Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Spammer until proven innocent

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  • Russell Brown,

    Mintshot did leave me scratching my head for a while until I realised that the customers they are trying to hoodwink are your large corporate marketing teams looking for "quantifiable justification".

    That makes sense. There's a vibe out there in ad-land that this internet thing is far too complicated and it's safer not to try and differentiate your audiences.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Palmer,

    On the subject of Xtra, has anyone else had the pleasure of installing their broadband service recently? I went to help a friend do this - he is a young and active 60 y.o., but not in the slightest computer-savvy - expecting to have to wrestle with the usual hassles of pinging the DNS server, etc.

    Imagine my surprise at plugging the modem into the wall to find nothing whatsoever occurred. (The local electrician later tested the power supply and it was stuffed. It was a faulty transformer, again and again, a faulty transformer it cost two pound ten &c.) The usual couple of hours were then spent talking to first the robo-women on the 0800 number ("Can you still make phone calls?" !!!) followed by a transfer to a charming but helpless sub-continental help desk.

    The package could not be returned to the local Telecom shop. Instead we had to wait three days for another one to arrive. This time the modem's power light came on flashing, and the other lights reflected this flashing very dimly, as though they might themselves be flashing but you couldn't be sure. My friend has Vista while I am unfortunately on XP. so I spent some time trying to unconfuse myself whether the computer could see the modem or not.

    Eventually we visited the local professional who, it emerges, makes a comfortable living in retirement by charging an hourly rate to sort out Xtra's deficiencies, particularly the ones caused by not switching over at the exchange when they said they would. He also has a supply of the D-Link modems that Telecom had been sending out.

    And here he found something really interesting. His D-Link modem and our two had exactly the same model number, but his was marked "9V" while ours were marked "12V". Our power supplies were indeed marked "12V", but even the less stuffed one delivered nothing resembling this (it should read 12*1.4=16.8V peak voltage).

    This is where I reach my "WTF?" point. It seems like a serious quality control issue.

    Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    And on the Vodafone tip, I noticed that they mentioned a virtual home zone as the next version which would be more appealing.
    I've been following BT's Fusion product in the UK with interest - broadly speaking they provide a particular wifi router and dual-mode wifi/cellsite cellphone. When within range of your wifi router or any BT hotspot it switches (seamlessly) to wifi.
    They way they work the plan is interesting - for XX pounds a month they provide the broadband plan and so many minutes, when the phone is utilising wifi it only "takes" one minute off your plan for every four minutes of use.

    I like the concept because it's a smooth way of providing a homeline/broadband/cellphone service and think it would go down well here - in the UK uptake is average because you get so many minutes for almost nothing on cellular plans that the benefit of a wifi call is just not worth it.

    Of course it won't easily overcome one of the key barriers here - the ability of others to free local call you at home, Kiwishare has ingrained that as culture almost...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Is there any irony in having that ad at he top of the page?

    There's another lovely one at the Herald where they're after a motto that somes up New Zealand and you have to negotiate around a "My Australia ' ad to read them.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1501154&objectid=10476000&pnum=4

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Sorry - 'sums'- that creeping dyslexia nearly terminal.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    ROO said: One of many. Remind me again why she was considered such a business genius?
    She was the one who was prepared to lie to make a living, her words remember..."we intentionally mislead the public on our offerings as a (cough) marketing strategy"
    Thanks, I'll take 5.5 million severance for that and yes I understand I will never work in this town again but will not be prosecuted under the Insider Trading Law (which one?) or The Fair Trading Act.
    No wonder people loved their shares.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    __Mintshot did leave me scratching my head for a while until I realised that the customers they are trying to hoodwink are your large corporate marketing teams looking for "quantifiable justification".__

    That makes sense. There's a vibe out there in ad-land that this internet thing is far too complicated and it's safer not to try and differentiate your audiences.

    Which is a shame as that's exactly where the potential power could lie! My take on things like Mintshot is that marketers from broader industries look at the nicely demographic-aligned info that comes out of Progressive's OneCard scheme (which is worth a fortune) and long for something similar.
    Unfortunately this won't quite deliver the right spread as you noted...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I now have two gmail accounts (social and non-work business) which works well except that gmail doesn't allow me to login to both at once. I really don't see why anyone would use anything else.

    because downloading via pop3 from their servers can be incredibly slow or stall. I some times have to forward mail with large attachments to my isp address to get it down to my computer.


    Yahoo has taken to filtering much of my outgoing mail into spam filters. I've no idea how to unspam it but if its anything like xtra apparently it is going to be hard.

    if IPs don't fix this overzealous filtering then the bad internet people will win anyway in that in they'll make email unreliable and shut the whole thing down.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    Ok, are we heading down the nicely 'differentiated' path of UK-market newspapers?

    The Herald is getting fairly blatant with its angle.

    Early this morning, the main headline was Key stays calm over threats to his life which was replaced by Eden Park upgrade bill rockets but then that was replaced (perhaps when they realised the headline was extremely disingenuous given the article content) by - again - Key stays calm over threats to his life.

    I like JK as a person, I think he's a nice guy with some policies I don't agree with, and it must be horrible to have your name bandied about as a target by molotov-chucking separatists, but honestly - would the Herald ever, in a million years, use the same foppish language if Clark was in Key's position?

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Despite working in the antispam business, and being intimate with email services, and having spent years installing and supporting mail servers, I still use hotmail for personal stuff. It's been great not to have changed my email address since 1992, never to have paid one cent for it, and to only need a browser to use it. They had spam problems for a while, but for the last 5 years it's been fine so long as you report your spam. Using Adblock it's also quite quick.

    XTRA is my ISP. Never used their mail service, never saw any point. Was not the least bit surprised when they screwed tens of thousands of customers by switching to authenticated SMTP, like sweet FA of their customers would know what that meant or care. I dealt with them on a daily basis for years, dealing with my customers broadband connections, which always ended up in XTRA's lap. Personally I was usually quite grateful, because getting paid $150 an hour to be on a hold queue was easy money, and none of my customers was ever bitter that it was me and not them doing it, having tried dealing with XTRA themselves a few times. Since I worked from home, it would just go on speakerphone and I'd double time doing other work.

    It always amazed me that despite being a network technician who gave them hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of customers, I still had to call the helpless desk every time and tussle with:
    1. A voicemail system that made you identify your problem and enter the numbers you were inquiring about.
    2. A helpless person who asked you all the same questions again.
    3. At least one transfer to a dead line followed by disconnection and goto step 1.
    4. Some mid level support person who understood your problem but disavowed any knowledge of it, and denied it was their fault, to whom I had to give all the details of the problem a third (or more) time.
    5. A hold queue for an actual technician, the average length of which was about 40 mins.
    6. Instantaneous understanding and admission of the problem, together with assurances that they were working on it OR a lengthy procedure of establishing the fault, followed by me telling them what the problem was since it was the 8th time this week that exactly the same thing had happened.

    Never, ever, ever did anyone ever give me a direct dial number which would have saved them a lot of helpless desk time, and my customers a lot of money.

    But it's easy to be philosophical when you're working on an easy problem, or just listening with half an ear to hold music, and getting paid HEAPS for it because it's soooo frustrating to any normal human being that I seemed cheap at the price.

    Thanks XTRA, you paid off my student loan and got me a deposit on my house, just for listening to muzak and special deals.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    After reading all this, I'm glad I used Telstra Clear for my broadband connection at my new house. I had a small glitch, which was dealt with quickly and competently by the technician.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Am I too cynical in thinking that the anti-EFB campaign by the Herald is largely driven by venality, as they stand to lose a lot of advertising dollars in election year if lobby groups rich enough to buy Herald ad space are limited in their spending?

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    I'm not really sure that people who can't afford to buy stuff in the first place are a premium advertising audience.

    if only someone had realised that before they started spending all their money.......

    You over-estimate the market place. Having sold advertising in a previous life I can assure you there are plenty of 'businesspeople' out there who don't know jack about buying advertising. This site won't be sold on reach or demographic, it will be sold on hits.

    PS: Remember the news story about the exemption for government departments from the Electoral Finance Act on which the Herald based its "Democracy Under Attack" promotion on Monday? Er, not so much, as it turns out. And the editorial tone is turning quite pissy about it.

    Aw c'mon! Do you think if it wasn't for the Herald 'crusade' the Govt would have backed down on including Govt Departments advertising during the election period?

    Sure, they may say now that it's being reviewed (but lets see the final bill just to be sure) but my Tui Gut tells me we were almost going to have a law denying the Exclusive Bretheren the right (okay, limiting) to electioneer, but allowing Govt Depts unfettered ad campaigns to 'inform' the public of their 'entitlements'.

    And yes (because we've had this discussion before on PAS) the taxpayers do need to be informed of their entitlements, but I would suggest much of that Govt Dept advertising is subliminal electioneering. Much like those (now legal) tax payer funded Pledge Cards.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I ask that question all the time too, but even more I wonder "why would people ever share an email address?" - the idea of doing that just totally freaks me out.

    I've also been thinking about this a bit lately. It just seems so weird to share an email address. It's like having a party line phone.

    I can understand that couples would receive some email for the both of them, but it's not like you can only send email to one address at a time.

    And yet I know all these people - and some are quite young and interweb savvy - who share an email address with their honeys. Why?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Am I too cynical in thinking that the anti-EFB campaign by the Herald is largely driven by venality, as they stand to lose a lot of advertising dollars in election year if lobby groups rich enough to buy Herald ad space are limited in their spending?

    Not at all - I can't remember the Herald leading the "defence against democracy" charge with such vigour when the Brethren were spending up large.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And yet I know all these people - and some are quite young and interweb savvy - who share an email address with their honeys. Why?

    It's really not that mysterious. It's for mail 'to the couple'. I have one with my wife, and it's used for stuff that's about or to the family as a whole. In practice, it is my wife's account. But we both know the login details. I've still got my personal address, as does she, and any number of work addresses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    And yet I know all these people - and some are quite young and interweb savvy - who share an email address with their honeys. Why?

    Geek couple commitment?

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    About 18 months ago I found I couldn't FW or Reply with attachments via my Extra mail account (it had been fine for the previous 3 years). I started using my Gmail account to send attachments, but about 12 months ago I got fed up with Xtra and switched to Orcon. About a month after that the same problem, so back to Gmail. (I should point at that both Xtra and Orcon Help desks could find no reason/solution for the problem - evidently my line had all the necessary pings). Then about 6 months ago I was unable to send attachments via Gmail either. Which sucks. Big. Time.
    Anyone got any clues/suggestions? (Other than try asking this on the TradeMe messageboards!). I run an Intel Mac, with a broadband connection. (Just saying that makes me sound more technicaly proficient than I am!). My problem is obviously karma because ...

    I still had to call the helpless desk every time and tussle with

    In a past life I temped for 2 weeks on Telecom's 123 service. Anytime I had a question in the too hard basket I dumped the call. I had to go thru the charade of wondering what happened to the call ("Hello? Hello? are you there?) because all calls were monitored by supervisors. Who at the end of the week/day would tell you how many calls were 'unfinished' and who's fault it was. But I didn't care because I was only working there 2 weeks. (Unlike today's youth who are dilligent)

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    I ask that question all the time too, but even more I wonder "why would people ever share an email address?" - the idea of doing that just totally freaks me out.

    We don't even share the same computer or login let alone an email address. I'm sorry but my desktop is my own domain and my girlfriend thinks exactly the same way I do.

    To me the way I set things up in my digital life is part of who I am as sad as that may sound (I do actually get outside...)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Geek couple commitment?

    Oh.

    I thought you meant __this.__

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    I share an email address with my husband because we are a team. The team belongs to some of the same organisations and charities, purchases goods and services from the same tradespeople, writes to and receives mail from the same rellies/inlaws, etc etc, and it is just more convenient if they can contact us both at once.

    We maintain separate email addresses for our separate hobbies (a lot of online chess games in his case) and for indulging those friends who persist in sending prodigious quantities of those "you gotta see this great wmv" emails to either of us. In other words, we try to stay out of each other's hair where our individual interests could give rise to an annoying component in the emails.

    No biggie. When you've been married as long as we have, things get a bit symbiotic. S'nice.

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And yet I know all these people - and some are quite young and interweb savvy - who share an email address with their honeys. Why?

    Not only sharing an email address, but having only one. I need four - work, home, web-based for travelling or for things that I want to store online forever, and a throwaway one to put into all the registration enter your email here to be able to download this (which I never check).

    To me the way I set things up in my digital life is part of who I am as sad as that may sound

    I get really uncomfortable when people look at my computer screen when I haven't invited them to. Even if I'm only doing stuff that it wouldn't be a problem for them to see. It's my private little world that I only want other people to see if I invite them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    In a past life I temped for 2 weeks on Telecom's 123 service. Anytime I had a question in the too hard basket I dumped the call

    They've made it simpler for the helpdesk staff now - you can't get past the voice recognition software (voiced it would seem, by Michelle A'Court), it doesn't seem to recognise any words at all.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I get really uncomfortable when people look at my computer screen when I haven't invited them to. Even if I'm only doing stuff that it wouldn't be a problem for them to see. It's my private little world that I only want other people to see if I invite them.

    Get goggles? Then it can be your own private little 3D world.

    Personally I've found that C++ code is visually repugnant to most people, so I've got a randomly changing background of it, and a script that I go through any time anyone is tempted to look over my shoulder: "Oh, this is really fascinating, I just found the funniest bug in my code.....". It goes on, but that part is usually more than enough to induce the lookaway and politely extricate maneuver I was hoping for.

    Doesn't work on other programmers, though. They are not safe people to have around. Fortunately they're usually glued to their own workstation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    They've made it simpler for the helpdesk staff now - you can't get past the voice recognition software (voiced it would seem, by Michelle A'Court), it doesn't seem to recognise any words at all.

    That's not true on either count. I had the pleasure to test it out when Telecom's website suggested that getting a calling card was as easy as dialing 123.

    Count 1 - It doesn't recognize words. It recognized 'Calling card' instantly. I was then asked if it was for overseas or local. It doesn't recognize 'Both' as an answer to that, so I said 'Overseas' which it immediately got. It then summarized that I wanted a calling card exclusively for calling overseas and it was going to put me through to the appropriate department. Impressed. Then I got a girl who did not recognize the word 'Calling card', until I'd explained it. She then got me to give her my number (2nd time) and claimed that I was not a Telecom customer. Confused, I suggested that if I was not, then the phone I was talking to her on would not be working, since I didn't pay anyone else either. She finally surmised I must be on a home business plan. I personally can't remember what the plan is and don't see why it mattered to the question at hand, but no, she insisted on transferring me to the Home Business support line. Being Sunday, that line told me that I needed to contact my team leader, and cut me off.
    Count 2 - You can't get past the voice recognition software. Dial 123, then 0 repeatedly. It will soon transfer you to a human. This time the human did understand 'Calling card' and asked me for my phone number. I said 'Can I give you my account number instead?'. No problem. Calling card is in the mail. That's how easy it should always be. I then tried to suggest to this person that the voicemail system was not functioning correctly since it didn't transfer me to a calling card department. She then began the 'customer complaint obstruction' script and I decided to call it quits in case she cancelled my calling card out of spite.

    So, just remember, it's as easy as dialing 123000000000000. Seriously.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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