Archive for the 'Tech' Category

Questionable Twitter Growth Hacks

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

For the past few weeks, I’ve been on the receiving end of list notifications that look like the following. Seeing a list notification is nothing new, but this *cough* “Twitter growth strategy” *cough* appears to be awfully automated.

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Up until a few weeks ago, I observed a different attention grabbing tactic where I would initially see a list notification or an actual follow. Then, a few days later, the new (to me) account would favorite an old - could be days or event months old - tweet which somehow intersected with their interest. (Let’s just say a good number of so-called marketing and other B2B services used this strategy, and not too many consumer or personal Twitter accounts.) When I still didn’t follow back within 24 or 48 hours of the favorited tweet (there was no engagement with me otherwise), the account would then unfollow me.

It’s one thing if I noticed this scenario once or twice. For a while I was seeing several accounts try this “growth strategy” *each day*. The faux engagement actions are questionable enough, but the automation of faux engagement is…off-putting. I don’t know what social media marketing program is enabling these Twitter “growth hacks”.

Who Is A Sales Engineer?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

If you’ve ever participated in a sales deal for a hardware or software — or other technology — product, you’ve probably been introduced to a Sales Engineer (sometimes called a Presales or Solutions Consultant). But who are they?

Sales Engineers are the front-facing technical experts for a product or a solution. She or he will possess deep product expertise (if not product certifications), readily architect product solutions, easily anticipate and overcome sales objections, and they understand the competitive landscape.

Typically, Sales Engineers are brought into the sales process either during or after prospect qualification, depending on the initial technical expertise of the salesperson and how the prospect is qualified.

The duties of a Sales Engineer include conducting discovery calls to determine business process and technical requirements, presenting impactful in-person and Web-based presentations and demonstrations to technical personnel and executives, sometimes creating and administrating Proof of Concepts (POC) for sales deals, responding to RFPs/RFIs, relaying prospect and/or customer needs to product management or customer success, and sometimes even account management.

All in all, Sales Engineers are a critical part of the sales process. Do you agree?

Twitter Status Page

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

In light of today’s partial Twitter outage, the official Twitter Status Page is at http://status.twitter.com.

However, there may be situations where Twitter DNS is disrupted and you are unable to visit the official status page. In this case, you can visit http://twitterstatus.tumblr.com/.

It appears that status.twitter.com is just embedding the posts from twitterstatus.tumblr.com anyway. For example, if you click on a post link on twitter.status.com it redirects you to the tumblr.

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Monitoring Email Deliverability With Email Seeding

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Most email marketers know they can track email opens, clicks and bounces. However, there’s a second common email marketing question: Can I see if my email lands in my recipient’s inbox or junk folder?

You can try what’s called “email seeding” or putting email addresses from various Email Service Providers onto your email lists so you can monitor where your email lands on each service.

A quick do it yourself way would be to have accounts on Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail/Outlook, etc. and add those to your lists. I would also make sure to have seed accounts running Sendmail with a default SpamAssassin setup and a Microsoft Exchange with Outlook client setup, as these are the two most common private email server configurations. Many third party spam filtering solutions are based off of SpamAssassin filtering rules.

The disadvantage to the DIY approach is that you wouldn’t have direct access to private or corporate email systems. Professional email seeding services like Return Path, have a farther reach and claim to have access to a large number of ESP seed accounts.

Topic inspired by this Quora thread.

Yes we can bounce email from Mail.app

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Up until somewhat recently, Mac OS X mail.app had the handy feature of being able to manually bounce email. Technically, the mail bounces with a new header created, but still.

There are the Mail.app email bounce instructions from Lechnyr.

First, we need to add the ability to bounce email back into OS X’s Mail.app program. To accomplish this:

  1. Run the Automator program, located in your /Applications folder.
  2. When prompted to choose a type for your document, select Service and click the Choose button. You’ll now have a window that you can drag and drop various actions in to.
  3. Using the drop down menus at the top, make certain to indicate that the service receives no input in the Mail application.
  4. Drag Get Selected Mail Items into the workflow window.
  5. Next, drag Run AppleScript into the workflow window.
  6. Enter in some code (below) and save the workflow with a meaningful name such as, Bounce Message.

Here’s the AppleScript to copy and paste into the Automator workflow.


on run {input, parameters}
tell application "Mail"
repeat with eachMessage in input
bounce eachMessage
delete eachMessage
end repeat
end tell
end run

After you’ve saved the workflow, you’ll see this in your Mail.app menu. And yes, it does work in OS X Yosemite.

Bounce Workflow in Mail.app menu

Adbeat bot

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Some Web bots are cool, others not so much.

If you take a look at the screenshot below, this adbeat bot (a competitive research tool for online advertisers) hit 108 pages on cleverhack in nearly 40 minutes. Hrm…

Not cool bot, not cool

Chrome Error Message

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Below is a screenshot of the error message Chrome provides when a Web site refuses to load because there is no needed redirect from the non-www to the needed www version.

A) Why doesn’t Chrome automatically try to redirect like modern Firefox does?

B) Not like anyone but a Web developer would even recognize what DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN even means.

C) Yeah, I know the fault is technically on the Webmaster’s side on this one, but still, a browser should try to correct.

Chrome Error Message

iOS Sharing without an App

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Not too long ago, a few of us on Twitter mused about getting rid of certain social media apps on our phones. They’re a distraction or they promote unhealthy habits.

One Twitter user mused about the effects of losing such apps. What about pictures on your phone.

As it turns out, iOS 8 has an unintended feature with the new Share Sheets sharing extensions. Here’s an article about how Share Sheets work. An unintended side effect is that once an app is installed and customizes the Share Sheet, you can delete the app and the sharing function still works. (At least for Facebook.)

Here’s how a Facebook-less iOS install “shares” to an app.

1) First, select a picture from your photo roll.
A picture on my photo roll, yet it is black.

2) Then, choose the picture by selecting the checkmark at the lower right hand corner.
Selecting a photo to share in iOS 8

3) Finally, in the Share Sheet, select the app you want to send the picture to.
Select the app where you want to share your image

4) Done.

tl;dr If there is an app icon in the iOS Share Sheet, you can share an image to that app even if the app is not currently installed on your phone.

Quick Image Creation Hack On A Mac

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

It’s a cold Saturday morning, and my friend, noted author, volunteer firefighter and techno aesthete John Sundman posted the following Twitter query.

Ah ha! A question with an answer I stumbled on a few days ago.

To make a quick image, like a banner, out of similarly sized images on a recent Mac, here’s a quick hack.

1) Determine the size of your image. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s use 600 x 200px.

2) Open up a blank page in whatever easy text editing program you prefer. Myself, I prefer Taco HTML Edit.
Empty Taco HTML Edtor Window

3) In the text editing program, take a screenshot (CMD + SHIFT + 4) of an image in a size roughly approximate to your desired image size.

4) Rename the blank screenshot to something easy to remember. Perhaps, mybanner.png.
Renaming To My Banner

5) Open the blank screenshot (mybanner.png) in Preview.app.

6) Resize the blank screenshot to your desired image size (Tools > Adjust Size), in this case 600 x 200px. Save your resized image.
Resizing the Banner in Preview.app

7) Open the other images you wish to work with in Preview.app, edit them as desired, and Copy + Paste the images into your blank screenshot (mybanner.png).

8) Continue editing and don’t forget to save your work!

Unlink a LinkedIn Connection or two

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

So, you’ve been going through your virtual rolodex only to find that some people have moved on, changed jobs or why the heck did I ever connect to this guy?

Here’s a quick and easy shortcut to clean up your LinkedIn connections…
1) Make sure you’re logged into the LinkedIn service - this shortcut apparently works on Web and Mobile.
2) Click this link: https://www.linkedin.com/people/conn-break-selection
3) Choose the connections you wish to break and click the Close Connection button.
4) Profit!

Google Chrome OH NO

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This is more of an IT note because I spent more than an hour on this last night, killing what I had to do…

Awwww SNAP!

If you have automatic updating turned on in Google Chrome, and you find that your install is not quite right - wherein you still have your bookmarks and such, but the install just seems to have limited memory, refuses to show Chrome settings and/or goes directly to the AW SNAP! view.

Feel free to skip the usual troubleshooting steps and uninstall then download the new Chrome package. This worked for me on OS X. I have to think that the recent Chrome update either was b0rked or I had an incompatible file somewhere on my system.

Google

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Google