect it to arrive tomorrow. Then life will be perfect again.)

* I have one exception: I had my Adesso keyboard before the Belkin experience, and I love it so much, and so fear that they won't have the same model still available when this ten-year-old one finally dies, that five years ago I bought a replacement, and have it stashed in the closet for when that sad day comes. Belkin makes fine keyboards, I'm sure, but they can take my Adesso when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.


Crash said...

You need space in back for the fan outlet.

Jon said...

Where did you live in Minnesota? And is that your home state. I was born and still live just south of St Paul, and I love it here!

Rakewell said...

Crash: This one is vented just side and bottom. The stand I keep it on nicely keeps those areas open.

Jon: I was in St. Paul proper, just west of McKnight, about 2 m south of 3M.

Brett said...

Here is a good read along the same line,