Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chalk and Cheese

I rarely have any good to say about customer service. In my experience people are a lot keener to sell to you than they are to help you when something goes wrong with their product. My recent Epson printer complaint is an excellent example. I complained about a piteously poor product, was offered a couple of measly cartridges if I bought another printer, and was told to call an 0800 number if I wanted to discuss the matter. Epson your customer service is pathetic. I have since replaced my Epson printer with a Brother HL-2140 laser printer thanks to Flybuys. The print quality is excellent, the speed is impressive, and there are no paper jams or misfeeds. So far so good.

What I really wanted to write about however is a recent experience I have had with excellent customer service. I want to hand a customer service trophy to Dell computers. In January of this year I bought a laptop for gaming university purposes. Having a small home and a young daughter who sleeps in the computer room, I needed a portable option. Since we don't own a TV, we also use it to watch movies. However, ever since I got it, I've noticed that it intermittently struggles to play a number of our DVDs. So I decided to write to customer service and ask if something could be done. Enter Dell's excellent customer service. The person I emailed asked if I could do a couple of checks myself and email the results, which I did. Then he organised for a technician to come out to our place in Parau. The technician rang the next working day and arranged to come out at a suitable time. When he arrived he immediately started dismantling the laptop. I had been a little worried that he would check whether various DVDs worked on it. Since it was an intermittent issue I was dreading what many of us technophobes dread:- the ol’ phantom computer problem, that disappears when a competent geek comes along, and reappears as soon as they have departed. But he didn't muck around with checking DVDs. He immediately replaced the drive. After briefly checking it, he left, and asked us to call if we have any problems.

I've been very pleased with my Dell laptop so far. It is a fantastic machine. But I'm twice as happy now, knowing the customer service that backs it up. I've heard of people having to send machines away for weeks on end while they get tested and repaired. I have never heard of technicians being sent to a home to fix a machine on site. So if you are looking for a laptop, may I recommend a Dell. Next time I'm in the market, I'll be certainly looking at one.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A walk in the forest

Our little family took a trip to the Arataki visitor centre this afternoon. We popped across the road and did a short walk along part of the Arataki Nature Trail. Walking this trail provides one with a religious experience, for posted at various intervals along the path are signs that encourage an almost superstitious 'worship' of nature. I may comment on some of these at a later date.

However one sign that I really appreciate describes some of the deeds of Tane Mahuta the god of the forest and birds. On the left side of the sign is written:-

Ko Tane Mahuta te atua o nga ngahere
Na Tane i whakawehewehe a Rangi raua ko Papa
He maha nga Tamariki a Tane
Ko nga rakau katoa, nga manu, nga ngararu me nga kararehe katoa

Ko Tane hoki te timatatanga o te tangata
Nana i hanga a Hine-ahu-one te wahine tuatahi o te Maori
Kei roto i enei mea katoa te mana o Tane.

On the right side a translation in English is provided.

Tane Mahuta is the God of the forests
Tane separated Rangi (sky) and Papa (earth)
Tane has many offspring
All trees, the birds, reptiles and animals

Tane is also the beginning of humans
He formed Hine-ahu-one the first Maori woman
The spirit of Tane is found in all these living things

This reminded me of the creation account in Genesis, part of which I have reproduced here:-

And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:6-10 English Standard Version)

Its fascinating to see the links in the mythology and creation stories of various cultures to the Hebrews' Genesis account recorded in our Bible. While I know there are other explanations, it is worthwhile pondering whether these incredible commonalities suggest there is an element of truth in the stories. In Genesis we read the story of God creating the heavens and the earth, and the story of his creation of various kinds of animals and finally his creation of the first man and woman.

Anyway I am quite interested to eplore further parallels and have got the Reed Book of Maori Mythology out of the library to aid my investigations. Watch this space.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hope beyond death?

If you are reading this, you are terminally ill. You may be reminded of a certain gruesome film “The Ring” where a message on a video gave its viewers seven days to live. While the message you have just read does not contain this same power, it is nonetheless true. From the moment of our conception, our time on earth is counting down. Morbid? Yes. Unimportant? No.

For such a universally important topic, death is not something our culture contemplates deeply. Sure, there are reports of death in the papers; there are accounts of murders and tragedies. Films and books are riddled with death. But somehow these deaths seem unreal; for the most part wholly ‘other’ from us. We cannot really imagine a world where we are no longer present. Our whole understanding of the world assumes our own being. In the rare incidents where we do contemplate our own mortality, we are distressed at something that seems so unnatural.

Why do our hearts rebel so much against death? Why do we grieve when a loved one dies? Why do we dread our own mortality? I put it to you that we rebel against death because it is unnatural for us. We are not designed to die. While some may say death is part of the circle of life, our hearts tell us this is not so. Death is an unwelcome intruder – a thief which humiliates us and robs us of our dignity.

Unlike those who hold to an atheistic evolutionary framework where death is an essential part of the world, I believe death is an intruder. As sons and daughters of God, we were created for life abundant. And yet in that garden of perfection our first father rebelled against God and brought death into the world. Since that fateful day, our race has been doomed to death. Our original glory and dignity as image bearers of God has been marred and defaced by our rebellion, and we all must face steady decay until death finally humiliates us.

Yet today is a special day. Today we celebrate the man Jesus who conquered death. Nailed to a cross and left to die, Jesus was the only human being who was not infected with the disease of sin. Jesus did not need to die. Yet he submitted himself to death in the stead of those he loved and desired to save. Death could not own him – for in him was no sin – no trace of rebellion against God his Father. So triumphant he rose from the grave and appeared to many of his disciples - eyewitnesses so committed to the truth of the resurrected Jesus that many would give their lives up rather than deny it in the years that followed.

Why does history so vividly remember this man who conquered death? What is so important about Jesus? Sure there is the amazing fact that he managed to escape death, but the rest of us are yet helpless and will all stare death in the face at some point or other. We remember and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, because he is the first fruits of the dead. The first fruits in a harvest signify a promise of more to come. In the same way, Jesus victory over death is a promise to his people that they too have victory over death.

Though we must still taste death, the sting of death can be taken away. Jesus now holds the keys to death, and we do not pass through the door unless Jesus has opened it for us. Moreover, for those who have been joined to Jesus Christ through believing in his power to save them from their own rebellion against God, Jesus promises that at the end of the world as we know it, they too will be raised to life – with perfected bodies ready to live life abundant in a restored world where death and suffering are banished forever. What hope Easter Sunday brings to us all as we contemplate our own mortality.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

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