Posted tagged ‘web’

Attention is new currency

2010/01/05

Some companies just do not get it.

It starts with an email, like this one:

By coincidence, you are on project that has the CRM component so you decide to check it out and click on link. After all, it is free, right, so why wouldn’t you ?

The catch is that it is not free at all. Without realizing it, you have already made your first payment, by doing the sender a favor: as we know, clicking on a link in email is definitely not a good idea and recommended behaviour, unless you know the sender and trust the sender. Which – in this case – you have absolutely no reason to.

The link that promises to lead to the free whitepaper, ends up here:

So the “free whitepaper” is not quite free and you  just continue paying – with most precious currency: your time. First you need to spend the 10-15 minutes to fill out the lengthy form. Then another chunk of your time to actually read what you downloaded, just to find out that (in 9 out of 10 cases) it is useless, fluffy marketing material. If you pay attention to fine print below, you’ll find out that you have just subscribed to unknown number of similar spammy mailing lists and will be receiving many more offers for “free” stuff. Add more payments: time spent on weeding them out from Inbox for the rest of the email address’ lifetime … because majority of Unsubscribe links are (similar to unicorns) purely mythical constructs.

This behaviour is so much last century and comes from today completely invalid assumption: that information is something precious, valuable that needs to be protected, guarded and given only for exchange for your privacy. In today’s world, there is abundance of information that competes for readers attention. Rather then asking for anything upfront just to gain access, the authors should be happy and honored that in the world of so many options, somebody actually wants to invest time and effort to get more familiar with their product or service or whatever are they selling. Because they are selling – the only reason for the form-guarded “free” stuff is to sell, either by using the content in question or by following up. After all, they have all information to reach you …

I am not against selling or marketing – I just want the sellers to be honest about it. If you really want to collect any information for follow up, how about at minimum provide at least a preview of what the information is about. All respected sellers of eBooks do that – give you at minimum free chapter and TOC as free (I mean *really* free) download. This seems to be such easy and obvious thing, that I am surprised that even respectable companies (such as Citrix in this case) go for this ineffective trickery just to squeeze out contact information from possible audience. It is so easy to create disposable email or use services like http://10minutemail.com/

But much easier than using self-destroying email is simply click on next search result link. Why would one expect to gain anything useful from whitepaper produced by company that does not get the basics ?

Chrome is interesting, but I'll stick with Firefox …

2008/09/04

Everybody seems to be crazy about Chrome, the new superfast Google browser. The odes on speed sounded quite exaggerated, so I had to try it. I opened up again my old battered Fujitsu Lifebook and after 3 reboots (it was not used for about 2 months and Windows update had to have its patching done) I downloaded and installed it.

The rumors were not unsubstantiated … it IS considerably speedier  than anything else, including Opera. I have not seen any issues on the few sites I have tried – everything seems to work just fine.

So why back to Firefox ?

Three reasons. First, Chrome does not exist for Mac or Linux and I am not going to use Windows in VM just to surf web, that would be kinda silly. This will be presumably fixed soon – according to the blog.

Second, the Firefox extensions are simply too good to be missed. I happily exchange speed for goodness of Firebug.

And third: the IS a catch and many people noticed it. The Google’s EULA says:

11. Content license from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.

11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.

I am not a lawyer, but this seems to be little bit too much. Google already has all my emails and knows most about my searches 😦 … but I have no intention transfer to them e.g. ownership of my photos that could upload to Smugmug using their browser. Or similar.

Fortunately most of the components are opensource, and I am certain that the good pieces will make their way to our computers packaged in some alternative open and user friendly speed devil browser. Ideally under Apache or BSD license 😉

Until that time – by bye Chrome. Uninstalled. And I am not alone that did so

Easy way how to transfer really big files

2008/04/29

What does really big mean ? In my case few hundred megabytes, up to 1 GB. Clearly, too much for email attachments – most providers caps them at around 5-15 MB.

Since we started doing screencasts, I need quite often to transfer  work in progress – screen recordings, rendered MOV files between me and my co-host of the screencasts. I tried to upload the file to the company servers using VPN, but the speed of the secure uploads is nowhere close to being practical.

What works much better is free service called TransferBigFiles.com. There is no registration required, you just enter the recipient email and start upload. After uploading, the system sends you an email with link and the files stays up for few days, then is deleted. More than enough for the other party to download. With self-destruction, it is also less worries for you to  remember clean-up.

The site also offers client for Windows, which I did not try (for obvious reasons) and shows ads selling software. These ads made me (strangely enough) more comfortable, as the intention of the creators is clear: attract traffic by free service and monetize on software sales / ads.

The other possible explanation is of course collecting of email adresses for not-so-noble purposes. I have no knowledge of this being the fact – since about a week and half of using the service, there was no spike in amount of spam. No spike meaning nothing beyond usual 300+ offers of 10 dollar Rolex, body enlargements, natural weight loss programs and help requests to transfer money from Nigeria and similars …

All my emails are consolidated on Gmail, which does terrific job of weeding out 99.99% of these – so I do not really care so much if one more spammer gets my email. But if you are really worried, you can always get the 10 minute email, use it for receiving notifications and then email the link manually. The down side is that you must keep the 10 minute email alive until upload finishes – this may take few refreshes.