FYI: How not to do customer support….

Standard

I’m no expert, I’m a zoologist earning a crust on the web, but when this came into my Inbox today via a MyHeritage group mail, it made me happy as Larry as a competitor, but also made me wonder how Geni can expect to encourage users to stick with their service (when there is competition), when customer support on live public forums comes out like this:

_ Unjustified forum moderation « Geni Forum

I don’t see how threads that have degenerated to planning a boycott of geni or finding alternatives is really pertinent to the purposes of this forum. If this doesn’t suit you perhaps next time I’ll simply delete the threads.

Would you like some cheese with that whine, Sir?

I believe this is the thread that started it all: http://forum.geni.com/topic.php?id=37281.

My take home and advice is this: In any web endevour there will be competition no matter what you do or how unique you think you are, and your job as a company trying to make money from your users by providing them with a service, is to keep them happy, at ALL costs, ALL the time. Rackspace calls this “fanatical support”; Guy Kawasaki calls this “creating evangelists from your users”.

Common sense dictates that when your most valuable resource is your userbase, then listening, and acting accordingly, is what wins you loyalty and continued custom…

Ignore this at your peril.

A Brilliant Primer on Sustainable Design

Standard

A heads up to great thinking from Fast Company:
_ A Brilliant Primer on Sustainable Design | Green Day | Fast Company

The presentation clearly visualizes and relates a spectrum of conceptual frameworks for talking about sustainable design–what we at <em>Fast Company</em> call “ethonomics” and what Shedroff says should be called “blue” not “green.” Whether “life cycle analysis”, “natural capitalism,” “biomimicry” or “social return on investment,” these frameworks all take place within the three spheres: Human capital, natural resources and financial capital; Society, the Environment, and the Market; or People, Money, and the Planet. Through the applications of concepts like “dematerialization” (putting less stuff in your stuff, like an ultralightweight keyboard) or product-as-service (Zipcar, a shared car rental service that eliminates the need for car ownership), human ingenuity can replace natural resources, close waste loops and make the world a better plac for the future.

Links referred to:
http://nathan.com/thoughts/compostmodern.pdf
http://nathan.com/me/index.html

If only more designers thought like this, and business too, and politicians… check it out.

Gmail outage yesterday

Standard

Just in case you didn’t know….
_ Official Google Blog: Current Gmail outage

If you’ve tried to access your Gmail account today, you are probably aware by now that we’re having some problems. Shortly after 10 9:30am GMT our monitoring systems alerted us that Gmail consumer and businesses accounts worldwide could not get access to their email.

We’re working very hard to solve the problem and we’re really sorry for the inconvenience. Those users in the US and UK who have enabled Gmail offline through Gmail Labs should be able to access their inbox, although they won’t be able to send or receive emails.

Even the 800 pound gorilla loses energy sometimes…. And I thought it was something to do with bandwidth in South Africa ;-)

Using IMAP for GMail with Evolution, and working offline

Standard

Update:
Evolution seems to show some mails and not others…. am finding that txt emails, or small emails, are viewable offline, but other not…. The search continues….

~~~

Frequently of late, I’m finding I’m not online, so getting through email has not been an option with IMAP, using Evolution on Ubuntu with default settings. So after some reading these are the steps to make it work by downloading mail for offline use:

1. Go to your email account settings dialogue in Evolution: Edit > Preferences > email account > Edit (on the right)
2. Go to “Receiving Options” tab
3. Untick “Automatically synchronise….” at the bottom
4. Then go to the folder you want to be available offline, right click, select “Properties”
5. Tick “Copy folder content….” and “Always check for…..” if you want Evolution to do that
… And that should do it… ;-)

I deleted all IMAP folders on my local machine for my GMail account first, then set it up again doing the above, and it worked like a charm. There is a delay while Evolution gets all your mail to sync to start. You may also want to restrict which GMail folders / labels are available to IMAP so you don’t download *all* your mail…. You may have to deal with this bug, but it’s not a big price to pay for offline mail…

VirtualBox hack for accessing USB / external drives

Standard

If you want to access an external drive or device in VirtualBox, and you’re either not using USB in VirtualBox, or don’t have it working yet (as I don’t – in time tho’…), then simply create a symlink in your VirtualBox shared directory (I’m sharing my whole /home/gareth directory with VirtualBox) to your external device ( ln -s /media/BKP-320-M /home/gareth/lacie-320 ), and you should be able to access it no problem…
;-)

VirtualBox 2.1 Install Error – Conflict with Earlier Versions

Standard

When I need windoze then I use VirtualBox, which does a great job of makig virtualisation easy…

… except for installing the newest version…. So here’s something that might help if you’re in the same baot:
_ virtualbox.org :: View topic – VB 2.1 Install Error – Conflict with Earlier Version?
;-)