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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Pipex Customer Service Nightmare – or is it!

Part One:
When people have asked me about broadband providers in the past my replies have always evolved around one simple policy, “Stay away from the Sub-ISPs and stick with the main providers”.

This has kept me going well, with no outages, a decent service and no problems. I signed up with Pipex Broadband years ago and have been with them ever since. However at the point at which they were swallowed by Tiscali I was concerned; as  Tiscali’s reputation was not great to say the least. I thought, “providing my service remains consistent then I am OK – and as long as I do not get messed about I will stay”

Several weeks ago I contacted Pipex for the first time to request; quite explicitly “please cancel my Home Call phone package – BUT LEAVE MY BROADBAND ALONE”. A simple request. However yesterday I suddenly had a complete and utter lack of broadband – which was a complete nightmare for someone who works at home a lot. Broadband to me is just as important as electricity!

So I phoned Pipex immediately on the support line (0871 66 333 00) and went straight to query my bill, and discovered that the only thing active on my account was the Home Call Phone package – and no Broadband.

Numerous calls then to the terminations team left me even more confused and angry. Apparently they had cancelled the wrong service with no notification, no customer communication and with no remorse. Problem was that it was going to take 10 days to reconnect me. Oh, I could have a £10 credit to my account as a ‘Sorry!’ – and that just upset me even more as I was probably losing that on […]

Loving Twikini: Windows Mobile Twitter Client

Ok I am no stranger to tweeting – and I have constantly struggled to find a Twitter client that I have been happy with. I even was quite envious of those iPhone users with their nice client Twitter apps. The ones that I have used to date have either been clunky, slow, lacking in functionality or just plain bad!

Well no more – I’ve found Twikini (from Trinket Software); a new Windows Mobile (5, 6, and 6.1 are supported) Twitter client that seems to have a clean and useable UI, it’s fast (very fast) and has the functions that I want (such as Twitpic integrated).

 
Twikini offers a powerful and efficient way to use Twitter on your phone. It conveniently updates your favorite feeds in the background, and leverages the camera, GPS, media, touch screen, keyboard, graphics and storage capabilities of your device.

Our goal is to make Twikini the best designed Twitter app for Windows devices in the world.
 

Bizarrely it even has some integration into Windows Media Player which will automatically tweet the song and artist I am listening to. I doubt that will catch on and could actually lose me followers!

Twikini is a breeze to install; just download the CAB file from http://www.trinketsoftware.com/Twikini/ and you are away.

Happy tweeting…

XMPie Marketing Console for iPhone

Once again my good friend and colleague Tim Perrett has gone and done it again. XMPie stupidly allowed him to ‘have a play’ for a few days with the XMPIe APIs and the uber-geek that he is has come out with another world’s first – the iPhone application for XMPie’s Marketing Console! A while back in 2008 Tim was also the first person to write an iPhone application (again using the XMPie APIs) to interact with and control a remote XMPie uProduce server. That post you can see here.

For those that might not know or appreciate what the Marketing Console is:
XMPie uProduce Marketing Console is revolutionizing the way marketers track and control cross-media one-to-one communication campaigns. uProduce Marketing Console is the industry’s first Web-based tracking and reporting tool that monitors each phase of a multi-channel, one-to-one marketing campaign including print, e-mail and the Web.

Its open system also allows for the easy integration of third party data. Marketing service providers and print providers can view the results and revise campaign tactics or update customer information on the fly, helping improve response rates and overall campaign effectiveness.

The XMPie uProduce Marketing Console provides sophisticated real-time tools for measuring the success of a marketing campaign, based on campaign variables (ADOR
Objects), Cross Media events and actions.

Extacted from www.xmpie.com/mc
So effectively the Marketing Console allows you real-time access to all your cross media campaigh results and metrics. Who visited their RURL? Which worked better email or print? Did I get more responses from those that saw personalised images opposed to static? Narvarna for many marketing professional. Traditionally the Marketing Console is a web-based application as you can see from the screen-shot to the top-right.

What Tim has done (in my simpistic way) […]

Backing up your WordPress Blog.

If you have put time and effort into creating and running a blog do not put all that hard work in jeopardy by not backing it up religiously. Many of us; me included will be operating their sites on a free host provider – which should really get you motivated. Think about it; all your work, posts, images and assets are sat on a server somewhere (and I doubt that you would know where!) under the control of someone that does not even know that you exist. Your blog will be the last thing on their minds if something goes wrong!

So how do you do it quickly, easily and efficient manner. Well let me share with you what I do with my WordPress blogs that I run.
Backup up the database (1st priority!)
All WordPress blogs are pretty much contained in a database somewhere. All your posts, comments, mete data and user information is stored away in a database table. If you lose that; then I’m afraid that you will be started over from scratch.

There are a few ways in which you can do this; either directly through your web hosting provider using a tool like PHPAdmin or with WordPress it’s better to use a plugin.

My favourite WordPress plugin is WP-DB-Backup (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/)
Installing and configuring WP-DB-Backup

Go ahead and download the plugin from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/ and save it to your disk.
unzip the contents and upload the wp-db-backup folder to your WordPress wp-content/plugins directory
Log into your WordPress administration area, and select ‘Plugins / Installed’ and then select ‘WordPress Database Backup’ and activate it.
Now go to ‘Tools / Backup’ and configure the plugin to backup all your tables.
I prefer to get the plugin to email me the database once a day. […]

How to use RSS feeds in your WordPress blog

I recently wanted to be able to include the contents of an RSS into the main body of a page (or post), and was struggling to find a nice solution to this. The best and simplest way of doing this was through WordPress FeedList Plugin by Bill Raqlinson (http://rawlinson.us/blog/articles/feedlist-plugin/).

There are a good number of options available with the plugin – the best bet is to head over to Google Group for the plugin (http://groups.google.com/group/wp-feedlist).

Anyway to get things working download and install the plugin into your wordpress installation and then activate it within the Plugins administration section.
Using the plugin
Once the plugin is active within any page or post on your blog you can insert the correct to plug in the content from an RSS feed like this:
<ul>

<!–rss:rss_feed_url:=http://feeds2.feedburner.com/DavidBaldaro, num_items:=5, random:=false–>

</ul>
The Results
The above results in a list like the following (obviously adhering to your CSS styles)

Enabling Internet Sharing (IntShrUI.exe) on blocked HTC phones

On several occasions after updated my ROM on my HTC Touch Cruise (Polaris) trying to start Internet Sharing has resulted in a “IntShrUI.exe is blocked” message.

The best way around this is to edit the registry to unblock access.

Firstly you’ll need to edit the registry, so if you haven’t a registry editor then now is a good time to get one. One of my favourites is  here (http://www.phm.lu/Products/PocketPC/RegEdit/)

Once installed, start up RegEdit and navigate to
\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Security\SoftwareDisable\DisabledSystemFiles\parms\0
and delete the keys ‘name’ and ‘value’. Then restart your device and then you should be able to start Internet Sharing successfully.

Also once you have done this – consider looking at WMWifiRouter (http://freewareppc.com/communication/wmwifirouter.shtml) which is a fantastic tool for turning for HTC into a Wifi Router – sharing your HTC’s 3G or data connection across it’s WIFI ability. Cool.

Finally managed to redesign my website

It’s taken a few long evenings – but I’ve finally managed to give my website a new and fresh design; incorporating a bit more functionality as well! Let’s hope that this one last longer than the last one did. It still has some work to do on it – and a few edits to the templates files; but nothing that has stopped me releasing it. The small edits can roll out now over the next week or so. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

Community Building: Setting up a free community or group website

One of the things that I have been working on (in my spare time) recently is community-based websites. So I thought I would share some details for those looking to do the same. Define you group, organisation or community This could be a local sports group, or local school committee or simply a website for your local village. You need to understand what it is that you want to do – whether it is simply sharing information amongst a group; or whether you are looking to allow multiple groups to participate in the project. Get yourself a domain (Domain Name) A domain, or domain-name is essential here – and it should be something that you you consider carefully. Many of the Internet search engines results (Google for example) will rank higher on the page if the thing you are searching for is in the domain name itself. For example if I were to search on “Overseal School” – a domain name that actually contained the words ’Overseal’ and ‘School’ would rank higher on the page than those that didn’t. There are many, many different organisations that you can go to in order to secure your domain name. Personally I prefer to use www.1and1.co.uk. They are reliable, inexpensive and relatively easy to setup. I have several domain names with them already. Most domain name providers like 1&1 will also provide you with some basic web space as well – which would allow you to set up a small site. However; depending on your group or community’s size this might not be adequate enough. I created the domain community-hosts.co.uk which is where I host my local village website […]