Realtors warn potential clients to be wary of the Web!

A story posted by KCRG warns potential renters and home buyer about the dangers of finding property online!

As technology improves, criminals keep finding new ways to scam people. Realtors say more and more con artists are trying to take advantage of people looking to buy or rent homes online.

See, Realtors nowadays have to compete harder for sales against for-sale-by-owner types (which can sell their homes for less since they don’t have to pay a commission to a real estate agent) because of, guess what, the INTERNET! So while buyers and rents should be careful using Craigslist, it seems that the Realtor source might be a little biased when warning potential clients to be wary of the Web.

Why buying Palm isn’t going to help HP

About a month ago, HP agreed to buy Palm, primarily for the company’s mobile operating system webOS, which is replacing Windows 7 on the company’s touted forthcoming tablet.  A sexy mobile OS is great and all, but my recent interactions suggest a deeper problem for HP that it has to fix.

At NLTV, every year I find myself with a chunk of money in my budget I need to  spend before the end of the fiscal year and, come July, the money vanishes. I get to buy cool, big-ticket items like new high-definition video cameras.

This year, I was in the market for a new, powerful workstation that could handle high-def video editing in Creative Suite 5: a $1,500 Nvida graphics card, high-end Intel i7 processor, lots of disk space and memory. I expected to spend $5,000 or $6,000. I figured I’d look at HPs, since I’ve been happy with my new HP  laptop as well as the system and service I got when I needed a workstation to run a live-video-switching operation on.

Since I need a pretty specific configuration, I figured I get in touch, let the sales folks know what I needed and let them tell me what was possible. So I went looking for a phone number.  I work for a local government, I headed to the government section of the website. It was a few clicks deep, but I found a number for the switch board. I called it and pushed a few buttons to move along. HP’s system transfered me — the phone starting ringing as it sent me elsewhere — and then it hung up.

Strike one.

I called back, went through the same phone tree and was transfered me again. This time it didn’t hang up. So there’s that. But I did get to enter into a conversation with a gentleman who tried to determine where I was calling from (they had an old address for the city) so he could direct me to my sales rep. This conversation took 12 minutes; my phone timed it.

Strike two.

And at the end, he said he couldn’t give me a direct number to my rep, but I could call a different switch board and ask for her by name. Then he transfered me. To her voice mail.

I left a message and got a call back a few hours later when I was out of the office.

She had gotten my message and, gosh, wasn’t the Iowa rep anymore. And, gosh, she could only quote on servers and networking. So I had to call a different person, whose information, including a long phone extension that I couldn’t keep up with, she rattled off quickly and just once.

That would be strike three.

And this is HP’s sales department. I have a hard time imagining service would be smoother.

So I won’t be buying an HP, and I imagine there will be others similarly dissuaded.

Metaphor: The Titanic and dinosaurs, as if we haven’t heard those before

The Titanic
Phillip Kaplan describing news startup Publish2’s News Exchange at TechCruch Disrupt

On one hand, it feels like selling paint to the Titanic. Also I’m not sure if I want newspapers to survive and thrive, as they’ve basically disrupted themselves

Jeffery Bussgan describing news startup Publish2’s News Exchange at TechCruch Disrupt

It felt like selling vitamins to dinosaurs. Where’s your business when newspapers die? What’s the value proposition then?

The New Yorker remembers it has a blog on Tumblr

Today, The New Yorker said on Twitter:

We are now on @tumblr! Follow us:

But the magazine has 199 pages of Tumblr posts and its first post is dated Dec. 1, 2009. So really they meant

We are now going to try to pay attention to our @tumblr! Follow us:


We remembered we are on @tumblr! Follow us:

or maybe even

We figured @Newsweek got good pub for their @tumblr! Follow us:

Facebook isn’t free

Just a few points that I wanted to make in response to the conversation I was having with Dave Schwartz on Twitter about Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policy and the growing complaints about it that doesn’t quite fit in 140 characters:

  • Facebook isn’t “free” for users. It doesn’t cost them money (unless they’re buying gifts or game credits or whatever), but the cost of entry is data. The more data you put in, presumably the more you can get out. Tell Facebook where you went to high school and reconnect will former classmates. Tell Facebook who your family and friends are and be fed their updates and feel connected. Tell Facebook what your interests are and possibly gain new friends.
  • Facebook has the right to control its own product and set its terms of service in any way that is legal.
  • Users have every right to complain and still use the service. Just like if you wish the service on your AT&T iPhone was better.
  • Facebook isn’t one-size-fits all and offers different privacy settings for that reason. Some users will be willing to give up more information than others. I live pretty publicly online. I use my real name everywhere. My phone number isn’t hard to find. I don’t have creepy people in my past that I don’t want finding that information. The equation will be different for different people. Individuals need to make that calculation on their own.
  • Decide the tradeoffs aren’t worth it? Users have the right to leave if they feel the bargain is no longer fair. Users have the right to delete data. (Does Facebook honor this right?)

I don’t think Dave and I are far off. I think we both believe users have to be smart about what they’re feeding Facebook. But it’s also important to recognize that there are people feeding Facebook a ton of data and not really thinking about it. The (loud and growing) complaints are good for them, too, so that they have reason to think about what the cost of Facebook is to them.

Twitter, Blackbird Pie and permanence

Twitter released a small, simple app called Blackbird Pie that, when Twitter isn’t painfully slow and blogged down, should make it easy to embed a tweet in a blog post. It creates little bit of static HTML code that you can plop in a page. Like so:

This is a tweet that I will later delete to see if the Blackbird Pie version stays up or goes away.less than a minute ago via web

But what if I delete the tweet? I think it will stay there, since I see the tweet’s text in the code. But thought I’d check. Also, one could, I guess, make a fake tweet pretty easily. (Not that it’s hard now.) Like so:

For lunch I ate an entire cow. Except its tail.less than a minute ago via web

Helpful? Maybe.

Clearly this takes on too much of my own CSS styling.

Update II:
There was clearly an issue with the code that Blackbird Pie was spitting out that has since been fixed. See:

This is a tweet that I will later delete to see if the Blackbird Pie version stays up or goes away.less than a minute ago via web

Later Robin Sloan suggested why is wasn’t exactly working the bestest, adding

So I just want to add a stronger caveat here. First of all: I think we’ll drop the royal “we” on Twitter Media from now on—it’s confusing. To be clear, this is just @robinsloan here, pitching a little hack of mine. Please regard it as such, even though it lives on this fancy domain. Seeing people call it a “feature” is making me cringe, because I know what kind of care goes into real Twitter features! This is not one of those.

Let me underscore the point: in the course of writing this blog, I coded up a simple script that I found helpful, so I decided to share it with you. It’s a prototype. It’s really rough. It doesn’t even work in a lot of places! But that’s what we mean by “experiment,” right? And, as part of the Twitter Media team, I couldn’t credibly ask producers and developers at media companies to experiment and prototype if I wasn’t doing the same thing myself.

And yes, I know it doesn’t work on Tumblr.

Update III:
I see now that WordPress was trying to “help me out.” Stop it.