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CES 2005: Form, Function and Stylin'

"The 20-year-old art student, Josh Kaplan, was the subject of a tabloid front-page headline on Monday when the New York Post dubbed him a 'wave rat' and suggested he was trying to profit from disaster," Reuters reported. "'It was all a gross misunderstanding,' Linda Kaplan said in a telephone interview from her home in Thornhill, Ontario, on Monday after the tabloid paper known for its splashy headlines detailed what it called her son's 'shocking eBay bid.' 'He wanted to sell it and donate the money to tsunami relief. My husband and I said, "That's a good idea, Josh." But it all turned into a nightmare.'"

Kaplan received the name for free from Michelle Tirado, a freelance journalist who originally wanted to sell the name for $99. Kaplan told Tirado that he represented a nonprofit charity organization, the Post reported in an article we mentioned in yesterday's Filter.
Reuters via CNET's News.com: Tsunami 'wave rat' had best intentions, mother says

_____Filter Archive_____
Vonage Phones in Hot WiFi Plans (washingtonpost.com, Jan 5, 2005)
Tsunami Prompts Online Outpouring (washingtonpost.com, Jan 3, 2005)
The Year in Technology (washingtonpost.com, Dec 22, 2004)
Shooting for Video Game Success (washingtonpost.com, Dec 21, 2004)
The Incredible Edible iPod (washingtonpost.com, Dec 20, 2004)
More Past Issues

Call Centers Up and Running?

New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderadbad aren't anywhere close to the Indian coastline and as such were spared the destruction from the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami. So why did Linda Wosskow, a small business operator in San Francisco, wind up in phone hold hell when she tried to call Symantec's outsourced tech support center?

"When she finally reached someone in Symantec's president's office, she was told there was a disruption in tech support service because Symantec's calling center is in India, one of the countries hit by a massive earthquake and deadly tsunami Dec. 26," Wired.com reported. "'What does this mean for outsourcing?' she asked. 'The other thing is why don't they train their customer service people to say it the way it is? I don't want them to tell me someone will pick up the phone in 10 minutes and then they don't. Or, if they don't call me back, I don't want to hear, "I will get back to you" and then they don't. It's frustrating and it's unprofessional.'" No word on where the call center is located.

Wired.com cited Robert Hartwig, an economist with the Insurance Information Institute, for a likely explanation: "More than likely service was disrupted because the calling center's employees had family members living in the afflicted areas of the country. Hartwig compared the disruption in service across the country -- but on a much larger scale -- to the way U.S. office workers reacted when they heard about the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York. 'There is no doubt this was a major distraction for the staff,' Hartwig said."
Wired.com: Call Centers Ride Out Disaster

The Modesto Bee wrote that even an important outsourcing call center in Chennai (Madras) appeared to be running normally. "Chennai, a major city on India's eastern coast, was hit by the deadly tidal waves. But a development center run there by Infosys Technologies, a major software company whose clients include American Express and Citigroup, wasn't damaged and all workers are safe, spokeswoman Devon McMahon Corvasce said."
The Modesto Bee via CRMBuyer: Large Businesses Escape Tsunami's Wrath

Cindy Webb is off today. Comments about this article should be sent to robertDOTmacmillanATwashingtonpost.com.

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindyDOTwebbATwashingtonpost.com.

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