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Showing posts from August, 2007

Lessons Learned. The Hello Peter - Amazing Vouchers debacle.

A quick uppercut in Community Management - and leveraging social media platforms.

In the left corner with the washed out blue logo and the I'm-watching-you graphic - we have Hello Peter. A consumer watchdog who champions the cause of good service. Sometimes with an unbendy lance.



In the right corner, with the everything's for free, I-can-use-stock-photos-of-happy-people orangey vibe - Amazing Vouchers. Pleading the innocent victim. Wronged by the vicious watchdog.



And in the middle. The poor consumer. Who really, at the end of the day, just wants to be able to peacefully, and honestly interact on their social media site of choice. And get good tips on whether to go to Ocean Basket or not.

We can learn a lot of lessons from this mini-fiasco. Even more lessons if it winds up in court.

1. The internet is QUICK. Accept It!

Within 16 minutes, Amazing Vouchers had picked up the story, and to their credit, cajoled the journo (me) into listening to their side (evil Peter had made up these r…

Hello Peter vs. Amazing Discounts

Or better titled: What NOT to do when managing a community.


It's funny what happens when things go south on the Internet. And they do go south. Why have people not realised by now that ... golly gosh chaps ... it's the Internet - nothing is secret anymore. Yet us clever humans persist in covering up and trying to fool the system. It's the single greatest strength, and single greatest weakness of social networks - and social media. While 80% of the information out there is being rapidly reduced to dribble - 20% is true. And it's reported by consumers. And it's reported instantaneously. And everyone reads it.

Scary place, the media world.

Anyhoo. I watched a fairly interesting series of events unfold yesterday after my quick post on the Hello Peter "Name 'n Shame" newsletter.

Firstly. A very quick comment from Anonymous (was this Mr. Peter himself?) showed the beginnings of some public backlash to the newsletter. This was quickly followed up with some scat…

Hello Peter 2.0. Awww.

Pity. Just used their site to post some despicable service I received at Ocean Basket (no link love - forget it) a while back. Very easy to use. A bit 1.0ey though.

Such a pity - because there's a community just waiting to be social mediafied. Ranking, rating, digg'ing... Hmm.

Anyway, great site Mr. Peter. With a bit of budget - there's a whole heap of South African Web 2.0 consultants you could chat to do give the site a rocket.

Am I narrow minded - thinking everyone must just conform with the trends? Nah. :)

Hello Peter Tells It Like It Is!

Love it. Independent site owners and publishers lashing out at a bunch of monkeys. For those who don't know, Hello Peter is a local site which allows consumers to publicly rate service delivery of companies. Companies then have an opportunity to respond transparently and get tracked wadda wadda.



Good on ya Peter and hope you don't mind me reprinting this letter - but if it results in more people being educated as to the tactics of dodgy companies - well, I think we're all winning.

Must really take a long look at Hello Peter. Wonder if its a truly Web 2.0ey interface. Would be good if it was :)

Peter's letter below... Thanks Ingrid for this one...

Subject: Well, well, well...

Or rather, bad, bad, bad…
Hello ...

You’d think by now that Suppliers and their staff wouldn’t take chances with Hellopeter.com. Think about it, we’ve been going for seven years; we’re implementing new and better verification procedures all the time, and we’ve got YOU to tell us when you spot devious and …

Hacking your way through the jargon jungle...

Alpha - Software undergoes alpha testing as a first step in getting user feedback. Alpha is Latin for "doesn't work."

Beta - Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it's released. Beta is Latin for "still doesn't work."

Computer - Instrument of torture. The first computer was invented by Roger "Duffy" Billingsly, a British scientist. In a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler, Duffy disguised himself as a German ally and offered his invention as a gift to the surly dictator. The plot worked. On April 8, 1945, Adolf became so enraged at the "Incompatible File Format" error message that he shot himself. The war ended soon after Hitler's death, and Duffy began working for IBM.

CPU - Central propulsion unit. The CPU is the computer's engine. It consists of a hard drive, an interface card and a tiny spinning wheel that's powered by a running rodent - a gerbil if the machine is a 286, a ferret if it's a 386 and a ferret on spe…

What about a "new" OPA (Online Publishers Association)?

Had lunch with Mr. Chilli a while back and we got to chatting about how to leverage the long tail effect of South African's citizen journalists. ie When all the media houses are ploughing money into the big sites (News24, iAfrica etc.) with traditional banner adverts - how do you start taking advantage of the plethora of niche sites out there. Sites that aren't monetized. Sites that have unqiue, loyal audiences.

Anyhoo. Paul started a Wiki asking for contributions to the idea of a South African Independent Publishers Association. It's a cool idea - but like all cool ideas - needs a bit of momentum to get the discussion going.

So, if any of my readers have had similar thoughts - please hop on over to the Wiki and add some ideas.

It harks back to a previous post I wrote about looking for trends in 2007. I was hoping to see some progress towards a consolidated blogging effort - using combined traffic as opposed to fighting over the 100 visitors per day scraps...

It interests me.…

Cute. Afrikaans op Adwords...

I'm sure this isn't new. But it's the first I've noticed it. Afrikaans ads coming up on Adwords / gMail. Some clever Afrikaans entrepreneurs. Prikkelpop MOOI!

Vista vs Ubuntu: Surviving in a MICROSOFT environment

Righto. Quick thoughts on compatibility and fitting into the requirement of a development / IT strategy environment. What's the score, I forget...

Oh. Ubuntu 3. Vista 0.

1. Reading Microsoft Documents.

No problems. Open Office support everything up to Office 2003 (the latest version pretty much - and widely used). It imports and saves into compatible formats pretty easily. Wasn't this a problem before? Cross platform difficulty? I'm not sure - but if it was - it's definitely not anymore.



2. Connecting to a Microsoft Domain.

Everyone's got one. It's the MacDonalds of the the corporate network. And it would be a bitch if you couldn't get on it. Thankfully, Ubuntu just works. It picked up the office network, allowed me to connect and authenticate with my normal username/password - and remember that password so I wasn't forced to type it over and over again. Magic.

3. Connecting and using Internet Services.

Bah. Nothing to it. Firefox. IRC. GAIM Instant Messenger …

Space Quest Re-Released!

Now... I'm not much of a gamer, but this really tweaked my retro strings. A friend of mine recently purchases Space Quest I - VI (on ONE WHOLE DVD)... They've used a util called DosBox to make sure it runs on XP (forget Vista).



Does this or does this NOT take you back!?



This second screenshot is of Space Quest II. Hectic.

Apologies for the crappy screenshots - but we hooked it up to a TV - just for the extra bit of pixelation.

Vista vs Ubuntu: The Interface

Righto. Eye candy time for corporate environment boy who leaves Vista for DUST (particularly stoked right now with Ubuntu performance and easy of use) and tries to survive in a MICROSOFT development house - not running Microsoft.

The interface is great. People have been raving (myself included) about the vast eye-candy upgrade Vista provides, but Ubuntu is not far behind. It takes a bit more of a Mac approach - simplicity - with subtle candy thrown in for good measure.

OK. Sometimes not so subtle - but from a Windows lad, it was just the ticket.

Everything runs from a "Start" bar at the top of the screen. Easy access pretty much to everything you need - as well a quite a nice holding bay for widgets and application shortcuts.

So. Onto the eye candy. Multiple workspaces - and when you switch to them - they rotate as if on a cube... Shoo. Wow. It's glitzy enough to be cool, but subtle enough to out-candy the Vista Alt-Tab shuffle.

It also has a funky feature called Window Wobbl…

Vista vs Ubuntu: The Install

Right. Corporate environment boy attempts to rescue himself from void of Vista non performance on outdated hardware (duh). Installs Ubuntu and...

Honestly? I was blown away. The install is so slick, and just so non-windows. Download the ISO here, burn it to CD, reboot and you're on your way.

The major difference with Ubuntu - is that it can boot into the OS from the install CD. So essentially, you get to try before you buy. Don't underestimate the importance of this. It's just so accessible... and transparent.

There's a logo on the desktop which invites you to put the OS onto your hard drive. Click that, and be guided through some extremely friedly options - just setting up time zones etc. Even partitioning your hard drive is easy. Choose from guided or non-guided options - and whether to use the whole hard drive or install alongside windows.

It's. Just. So. Easy.

And quick! The install couldn't have taken longer than 25 minutes (this on a Celeron 1.6 GHZ with 512 M…

Vista vs Ubuntu vs Remaining Sane

My Acer TravelMate beastly thing is in the shop. It started melting. Whole other story. So - picked up one of the spares lying around the office. This time, a slightly inferior (who am I kidding, ridiculously inferior!) Acer Aspire 3620. 512MB RAM. 1.6 GHZ Celeron.

With Vista on it.

Well, the office had moved over to Vista - so the spare machines were nicely set up and waiting.

Oh. My. God.

Over the last 4 days I have almost put my head through the nice bright LCD. They weren't kidding when they said be careful with hardware, were they? When it takes 25 seconds to alt-tab, you know you've got problems.

SO. I'm taking the plunge and putting Ubuntu 7 (Feisty Fawn) I think it's called. The project? Can you survive in an intense IT environment, helping to run an MICROSOFT development house, where everyone is sending you Office 2007 files? And can you survive using Ubuntu, probably the friendliest of the Linux distributions?

If I have the time, I'll post some thoughts about t…