Meet Christian and Jess. As you might guess from the distinctive plexiglass staircase in the background, these two fine, upstanding Apple salesfolk work at the Boylston Street location. Christian and Jess were so amazingly helpful that I decided they needed a commendation via blog post.
The Background: In my classes, I take notes via my computer, so I don't have to worry about deciphering my own handwriting, and because I can type faster than I can write. This works superbly for my Marketing class, or my Organizational Behavior class. On the other hand, for Economics, I run into some trouble. I am required to sketch diagrams for demand schedules and marginal utility schedules, which can't be done by typing.
I cast about for a solution, and finally remembered my supervisor at my first job having a similar problem. He was teaching distance learning courses to Senegal from Boston, and in the "virtual classroom" had a really difficult time trying to write equations (he taught Physics). His solution was a Wacom Tablet. Think of a mouse mat, but instead of just having a mouse, it also has a stylus. The software integrated with various existing programs so that you could use the stylus just like a pen on the screen. This seemed like the perfect solution to my problem. If I had a stylus, I could simply draw my diagrams right onto the page in my virtual notebook.
A tablet is a complicated piece, and while I could have bought one online, I decided to go to the Apple Store to see what they recommended and to ask how exactly it would work with my MacBook. I did a little research prior to my trip, and had come to the general conclusion that I was looking for a Wacom Bamboo. I was pointed in the right direction immediately, and once I found the item on the shelf, I found myself asking Christian for some help with my questions about how it worked.
Christian was very friendly, and knew immediately that Jess was the person in the store who knew most about the Bamboo. He took me and the product down to where she was, and discovered that she was already helping another customer. I smiled, and said, "That's okay, I can wait for her for a bit." And yet, instead of a "See you later," Christian stayed with me and helped me find some of the needed information from the tech specs on the box, and then we pulled out my MacBook to determine what version of MS Office I was running and if it would be compatible. I really appreciated his interest and earnestness in helping me out.
When Jess came over, she was very enthusiastic about the Bamboo. Jess is an illustrator and uses a tablet for drawing; apparently my need for a tool to draw Econ diagrams was not something she encountered very often. The two of them were absolute poster-children for customer service: friendly, knowledgeable, working together to help me, the customer. And to boot, they taught me a new trick for using Photo Booth: holding the shift key when taking a photo shuts off the flash and holding the option key shuts off the countdown before the photo.
A few days later, I am very happy with my Bamboo. It works brilliantly with the "Scribble" feature in Word's Notebook layout. I can draw to my heart's content, and I really like using it for mousing too. If you're interested in a tool for drawing, do take a peek at the Bamboo.
And if you're in the neighborhood, stop by the Boylston Street Apple Store and say hi to Christian and Jess. I'm sure they'll help you out too.