Webconsuls Blog

Monday, March 29, 2010

Femtocells, Small, Lower-Power Radio Transmission Stations, Provide a 3G Network


Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the future of mobile carriers and the ability to provide the broadband necessary to supply billions of users. Everyone who has had the opportunity to experience the 3G network has also probably experienced a slow connection. If you travel a lot you will notice that from one city to the next connectivity varies despite being in a designated 3G zone. There are a number people who experience the same problem at their own homes. It seems that a solution has been provided for the later problem by way of Femtocells. What are Femtocells?

Femtocells are small, lower-power radio transmission stations that provide a 3G network connection to your phone. It works by hooking into your home broadband network. AT&T has begun selling a version called the MicroCell in the United States and in the U.K. Vodafone can also provide the same service. The idea is that smart phone users will solve their own connectivity problems by setting up femtocells in their homes; the good news is that you don't need to own one to reap the benefits. If you have dropped calls often and slow network speeds on your smart phone you are really going to like this. If someone that lives close to you has femtocells, they will be freeing up a communication channel on the nearest cell phone tower which will increase you connectivity potential. The more homes that have these, the better it is for everyone.

So if we are helping the mobile carriers provide better service by setting these up, shouldn't mobile carriers provide these devices free of charge. It seems like more femtocells equates to cell phone carriers saving money; it make sense then that we do, too. It's a nice dream though. If MicroCells are available in your area, you will be able to get one for $150. Jump on board! Femtocells will certainly change smart phone capability forever.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chinese Ad Partners Beg Google For Information

Screen Shot of Google.cn

Back in February I created a post which discussed Google's problems with censorship in China and how they may pull out of China completely if China didn't bend a little. Google has a lot invested in China, so for them to pack up and leave China would have a devastating impact on Google's advertising partners in China. Since Google's announcement, their partners have yet to receive word regarding Google's intentions which has caused much anxiety; this has prompted 27 of those firms to come together to draft a letter to Google. According to CNET, "the letter, which was signed by 27 partners, was sent Monday via e-mail to John Liu, vice president of sales for greater China and was posted to the Web site of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. The letter states that the partners' businesses are at risk of failure and demands to know how they will be compensated if Google shuts down Google.cn".

According to a Financial Times report last week, Google is now "99.9 percent" certain that it will shut down Google.cn. It's not surprising that companies that stand to lose millions would be a little weary right now as to their future without Google.cn. Google's dream for free-speech on the Internet will be a costly dream. Google business partners have been warned by the Chinese government to ready themselves for the day they can't use Google services or use Google search bars on their websites.

Nothing is set in stone, but, it seems likely that Google is on the way out of China! What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Want to Know What's Happening on Twitter?

Judy's new books to read! Trust Agents and Social Media 101
If you read this blog regularly then you already know that I have written on many occasions about my Twitter sentiments. To help you enjoy my evolution I will link to the related blogs at the end of this post. But today I thought I would take a few minutes and share with you what I gained from tweeting over the past 10 days or so, as I am sure you want to know what's happening on Twitter. Am I right?
  • I follow Rick Klau. Rick is the manager of BLOGGER. Get it? By following Rick I knew real time when the Blogger migration tool had been released. "rklau FTP Migration tool launching tonight. Details on http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/ and in your dashboard later this evening." I re-tweeted this message so that my Webconsuls' team members would get the news real time, March 3, 2010, 4:52PM. Why is this important? Many of our customers have blogs and are impacted by this migration tool. We are now working behind the scenes to update their blogs.
  • I told you a while ago I follow Chris Brogan. Both Chris and Rick, and a few others that I follow, are at the SXSW Conference this week. Looks interesting. I would not really know anything about this if I hadn't been following Chris and Rick. Let me know what you think.
  • The other day Chris Brogan tweeted @chrisbrogan Don't forget to try the Video Marketing Quiz http://tiny.cc/VMQ10T Tweet your score, win a prize! #VMQ10. So I took the quiz. Guess what? I won a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate and now eyeview_inc is following me!
  • I think you know that Chris Brogan has written two books. I have been wanting to buy them, but have not gotten around to it. So I decided to take my $20 Amazon gift certificate and buy both books, get free shipping...I only had to chip in $11.30. I tweeted about it and Chris Brogan re-tweeted my tweet and so did EyeView_Inc. Books arrived Saturday, so I am ready to read. Trust Agents and Social Media 101.
  • Here is some other interesting news I picked up by following Rick Klau. On March 11th Blogger announced a new Blogger Template designer. The reviews so far have been very exciting. I am thinking of trying it to create a new personal blog. What do you think of that idea?
So you see, my tweeting has helped our clients, Webconsuls' team, and me. The more I learn the more I can share.

JUST LIVING is not ENOUGH said THE BUTTERFLY, ONE MUST HAVE SUNSHINE, FREEDOM and a LITTLE FLOWER."...Hans Christian Andersen.
You can enjoy our March 13th trip to the Tucson Botanical Garden where we met real butterflies and enjoyed some freedom!


Related Posts
 Exploring Side Streets with Chris Brogan February 24, 2010
 SMO and SEO News Feeds for You November 7, 2009
BWE09 Looking in the Rear View Mirror October 21, 2009
Following Twitter Posts Can Be Exhausting March 7, 2009
Technically Speaking He Is Just Not That Into You February 7, 2009

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Apple Suing HTC Infringing Patents

Apple has started a patent battle with Taiwanese Cellular company HTC, but, may be starting a war with Google. Apple announced Tuesday that it was suing HTC for allegedly infringing on 20 of their patents. Despite only one company being named in the lawsuit, there is no question that Apple is throwing its weight around to scare off any other companies with iPhone-like devices. HTC recently released the Nexus One smartphone, which runs Google's Android Operating System; the Nexus One is the iPhone's number one contender in the smartphone market. It would seem that Google may have to step in to protect their partner companies in this battle. It makes sense that Apple will find themselves biting off more than they can chew if much larger companies like Google and Microsoft get pulled into the suit.

Trying to understand the patents in question can prove challenging and you may need to be an engineer to fully understand them all - I certainly don't! I will say it is very interesting finding what exactly Apple owns the rights for, some of them seem to be patents on how the human might move their own extremities while operating an Apple device or any device like it. A good example of this is the left-to-right thumb unlock feature, this patent has forced other smartphone companies to make inefficient unlocking techniques because the most efficient way is owned. Apple dictates the way the world unlocks every smartphone, it's not about user comfort as much as it is about ownership.


It seems clear that Apple is trying to stifle the competition which is sad in my opinion, competition is what breeds innovation. Without competition companies have no incentive to make a better product. I have an iPhone and I think it can be a great tool, but I also believe there can be many great tools that implement similar features. I am hopeful that Google and Microsoft become more vocal about this in the coming weeks.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

My Take On Guest Experience Design

Lately I have been reading a lot on-line about customer service, particularly about social media and customer service. You may have followed a few news stories that covered how someone's tweets very quickly managed to get the attention of a large company. Then recently Chris Brogan discussed "guest experience design" and he followed up by touching on another new catch phrase "experience facilitators" (you might think "hotel concierge"). All of these discussions really are about marketing: marketing our businesses, marketing ourselves as employees, marketing ideas to our employers, marketing ideas to and for our clients, the list goes on. As I thought about all of this, it occurred to me that I would give you my take on "Guest Experience Design" and it might be fun to look back on some national advertising campaigns and see how effective these have been as "experience facilitators" over the years. This will be a multi-post personal walk down memory lane, because like the Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail" said: "Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."

Disney Resorts and Windows 7
Today I am going to combine two national advertising campaigns: Disney Resorts and Microsoft's Windows 7. I am a consumer of both and; therefore, an expert of sorts. Have you seen the latest Microsoft Media Campaign? It is "Windows 7 Was My Idea!"


This is a very clever ad campaign, but did you ever think that if Windows 7 is a commercial failure, like Vista was thought to be, Microsoft will have all of us to blame? All of the consumers that submitted suggestions, complaints, ideas, will be doing battle with thst MAC guy! Microsoft is trying to reach the people, the consumers, and thank them for their input on the ultimate guest experience design.

Now you are probably wondering how this campaign ties into Disney Resorts. I like to think that Disney's Fastpass was my idea. Historically I have been visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California since 1955. My parents would drive us from San Diego, before Interstate 5 existed, when Orange County was really all orange groves. But there came a time in April 1994 when I visited Disneyland with Dennis (my husband), Aaron and Dan (our sons then 13 and 10) and my mother-in-law (then 82). In those days the Disneyland entrance had a huge sign that said "The Happiest Place on Earth". As a little girl, as a teen-ager, even as a young adult I never gave those words a second thought, but on April 17, 1994, I knew I was not in the happiest place on earth. The park was so crowded and really congested that one had to wait anywhere from 45-90 minutes to take a ride. In six hours we managed to ride four of the major rides and my children turned to us and said "can we leave now?" When we returned home from our long planned vacation I wrote a letter to the Magic Kingdom. I didn't yell, scream, or belittle the Disney staff, I didn't even ask for my money back. I calmly told them my story. I opened with this sentence: "On April 17, 1994, Disneyland was not the happiest place on earth." I pointed out to them that my mother-in-law was in a wheelchair sitting in the shade of a tree by the Matterhorn, waiting for us to disembark from the Matterhorn, when suddenly a man fell out of the skyway ride and into the shade tree! The day went downhill from there. My overall approach was not to just complain about the crowds, but to offer a solution. I suggested that Disneyland consider controlling the number of tickets sold per day, similar to a National Park (Yosemite) or any concert/special event venue. Then everyone would be able to enjoy that which they had perhaps saved for a lifetime to enjoy. About two weeks later I received a very nice letter from Disneyland. They thanked me for my suggestion and asked me to send them a copy of my receipts for all that we had spent at Disneyland that day. I sent them the receipts, two weeks later I received a gift certificate in the amount of $350 and in 1999 Disney's virtual queuing Fastpass was introduced. So you see I like to think that the Fastpass was my idea and maybe in some small way my ideas did matter to Disney. I like to think so.

Final thoughts and questions
In today's world I might have tweeted about my Disney experience in the moment and Disney would probably jumped right on my Tweet. But would they have had the opportunity to think through a resolution that would improve the experience for every potential guest? What do you think? Do you work on your "guest experience design"? Do you facilitate your guests' experience? Does the design control the guest's experience or does the guest's experience control the design?

Daniel, The Beast, and Judy April 17, 1994

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter Winter 2010 1st Quarter

This message is intended for Webconsuls’ clients that use BLOGGER


Many of you have already received an email from Blogger Support (blogger.com) regarding their intention to shut-down FTP (File Transfer Protocol) technical support. If you have not received this email or have not read the email, then you can see it in its entirety below.

Webconsuls is writing today to let you know we are aware of this “change of service” and we are working on an appropriate protocol to assure that the integrity of your blogging activities is maintained.

Important Updates to the E-mail Notice Below:


  • The migration tool was released only on draft.blogger the evening of March 3, 2010, as opposed to February 22, 2010. 
  • The new deadline for BLOGGER FTP support is May 1, 2010, as opposed to March 26.2010. 
For our clients that have a blog that is part of their website, we are reviewing each of your blogger account/profiles and will stay in touch with you with the steps we will be taking to complete this transition. Until we receive additional information from Blogger, we are unable to ascertain if there will be any fees associated with these changes.

In the meantime: Please do not attempt to use the MIGRATION Tool on your own.

Sincerely,
Webconsuls, LLC
Dick Fay, Dennis Helfand and Judy Helfand
____________________________________________________________

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing [1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:
  • We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations. 
  • We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation 
  • Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released. 
We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.

Regards,
Rick Klau
Blogger Product Manager Google
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043