I’ve been happily using Evernote for several months. Previously I was using Voodoo Pad and quite enjoyed it. I switched to Evernote in order to have an easily accessible iPhone app with all my notes and information that could be ported and synced. Things had been going really well. Then they came out with a paper notebook made by Moleskine. The pitch is that you can take written notes and then import then into your Evernote app by snapping a picture. Once you’ve snapped the image, the special paper allows the iPhone app to convert the written notes to text notes easily and quickly. The lines provide an easier way for the app to line up the text and make a more accurate conversion. This seemed like a great idea! They even included physical stickers that could then be associated with tags. Put a sticker on the page and the “work” or “idea” tag you’ve chosen would then automatically associate and attach to the note.
This sounded so great to me! In meetings I tend to prefer to hand write notes. I find it easier sometimes to draw a little diagram, underline something or copy what’s on whiteboard. Further, I find that it’s much more personal to handwrite notes. I’ve been in the tech industry for my entire career and I’ve found that typing notes in a meeting gives the appearance of not paying attention, even when you’re diligently focused. Even I sometimes tend to assume that everyone is just browsing their email instead of listening. Thus, paper notes that can be quickly and easily converted to searchable, readable text seems to solve the problem.
Except it doesn’t. The notebook arrived yesterday and I couldn’t get it to work no matter what I tried. I followed the directions exactly. I was able to snap an image, but not able to have the image recognized as a Smart Notebook page or have my text converted. Of c ourse I assumed it was my handwriting and had two friends try their penmanship. Even the most lovely blockscript didn’t do the trick. I updated the app and tried lots of different things. Of course the Evernote support forums are full of similar complaints. It doesn’t work.
What a disappointment.
Further disappointment came when I attempted to get support. You see, the notebook I ordered was $25 and included 3 months of Premium account status. Evernote is a classic “Freemium” model. They provide extra features, priority support and no ads for a small monthly fee. Of course the sticker on the front of the notebook proclaims how lovely your included 3 months free will be, but nowhere does it tell you exactly how to activate the premium status for your existing account.
Now things go a little off the rails, but this is how they reached the top spot for my most hated company today. I’ve been using a little app called “skitch” for years. It was a great lightweight app for quickly adding text, small icons and drawings on to images. It also took great quick screenshots and allowed you to upload your images in a variety of ways. Gawker wrote up a bit about it 6 months ago (NSFW link). A few weeks ago Evernote purchased Skitch. Things stopped working. And with the latest version, it essentially destroyed the app.
The Apple App Store reviews are full of vitriol. My favorite complaint is “If you loved Skitch, you will hate this”. “This” being Skitch under the Evernote acquisition. I have so many friends that used and loved Skitch that a few even emailed me warning me not to upgrade or I’d lose one of my most useful productivity tools.
Then the genius CEO of Evernote responds to the outrage and disappointment with flippancy and ridicule toward his users. At the very least they could have done some damage control, but instead said “deal with it, jerks,” to the longtime Skitch users who have now been forcibly converted to Evernote users and lost all of the content storage they’ve been using for years.
Thus, Evernote ranks as worst company for selling me a useless paper notebook, giving me substandard level of support eventhough I’ve paid for premium and especially for ruining a fantastic application that I’ve used for years. AT&T has been knocked to third most hated, while United Airlines hangs at second place.
On a lighter note, I really love the Blackbird Pie plugin for WordPress.
Image via sonofman in TheVerge.com comments
Well, it finally happened. I’d been happy without one, but I felt like I was missing out on too many important events in the lives of my friends, so I finally decided to join (and participate in?) facebook. Obviously there are tons of concerns around privacy and I’ve taken the approach of posting 100% publicly, when I do post thus far. Also, I’m using Ghostery to keep the creepy tracking to a minimum.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be using it. Similarly with twitter, I’m sure I’ll forget it exists in a few weeks until someone asks me about it again or links to it, then I’ll remember all over again. It’s really amazing how many people are on it and actively use the site. I suppose livejournal is finished and done with by now. A shame, really. Livejournal has the most superior threaded commenting system I’ve seen on the internet. And it was completed in its current form almost 10 years ago. Yet in 2012, facebook doesn’t have comment threading at all.
If you’re interested in seeing more personal information like dog pics, ridiculous quotes and other things that are boring and mundane, feel free to add me there.
This substantially increases my social media accounts to keep up with. Let’s do the inventory:
There won’t be more than this, right? This is it I hope.
I had a little spot on NPR Connecticut today. The main topic was about trolling but Parmy Olson who wrote a book about Anonymous did the first segment. You can skip to 00:31 to hear my part. It’s just a few quick comments about what “trolling” means.
Click here for audio player.
I got the below email today. Phishing is a problem, obviously, but it also tends to provide a lot of entertainment value to information security professionals. There are lots of fun little tricks that Phishers use in their emails. They hope to get you to click on their links and then send you to a site where you’ll put in your username and passwords. It’s fun to see how creative and how stupid they can get. It’s also interesting to see how little effort a lot of them put into their attempts.
This email is obviously phishing because it is sent to undisclosed-recipients:; and American Express would refer to me as “Dear Sherrod DeGrippo,” not “Dear customer.” The bad grammar and randomly capitalized letters are another give away. An appeal to “secure online service against any fraudulent attempt,” is pretty funny too.
Looking at the mail headers is funny too. Because this was in my spam folder and was actually marked spam due to my low spamscore threshold. It got marked as spam not for phishing, but for forging the MUA. Adorable.
tests=[FORGED_MUA_OUTLOOK=4.199, FORGED_OUTLOOK_HTML=0.001, FORGED_OUTLOOK_TAGS=0.8
But as with all phishing, the biggest give away is that the email doesn’t link to AmericanExpress.com, but to something completely unrelated. I’m also pretty sure that AmEx prefers really showy, ridiculously fancy html emails, not just a single logo at the top.
If you want to be transported back to the early 2000s and take a quick Phishing proficiency quiz, SonicWALL has one that is pretty cute.
Let’s talk about facebook. I’m not a facebook user, but I’m familiar with the concept and have followed the IPO drama with a bucket of popcorn.gif. Today I read this thread on HN today. A lot of people are commenting talking about what FB can do to differentiate, monetize outside of ads, etc. My first thought is that it seems easier and potentially more long-term profitable to simply charge for use of the service.
We spend more and more time online. People host gigs and gigs of their personal photos, videos and thoughts on the service, yet no one thinks that this is a service worth paying for. Why? Well, it’s because of the ever-present-on-the-web concept that ads are the avenue to revenue. It’s all free, just with some ads thrown on! I won’t get in to my thoughts on how we got to this mindset that these services aren’t worth paying for. Still, it’s easy to see that the vast user base on earth spends massive amounts of time online but doesn’t consider these service providers worth a penny because they’ve been indoctrinated in a mindset that says everything is free.
Why hasn’t someone put up a competing social network and made it a for-pay or freemium model? There are some, I know (Flickr, LJ). But those aren’t a straight up for-pay social network model. What’s so wrong with that? In fact, I think if it were done right, a social network that came straight out and said, “Look, it’s $100 a year for lots of picture storage, lots of features and no ads” would do well. It would potentially be very well respected and on top of that have a bit of that closed cache that comes with services that aren’t free. It also ties users to the service because they’ve potentially prepaid.
Google+, Facebook, MS so.cl, Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter are all constantly trying to innovate and create new features for users. Imagine if users were actually paying for services. Further, something like the “GM drops facebook ads because they don’t work” fiasco could be avoided. A user dropping a $20 a month service means almost nothing in singularity and certainly isn’t news enough to be in the WSJ.
Clearly I’m not an expert at running (or in some cases, even using) social networks and it’s completely possible I’m missing something here. But when there are so many legitimate complaints about services using annoying ads, abusing privacy, screwing around with stock offerings and frustrating their users, wouldn’t it make sense that someone has seen this ad-supported social network model and found it “ripe for disruption”?
I’m expecting the very contrary nature of internet commenters to benefit me in this case and give me some links to decent social networks that charge money. Send them along.
I admit to browsing reddit occasionally. It’s that perfect “waiting in line” use case for the iPhone. It’s a good flow of a certain subset of current events and obviously full of “viral” content every day.
Unfortunately reddit is also full of lots of terrible content and terrible comments from terrible users. It’s not 100% awful, but there is so much there that is crap, it can be discouraging.
You can completely change your reddit experience with these five steps:
- Create a reddit account.
- Log in to reddit.
- Open your reddit account and click my reddits.
- Unsubscribe from all subreddits by clicking the red “unsubscribe” button.
- Add the following subreddits by clicking the green “subscribe” button:
You’re done! Now reddit will be great and you’ll enjoy it immensely.
The majority of the audience at Hacker News just doesn’t understand the appeal. From my perspective, the appeal is obvious from the second you logon. As a user, there is a seemingly never ending stream of beautiful and interesting images. The site is compelling and enjoyable and a great way to not only organize your thoughts and ideas in a visual way, but to also see others doing the same. It shows a literal snapshot of someone else’s preferences and tastes. I think it’s fantastic. HN worries about monetization, which is ridiculous. That site will make boat loads of cash through any one of the various monetization strategies that are open to it. Pinterest is great both as a casual user and for brands and marketers. My quote in CIO was geared toward tips for brands and companies in how to use Pinterest.
10. Be a good member of the Pinterest community.
“The absolute MUST for any brand or retailer using Pinterest is to become a part of the community,” adds Sherrod DeGrippo, proprietor, Blue Key Studio, a home decor store. Pinterest should not “be used as simply a marketing tool where a vendor posts all their items for sale and then leaves,” she cautions. “The community on Pinterest is smart and savvy. They know marketing when they see it, and if it doesn’t otherwise add value, they will write you off.” That’s why Blue Key Studio has a variety of boards, not just focusing on home decor, but on food, fashion and other things that their followers might like. “Our Dogs and Decor board is a great example. It combines two things I really love: great interior design and canines.”
I am so glad they mentioned my dogs and decor board. It’s really fun and I love being able to find gorgeous interiors where dogs are also lounging about. It’s exciting to come across one and add it to my collection. These things used to be kept locally on personal folders, but now people are using Pinterest to share them and keep them available for other users to see.
Pinterest has made such a huge impact on the web and the way people share things they like. I’ll be posting more in the future about my thoughts on using it for marketing and just for fun too.
This bit with me from the Portland Mercury is sort of controversial. I admit to knowingly inciting an internet riot when I said “cats are out, dogs are in,” in reference to internet culture. I stand by it though. Dogs are just better. The faces they make are funnier and they’re more comfortable in front of the camera.
That wasn’t really the point of the piece though. It talks more about my experience with community management and how I’ve seen user participation on the web evolve over so many years.
“I think it’s really, really hard to keep user-generated content high quality while also not devolving into a walled garden where people are afraid to contribute because they don’t want to deal with being bulldozed by others who are obsessed with rules,”
I think this is so true and wikipedia has already admitted as much. Contributors to user-generated sites are hitting a point of fatigue. Simply because there is so much to catalog and such a huge amount of pushback from other users.