I read this article on the Raspberry Pi—an extremely cheap, very basic, and pun-titled computer available in the UK—with interest, especially because I hadn’t heard about it until this morning.
By any reckoning, it’s an admirable project. By making a computer extremely cheap (though you still have to have the peripherals), it opens up computer to a wider range of people, removing the hardware requirement so that you can get more people to code.
But while it will certainly get some people to become programmers who may not have had the means to do so before, we all know plenty of people who have computers and have absolutely no interest in programming whatsoever. I don’t mean to knock the intention here, but I think it’s a pretty big leap to think that hardware is the main barrier to being a programmer.
Fixing a Windows netbook that won't connect to WPA2
One in the series called Things That I Learned And Am Jotting Down Just In Case Someone Else Needs to Know The Same Thing.
After the friend Verizon guy came by to give us the gift of FIOS today, I went about connecting the various devices to the fresh, clean-smelling internet, which had WPA2 security on it. The iPhone, the Mac and the wife’s work computer all connected without a problem, but the Asus netbook kept popping up an error whenever I tried to connect, saying it couldn’t connect without any further explanation. Rude.
After trying about ten different search queries and landing on a bunch of unhelpful, overly complex “solutions” (read: they solved nothing), I found the simplest solution there is:
Rather than double-clicking the network name to connect in the list of available wireless networks, right-click on the network and select “Properties”. This will let you select the security type and re-enter (or enter in the first place) the security key.
The time of day stat on this infographic that suggests that the best time to send an email is between 5 am and 7 am is pretty misleading. The Boomerang service allows you to delay the delivery of an email, so that you get it as new when you want it to come in. So people saying that they want their email delivered at 5 am is not people wanting to read email at 5 am, but rather that they want to read it at the first time they check their email. Plus, they’re also likely to do this on important email that they want to respond to or act on, not just any email.
It would be more accurate to take that statistic as what it is: when Boomerang users are delaying their important emails so that they can better respond to them. It’s interesting for a small percentage of emails for a small percentage of users, but not really actionable.
Let’s be honest: like most infographics, it’s mostly just an ad. And it worked.
Linked here is a story from a guy who got great customer service by complaining on Twitter…about not getting great customer service.
There’s plenty of these kinds of stories around, and I’m of two minds about them.
On one hand, it’s great that Twitter has created an open forum where companies can listen directly to their customers and solve problems without relying on individual offices or employees to be good at customer service as well as their jobs (as happened here).
But on the other hand, it’s discouraging when the social media department is better able to solve a problem than the customer service department. This is especially frustrating with expensive proprietary products where dealing with the people who are supposed to be helping you only leads to dead ends and bad advice, but as soon as you mention it publicly, then all of a sudden they’re willing to help you.
Even that complaint sounds like a positive, but it really isn’t. Yes, it can empower a consumer in the same way that places like Yelp and Angie’s List can. But really, every time a company is more responsive on Twitter than through their official contact channels, it shouldn’t be seen as a triumph, but rather as a failure of their customer service and overall product.
How to have Instagram photos go to Google Plus automatically
While we’re all sitting around waiting for the Google+ to have an API that allows posting from other sources (as well as waiting for Google+ to become relevant enough to have peoplewantto post from other sources), here’s a pretty decent method of having your Instagram photos post automatically to a Google+ album. Well, I guess it’s semi-automatic, which also makes it sound like a gun. Which it so isn’t.
Picasa desktop client installed
Create a task in ifttt.com that saves Instagram photos to a Dropbox folder. There’s plenty in the recipes.
In Picasa, add the new Instagram folder in Dropbox to your watched folder lists.
Sync the new folder in Picasa with Google+.
Simple. One of the minor drawbacks to this (the part that makes itsemi-automatic) is that you have to have the Picasa application open in order for it to post to Google+. So you either leave Picasa open and your computer on all day long, or you have to be content with opening Picasa every now and then to sync up.
The other minor drawback is that you only get the photo: no caption. Still, I think those two drawbacks are worthwhile to a) getting a easy archive of your Instagram photos and b) having a complete album that you can view and show off on Google+.
As a side note, I took the excellent recommendation of my friend Bynum and created a secondary Dropbox account and then shared the Instagram folder with my primary Dropbox account so that I’m not giving ifttt access to my primary Dropbox folders. Not that I think that ifttt isn’t trustworthy, but when the connection says that they have access to everything in your Dropbox…better safe than sorry.