Hard Drive Failure Rate
Here is a sobering thought; according to a Google Study 18% of hard drives will fail within the first three years.
For a long time I’ve known that hard drives fail. I even thought of starting an online back up company back when 28kbps was considered high speed! I now use a service from Kineticd and I’m grateful that I do. Last weekend I decided to upgraded my laptops hard drive from a spinning disk to a solid state drive (SSD). I thought I was doing things correctly but I was wrong. Suffice to say I made my source drive unreadable and potentially lost data. I say potentially for two reasons: 1/ I had important files backed up and 2/ I knew I could take the drive to Recovery Force for them to perform their data recovery voodoo and get most of my data back.
Lucky for me I had most of my important files backed up but unfortunately I’m not sure what I lost. That’s why I took the drive in to Recovery Force for them to salvage what they can from the drive. I’m a pretty handy guy and don’t mind a challenge but this was one area where I didn’t want to mess around. My best chance for data recovery is to let the pros at Recovery Force take on the challenge.
What did I learn from this experience? You can’t have too much back up. Storage space is relatively speaking inexpensive.
Free is good until it’s not good anymore. That was the case with a banner ad plugin that I was using on the Ontario Geocaching Association website. As an association we don’t have a lot of money so I used a free plugin to display some ads. The plugin was free but there was a catch; I would frequently receive emails inviting me to buy the plugin or some other software on offer. This got annoying. Not to mention the free version put a link on the page just under the banner. I didn’t like that either. I was happy to find that the good folks over at Tribulant had a solution to my problem. I was able to buy their Banner Ad Rotator Plugin using a coupon which gave the association a bit of a break on the price and stopped the annoying features of the previous plugin.
I might have been motivated to use the Tribulant plugin because of the coupon but I’m glad I made the switch. The software is easy to use and can be used in flexible ways. Something that we weren’t expecting to get that has turned in to a bit of a hit was the dashboard. When we log in to our WordPress admin section we now see a chart showing impressions for the various ads we are running. I’ve received a number of comments on this feature and we weren’t even expecting to get it!
One of the features I like about this plugin is the ability to use some provided HTML to display the ad on another website that isn’t running the banner plug in. In this way you can track impressions of an ad that is running on someone else’s website. One more handy feature in this plugin.
Dan Pink’s New Book – To Sell Is Human
Something happened this week that kind of surprised me. My friend does some neat things on Social Media that I wanted to talk to him about so I invited him out for lunch. He immediately assumed that I wanted to sell him something. He was wrong, I just wanted to share ideas, but his reaction made me think; am I always in sales mode?
According to Dan Pink’s new book, To Sell Is Human, we are all sales people in one way or another. I tend to agree with Pink’s assertion. I have even said so when I used to give presentations to the Junior Achievement group here in town. Sales frequently gets a bad rap as being slimy. There are some good illustrations in the book about our word associations with sales and many of them are not flattering. We are most familiar with the idea of selling a product or service. We exchange money for something The truth is that anytime you try and persuade someone to part with their time or attention you are also in sales. Want to go on a date? You are in the sales game. Want to get your kids to clean up their room? Sales again. In those two cases you are selling the recipient on a different place to give their time and attention from what they might have had planned.
As always Pink’s book is easy to read an uses interesting examples. The book is a combination of sales cheerleader and sales how to. I don’t think the book will change society’s impression of sales people but perhaps it will encourage a few people to go about sales a little differently.
One of the biggest debacles in the history of product marketing was the launch of New Coke in 1985. Venerable Coca-Cola had been losing market share to rival Pepsi Cola going from 60% market share in post war USA to 24% just before the launch of New Coke. Needless to say the executives at Coca-Cola were desperate They needed to stop the slide in market share so they launched New Coke and it was an unmitigated disaster. Could it be that this is exactly the position Blackberry (formerly Research In Motion) have put themselves in?
The marketing executives at Coca-Cola did extensive market research and the studies indicated a preference for New Coke over Coca Cola. There was only one problem, it was research and not the real world results. When New Coke launched consumers went nuts, Coca-Cola was messing with the brand their customers loved and trusted the emotional reaction was only partly due to the taste of New Coke. Just 77 days after the launch loyal Coke fans got their wish and Coca-Cola launched Coke Clasic. I’ve been using my new Blackberry Z10 and it seems an awful lot like an iPhone. Some of the Blackberry features I’ve come to rely on are now missing. I believe that Blackberry has spent more time trying to capture they iPhone market that they have neglected their core and very loyal audience.
At its heart Blackberry is a hardware company. This is evident in the feature, functionality and ecosystem of the new Blackberry 10 platform. The hardware is fine but the days of hardware being differentiated are over. The phones have to be of a certain size because the human hand is of a certain size. Too big or too small and a phone becomes unusable to grown humans. Good hardware is just table stakes today. What people want, myself included, are applications that help me make life easier whether that is at work or at home. People don’t buy phones because they like the hardware, they buy phones for what the phone lets them do. With limited apps the phone, good hardware and all, will have limited utility in people’s lives.
I am a long time Blackberry user. The Z10 is my fourth Blackberry. I’ve resisted the move to an iPhone for many months. The new BB10 was coming so I thought I’d wait. I was in line before 0900h on the day they became available to pick up my Z10. I am the kind of customer Blackberry wants. I’m loyal and I’m okay with change. You would think I am the kind of consumer that Blackberry would court but you’d be wrong. Blackberry was more concerned with getting Angry Birds on the BB10 than something that me, as a current Blackberry user, is already using. One example is Audible. As of right now I can’t listen to my audiobooks on my Z10. If I had an iPhone I could. I’m pretty sure I’ll switch phones before I stop using Audible. What I want is to listen to my books; the phone is just the method I use to make that happen. The same applies to Kobo, Nomad Analytics and Geocaching Navigator. These are all services supported by iPhone or Android applications. If I used either of those platforms I’d be able to use the services I want to use right now.
I know that Blackberry relies on the development community to build the applications that will run on their hardware. Instead of trying to make the BB10 more like an iPhone why aren’t they making it easier for existing users to transition. Is Blackberry looking at market research in the way that Coca-Cola did? Is the Z10 their New Coke? For Blackberry’s sake I hope they recognize the fact that keeping their current users is the best way to help them get new customers.
In what seems like a million years ago I attended a keynote at a conference given by former General Norman Schwarzkopf. The keynote was a few years after the first Gulf War. General Schwarzkopf was a popular figure then and it was a standing room only crowd. You’d expect the general to regale us with stories of victory on the battlefield but he didn’t. He was speaking about leadership and he used the example of picking a phone system.
It turns out that before the General was fighting wars he was pushing paper in Washington. Career advancement in the Army goes through the Pentagon. While in a staff job at the Pentagon Schwarzkopf was assigned the task of picking the phone system to be used at the Pentagon. This was a non-trivial decision that had been pending for a couple of years before he was given the task. Schwarzkopf relied on some leadership advice he’d been given and made the decision. He didn’t know absolutely if it was the best choice but he was certain that a decision on any new phone system was better then two more years of the old system. That’s what it means to be a leader – choosing an uncertain future rather than waiting for certainty.
There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice. @simonsinek
I recalled this story when I read a post today by Kneale Mann that lamented our impatience. My impatience forces me to act sooner not later. I have bought two homes and a number of cars in less time than it takes many people to choose their shoes. I avoid analysis paralysis by first creating a bounding box for the decision. Anything outside the decision making box is discarded. I decrease the size of the box to the point were there are limited criteria that need to be decided. Once that’s done decisions come quickly.
Making a decision doesn’t have to be hard or take forever.