Content and services

Xerox says, "To heck with customers..who needs them?"

Some years back, Xerox had outsourced all of their customer support to overseas call centers full of people who a)barely spoke English, and b)could only read from a canned script. The result was truly awful interactions if you needed to get a copier repaired or tried to order printer supplies.

But they seemed to figure that out, and for some time, if you called Xerox customer service, you got native English speakers who were delightfully helpful.

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If you have ever wondered what happened to RSS

RSS, which stood for several different things, depending on who you asked (Real Simple Syndication was probably the most popular), has withered away. It was designed in the early days of the Web to make it easy to process and read news articles and blog posts from many different sites. Once you subscribed to a Web site using your RSS reader app, you could easily browse and read all the content from that site.

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Knowledge Democracy:

Is your security camera spying on you?

Companies like Amazon and Facebook are selling camera-based products that are designed to be used inside the home and outside the home (e.g. the Ring doorbell).

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Death of TV: Part LXXX: Who cares anymore?

This recent article from USA Today says that cord cutting is accelerating.

Customers are looking at the incredible variety of content available from OTT (Over The Top) services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and deciding that they can save money by just paying for Internet and a few OTT subscriptions.

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The tech giants are getting creepier than ever

Less than five minutes after I clicked on an Amazon link to look at a flashlight on sale, I got an email from Amazon saying, "...based on your recent activity, you may be interested in this other flashlight..."

Really? Is business so bad for Amazon they have to spam their customers? If they are doing this to me, they must be doing it to all their customers, so every day, they are sending out hundreds of millions of unsolicited emails.

These companies are abusing their customers, and it won't turn out well.

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Google will stop reading your email

In a win for personal privacy, Google has announced that the company will no longer read the email of their personal Gmail account users.

Google has been scanning Gmail email to identify what kind of ads to place in Web browsers for its users.

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Death of TV: Part LXXVIII: More churn in the TV space

YouTube (part of Google) has launched a streaming TV service, making the whole video on demand space an even more confusing array of services and options, which include Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Roku, offerings directly from some of the alphabet networks, and many others. But competition is a wonderful thing.

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Apple's Augmented Reality software very near

Apple announced the availability of its new augmented reality software for the iPhone and iPad at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference. The software kit enables third party app developers to place computer-generated information over real-time images. For example, map information could be superimposed over a live camera feed on an iPhone pointed out the front of a vehicle.

Is LinkedIn dying?

LinkedIn may not be entirely dead, but in the past several months, I've received nothing but "business friend" requests from sales people and consultants trolling for business. LinkedIn has enabled "lazy" sales work. Just browse LinkedIn for keyword matches for whatever you are selling, and then send a "link" request. I turn them all down.

I was a very early LinkedIn user, and have yet to find it particularly useful. I've never let it have access to my address book, and I rarely use it reach out to people I already know--email and the phone are far more efficient.

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Death of TV: Part LXXVII: Is it really over?

I've been writing about the death of TV since 2005, and twelve years later, the body may be finally in rigor mortis, or close to it. YouTube has announced a $35/month TV service that includes Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney, and....ESPN. It's ESPN that may finally break the back of the traditional cable subscription business model. We've heard very consistently that a lot of residential customers have not given up their cable or satellite subscription because they want to watch sports.

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Bio-diversity on the Internet is a good thing

Bio-diversity on the Internet is a good thing, just like bio-diversity in the real world is a good thing. The Amazon S3 failure yesterday caused major disruptions in a lot of Internet services, particularly on the east coast of the U.S.

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The day the InnerTubes jumpted the shark

This weekend, while I was busy wasting time watching a Youtube video, there was an ad for a WiFi-enabled slow cooker.

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The decline of the Web

As our portable devices become more common and more powerful, the Web is being wrecked by the blight of ads. I see this both with browsers on computers but also and especially on the portable devices, where the pop-up and pop-over advertising not only obscures the content but is often impossible to get rid of. On a smartphone, and I don't care how big the screen is, the little 'X' or "Close ad" button is so small as to be unusable.

It is now ordinary to visit a site and then leave within a few seconds without reading anything because the ads are so difficult to get rid of.

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Death of TV: Part LXXVI: Who needs a TV anymore?

The CW network has released an app for Apple TV that allows you to watch all of the channel's content for free--no cable TV subscription required.

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Microsoft: The company that hates its customers

I had some hope that Microsoft, once Steve Ballmer departed, might become more customer friendly. And in the past couple of years, Microsoft has made steady improvements to products like the Surface tablet/laptop--I see a lot of them in my travels.

Here at the office, we've actually seriously discussed moving away from Apple for office productivity software because Apple, since Tim Scott took over, has apparently just decided quality software is not particularly important.

Email is not a sychronous communications tool

Twice in the past week people have complained that I did not respond to their email. In the first case, they sent the missive to the wrong address, waited two weeks, and then wondered aloud to me if I was really busy and was unable to keep up with email. Well, yes to the really busy part, but no to the unable to keep up with email. I cannot respond to email that I have not received.

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Death of TV: Part LXXV: NBC version

As "TV," which from here on out I will always put in quotes, since "TV" now really just means "sitting on the couch and watching video from any one of hundreds (thousands?) of sources," continues its death spiral, NBC is a perfect example of stupidity perfected.

NBC refuses to put some of its most popular shows on services like Hulu. Instead, they want to force viewers onto the NBC Web site and watch those shows using NBC's own streaming video. What is so bad about that? Well, two things.

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Death of TV: Part LXXIV: The networks start to jump ship

Just as Apple is about to roll out the next version of its Apple TV box, the company has announced that CBS and NBC will be making much of their channel content available via Apple TV.

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A pox on LinkedIn marketing trolls

I would say that now, about half my LinkedIn invitations are coming from marketing trolls who obviously want to sell me something. I deleted three invitations this morning, from an insurance rep, a CPA, and a car repair shop. I don't know of any of these people.

LinkedIn seemed like a reasonably modest "good idea" when it started, but I can't say I have ever used it for its supposed intended use--networking.

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The decline of the Internet

LinkedIn can't seem to decide what it wants to be. A while back, it added Facebook-like features that everyone (including me) used for a while, but it takes time to sit on LinkedIn and read everyone's posts. Over time, the traffic on the groups has declined to the point where it is nearly non-existent. I know that some very large LinkedIn groups have a lot more postings, but my view is that if you have lots of time to write and respond to stuff on LinkedIn, you are probably not doing your job.

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