Customer Service: Compare and Contrast

Someone should make an Amazon.com commercial out of this.

My youngest got a Leapster for Christmas – it was the first gift she opened and she was so fascinated with it that she nearly forgot to open the rest of her gifts.  Like many hi-tech kids toys, it combines education and entertainment.  Kids solve math problems while playing a Frogger-type game, for example, and connect to the LeapFrogs’s Web page to turn their game progress into rewards.

Phoebe was in heaven…  until the stylus stopped working.  And that was only the beginning of LeapFrog’s failure.

To See the Future of the Internet, Look to the Past

Yesterday’s ruling by the FCC regarding “Net Neutrality” allows those of us whose livelihood depends on the Internet to breath a very limited sigh of relief. The Good: the FCC upheld the concept of Net Neutrality for broadband connections; the Bad: they didn’t for wireless connections and they may not have the legal basis to enforce their policy over wireline providers.

Bit Rot

bit rot [bit rot]
- noun

  1. An computer affliction whereby the machine’s digital innards slowly decay and leak out onto the floor
  2. The point at which a perfectly reasonable computer engineer is so flummoxed by seemingly random computer crashes that they no longer believe in the deterministic nature of the hardware they are working on

Copyright and the Wild Wild Internet

Recently Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs touched off a maelstrom, not when she lifted other’s material and used it illegally in her magazine – she’s been doing that for years – but when she refused to fess up. I always get questions about what can and cannot be done with material found online, so here’s a quick review of what happened.

AWS “Micro” Instances or How Web Sites are like Mini-Marts

I’ve been tossing about the idea of moving some of the sites I host to Amazon Web Services, specifically EC2 (server), S3 and EBS (storage) and CloudFront (content delivery network).  Price was my excuse for not jumping (OK, the real reason is the inevitable pain that comes with moving hosting providers) but with today’s introduction of “Micro” instances, I no longer have that excuse.

AWS now can host my sites for roughly the same price I pay for shared hosting!

The friendlier skies of Virgin America

For once I was traveling on business – just me!  With no four-year-old to entertain, my first thought was to get my laptop ready so I could get some work done.  WAMP server?  Check.  SVN synced and databases replicated?  Check.  Battery?  Charged.  I was ready for 90 minutes of untethered productive time.  Unfortunately Virgin America ruined my best laid plans.