WebInno 22

I was at the Web Innovators Group last night. Overall an interesting batch of presentations. The two that caught my eye were BuySellAds which allows advertisers to control which sites their ads are displayed on (presumably these sites need to be part of the BuySellAds network,) and Fluent Mobile which allows users to get news content on their iPhone.

Customer Service You Say

Had an interesting interaction with the customer service department of an online store. I won’t divulge the name to protect the innocent.

On Safari you can’t add anything to the cart thus making it impossible to buy anything. I only tested Safari on the Mac. The site does work with Firefox on the Mac, I was able to purchase the item I wanted.

I flagged the issue to the customer service department and they told me that they knew about the issue but were waiting for Apple to provide a patch. They suggested calling the toll free number to place the order.

Two things are wrong with this picture, the first is that I am sure Apple is not losing any sleep over this one so a patch is highly unlikely, second the idea of having an online store is to shift the cost to the customer, calling to place the order causes the company to incur a much higher cost of sale.

Every other store I have access using Safari allows me to buy stuff, so what makes the user interaction on this one so special that they can’t support Safari?

The correct thing to do of course is to make sure the site works with all browsers, there are some very good javascript libraries out there which mask developers from browser vagaries (JQuery and YUI to name but two.)

Failing that, the site should detect which browser I am using (easy to do) and offer a slightly degraded experience which still allows me to buy stuff, or informs me that the site currently does not work with Safari and that I should try Firefox.

Personally I would patch the CTO with the “could do a better job” patch.

Would You Buy A Car Without An Engine?

There is are many days when I am really glad I left the old country and settled here in the USA, and this is one of them.

I just finished reading this post by Paul Thurrott entitled “Microsoft documents how Windows 7 E customers can get a browser” where he excepts the steps users need to take to install a browser because the main release of Windows 7 in Europe won’t include a browser.

We have known this for a while but I still think this is in-sane!

Selling an consumer operating system without a browser is like selling a car without an engine.

Imagine for a moment a trip to the car showroom where you can pick whatever car you want only it doesn’t have an engine. You need to make arrangements to procure your own engine and install it in the car yourself.

CloudCamp Boston – July 29th, 2009

CloudCamp Boston will be held on July 29th, 2009.

From the conference web site:

CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

I will be attending.

Unix Toolbox

A friend pointed me to this very useful list of Unix/Linux/BSD commands, worth taking a look at and bookmarking.

SMART

Given that two of my drives failed in quick succession, I have been getting to know SMART, specifically the smartmontools package which has been very useful, as well as this article “Monitoring Hard Disks with SMART“.

And the failed drives will be destroyed first by being overwritten with zeros and then by using a hammer.

Snow Leopard

I have been running Snow Leopard on my laptop for three weeks now and I have to say that I am very happy with it. It is fully stable by any stretch, the mouse cursor disappears from time to time, but the guts of it are stable enough.

I like the UI changes a lot, basically the same as Leopard but with the rough spots ironed out.

Interestingly I find myself missing Snow Leopard’s features when I work on my MacPro.