Blow Me – One Thing I Never Want To See If You Repair My Computer

Everybody who’s ever done any kind of work with computer hardware knows just how much of a pain in the backside dust buildup can be, and how potentially damaging it can be over time.

That’s exactly why I was a more than a little surprised to see a clients computer come in from being repaired looking like this. (Sorry about the poor quality pictures, the light was not the best for taking photos with a camera phone.)

The company doing the repairs performed a motherboard replacement, and while I don’t expect machines to ever be squeaky clean, I really believe that repair places need to apply copious use of the compressed air before returning a computer to a client.

Tip:  You can clean your computer, help prevent those fans becoming clogged and avoid some potential overheating by investing in a can of compressed air.

Dust1Dust on motherboard

Don’t Want Caps? You Can Cancel AT&T DSL Service Without Early Termination Fees

I recently spent a lot of time explaining to an AT&T rep and even longer explaining to her supervisor (who frankly didn’t want to hear it), that because AT&T are imposing caps on their DSL service we should be able to cancel our service without incurring any early termination fees.

The rep and supervisor were adamant that because we had not “yet” gone over the cap and had not “yet” been charged overage fees that this would not affect us and no matter what we argued, we would be subject to early termination fees of between $65 an $250 depending on if they charged us for the remaining time or for the “full price” of the offer we had signed up for.

If I had to listen to that rep say “Are you telling me that you’ll send more than 7 million emails a month?” or “Are you telling me you watch more than 88 films a month?” one more time, I would have gotten highly indignant.

Actually, considering AT&T’s new terms, that might have worked better for them.

I digress.

Needless to say, we didn’t agree and ended up filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

It’s amazing what a quick complaint to them can do.

Today Sara received a message from Marian Hall, Office of the President AT&T, to call her back to discuss our complaint.

I actually made the call and, prepared for a confrontation on the matter, was unprepared for this soft spoken older lady to tell me that, upfront, the service would be cancelled with no termination fees because of the cap issue and because I was well within the deadline.

She was the first human /compassionate sounding voice I’ve heard since we first started dealing with AT&T.

Anyway, for those of you who are AT&T DSL / U-Verse subscribers looking to switch to another broadband provider, just make sure you call in before the deadline and you should be able to terminate with fees.

If the reps say you can’t, just point them to this blog post, tell them exactly what Marian Hall said and failing that file your complaint with the BBB.

Reasons Not To Use Embedded Tweets

twitter logoRead Write Web has a post up about Twitters soon to be released “curation feature”, otherwise known as “embeddable Tweets”.

I’m sure there are many who read the post and like Marshall Kirkpatrick think:

That sounds like a small but exciting feature!

But then again, Marshall would think that. It’s not as if Twitter didn’t kiss enough ass in their post in order to get him to write about it. :P

Seriously though, I’m only poking fun, Marshall has earned the right to have folks kiss his ass.

Lets get back to the issue of embeddable tweets, shall we?

Currently if you want to feature a tweet by somebody in a post of your own, you’ve got to either take a screen shot, crop it, save it and embed it in your post, or copy the text, paste it in, find the link to the individual tweet, and link that.

Sounds complicated right? Certainly a heck of a lot more complicated than the new method proposed by Twitter which will just be a small bit of code that you paste into your post allowing you to have an attractively formatted and embedded tweet.

As wonderful as this simplicity may sound here are a number of reasons why, even before this feature becomes available, I probably won’t be using it:

  1. Uptime – Lets get the obvious over with first. Twitters service is notoriously spotty at best. It’s been known to go down more often than a cheap prostitute at a stag party. My fears are strong about the availability of embedded tweets when Twitter suffers down time.
  2. Embeddable tweets may not be permanent. We’ve already seen how tweets can be taken down by DMCA request and the internet (and this blog) is rife with incidents of people, famous and otherwise, saying stupid things on twitter only to delete them later. I’d bet you a dollar that if you delete a tweet, the embed will stop working, much like a YouTube embed stops working when the owner deletes a video.

If you want to protect the integrity of your post and not risk having content you relied upon as being the focus or the prompting piece for your article disappearing,  then you simply won’t be able to rely on or use embedded tweets as they are liable to vanish into the ether at any time.

It would be incredibly frustrating for a reader to come to your post and suddenly be missing key information, context or a quote because it suddenly vanished from Twitter.

So, unless I hear some announcement from Twitter that once posted tweets will always be available for embedding even if later removed, I’ll be sticking with “Print Screen” and Photoshop.

What People Don’t Get About The iPad

iPad - Service Not A Computer

Service or Computer?

Let me preface this post by saying that I will not be buying an iPad (not in the foreseeable future anyway). I own an iPod Touch and that is the end of my Apple affiliation.

I’ve been reading all the complaints about the iPad: No flash, no multitasking, it’s just a big iPod Touch, it’s a fanny pad sanitary towel in disguise etc…

What nobody seams to realize is that the iPad, just like its baby brethren the Touch, is not a computer (not in the traditional sense), it is a service.

It’s much like a TV. You can turn it on and watch or play what you like, but that’s it. You can watch channel 1 or channel 27 and you can install more channells (applications) when you take a bigger sattelite or cable subscriptions(the App store).

The iPad is not meant to be a desktop, laptop, netbook replacement.

It’s a stylish little one trick pony for people who like to be locked in and like to do one thing at a time.

Still Relying On The Cloud?

The concept of cloud computing is brilliant and I must admit to relying on the cloud for a lot of my day to day activities such as Gmail, calendar, Google voice etc…

But then something happens and you realize that maybe the cloud isn’t quite the utopia it promises to be. Outages, network connections failing, areas without coverage, services folding and shutting up shop, and just simple downtime like this example, make me realize that the ideal dream is still a long way off.

Got to love the cloud

Got to love the cloud

Service Lets You TuneIn To Twitter

TuneIn Alpha

TuneIn to Twitter

I’ve spent the last few minutes checking out TuneIn a cool new web based Twitter client that has some great new features such as separating the media out from you stream so your can see it more easily (see the screenshot below) and allowing you to make lists of people you follow and have them all available on your page. Here’s my page if you want to check it out.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the service that I’ve discovered so far is the ability to search within the tweets of the people you are following. Normally when you do a search for something on Twitter it searches within the entire twitterverse, but searching on TuneIn, you can limit to search to only the people you are following which is very cool indeed.

Below is a screenshot of TuneIn and a video  the presentation and real-time demo from CrunchUp 2009.

The service is still in alpha stages of development but it looks like it could have a bright future ahead. May be worth keeping an eye on.

The TuneIn Interface

The TuneIn Interface

Defining professional

There are many different definitions or explanations for “professional”.

  • engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood; "the professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications …
  • a person engaged in one of the learned professions
  • an athlete who plays for pay
  • engaged in by members of a profession; "professional occupations include medicine
  • and the law and teaching"
  • master: an authority qualified to teach apprentices
  • Occupations that require knowledge in a field of science or learning typically acquired through education or training pertinent to the specialized field, as distinguished from general education. …
  • applied to describe a person (or work of such a person) with the following attributes: service orientation, making expertise available to others, based on a distinctive body of knowledge and skills underpinned by abilities and values, autonomy in performing working within defined boundaries …

 

What does “professional” mean to you as a blogger?

250 tweets per week limit

It looks like from I’ll only be able to get 250 tweets sent to my phone a week from Twitter for the foreseeable future.

There is a weekly limit of 250 messages per week on the UK long code
There is no limit on incoming updates to Twitter from your mobile phone, however, you’re limited to 250 SMS messages from Twitter to your mobile phone if you use our international number (+44 762 4801423). 

250 is not enough for me! It would be like receiving only 5% of the conversation from all the people I follow.

Hopefully this will change in the future as they strike more deals with other mobile service operators.

Twitter doesn’t charge individuals for sending or receiving messages. In order to provide global messaging, Twitter negotiates with mobile operators and their representatives around the world for reasonable SMS fees. We do this so that folks can use Twitter in as many countries as possible. Until agreements are in place, however, we need to put in limits on the number of messages received per person over the UK long code

Not today

This has not been the best start to a week ever. My internet connection went down yesterday evening at around 6pm and didn’t return until around 11:30 today.

TDC (my currently service provider) are absolutely useless so I’ve decided to go with a new provider. I have a couple to choose from and will do so tomorrow.

The only way TDC can keep me as a customer now is to offer me a faster connection for the same or less money and to promise me a dramatic increase in uptime.

This morning, my wireless mouse and keyboard decided to give up the ghost. I’m fairly sure it’s the transmitter in the mouse that has died.

I can’t stand this old “cabled” mouse and keyboard (PS2) that I’m using right now, so I’ll be heading off to the stores tomorrow to buy a new set.

All of this on a morning where I originally couldn’t see time in my schedule to have breakfast.

At least tomorrow promises to be a quieter day…