I have been consuming newsfeeds since Pointcast (1996) and CDF/IE 4.0 (1998) so obviously once RSS gained momentum about a decade ago, I got hooked. It remains my main way to keep on top of both fresh news and background material. In recent years I tried several times setting up Twitter (by itself and via desktop clients such as Tweetdeck) but never reached an acceptable signal/noise ratio so I gave up and only check it out once in a while, certainly less than my daily RSS consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

In our dealings with various SaaS vendors, it is interesting to see cultural differences translating into behavioral patterns. You can see from the outside which functions have heft, which ones are afterthoughts, and where are the missing integration points. A behavior that I see pretty often is a good level of quality in customer support, but a failure to properly integrate it with other parts of the company. That is suboptimal both internally for these companies, and from the perspective of the customer. Vendors miss opportunities to learn and improve, while the customer feels he’s dealing with well-meaning professionals hindered by a poorly designed organization.

In my experience two scenarios often play out that give the customer an overall “meh, whatever” feeling no matter how great the work done by support. Read the rest of this entry »

Like so many people, I let my blog, which I had started relatively early at the end of 2000, fall into a state of utter neglect as various social networks took over in the late 2000s. But in the past couple of years I went through a conscious effort to improve my information diet, and that took me back to where I started: a careful selection of handpicked RSS feeds consumed via an RSS reader, many of which are blogs from entrepreneurs and interesting companies.

Despite applying the same upstream filtering to my various social media streams (i.e. I don’t follow celebrities and other noisy crap in Twitbook+), I find their information density way too low. If anything, the current crop of self-centered, ephemeral social media show the lasting value of a good blog with a purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

The marketplace for tools helping interactive marketers with their tests, tracking, and optimizing, seems more vibrant than ever. More and more small companies know what the issues are and work on helping solve them. Unfortunately, tools are time consuming – it’s not copying some javascript in a CMS template that’s really the problem, it’s all the post-implementation data cleaning, reconciliation, and analysis so you can actually get value out of the tool. Also, beware of self-inflicted wounds as all these third-party javascript calls will slow down your site.

As far as we’re concerned we’re making sure we don’t just play around too much and actually fully use a tool before considering implementing yet another one. Right now we’re focused on Clicktale, mostly for its forms analytics. A bit slow but if you’re into analytics, you owe it to yourself to try it.

There are other tools that we’ve been using for a while, and yet others that we might test later. I’m sure I’m missing many but here’s a list: Read the rest of this entry »

Living through a major earthquake: pretty scary.

Realizing your family, yourself, and your property don’t have a scratch: priceless.
My thoughts to the families of the deceased, wounded and homeless. Te quiero Chile.

Update three years later: I had posted this after the 8.8 earthquake on Feb. 27, 2010 in Chile. We live about 350 km (215 mile) north of the epicenter, so we felt a pretty long ~M7 earthquake on the Richter scale. Not tsunami traumatic, but definitely scary nonetheless (the noise!). This will remain a strong memory for life for sure. Oh, and the aftershocks (we’re in the upper part of that collection of 458 aftershocks, with a bunch of M5s-M6s right where we live).

I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time, mostly because we’ve kept ourselves quite busy hunting for, then buying and renovating a house in Conc√≥n, Chile. After 5 months of remodeling, we finally moved in last month and we’re very happy to have made that choice which satisfies both our heads – we’re convinced it’s a great investment over the long run – and heart – outstanding direct view on the ocean, lots of space, our kids love it. There’s easily two or three years of additional work ahead to get our dream home out of it (and home office – did I mention we’re across the street from the Pacific ocean?) but we’re starting to be nicely settled already.

On the web publishing tech front, we’ve been working with ExpressionEngine for a bit more than a year. We like it for the most part, but still have several unresolved issues: Read the rest of this entry »

I just bought a prepaid data package from Claro, one of the three mobile telcos here in Chile. After fumbling with their settings (their APN for prepago banda ancha is bap.clarochile.cl, not bam.clarochile.cl) I’ve just completed a successful call with my Teliax account on my Nokia E71 to my Vonage account. The chain involved goes something like this:

Nokia SIP call -> Claro 3.5G network -> internet cloud to the US -> Vonage -> more internet cloud back to Chile -> Tutopia DSL -> Cisco ATA 186 -> Philips VOIP841 wireless phone (for whom Vonage is my “landline”, I also have Skype running on it).

There’s probably 20,000 miles worth of roundtrip involved, with data packets going through air, copper and fiber. Try to visualize it. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick notes on apps I’m using with my E71 smartphone:

I’m planning a trip to the US in April/May (Denver and Miami) and want my phone to support me as much as possible during the trip. I usually rely on a good old piece of paper with all the necessary addresses and phone numbers and what not, but I hope it will act mostly as backup from now on.
Update: I’ve set up Teliax and made a couple test calls, seems pretty good so far. Vonage has seemed on the brink of extinction since pretty much they got started and Skype has never worked quite as well for me (some calls are great, some are crappy, it’s always been more uneven in my experience). Plus, Vonage’s soft phone is not cheap and I’m not sure there’s even one for smartphones. More options means more resilience means less headaches and downtime.
Also: E71 tricks.
Update about push email: Seven sends SMS to the UK in a kind of sneaky way behind your back, and it doesn’t work seamlessly with Devicescape Easy Wifi (at least for me). Not sure it’s going to be my long term solution, especially given it won’t work with messages stored on external memory. I tried Emoze but it doesn’t seem to manage folders, at least not the free product. Next: Profimail.

Offline Gmail

In: web apps

28 Jan 2009

Gmail + Gears if finally happening. The pieces are really starting to be put together by Google here. Good move.

To help other people from being sold a device that’s not going to be maintained by its manufacturer, let me warn you that some versions of Nokia’s E71 smartphone sold in the US (aka E71-2 NAM) have not received any firmware update since the product was introduced on the market last year. Meaning, known bugs have been fixed for some customers, but I and others are left hanging dry. That’s rich for a $400 unlocked phone sold by one of the biggest ecommerce players in the consumer electronics world (Newegg.com). It’s not like I bought the phone for cheap from the grey market and unlocked it with an unsupported hack.
Nokia is aware of the problem but doesn’t even have a deadline to fix it. I thought they finally meant to be a competitive player in the US but it seems I was wrong. Also, apparently Nokia is too poor to py for decent upgrade servers.
Looks like Palm is back in the game so if Nokia doesn’t get their act together I’ll be on the market again soon for an unlocked phone that can work worldwide and is actually properly supported by its vendor.
02/15/09 update: proceeded with the finally available update. Going through applications to see things are working fine, Gmail settings didn’t make it even after backup/restore (since the E71 doesn’t save user settings through firmware updates – yeah it’s stupid at that price range).

About this blog

I'm CEO of an online/mobile trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We strive to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is noisier by the day.

This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, publishing, software, and more. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that better stood the test of time.



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