Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clearwire is not "Clear"

Clearwire announces that "Clear is the first network to provide a true seamless Internet experience wherever you go. We’re committed to giving you a fast, reliable Internet experience with customer service that puts you first"

Is this really what you'll get form Clear or is this just an empty promise?

If you live outside of the 4G range the only equipment that will work is a 4G/3G mobile Wi-Fi unit. The only way it could be sent to me was if I used my work address which is in a 4G area.

I talked to a  representative at a the Lancaster mall in Salem, Ore., and got some information about the service plans and costs.  Once I was satisfied with the information I received I did some research on the service they provide which led me to believe that this service would be what I was looking for.

I pulled up the Clear website and followed the prompts to call the sales department to order. After placing my order I was then told that if I was not satisfied I could return the Wi-Fi unit within seven days and only have to pay for restocking.

This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard!

I read in Clearwire's agreement that I could return the unit and cancel within 14 days if not satisfied without paying a restocking fee or any penalties.

I’m sure that all the customers will agree with me when I say that Clear has then worst web site of any service provider. The site is set up for sales and is not user friendly to account holders.

I followed the directions to find my account information just as spelled out in the FAQ and from the online help but to no avail. It wasn’t until I clicked on support instead of choosing the drop down menu did I find the option for accounts. Even then I had to select it once more before I could see my information.

Is this really good for customer service?

I found that many of Clearwire's customers are not happy with their service. "Clearwire (aka Clear) Poor Service & Treats Long-Time Customers Poorly," said Scott, a long time customer from Nevada.

The Better Business Bureau gives Clearwire an A+ rating even after having 1537 complaint filed against business.

I discovered that a class action law suit has been filed against Clear for data throttling. I also found that Clearwire's 3G service is provided by Sprint.

Buyer beware! Clearwire is not clear.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Three Things That I Learned in Feature Writing

What are the three things? Writing is a process that takes creativity, patience and a willingness to get out of your comfort zone and investigate your story ideas. I love to write about things that interest me whether it be about a good movie or a problem that effected me or the community.

Finding a good place to set down and write is very important. You have to get rid of distractions and be comfortable. Schedule some time for yourself in your daily routine and let others know that your not available. If you have children, this doesn't always work out but keep trying.

Research is essential for a great article. The more research that is done, the more information you have to use. Wikipedia might be a good place for story ideas but the information you find is not always correct.
Double check your sources and make sure the facts are just that, facts.

Never forget that what you write whether it be in print or online, people will read it. The internet is world wide and you never know where your stories will end up.

At a Glance

There are several sources you can turn to for help in making your good story great. Attend a class at a community college and visit the college writing center. Writing centers like the one at LBCC are full of people that love to share their knowledge.

Another good source is magazines on writing like the Writer's Digest.

If you are interested in writing screenplays, fiction or news, remember to protect your work. Register your script's with a writers guild.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Happens When Your College's Financial Aid Makes Changes Without Informing You

When you attend college on a limited budget, financial aid is often a major source of income. Students' depend on aid to pay for tuition, books and living expenses but what happens when the government or college departments make changes to your account that affect your financial aid?

After standing in long lines to get into the LBCC Bookstore and then stand in another line to the register, the last thing anyone wants to hear is "You have no money in your account."
Students wait in the cue outside the LBCC Bookstore

This is what happened to several students trying to purchase books, and they did not realize it until they arrived at the bookstore checkout counter on Jan. 5.
"I was told that I had a negative balance when I should have had a positive balance," said Whitney Bruce, a student at LBCC.

For students depending on funds to be available on Jan. 5, there were immediate feelings of panic. Would they have to withdraw from school? How would they be able to meet their financial obligations?

Lines rapidly shifted from the bookstore to financial aid.

For most of the students there was immediate relief, for others problems remained.
"We understood that students were frustrated," said bookstore manager Lawrence LaJoie. "We held the students books for them and gave them a pass to bypass the lines once the problem was corrected."

What happened?

"Financial aid had added a software patch to the Banner operating system that caused the student account to show a zero balance," LaJoie said.

Banner is an operating system that integrates all student systems from Financial Aid, Admissions, Registration, Bookstore and the Business Office. In order for the system to function correctly, upgrades and patches are done routinely.

This patch had to be in place in order for students to get their actual disbursement of credit balances on the correct date. The problem was brought to the attention of financial aid that morning and the assistant  director and computer services Banner consultant were able to find a solution by 2 p.m.

"This problem was not limited to LBCC. It was a software problem that affected all schools that use Banner software," said Bev Gerig, the director of financial aid.

LBCC routinely installs software upgrades and patches. Any time a law is enacted related to federal student funding, it impacts financial aid. Multiple changes are done in software every year in order to process changes in the FAFSA and to be able to deliver federal financial aid dollars to students.

"It is sometimes challenging but we spend many hours testing and analyzing upgrades and patches to make sure they work and will not impact students," said Gerig. "Unfortunately there will always be times when we miss something or Banner misses something that can cause problems beyond our control."

Will it happen again? Yes, as long as changes are mandated there is the possibility that it will happen again.

At A Glance

What can students do to prevent holds on their accounts?

Dropping classes after the tuition refund deadline or withdrawing from courses may impact you. Students who drop classes after the tuition refund period or who do not complete classes may owe a repayment of their financial aid and may be denied financial aid at LBCC and all schools.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS: Financial Aid monitors your academic progress each term. You must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to be eligible for your financial aid.  SAP failure revokes all your financial aid for all terms unless you petition this office for reinstatement.

REPORT INFORMATION:  Did you receive a scholarship or attend another college, university, or trade school this academic year? Failure to report this information to the LBCC Financial Aid Office may result in you having to repay your LBCC financial aid.

For questions about your financial aid account, contact;

Financial Aid at Takena Hall, room 117 ·· 541 917-4850 ·· Email Financial Aid