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Dumbest Internet Moment of 2007 Sun 23 Dec 07

Fortune Magazine recently announced their selection for the "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" for 2007.  Fortunately, for Macy's they've missed the cutoff for this year's competition.  Maybe they're counting on 101 dumber things to happen in the next year to keep them off that list too.  Nonetheless they've pulled what I think has to be one of the dumbest move in using the Internet as a sales tool.

A few days ago I went online to look for a particular Christmas gift.  I knew it was too late to buy it online and expect it to be delivered (at least without paying premium freight) in time for Christmas.  I simply wanted to see what various stores had and to check the availability.  One of those was Macy's and I was shocked to see this:

Macys3

Even though it is politely worded and tries to make it sound like they are doing this to benefit the customer it is just dumb in so many ways:

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Rocky Mountain High with Lost Luggage Tue 18 Dec 07

Line_for_lost_luggage_claim_forms_wKevin Flynn, Transportation Writer for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver wrote a couple of articles yesterday that caught my interest.  The first one is "Airlines losing more bags" which talks about a 12.5% increase nationwide in mis-handled bags.  He reports that at some airlines the increase is in excess of 30%.  Now that's scary.

His second article, a sidebar article to the one above, "Late connection delayed bag, but airline was ready" discussed how some airlines are handling the situation.  I found two things especially interesting about this;

  1. Kevin quoted my blog post of July 30th concerning my lost luggage experience in Denver where I suggested that they use the information they already have and proactively let people know their luggage didn't make the connection rather than make them wait in vain and then seek out the baggage claim people.  As I mentioned, "If you know a bag didn't make the connection, why do you insist on adding to my frustration by making me wait an extra 30 or 45 minutes, and then make me come ask you about it?"
  2. The article relates another travelers experience with Delta.  Once they inquired about their missing luggage the Delta agent then consulted the computer printout and quickly handled things which was very similar to my experience with United when I got back to Houston.

What amazes me is that the airlines still seem to think that people really don't care if they get their luggage or not, its like they are saying "Maybe, we better wait and see if they will come ask us about it before we do anything".  As if I'd schlep 40 pounds of dead weight through an airport and then not want it!

I stand by my original suggestion:

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An IT Question: Disappearing Car Doors and the Theory of Negativity Mon 17 Dec 07

Help_cobber99 Liz Strauss has called me an SOB.  I actually find that very flattering since it doesn't mean what it usually means (which according to Wikipedia is actually quite a few things).  Anyway because of this I try to faithfully check out her weekly listing of new SOBs she's found.  This week iDunzo.com was one and I was floored by the post that happened to be the most current one.  It seems a company called JaTech has developed a disappearing car door - that's right it disappears.  Check out the video.

When I Googled this I was even more floored by the reactions to this new technology.  Most of them were overwhelmingly positive expressing the same amazement that I felt.  However, I was caught off guard by the reaction of some who couldn't help but dwell on problems and issues.

Some examples:

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2007 Gadget Guide Mon 10 Dec 07

With the holiday season in full swing you are no doubt wondering what you can possibly give to your favorite techno-geek.  Fortunately the folks at Scientific American have come to the rescue again this year with their slideshow of "20 Gadgets You Want  - Popular applications of science and technology for you to give and get".  I like Scientific American's guide since it always seems to have cool gadgets that aren't just the latest version of last year's computer device.  It's the kind of stuff that you like but would probably never buy for your self.

This year's guide includes (among other things):

  • Limited edition Ferrari Segway - About as close as I might ever come to having a real Ferrari.  The only problem is that although it looks like a Ferrari (within the constraints of being a Segway) it is just a standard Segway tricked out with a Ferrari paint job and logos.  So no zooming down the autobahn on your Segway.
  • Powers of 2 Binary LED Clock - for those real IT nerds out there.  " It displays the time in binary—the 1s and 0s of computer language. "

But there are 2 that are my real favorites.  Both are practical and one is just plain cool.

Slide_converter The first is a Hammacher Schlemmer Slide- and Negative-to-Digital-Picture Converter  that allows you to easily convert your old slides and photo negatives to digital pictures.  I realize I'm showing my age but if you have a lot of slides and negatives from the pre-digital age this is a great way to convert them.  The only downside is that when you put them on your wish list it will no doubt generate those embarrassing questions from your kids.  You know the ones - "What's a slide?" , "What's film?" , "You really had to take this 'film' stuff to the store to get your pictures" and "I don't understand, instead of taking it to the store why didn't you just email it to your friends through your cell phone?"  This last one of course takes you down another path of life in the stone age before email and cell phones but we won't go there for now.

There is one gadget that is cool, practical and unfortunately not yet available.

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Getting Control Of Your Email - Break The Addiction Mon 03 Dec 07

All_business_kenyee"You've got mail" has become one of the more famous phrases of our times.  Email, it seems, has taken control of our lives.  If someone doesn't respond to an email we start thinking - what is wrong?  If they haven't checked our email in the last 10 or 15 minutes some people start to get very anxious .  Have you ever been tempted to email the person across the table absorbed in checking their Blackberry so you could get their attention back to a real face-to-face conversation?

Matt_moran In an earlier post I suggested one way to get your email addiction under control was to check your email only at regular intervals.  To help do this I suggested that you go into your email device settings and set them to "off" or "none".  By doing this you remove the constant reminder - a new email just came in - "look at me".  One of my favorite bloggers, Matt Moran, recently wrote in the ITtoolbox blog about a great refinement to this technique.  Matt has modified his email signature to include:

====================================
IMPORTANT NOTICE ON EMAIL & REACHING ME:
- as of 11/20/2007
As an exercise in effectiveness, I will begin checking email less regularly - once in the morning and once in the late afternoon.

If your message is critical, please call. If it is not critical, please be patient and I will get back with you.

The great thing about this is that by doing so he is starting to set the expectations of the people he communicates with.  Not only does this reduce the pressure to respond immediately it may also help reduce the "did you get my email?" emails.  It changes the whole tone of the conversation from frenzied to timely which is rather nice I would say.

No doubt you're thinking - what has all this have to do with me,  I'm not addicted to email.  Fortunately, I found some great indicators to see if you are addicted and also to ways to "cure" yourself.

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