Kyle Caricature

You've stumbled upon Kyle Eslick dot Com, the online home of Kyle Eslick. I am primarily known for being the founder of Apricot Media, a digital media company that focuses on developing domain names into profitable websites/blogs, affiliate marketing, and doing SEO analysis. Among the websites operated by Apricot Media are, WordPress Hacks, and Slick Affiliate.

Due to the number of projects I am personally involved with at any given time, it can sometimes be difficult for people to figure out how to reach me. As a result, this website was created to provide a little information about me, as well as to serve as a hub for discussing my personal interests via my personal blog.

Please feel free to look around and let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached via email using my contact form. (Due to the daily amount of e-mail received, please allow 48-72 hours to respond)

In the meantime, if you'd like to read what I'm up to, here are a few of my recent blog posts:

Why I Switched to Apple Products

For several years now I’ve felt very close to finally making the jump from Windows over to MAC OS X, but the timing was never right for me. I’m already used to Windows, I use Windows at work, and there is a moderate learning curve in making the switch.  Another big hurdle is that the price is extremely high compared to Windows comparable products so you need to be in a good place financially or have a very strong business need in order to make the jump. 

Roughly a month ago circumstances finally afforded me the opportunity to finally make my jump from my Dell using Windows 7 over to a new iMac which uses Snow Leopard OS X.  The result?  After a few weeks of learning all the ins and outs of the machine I have to say that I wish I’d taken the time to make the switch sooner!

So, what makes it better?  I’ve been pondering this question since I made the switch and it is a very hard thing to pin down.  It really just feels “right” and has to be experienced because it can’t really be described.  Load times are pretty much a thing of the past for me now, as are anti-virus software.  Installing software is easy, the way it should be.  In fact, it is so easy that it leaves you thinking you did something wrong!! 

On the flipside, I’ve found a few pieces of software which I used to rely heavily on which aren’t available, but all crucial software is available for OS X and for the others I’ve found suitable alternatives to meet my needs.  I also think the launch of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac later this year will have a big impact on my experience. 

In closing, now that I’ve got my iMac I’ve just about completed my conversion to team Apple and I couldn’t be happier. Over the years I’ve collected several iPod Touches, iPhones, an iPad, and now I’ve converted my deskto pover to an iMac. 

Have you been considering making the switch to Apple?  Quit procrastinating and make the jump.  Whether you are technology savvy or new to computers, you’ll be glad you did!!

Why I Fell in Love With My iPad

For several years now, I’ve been an avid iPhone/iPod Touch user.  I lead a mostly digital life these days, whether we are talking about reading digital books, watching movies, and consuming other digital media content.  Much of my income comes from the internet and I also am a gamer, so in many ways these devices have made my life more convenient, and that is invaluable to me.  I can’t count the number of times I wished I simply had a bigger iPhone.

Rumors of the iPad’s impending existance have been abound for many years and not long ago it was confirmed by Apple.  Although excited, I refused to get my hopes up too high until I got a chance to get hands on with the device, which is why I didn’t preorder the iPad.  The week the iPad was released, I went to my local Apple store to give it a try and knew within minutes that this was the device I had been waiting for.  

Although there is a lot of room for improvements already (give me a camera and fix the wifi issues please), the iPad has quickly become my default device when I’m home, allowing me to do everything I can on the iPhone while also allowing me to complete many of my day-to-day functions such as managing my websites.  In the past this was always done on my desktop and/or laptop.  Don’t get me wrong, as the iPad is not a replacement for these devices, but in many ways is the device for all my needs and has fit perfectly into my life. 

With the iPad I can quickly and easily browse the internet, watch all my movies, videos, and TV shows (plus YouTube!), use my Netflix account, manage all of my music, listen to my podcasts, view all of my photos, read my books digitally (which is generally cheaper and reduces storage), and soon I will begin using it to read my Wolverine/X-Men comics as well.  And everything is in one convenient device!  People say the iPad is expensive, but this device is easily worth twice as much to me. Of course, looking at the recently announced sales figures, it seems I am not alone.   Over 1 million people have already purchased an iPad and those numbers are for the United States only and don’t appear to include 3G iPad customers.  If you aren’t sure if an iPad is for you, do yourself a favor and go to your local Apple store and just play with one for a few minutes.  I’ve yet to find anyone who has done so and hasn’t left with one, but at least that way you’ll know whether you need this device or not. 

Lastly I wanted to let potential iPad buyers know that if you already have an iPhone/iPod Touch you probably have a lot of digital media (music, movies, photos, and of course apps).  I’ve found that the iPad fills up VERY fast, so I recommend spending a few extra dollars and get the 64 GB version to make sure you have enough to manage all your social media.

Ghetto Reporter Video

There are a ton of great YouTube videos out there, but after a few years of browsing YouTube I’ve found a few favorites.  One of these is the ghetto reporter video.  Enjoy!

Amazon Gets It

Just wanted to write a quick post and give props to Amazon.  I’ve been a long time customer of theirs (probably since the  late 1990’s) and order at least two packages a month.  I am also a very active Amazon Associates affiliate.  Over the past decade I’ve always been pleased with their products and haven’t really had any problems along the way. 

Anyway, I digress.  About 3 weeks ago I ordered a new video game for the boys (ah, who am I kidding.  It is for me as well!).  As usual everything went flawlessly and I didn’t think anything of it.  Today I received an email from Amazon letting me know that the price of the video game I bought went down since I last bought it, so they were crediting me with the difference ($2.50 back on a $45.00 purchase).  At first it took me by surprise, but the more I thought about it, it really doesn’t surprise me.  After all, Amazon just gets it and they always have.  That is why they are so successful.  

Make shopping easy, allow for your users to review products, and now they refund you if the price changes (I assume this is a limited window after you buy the product – maybe just price changes within a month of purchase?).  Now those people that are worried about a price drop no longer have to worry and can go purchase the product they want without waiting.

Great job Amazon!  For your reference, here is the letter I received:

Greetings from

During a recent review of your order, we noticed that we now offer a
lower price on “XXXXXXXXXX” than at the time you
placed your order.

We value your business and have requested a refund of XXXXX to your
credit card.  This amount reflects the difference between the price
you were charged and the current, lower price.  The refund should be
processed in the next few days and should appear as a credit on your
next billing statement.

Hate Digging Through Help Manuals? Google it!

This post is just a quick story I wanted to share.  Earlier this week while getting ready to travel to my bi-weekly Poker game I noticed a warning light on in my almost brand new car.   If you own a newer vehicle you may be familiar with the “Your Gas Cap Is Off” warning light.  Well, for some reason that is the warning light I was getting despite having a gas cap that is attached making it almost impossible to be missing.  I pulled over to check my gas cap, but everything was fine.   Just to be sure, I undid it and tightened it again until I heard the click that signifies it being sealed.  Once done, I decided to hit the road.

Much to my surprise, the warning light stayed on, leading me to dread my arrival, which would involve me flipping through a 200 page car manual to see what else the problem could be, or at a minimum, how to turn the light off.   While deep in thought, I had an epiphany when I remembered that Google has indexed about everything else, so why not my car’s manual?

To make the long story short, when I arrived at the Poker game, instead of grabbing my car manual, I grabbed my BlackBerry and did a quick search for the warning name and car’s make and model via Google.   The first five results all had the answer to my problem and it only took a minute or so to find the answer I was looking for!

With the success I found with Googling my car manual, I’ve been contemplating all the other ways Google can save me time with my offline life.  Thank you Google!   My hope is that this post will ultimately help someone else by saving them time as well if they find they are a similar situation.   Had a similar experience where Google saved you time in your offline life?   Leave it in the comments!

What Would Google Do? Book by Jeff Jarvis

I’m generally a big reader, but lately my online activities have prevented me from doing a whole lot of reading.   A couple of weeks ago my father surprised me with a audio book copy of Jeff Jarvis’ new book, What Would Google Do?  This proved very thoughtful as I spend a lot of time commuting to work and back each day.  

I’m ashamed to admit that I thought the name was familiar, but I couldn’t place how I knew the name.   Well, halfway through the first disc (first chapter?) I quickly figured out where I know him from.   Jeff is the blogger who inspired Dell’s idea storm with this post written to Michaell Dell, the CEO of Dell computers.   Ironically enough, I was going through my own troubles with Dell at the time (which didn’t end so well), so it made this particular chapter all the more interesting for me.  

Though Jeff touches on a large variety of topics, they are all cleverly tied to Google and the idea of figuring out “What Would Google Do?”  Jeff uses this to examine the future of the internet as well as looking at how Google can or will influence many offline companies (restaurants, medical issues, insurance companies, etc.) and cut out the middle man as we know it today.  

Though I admit I enjoyed the book for the most part from cover to cover, I really liked how Jeff references his personal blog and really shows the power of blogging to his readers.   Whether you are internet savvy or just someone who wants to learn how to grow their business, I recommend reading What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis.  You can find it in your local book store, or purchase it via (audio CD can be found here).

Dell Computers: A Customer Service Nightmare

A few days ago, I published a blog post titled Fuck Dell, where I chronicled the beginning of what has been probably the worst experience I’ve EVER had dealing with a company.   Since that post was published, I’ve continued my quest for customer satisfaction without any success, so I wanted to take a moment and chronicle the rest of my experience with Dell, in the hopes that someone who is planning to buy from Dell will first hear about my experiences.

After my initial problems with Dell’s customer service, the next day I decided to both try their online customer service, as well as to phone them and speak to a supervisor.   My phone call required 2 transfers, one hangup and call back, then 20 minutes of the representative trying to talk me out of talking to a supervisor, but I was finally able to be transferred to a supervisor.  In addition to the problems I referenced in my last post, I also was having troubles getting the dual monitors to be extended to both screens.   He was eventually able to help me fix this problem, but then transferred me to someone else to discuss returning the defective mouse, the incorrect monitor, etc.

The next representative I was transferred to was trying to sell me a new monitor instead of just letting me exchange the incorrect one for the one I needed.  To make it worse, he kept suggesting monitors that weren’t compatible with the setup they built for me!!  Finally I decided I would just return the monitor for a refund along with the defective mouse and be done with it.  He instructed me that he would need to transfer me to ANOTHER person to handle the return.   I ended up “conveniently” being disconnected during this transfer, so I gave up for the day.

That night I began installing software on the new PC (now that the dual monitors were functioning I was planning on at least keeping the hard drive and one monitor) and Vista kept freezing on me.  When I rebooted the PC, I could no longer even get logged into the computer!   I just kept getting a blank screen each time I rebooted the computer.  The only way I could access it was via safe mode. At this point, I decided I was out too much time and wanted to cut my losses, so I decided to just be done with it and return everything for a refund.

The next day, after 3 transfers and a 30 minute hold time, I was finally able to speak to their return department.   The representative then informed me that I would be charged a 15% restocking fee for my return despite the defective merchandise and the 21 day return policy which I was supposed to be given with my purchase.  They wanted me to go back through their technical support again instead of accepting my return, but the thought of doing that made my head spin, so I declined.

After another 20 minutes I was finally able to get the return authorization information, the merchandise was packaged as best I could, and it was returned for what will hopefully be a full refund.   If not, I will have to initiate a chargeback with our credit card company.  (I will update this post with these results).

My Final Thoughts on Dell

For the past several years, I’ve been buying both desktop and laptop computers from Dell (2-3 annually as my wife and I wear out and upgrade computers quickly).   Now, it will NEVER happen again.   In fact, I wouldn’t wish the experience I’ve had with Dell on my worst enemy, which is why I’m publishing these two posts in the hope that someone will read this and know what they are getting into before they buy a Dell computer or other product.

I feel that I’ve been the victim of a bait and switch.   When I called to place my order initially, I spoke to someone who was VERY helpful and worked hard to find me a computer to meet my needs at the price I wanted to pay.   Once I crossed over from being a potential customer to being an existing customer, things changed quickly.

Their sales team all seems to be very friendly and spoke excellent English, but once I became an existing customer, everyone I spoke with (including supervisors) all spoke very broken English, which I think contributed heavily to my frustrations.   In addition to the possible language barrier, over the course of 3 days and numerous calls, I had been transferred a total of 23 times, hung up on 3 times (“inadvertently” of course), and lost an entire weekend that could have been spent working or spending time with my wife and kids (I would estimate about 19 hours has been put into setup, tech support, and return).   To make it worse, I was also forced to use a paid day off work to take care of packaging and returning the defective products.

From now on, I think I’m going to mostly be buying Apple products.   After all, Apple’s products are so good that their customers advertise and promote their products for FREE because they enjoy them so much.  I also like the idea of having an Apple store here locally where I can get face-to-face customer support.  For my wife, she is a creature of habit and will be sticking with personal computers; however, these will all be purchased locally with local support.   Right now, we are planning to go with DIT computers and I expect we will have a great experience.

Have a Dell customer service nightmare you’d like to share?   Leave it in the comments below!   My hope is that working together, we can educate as many potential Dell customers as possible about what they are getting into!

My Frustrations with Dell’s Customer Service

Let me apologize in advance for the title of this post, as I don’t normally use that type of language, so that should give you an idea of what I’m going through right now.   As I write this post, I’m forced to resist the urge to go to the doctor and get my blood pressure checked.   See, I just got off the phone with Dell.   Or should I say I was just disconnected from the phone by Dell?

It all started a few months ago when my wife decided she needed a new desktop computer for her business.  After looking at her computer, I realized she was still using an old Gateway we bought 6-7 years ago!   She has always used PC’s in the past and is comfortable using them, so naturally we began looking for a good deal on a brand new personal computer.    Over Memorial Day weekend we received an email with some specials from Dell which were pretty good deals, and I’ve read a lot about how Dell has improved their customer service from Jeff Jarvis, so I decided we would give Dell our business.  I gave Dell a call and spoke to a friendly sales woman who worked with me to find the best PC for our needs.   I stressed several times throughout the call the only real need we had was for a dual monitor setup (needed two identical monitors and a card that supports dual monitors).  I also am a proactive person, so I decided to have them include a wireless network adapter with the desktop computer since they were custom building it anyway.  After we got everything figured out at a price I was happy with, I placed the order and all was good.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and my wife is excited the computer and monitors has finally arrived.   I unpack it and begin getting things setup only to discover to my horror that they shipped me two DIFFERENT monitors.  Not only are they different, but one is a 20 inch monitor and the other is a 22 inch widescreen which operates on a different resolution.   When I open up the box to the computer, I also discovered they simply threw in an external wireless antenna instead of building it into the computer (like they’ve done on our other Dell computers in the past).    In other words, I’m stuck with a worthless piece of hardware.

Of course from what I’ve heard about Dell’s new and improved customer service, all is good, right?     I’ll call up, they’ll correct their error and all will be good….or so I hoped.    Unfortunately within 5 minutes of making my call, I had been transfered a total of 6 times to different people, most of which were difficult to understand.  I finally landed with someone who I thought could help me, but after 5 minutes of explaining the details and providing the order number for the 6th time, I was informed that I had again been transferred to the wrong department and they would be transfering me again.   After being sent to representative number 7, he took the information, then informed me I would need to speak to their returns department to return my monitor, then once that was done, I’d need to speak to the technical support team (who’d I’d already been transferred to in the past).   After I politely complained about the customer service I was getting, the gentleman (I use this term loosely) placed me on hold and I was introduced to the dial tone.   Thats right, apparently I had been hung up on.

So, now I’m out countless hours that I’ve invested into researching, purchasing, setting up, and now dealing with these problems, and I’m no better off.  My wife has two different size monitors that don’t even operate on the same resolution, and I’m out a significant amount of money.   To make it worse, my wife is the one who will suffer because I convinced her to go with Dell.   I’m at a loss as to what to do now, as I can’t seem to find anyone within the company that can help me.   Anyone have any ideas?