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Showing posts from August, 2009

The Right Way and Wrong Way to Handle Pricing Errors

Pricing errors are a fascinating social experiment. It starts with a website or store mistakenly pricing an item at an outrageous price. Thanks to the power of those old InterTubes, it spreads like wildfire. Before you know it, Twitter is down under the load of people tweeting their good fortune, Facebook changes their terms of service to reflect some other way they think they need to protect themselves, and sites like Woot write wry salutes. What happens next is interesting. First, the retailer pulls the offending item, causing a hue and cry from those who missed it, and a series of gloating posts from those who got in on the deal...or did they? The retailer has a choice at that moment: honor the error, or issue an apology but cancel the orders. Consumers seem to think there is some sort of legal requirement for this, but the laws are based state by state, and most do not have such protection. PR consultants debate what gets more press: reneging and getting TV coverage of the outcry (

The iPhone Gets All the Glory...even undeserved

A couple of weeks ago, Forbes published a story that swept the interwebs: the iPhone had a security flaw that would allow a hacker to own it with a single text message. As you can imagine, the hue and cry went off loudly: the iPhone was insecure; the iPhone was a cheap piece of crap; the iPhone would never be a serious enterprise device. Except one thing. Way down in the 5th paragraph of the Forbes article was this tidbit: "They say they've also found a similar texting bug in Windows Mobile that allows complete remote control of Microsoft-based devices." Did you get that? The same bug was discovered and communicated at the same time in Windows Mobile. You know, that same Windows Mobile that enterprises recommend because of the secure Exchange integration? The same one that is in a virtual dead heat for handset market share with the iPhone? You know...THAT ONE? I'm a big fan of the iPhone, but journalist and bloggers: you can't have your iPhone-hating cake and e

$27...or $1.50

Yeah, Amazon's getting in on the video game trade-ins. They excitedly emailed me to suggest I trade in my 2009 copy of Madden for the new 2010 version. Curious, I clicked through to see the whopping trade in value of...$1.50. Yes, that's right: $1.50. Towards a $40 game. Save the e-mail costs, Amazon: it just cost you a customer. Next time, offer me the trade in if it gets me at least 25% of the way there!

Hail The Netbook!

A couple of weeks ago, the wonderful folks over at Woot had a nice deal on an Acer AspireOne netbook. If you aren't familiar with netbooks, they are ultrasmall, ultralight, and ultracheap laptops. The trade off is in performance and usability: the hard drives are usually miniscule; the processor is bare minimum, and the keyboard is usually tiny. The result is a small, fast and light laptop that's good for general net surfing, with maybe a little left over for some music. I've been fascinated with these, since Asus started the craze with their Eee PC. So much of what I do now is "in the cloud:" I don't tend to use traditional software these days. Instead, I use web based versions. Microsoft Office? Ditched it for Google Docs . Bittorrenting TV shows? Hello, Hulu and . The list goes on, but you get the point. I do a lot of traveling, so a small laptop that runs for 5-6 hours on a single battery, has full wifi access, a built in webcam for Skype, a slot f