Monday, October 30, 2006

Is eBay Violating the CAN-SPAM act?

I recently purchased a Smartphone and was very pleased to get all my personal email with me every where I went. I downloaded Yahoo!go so I could bet my Yahoo! messages delivered to my smartphone, and setup my gmail on pop3 so that my main emails would hit me anywhere I went. I even tried half-heartedly to setup my hotmail, but as it is kind of a spam catch all for me I thought better of it.

But then I started to realize that I get way too much spam and other messages I didn't consider important. 4 messages every half hour hitting my inboxes and causing that little bundle of joy to beep in my pocket was too much. I started to systematically unsubscribe from every mailing list and promo that I managed to get myself on, and it seems to have improved my lot. I now only get email from people, and things I find important in my inbox (yahoo and google catch most if not all of my spam.) The one exception to this has been eBay.

They appear to be a little more onerous than most legitimate companies as far as what they consider "required email". I realize that as an institution that allows me to buy things from others that some communications cannot be disabled, or shouldn't be at the very least to prevent fraudulent use of my account. I am ok with that, the one that chapped my hide is the "Favorite Sellers" email. This didn't seem like anything but marketing, surely I could unsubscribe from this set of emails? They have to let me right? Wrong.

I have been an eBay customer for quite sometime and have long been annoyed at the volume of email my very limited activity with the site generates. Recently I have taken to unsubscribing from every marketing type email coming into all of my email boxes knowing that one of the rules of the CanSpam act is that companies have to give the opportunity to opt out of their marketing.

Excerpt from FCC

"It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method.

You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.

Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it's illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law. "

Below is a image of the email that was the source of my ire. I started to wonder if I really needed to be getting these emails, they do look very promotional in nature. I don't recall signing up for updates on my favorite sellers, but I am sure that there was some click through on it somewhere.

Having decided on my to walk the path of unsubscribing, I did the sensible thing and started to look for Unsubscribe links. Well what do we have here....

It leads to this page... right, no option to not receive those emails here. Referring back to the email I saw another option to unsubscribe..

Ok, apparently not so much.

Anyhow, any other thoughts on not getting these email? I realize I could block just the address or as my astute wife pointed out delete all the favorite sellers from my list. However the more elegant method and the method prescribed by the law (see above) would be to offer a true "Unsubscribe" link. I don't know if this is truly a violation, but how does the CAN-SPAM act get enforced?


Friday, October 27, 2006

Tablet PC Reviews

I am amused at how many Niché review sites there are on the Internet. I was tasked to find some reviews for Tablet PCs so I Googled about for each model looking for reviews, with OK luck when I stumbled up Tablet PC Reviews. Why waste time, other than for diversity of opinions, looking for each model when Tablet PC Reviews has them all listed. The site does look a little young so the community may not have developed, but I assure you once those gadgets whores (myself included) find and start adding their bank of knowledge to the reviews it will.

Nice little time saver for me, and maybe I will get one of those yummy tablets for Christmas...well probably not, but I can always dream. No toys for you Info-Sys reptile (Me quietly crying in corner)


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sometime doing your part sucks (Aka Seattle buses suck)

I have been driving myself to work for as long as I can remember. Even when my job was only 15 minutes away, and I lived on a good bus route I drove. Recently, (largely as a result of my reading so many sustainability blogs) I have started to ride the bus. I realize that this isn't earth changing or anything; and I don't expect a medal or gold star, (I will take a cookie though) but I wish that trying to to be a concerned citizen didn't cost me so much time.

When I started the bus ride home took almost the same amount of time to get from work to home as it did for me to drive, 15 minutes. Lately the construction and miscellaneous issues have cropped up be it protesters, rain(which seems to turn the residents of Seattle in to morons) or the bus driver deciding to run for a bathroom break. I have not made it home in less than an hour this whole month, that is when the bus arrives on time! I have been averaging an hour to an hour and a half to reach home.

Given the number of people that ride the bus, and the number of buses in Seattle, the construction companies should not be allowed to waste so much of so many people's time. What is worse, much of the construction is because of Vulcan (Paul Allen) so my time is being wasted because he wants to build fancy pants Bio-tech campuses, overpriced condos and a stupid trolley car. I wish that there was a way for me to cost him as much time as his ruining of South Lake Union is costing me.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh I get it..... CableCARD

So I guess the conversation walked right by me (I never was a Tivo person just a MCE whore) on the whole CableCARD thing. I never understood that it was a plug in for my DVR to have access to the digital content of cable without having to have one of "their set top boxs" kudos to Engadget for clearing that up for me (though inadvertently). For some reason I just continually skimmed over the CableCARD articles because I just figured it was a "Tivo thing" and really Tivo is for those to lazy to build and run MCE or MYTH based DVRS.

I suppose that CableCARD is really the only thing that Tivo has left to cling to after alienating, and demoralizing their customers on multiple occasions.

I like the idea of an open standard that I can plug into my DVR/PVR and it takes care of the decrypting so my viewer of choice can give me the magic of recorded tv, and music, and movies and .... whatever else they dream up that I cannot live without.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Target if it is good enough for Walmart... Shutup

I read this article on CNN about Target warning movie studios about pricing on digital movie downloads and was reminded of a similar notice that came from Walmart just recently. I find it interesting that somehow retailers think that they have any and I mean any business telling other companies what market space they will be welcome in. Who asked Target if it was ok with someone selling a low quality, digital (with no dvd backup option), one brand product locked(ipod and itv only bitches), vaguely competing product? At best the iTunes movies are a supplemental product for people that don't shop at your stores anyway. (Unless my informal market research fails me) I don't see any hipsters rocking white headphones in your stores, do you Target?

This plan of attack worked really well for Walmart. I believe that this is just some chest thumping in a sad attempt to stay relevant rather than evolve. Hey Target, get a life.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Wow, reason in a world of hate


All I can say is I hope that some of the mindless talking heads could try this type of an appeal, wow is all I can say.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Podcasting is Wasted Mindshare

Seems I cannot spend 5 minutes reading online or off anything vaguely related to technology without hearing about podcasting, and how it is revolutionary. My local radio station offers a concert calendar as podcast, Engadget does interviews, and god knows who else.

My question is why?

Most everyone that I have heard is not all that interesting, I could have read the transcript faster than downloading, and transferring to a pmp/iPod, and they contain no value. None. You podcasters out there are not as interesting or funny as you seem to think you are, and their is less information in any of those interviews than your standard eWeek (I have a low opinion of them as well). What is the fascination with this crap? Hands down if you are going to spend the effort, do a vLog. Not that they are inherently more useful, but at least the challenge of putting it together would shut up all but the most serious. The dirth of content, all most all filled with "um well" and "yeah, yeah" and other conversation filler is wasting space, time, and ultimately mindshare.

The brainpower devoted to this would be better spent picking your nose than spewing mental diarrhea all over the interweb for the masses RSS enjoyment.

Go cure cancer, or build something, or finish college you slackers. Or for the most novel of ideas ----- Get a job?!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Adsense as a revenue model

Not that my blog is inherently interesting, or even a traffic draw, (with 1 subscriber and maybe 5 hits/week), but I cannot say that I understand how even the most popular sites and blogs could possible make money on advertising alone (ala adsense). I hear about it all the time, but it just baffles me. Assume that you have in the the writer capable of creating 1-20 interesting posts, about whatever your heart desires in a given day. Also assume that their are millions of people in this world that are also interested in the crap that you write. How does that = $? Unless you work at Gizmodo, or Engadget or even eHomeupgrade where they only blog about products and services that are tech centered, how could you ever hope that magic google will conjure ads that will compele your readers to click on them? If your readers don't click them how to you make money?

I have adsense on several pages and in the year plus have only earned $49 of theoretical money. I say Theoretical money because I cannot get a check or even dream of what to do with that until I earn $100 yeah, long way to go. Any how I am not even sure how I managed to get that much theoretical money, good thing I have day job I guess. may change a little of that for me. I sometimes need a guide for what to write about, and what would be even better is if I got payed for following that guide, say right after I posted... Well Payperpost offers some of that. I get to peruse offers and if one jumps up and bites me, then I can get paid 30 days later. Not to shabby, considering I have earned $35 real dollars from that adventure.


parents sold and bought a house

Never do I find that I have to ply my trade more than when my parents need something. They sold their house and now for the new one wanted some of the really neat things I have been boasting I could do. Should be interesting, I am looking for a multi-zone smart receiver, 46"+ LCD TV and trying to be patient and wait for Vista to put in a media center server. On top of that I am trying to setup the wireless so that it covers seamlessly 4500 sq ft and a shop across the way, with exactly one wireless access point so that once connected you could roam the whole house and maybe part of the 5 acres.

They are hoping against hope that their won't have only dish as an option for tv and Internet, but the number of dual-LNB dishes in the area make me suspect that is not the case. I traced the leads off the dish and confirmed that two run to the office one in and one out to feed back to a splitter. And to the cable tech that did the hack job on the side of a very nice house I give a big FU, I will have to put up a box just so I don't have to look at the damn thing for the next few years... Blah.

On an even more depressing note, a quick call to Verizon(local service provider) and no DSL to that location. If they don't offer it, I would be very surprised to find and any resellers are out there. The house has two telephone lines lines terminated in the service box, and I am pretty sure that it wasn't just for a fax (second line in the office is labeled "I"). And a call to Time Warner Cable (formerly Adelphia) and my parents house wasn't on their map(other houses on the road where). I requested a locate service, and have my fingers crossed that someone somewhere has them covered for broadband ("the majority" of citizens covered with 3 options my ass Mr. FCC chairman).

They may not yet be resigned to a life of slow data at really high prices, I believe that have edge coverage in the area, (my tmobile smartphone did with full bars even in the basement of their house) so that my be the next best thing (stompbox here we come).

In the end, I am have a lot of research and most likely work to be done to get my parents up and running. Here's hoping for Vista, and Time Warner to come through.