Category Archives: Rant

Bad Marketing or Clever Spam?

This morning I arrived in my office to find an envelope waiting for me on my desk.  Physical mail of any sort is a rarity at the office these days, let alone a hand addressed envelope from someone I don’t know.


Curiosity made me open it and look inside where I found this


Note the custom URL with my name.

NO I did not type that in to a browser and I have no plans on doing so, but it leaves me wondering is this a terrible attempt at marketing something, which missed in both credibility and target audience or is this a clever new spamming technique.  With so many people now understanding that they need to be careful with links that arrive in email, is this an attempt to catch people with their guard down?

If you have any clue what this is feel free to let me know, but I think this will all be in the trash before I leave the office in a few hours.

Farewell Google Reader – The “Free Problem”

Google reader dead


Everyone loves Free products, but just look at the last few weeks/months  here is a list of services or apps I use(d) that are going away


Tweetdeck (Air version)


Google Reader


There are others like Otixo which I used which transitioned from Freemium to paid, at which point I made a value judgement that it was not worth it to me to pay for that service.  Ultimately you get what you pay for, and when you are not paying, you are simply hoping the free service you are using continues to be there or can even financially remain viable.

Google Reader is obviously the one that hurts I have been using it since its inception back on 2005, and it us a big part of my daily workflow.  I get a lot of information in Google Reader, and its ability to sync with mobile clients for reading on the go is valuable.  Rather than dwell on this I am sure a suitable replacement will appear, there is clearly a need for a quality RSS reader with all the syncing, and someone will fill the void.

The bigger lesson here is I am going to have to take a look at the services/apps I use and assign them value, which are nice to have and if they go away so be it, which are important and if I am paying for or willing to pay for?  I think of things like the Free edition of Google Apps which Google no longer offers.  How long will it be before Google pulls the plug on that and tells me to pay or get out?

So over the next month or so I will try to better catalog what I use, and what value they have, and determine if my data or apps are right for me.   That is the real lesson here you should do the same.

The Problem with Android

Back in 2009 (when apparently I was a much bigger fan of iOS) I wrote about how Apple got it right in how they managed OS upgrades compared to RIM who let the carriers control when and if devices got upgraded.  Sound familiar? Substitute Google/Android for RIM and it is the exact same scene playing out all over again.

To highlight the absurdity of this yesterday Google announced Chrome for iOS, while Chrome for iOS is far from perfect if I choose to I can install it today on my original iPad 1.  Everyone knows though that I prefer Android over iOS, so what about Android? Yes Chrome for Android has been out for a while and is now out of beta….. if you happen to have a device running Android 4.0+.  So while I have an Android Phone running 2.x and a tablet running 3.x (neither of which will officially ever see an upgrade to 4.0) if I want to run Chrome on a tablet I need to turn to an Apple product.

No I am not going to abandon Android, there is too much I like about it, but the Android Update Alliance  announced at Google IO in 2011 has not been heard from since.

Device updates were clearly not RIM’s only (or even biggest) problem, but Google should nonetheless learn a lesson and fix Android updates, it is long overdue.

Twitter Please Fix Direct Messages or Eliminate Them

Anyone else frustrated with Twitter Direct Messages?  I occasionally use Direct Messages  they are convenient for sharing a small piece of information outside of the public stream, they are also incredibly frustrating.

1. The limitations on who can send a direct message to who are absurd.  While I understand that only allowing the sending of a Direct Message to a person following you makes sense from an anti-spam perspective, if someone follows me and I send them a Direct message they should be able to respond regardless if I follow them or not.  If I had a nickel for every tweet I have seen imploring someone to “follow me so I can DM” well I would have a nice collection of nickels.

2. It is just to easy for a Direct Message to become public by accident, this might be a case of ‘user error’, but the fact that Twitter’s support pages have an entire section on how a DM can become public tells me it is just too easy.  (one of the reasons I keep the Twitter for Android Client on my phone, is that has a very clear visual difference between sending a tweet and and a DM it is the only mobile client I will use to send a DM).

3. Many of the longer conversations I have had via DM would have been much better served taking place over Skype, Sametime, Phone or maybe even carrier pigeon.

Do you use Direct messages on Twitter? Have you ever tweeted what you meant to be a Private message?  I would be fine with Twitter simply eliminating the feature.

One more thing, if you send and receive a larger number of Direct Messages good luck going back and finding information you might need from a DM, Twitter will only show you the last 100.

Where are my direct messages?


My Proposal to Fix Major League Baseball

This time of year is known as the Hot Stove League to baseball fans.  Last week MLB announced the sale of the Houston Astros, and their move from the National League to the American League in 2013.

Until interleague play began in 1997 the only time American League (AL) and National League (NL) teams played each other was in the World Series, since 1997 it has been a regular feature of the MLB season.  With this move of the Astros to the AL both the AL and NL will both have 15 teams making  interleague play a daily occurrence on the MLB schedule.

The AL and NL play with slightly different rules, most notably the use of the Designated Hitter used in the AL, but not used in the NL. For interleague play and the World Series the rules follow the ballpark where the game is being played:

During Interleague Play the designated hitter rule is used in all American League ballparks, but is not used in National League stadiums, which is how the DH is used in World Series play

With interleague play becoming a daily part of the MLB schedule I think it is time for both leagues to play by one set of rules.  I am not a fan of the Designated Hitter rule, I prefer the NL style of play.  Realistically I don’t see the Designated hitter going away for a number of reasons, but I have a proposal of new rules that would be a compromise as follows.

1. Expand the roster from 25 to 26 active players per team – hopefully this would make the players union accept the elimination of the Designated Hitter, as the extra roster spot would keep a position open for aging veterans who often fill the DH roll on rosters today.

2. Eliminate the Designated Hitter, but once a game allow the pitcher to be pinch hit for while being allowed to remain in the game – this would preserve the offense that the DH adds to the game, as well as adding a new strategic element for managers to navigate (and add another topic for fans to second guess their manager).  It also might reverse the trend of specialist relievers who come in and face one or two batters only, the ability to pinch hit for them, but keep them in the game might encourage managers to let a reliever face more batters than they do today.

I know that this is extremely unlikely to happen, if anything I would expect the NL to adopt the Designated hitter at some point in the future, I just don’t want to see it happen.

Use With Extreme Caution



I implore you if you feel the need to use the Reply to All button when responding to e-mail,  please do so with extreme caution.  Before clicking Reply to All LOOK at the distribution list and ask yourself if all those people need to see your response.


If you "Reply to All" telling people to "Stop replying to all" you are part of the problem
Sep 14 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Here is one more reminder on the evils of Reply to All.

Rules for using “Reply to All”

Sorry Twitter I Prefer Notifications in my Client

Twitter has added some new e-mail notification options, and enabled them by default.  As a result I woke up this morning to a surprising number of e-mails in the e-mail account associated with my Twitter ID.

Tweetdeck already provides all of this functionality, I would really prefer not to have the same information e-mailed to me. 

You might want to check your Twitter notification settings. The only one of these I like to keep enabled is direct messages, my personal preference.


I am Even Steven

Yes the post title is a Seinfeld Reference, but I sure did even things up last week.  If you recall back in 2008 I broke a bone in my left wrist (interestingly enough Broken Scaphoid Bone is a consistent search term for hits here).  In a snow related fall last Wednesday I now broke a bone in my right wrist, after finally seeing an orthopedist today, I now know this time it is a fracture of the Triquetal Bone.

Here is my cast for the next 4 weeks, I see the doctor again the day before I leave for Lotusphere, I am hoping (maybe I am being overly optimistic) to be making the trip cast free, but we will see.  The cast offers me more movement, and use of my fingers, the the splint they put on in the Emergency Room last week, so I have some use of my right hand, including a little typing.

CIMG7043 CIMG7044

Rockmelt and Lotus Notes share the same problem

Have you tried Rockmelt? The new browser built on Chromium which in their own words:

“RockMelt does more than just navigate Web pages. It makes it easy for you to do the things you do every single day on the Web: share and keep up with your friends, stay up-to-date on news and information, and search. And of course, RockMelt is fast, secure, and stable because it’s built on Chromium, the open source project behind Google’s Chrome browser. It’s your browser – re-imagined and built for how you use the Web.  “

I got in to the beta a few weeks ago and have been using it on and off, most of my browsing is still being done in Chrome, where all my extensions are installed, but I have been playing a little with Rockmelt.  What I have discovered is that Rockmelt, and Lotus Notes share a very common problem.

When you are in the Notes client you are authenticated with your notes ID, but when you attempt to use other services in the sidebar like Activites, or Sametime you are forced to (at least the first time you connect) provide a user name and password (despite already being authenticated in to the Notes client).

Rockmelt seems to have the same problem in reverse, when I load Rockmelt it remembers my logins to Twitter and Facebook in the sidebar, but if I visit Twitter or Facebook in the browser there is no connection made and I am asked to login again as seen here:

rockmelt pic

While I would like to see the Notes Client do a better job of handling Single Sign on, even with out it, I get a lot of benefits out of the Notes client, from my mail, contacts, and calendar, to Applications I use, and the integration with Connections, and other sidebar plugins, the lack of single sign on is a minor annoyance, overshadowed by the features that I use.

The jury is still out on Rockmelt, I am seeing the annoyances, but not yet seeing the benefits really justify making the switch, I will continue to play with it and see as they release future updates if the benefits show up.

If you are looking to try Rockmelt I have some invites, you need to connect to Facebook from their site and request one, if we are friends on Facebook I will be able to see your request and send an invite, first come first serve (and please don’t friend me just for an invite)

Rockmelt Homepage

Rockmelt Blog

What is wrong with these people?

So I think we can all agree that baseball and football players today are overpaid and spoiled, take for example the Giants Plaxico Burress who coming off of a Super Bowl win is unhappy with his contract

And while Burress was on the field, he refused to practice because of what he called “a business decision.” It turns out that the receiver who caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII is unhappy with the progress of negotiations for a new deal.

So lets make sure we understand this, back in 2005 when Burress signed the agreement it was a good deal, but now he refuses to practice without a new deal, even though the current contract has three years left on it On the other end of the spectrum the Mets Ryan Church tries to do a good deed and offered to cover the funeral expenses of Donald Leo, killed in a NYC crane collapse, but Donald Leo’s fiance refused to accept his offer not because she didn’t need it

“Don was a die-hard Yankee fan,” Belcastro said in a statement. “It would not respect his memory if he accepted this.” The grieving Belcastro added that she “greatly appreciated” the offer.

Crane vic’s fiance turns down aid from Mets player So again I ask you what is wrong with these people?