Browsing Tag: internet


    Pheed Sharing Settings: How Not to Set Defaults

    October 22, 2012

    An odd tweet showed up on my account tonight. It was a message saying that I had posted something on Pheed, a similar sharing/social network.

    And that did happen — I setup a new account on Pheed and did a test post to see what it looks like. But the automatic cross-post on Twitter was unexpected and annoying.

    When I created my account, Pheed walked me throught a few pages of account settings. But it didn’t show me the “sharing” settings, which the accidental tweet led me to find. And that’s when I noticed Pheed’s lame sharing settings had Twitter posting on by default … and also defaulted to signing me up for every email alert possible.



    Talk about annoying … this is how NOT to do default sharing settings.


    Our New House is on Google Street View

    October 21, 2012

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen Casa McGee on Street View. New house, or old house.

    Google drove some of the main streets in our area about two years ago, or maybe more, but it didn’t do a thorough photo shoot in our old neighborhood at the time. So the old house wasn’t there.

    I saw the Street View car driving through town back in the spring and it was here for a good 4-5 days, it seemed. I remember seeing lots of tweets from various Tri-City folks over the course of a week.

    And now, six months later, the new imagery is online and … BAM … there’s Casa McGee.


    The fine print at the bottom says the imagery was taken in April 2012. Judging by the condition of our lawn, it looks like early April — the grass wasn’t high enough to need a cutting yet. So, that’s about a month after we moved in.

    What’s cool is that there are a lot of new homes still being built in the neighborhood and on our street, so this imagery is already wayyyyy outdated. But, a year or two from now, when the whole neighborhood is built out, these images will (probably) still be online and it’ll fun to look back and how things looked just after we got here.


    Google+: A Ghost Town in Our Mid-Sized Town

    September 16, 2012

    I’ll believe that Google+ is catching on when I can look at the “Nearby” circle and see content that’s newer than a day old.

    I took the screenshot below a couple nights ago. It’s not like the Tri-Cities is the middle of nowhere. We have 253,000 people in the metropolitan area (2010 census). We have a fast-growing airport that’s served by four airlines. We’re the 4th-biggest metro area in Washington state.

    And every time I check the “Nearby” circle on Google+, it’s a ghost town.



    More Google Shopping Madness

    September 2, 2012

    Remember when I showed how Google was pushing Shopping ads/results when I did a search?

    Now there’s this, on a search when I was trying to find out the name of the drummer from Men At Work:


    Absolute madness.

    I clicked through to see the jacket, and the color is called “drummer blue.” And that’s enough to prompt a shopping result/ad on my search.



    Walmart Actually Called to Confirm an Online Order

    August 22, 2012


    This is crazy. In 2012, who’s ever heard of any online store calling a customer to confirm an online order … much less the biggest retailer on the planet??

    But it’s true. I got a call from Walmart to confirm an order that I placed online. Here’s how it happened:

    On Sunday (Aug. 19th), I saw on that Walmart was selling $100 iTunes e-Gift cards for just $80. Bargain! Since we don’t store a credit card number in our iTunes accounts, we use gift cards to establish a credit in our accounts and make purchases against those credits.

    So, this was a deal I wanted to jump on. I placed an order for two e-Gift cards via, and created a new account there in the process so that I could check on the status of the order. I got a notification saying that the order would be processed on Monday and I’d get the e-Gift cards then.

    Monday came and went, and nothing. I logged in to to check the order, and it still said “Processing” with Monday as the delivery date. I figured they might’ve had a ton of orders for this deal, so I waited.

    On Tuesday, at about 11:25 am, I got a voicemail from an unknown number. It was a female calling from “calling to verify recent activity on a account.” Her message included an invoice number and instructions to call back to confirm the order.

    I didn’t get around to returning the call until about 3:15 pm. I was kinda suspicious because the invoice number she left on voicemail didn’t match the order number that showed in my account. I called anyway, but got a voicemail system saying that business hours had ended at 4:30 pm CT. The voicemail said I could leave my name, invoice number and a message confirming or rejecting the order.

    So I called and confirmed the order. And then I hung up, hoping it wasn’t some kind of scam, and reassuring myself that I didn’t give away any personal information — I repeated the invoice number given to me, not the order number from my account.

    And then … 39 minutes later … this arrived in my Inbox.


    It included our gift card codes and, yes, they work. 🙂

    Isn’t that bizarre? I mean, wow … in one sense, it’s really cool that Walmart has the wherewithal to call to confirm orders like this. I can’t imagine any other major retailer, nor many smaller ones, doing the same thing, and I have no idea how personal confirmation calls can be scaled to the level that must do this. But they do.

    Is it just because I was a new account?

    Is it because I ordered an e-gift card – something not physical, not returnable and something they’d want to make sure was a legitimate order before they “shipped” it to me?

    Something else?

    I don’t know why. But I’m amazed and impressed about the whole thing.

    (Photo from Walmart. Used via Creative Commons licensing.)