Oban’s Penseive

Blogging for Blogging’s Sake

Archive for February 2007

Get Better Customer Service By Having Amazon.com Call You

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I just came across a post in red chaos’ blog giving Amazon and E-bay’s 800 numbers. I see this every once in a while and had Amazon’s in my address book for a while. As an Amazon customer from the early days, I was always perplexed by their decision to move from world-class phone based customer service to a model that made the phone number next to impossible to find.

Amazon.com Click to CallThat’s why I was so happy when they reversed course last year with “Click to Call”. While signed into your Amazon account, you click a button that appears on every help page and immediately receive a call connecting you with an Amazon Customer Service agent. I was hesitant at first; I figured this was just a way for them to delay calling me. As it turns out, I was able to get to my issue quicker than if I dialed the 800 number. This is because a) you don’t have to go through any automated options on the phone (press 1 for this…), and b) you don’t have to jump through hoops to identify yourself. If you’re logged in when you click to call, the agent already has verified and can move to your problem a lot quicker.

I don’t know how long this service has been out, but I think its been at least six months. Posts like red chaos’ just show how far they have to go to earn back customer trust and have the reputation they once had of doing everything they could to do right by the customer.

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Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 8:32

Posted in Amazon

43 Sites?

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43 ThingsI stopped by 43 Things today. It was depressing to see that it has been about 2 years since I’d been there, and I haven’t made much progress at all. They have, though. The family of sites now includes:

  1. 43 Things
  2. 43 Places
  3. 43 People
  4. All Consuming
  5. Lists of Bests

I didn’t have much time to poke around today, but looks like they are all at least loosely tied together through a unified login and german words to navigate to.. They do allow have your posts on their sites sent to your blog, so when you see me bitching about never getting around to becoming a professional poker player, you’ll know it’s probably coming from there.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 5:48

Posted in Amazon

Iran – More Popular Than Sex

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This was originally titled Iran – Almost as Popular as Sex based on a tag cloud I had seen on wordpress.com. By the time I had opened the application to take a screen shot, Iran had moved up in ranking. Yes, more people are blogging about Iran than sex.
Iran Tags

While the above may be nothing more indicative that the fact that when people think of sex, they aren’t necessarily using their computer time to write about it. It did remind me of an interesting article I read a while back about the popularity of blogging as a way to share political and social opinions that are restricted in print and broadcast media. The government does restrict websites and content they find objectionable, occasionally censoring a blog they don’t like. The shear number and popularity of blogging, however, would make it political suicide to shut the channels down completely. No less than 7 of the 20 most visited websites from Iran are blog hosts according to Alexa (the number may be more, I just can’t read persian in order to tell for sure). Contrast this to 1 of the top 20 accessed from the United States. Combined with social networking and file sharing sites, they account for over half of the top 20 traffic, double that of the US.

It’s interesting to me that a country westerners often think of as closed and restrictive, seems to have adopted the internet as a way to connect people in such a strong way. Of course, it’s not all that surprising in a country whose median age is 25.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 5:04

Posted in Uncategorized

Blogging from the Browser

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This is the first try at another way of getting info into a blog – through browser plugin. I like the concept which is to be able to pull up a blog entry window whenever you see somthing you want to write about. I want to avoid becomming just a so and so said blog, but do need an easy way to bring in quotes and references.

I’m using Performancing, a plugin for Firefox. Here’s the features they like to highlight:

  • Full WYSIWYG and source editing
  • Save as Notes
  • Add all your various blog accounts
  • Technorati Support
  • Delicious integration
  • Trackback support
  • Draft support
  • Ping support
  • Image upload and FTP
  • Metrics stats

I’m really surprised that something built to be used from a browse doesn’t add much to it being there. For example, I copied the above list from the active window. I would have liked to have seen blockquote tags, but they’re not there. If you highlight the list in the editor and click the quote button, you still don’t get what you want. It places the opening and closing tags at the cursor insertion point not around highlighted text. Another odity is that there is no good way to add a link to the current website. Dragging the link into the editor does nothing. If you click the link button, the address is not prepopulated. In fact, you’ll have to remember to copy the url before clicking the button, as a popup window comes up and you won’t be able to copy from the browser while it is open.

Stopping testing now. 3 strikes and you’re out. Third strike you ask? You don’t know me very well.

powered by performancing firefox

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 3:08

Posted in Uncategorized

MarsEdit

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marseditIconLarge.pngMarsEdit looks like you’d expect a mac app to look. It has a very nice interface, and is fairly intuitive.

Testing out for this post, a few things to note:

  • HTML tags are entered inline (no WYSIWYG), but are in blue so they are easy to identify. I actually like this.
  • The HTML tag dropdown has more tags than you see online. Interestingly, they do not have the list tags. These were easy to create in the custom tags box, though.
  • Includes a bookmark bar button that copies page link and name from Safari. Useful in creating shells for pages you want to blog.
  • This is the current leader for client side apps for me. I’m going to start using it for a while to see how I llke it.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 3:07

Posted in Uncategorized

Remind you of anyone you know?

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itunes.jpgStumbled on this at the internet confessional known as PostSecret. The scary thing is, I can totally see someone I know doing this!

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 3:01

Posted in Uncategorized

Style conventions

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I need to do a bit of research and pick some style conventions to use. Short list of the top of my head includes

  • Capitalization of words in title
  • short to websites – is it google, Google, or google.com?
  • what to link? everyplace you can, just bare minimum, etc,
  • use of images. I like images but don’t want them to be missed if not on every post.

Written by oban89

February 26, 2007 at 2:34

Posted in Making This Blog