User Experience Feedback for WalmartPhotoCentre.ca

Based on my current interactions with Walmart Canada’s online photo centre, I have the following suggestions.

1) If you can’t deliver 1-hour, then don’t call it 1-hour

I ordered some pictures on Sunday… it is 10am on Monday and they still aren’t done. Shouldn’t they be free or something?
Note: They were ready Tuesday morning… no compensation. :(

2) Integrate a sound in your chat window

I tried using your chat support to reset my password (see below) and was happy to see a representative was ready to help me. They weren’t ready to help me…

So, after waiting 15 minutes for them to be finished with other customers and help me, they signed on and I didn’t notice. The screen didn’t flash… a sound was not played… they did nothing to help me notice they were now available.

Then, you disconnect me after 1 minute of me not noticing you. I noticed within a minute after that. #FAIL

3) Stop storing passwords in plaintext in your database.

You email out user’s passwords to them. This proves you are not encrypting the passwords on your end. If/when you are hacked, all those passwords will be free for all.

You should have better security than that. It is embarrassing that Walmart is so insecure.

4) When you send out passwords, you strip some special characters.

Speaking of sending out passwords in emails; that is the only option you have for forgotten password. Sadly, your emails strip out some special characters. 

I user 1Password to generate my passwords (and for some reason I didn’t save this one)., and passwords contain special characters like “%”,”&”, “<”, “>”, “;” or “$”. Your email stripped everything after the %&$ so the email is useless.

Bonus: hire more chat support staff

I wrote this while waiting for my second support person. (26 min and counting)

Hope you read and fix things

Great Umbraco Trick

Thanks to Dan Diplo for this great tip for Umbraco users.

I really came to rely on the xslt ‘copy-of’ function in Umbraco. Sadly, razor doesn’t have a built in equivalent. Instead, I found this simple example to list out values when needed. 

I am posting here more for me than you, but I hope some others find it useful.

@helper DumpProperties(umbraco.MacroEngines.DynamicNode node)
{
   
var items = node.PropertiesAsList;

   
<table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="4" style="background-color:#eee;font-size:smaller">
       
<tr style="background-color:#000;color:white">
           
<th>Alias</th><th>Value</th><th>Type</th>
        </
tr>

       
@foreach (var item in items)
       
{
           
<tr>
               
<td>@item.Alias</td><td>@item.Value</td><td>@item.Value.GetType()</td>
           
</tr>
        }

    </
table>    

}

Then you can call this in your Razor file like so:

@DumpProperties(Model);

Of course, you can pass in any Node (not just the current Model and including Media nodes) to the helper.

Thanks again Dan

Do this : 

1) Go to Google 

2) Click Images

3) type “atari breakout”

Watch as minutes of your life disappear!

This is interesting, what do you all think about this video’s conclusion?

Everyone needs time away from the internet, every day. :)

It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.

Rippln: Multi-Level-Marketing invading App store

A very close friend just sent me a video that they asked for my opinion on. The link was to a video for an app launch for a product called Rippln.

I believe that this is a scam, not because it is looking to steal people’s money, but rather it is looking to steal people’s time and is full of false promises. 

image

First, What is Rippln?

Rippln seems to be a platform that will ‘allow’ you to spam your friends/family with invites to join ‘cool’ apps that you find through their platform. However, instead of doing it to build a barn, you are doing it to get cash. 

It seems to be setup like a pyramid, in which you get a cut from all of the referrals that your ‘rippls’ make for you. 

So what’s wrong then? Here’s why Rippln is, at best a waste of time, at worst a scam…

It pretends to be Exclusive

The video pretends that it is currently an exclusive app, and that the only people that know have signed NDAs… and that if you are being told you need to keep it secret…

Then why is it a video on YouTube?

Then why are there so many results for it on Google? (all of which are written by crazy affiliate writers trying to solicit people to join their team)

Why do they say, everyone else signed a NDA, but we trust you (random YouTube user)

It is Actually a Marketing Stunt!

Create scarcity so that people feel pressured into being a part of it.

It is a tried and true marketing method. Not evil, but not scarse. 

There are no current ‘joe blow’ Users Right Now

Do you know how I know? Because it isn’t in the Apple App store.

In order for regular people to use the app, it has to be in the App store. It isn’t, therefore there are no current users. 

In order to use an app on your phone that isn’t in the app store, you need to be an Apple Developer. Normal people aren’t; and it cost ~$99 (or something like that)

It is a Pyramid Scheme… 

They made the pyramid grow out from the center, instead of downward but it is still a pyramid structure. 

People ‘before you/above you’ get a cut of your profits, and you get a cut of your ‘rippls’. I guess Ripple sounds better than pyramid. Less negative connotation.

But let’s point out the problems with the actual business model, shall we?

First, People Didn’t join Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter because of you!

Even if you told them about it first, they would have still joined based on someone else’s recommendation. Do you know why? Because…

Good Apps Don’t Need to Pay for Users

Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Pintrest/ Gmail/ Mailbox/ Tumblr all gained users because they were a great user experience. People liked them. 

That is why you told people about them. Because they were great. Try and name one good application that paid people to join it. 

So this leads me to the next point,

Only Crappy apps will Use Rippln!

The apps that you will be pushing onto your friends will be FB/TW/etc ripoffs and boring games. 

You will Think They are Cool because Rippln will Tell You they Are!

Think about pyramid schemes. You buy the awesome diet mix from them because you are told it will make your skin glow, and weight melt away… and then you are told that you need to use their VOIP phone system to save thousands a year… and in the end, you are left with a closet full of powder that tastes like vomit and people can never understand your robot sounding voice when you call them.

Why did you think these were good ideas in the beginning? Because (a) the crowd of people you were with told you they were and (b) you were promised money to convince other people of the same.

Even after trying the gross diet drink, you still push it as delicious because you WANT it to be a miracle that lines your wallet. 

Look up cognitive dissonance. 

You are going to want to believe the apps are cool when, in reality, they will almost always suck! Everyone you try to convince to download Upset Aviaries will see they suck, but you will have your Cognitive Dissonance glasses on…

It is sad to watch. And worst yet,

Any Good App that starts with Rippln will leave when successful

If a good app does decide to market themselves via Rippln, and then gets wildly successful; it WILL leave. 

If it is good enough to spread through word of mouth, why would they pay you?

Which leaves the question, who stands to benefit from this?

Rippln’s creators Will Make All the Money

They talk all bad about Mark Zuckerberg and team, but are they really creating this app to help you line your pockets; or is this a bid to help gullible people, who don’t understand web technologies, line their pockets?

I am 100% sure the leadership behind Rippln is from the former illegal pyramid schemes in the US. The channels that it got to me through are similar. 

You will See ‘Upgrades’ Coming Soon

One of the things that piqued my interest in the video was that eventually you will be able to sell products through it. Sounds a lot like an ‘online mall’… like Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (and related companies).

I would bet money that they will be offering VOIP and Diet Powders through your own, $99 a year, online store within the year. ;)

My advice; Stay Away

I am sure I could find more things wrong with Rippln and their business model, but my final advice is: Stay Away. 

As far as I know you don’t have to pay to join. It is a free app. So you may ask, What do I stand to lose?

My answer:

  • Your time. It is valuable, don’t waste it. Spend more of it with your family. Or work at McDonalds; statistically you will make more there.
  • Your friends. If you thought farmville annoyed them…
  • Your dignity. Joining Rippln will cause you to lose perspective. Eventually you will start believing that crappy apps are cool; and that ain’t cool!
  • Your Money. An organization like this will not stop at a free app. Eventually there will be ways to pay money to become a reseller, or a ‘Tidal Wave’ or pay money to get early access to something-or-another. 

Quote me on this, Rippln is not free. It will cost you, and most participants WILL lose!

Conclusion tl;dr

Rippln is a multi-level marketing scam. Everything about it fails the gut check. It feels scammy and deceptive, and its video screamed slimy marketing.

I don’t think you will lose the house on it, but I think it is a waste of time, and only stands to profit the owners.

Sadly, I believe it will be successful for the owners, because the pyramid scheme business model often is, and this seems to be popular in those circles (or should I say, rippls) already.

FHTM is dead! Long live Rippln! ???

My Home Network: Private Network, Guest Network and both US and Canada Netflix!


UPDATE Aug 29, 2013:

As Westerley points out in the comments below, “There’s a ‘netflix region picker’ on the unblock-us website that allows you to simply choose which netflix region you want to access. Wouldn’t that be simpler?”

That is simpler. I still like our setup because it allows multiple users in the house to be on both US and Can Netflix, but Westerley’s solution is probably better for most people.

thanks, steve


Original Post:

So, if you are here I am assuming you know why you would want to be able to ‘pretend’ you are on an American IP. This post is to tell you how I did it in my home.

My Hardware

  • Telus V1000H Router, with firmware 31.30L.55
  • Apple Airport Extreme
  • I use primarily Mac computers and apple devices

My Goals

  1. Create a secure Network for my devices and a Guest Network for friends/family
  2. Be able to access US Netflix, Websites, and other location blocked services
    • Bonus: I wanted it to be easy for my non-techy wife to switch

1 : Secure Home Network and Guest Network

I wanted a guest network in the house so that friends/family that visit could access the internet, but wouldn’t be able to print on my devices or see my shared drives. 

With Shaw, my old service, this was no problem. My Apple Extreme router handled both, however with Telus…

Problem! Telus Router wouldn’t let me have Guest Network

There seemed to be a conflict with Apple’s router and a Double Nat error that was forcing my router into Bridge Mode. I didn’t want Bridge Mode, I wanted to use my Apple router.

The problem was that my new Telus modem was actually a wireless router too. So both machines (Extreme and V1000H) were competing to hand out IP’s on the network.

Solution? Using DMZ to bypass Router

So what I did was enabled the DMZ, or “de-militarized zone”, on my Telus Router to 192.168.1.99. 

image

Then I opened my Airport Utility and set the Internet tab to “Static” with the following settings:

image

(you need to make sure these settings are correct for your house…)

Basically, this allows the Airport Extreme to bypass the Telus V1000H Router and handle all of the IP address assignments.

I then setup the router to have a Primary Network, a 5GHz network, and a Guest Network.

I also disabled the Telus Wireless at this time… who needs four networks? But then I realized I still had to conquer problem number 2:

2. Be able to access US Netflix, Websites, and other location blocked services

In Canada, Netflix is GREAT. However, the US has different content than us, and we occasionally would like the option to access that content. 

Choosing a service

Using a US VPN

I started by using a VPN service that would forward the data to me through a US IP address. It is great… in theory. In reality it dramatically slows down your transfer speeds. 

We found we usually got 1-2 Mbps with the VPN, and we were used to ~15 Mbps. 

We cancelled the service 6 days in, and switched to…

Unblock-Us.com

Unblock-us.com is a Canadian service that you pay monthly for that allows you to access

  • US Netflix,
  • websites that block Canadian’s from their content,
  • and, even, other country’s content, like BBC

Best part, it doesn’t slow down your connection because it simply acts as your DNS server.

Setting Unblock-us, for the Entire House, on Telus V1000H

So, because I wanted my wife to be able to easily switch between the US and Canadian Netflix streams, I wanted to make it as easy as changing which network you are on.

In order to do this, I decided to enable the Telus Wireless network (I had disabled, see above) and set it up to use Unblock-us’ DNS servers.

Unfortunately the basic Telus V1000H login doesn’t allow you to change the DNS settings. Luckily, a quick google search showed me that I could use the ‘tech’ login to modify more options that regularly allowed.

Source: http://keithbalomben.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/telus-actiontec-v1000h-hacks-and-information/

So, I simply logged in with

Username: tech
Password:t3lu5tv

and I was able to set my DNS settings to point at Unblock-me.com’s DNS servers

Primary DNS: 208.122.23.22
Secondary DNS: 208.122.23.23

And everything was good.

Conclusion

My home network is now a beautiful thing…image

Anyone visiting can access the internet via my Kiers’s Visitor. My devices connect via Kiers’ Adobe (or 5GHz) and whenever we want US Netflix we connect to the KiersUSconnection and restart the netflix app.

Good luck, and hope this helps someone out. :)

Note: 

It seems that telus’s recent update to Firmware Version 31.30L.57 has broke the Tech login above. If so, then I suggest resetting the router to factory defaults and setting the DNS up quick. Once the DNS servers are  set up, the update should not affect you.

lyssinup:

This has to be the most beautiful wedding video that I have ever seen.

Lord Jesus, thank you for marriage! I’m so excited for my future husband who is going to love you with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength.

Ladies, please wait on the Lord and know that He loves you and wants nothing but the absolute best for you!! Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t settle. Trust in God and He’ll answer your wildest prayers!!! Grab some tissue before watching this wedding because you might cry (I did… it’s soooooo sweet!!!)

I love this new wedding video trend

(Reblogged from lyssinup)

So the names were released today for the name your fair contest for Capital Ex/ Klondike Days rebrand V2.

Congratulations to the 6 nominations! May the odds be ever in your favor…

Personally, I am saddened at the selections though. I feel the organizers chose predicatable, safe, conservative names to represent Edmonton’s biggest summer festival. It seems to me that they opened it to voting to try and stifle backlash at another name change by making it ‘democratic’.

The 6 suggestions are:

EdFest

Probably my favourite of them all…

Like

  • EdFest is nice and short
  • Easy to say and remember
  • Easy to Brand
  • Generic

Hate

  • Not exciting

The Edmonton Exhibition, or Edmonton Summer Exhibition

Wow. These really excite me to go to the Exhibition. -_- 

Like

  • The name tells you when & where

Hate

  • They are descriptions, not a brand
  • Boring!

K-Days

Like

  • It is a throwback to Klondike Days.
  • Many of us already call it that
  • Nostalgia
  • Short, easy to say

Hate

  • What does it mean?
    • I know it is refering to klondike days… but does it have no other meaning?
  • Does it meet any of the 6 basic criteria? (see: http://nameyourfair.ca/)
  • Seems like a step backwards

River City Festival, or River City Summer Fair

Like

  • They are different
  • Branding could be nice
  • Simple

Hate

  • Both are a mouthful
  • The event isn’t near the river
  • Since when are we the River City? Is this a rebrand of Edmonton?
  • I don’t understand the relevance

My Final Prediction

Vote splitting and nostalgia have set up K-Days to win.

The organizers have set Edfest (IMHO the strongest of the Edmonton names) to lose by siphoning away votes, and I think that the River city votes will split as well.

My Names?

Since I know some of you will ask, here are my tongue-in-cheek suggestions. (The submission stage had closed by the time I found out about the contest).

  • WestFest (Vancouver…? Meh)
  • EdFest
  • OilSpill (Sounds fun, sounds stereotypical, sounds like a awesome disaster)
  • Keystone Days (modern version of Klondike Days)
  • Festival Days (embrace the Festival City)
  • Stephen Rocks! (because I think everything should be named after me!)
  • Edmonton Stampede (provincial unity)

By the Way, It’s a Conspiracy!

I am 85% sure that the organizers have set up K-Days to win by strategically selecting the other 5 names to kill themselves.

I give 14% to EdFest. I believe that the similatity to the two other ‘Edmonton Summer Exhibitio’n names make some vote splitting likely to happen, pushing it under k-days.

We will see when the results come in, but I am pretty confident!

Click HERE to Vote 

Let me know your thoughts below!!! :D

-steve

Why I Deleted the Google+ App from my iPhone

So yesterday I finally made the call to remove the Google+ App from my iPhone. Fo the record, I haven’t deleted my Google+ account, I just removed it from the device I use for 95% of my social media. I removed it when I realized that I hadn’t opened it in over four months.

Here are my 5 reasons I am avoiding the party:

1. The Party is Empty

Google+ promised to revolutionize the social media world; or at least tech ‘experts’ everywhere said it would. When it launched, everyone was impressed with the UI and way they had improved on Facebook’s tools. “Facebook will be dead in the year” proclaimed some Google zealots, and friends I know.

The problem with Google+ is that, like a party, church, or any social event, you can have the best programs, games, decorations, drinks, and food; yet, without people, it will still still suck. Social things need people.

I have ~700 ‘friends’ on Facebook, and regularly communicate with about 70. On Google+ I have about 70 Connections, and not one person I know posts things on Google+ that they don’t share on Facebook.

2. It was too closely tied Facebook

As you can see from my comments above, I compare Google+ to Facebook. This is probably wrong, yet everyone I know does the same thing.

Not Facebook

Google+ suffered because everyone came to check it out, saw it was like Facebook, but there was little activity, and they left. It wasn’t unique enough to prompt any sort of change from users who have invested 6+ years in Facebook.

3. No 3rd Party Support

I would probably quit Twitter if it wasn’t for Hootsuite. It allows me to send messages to Facebook and Twitter, Facebook only, or Twitter only. It also allows me to schedule messages for the future.

I use twitterfeed to post RSS feed messages, and use third party tools to give me analytics…

Google+ still* doesn’t let third party apps access it, or post to it. This makes it inconvenient for me to actually be a part of the #FAIL

*Last time I checked

4. No Soul

I know what Facebook’s purpose is. I know what Twitter’s purpose is. I know what LinkedIn’s Purpose is. I do not know what Google+’s purpose is. It has no heart, no soul. Back to point #2, it seems to just be a Facebook clone

5. My Mom isn’t On It

Many people think it is great that Google+ doesn’t have your mom/grandmother/creepy uncles on it. The problem is though, that you can’t become a dominant social media platform when only 18-28 year old males seem to use your service (and all the ‘social media experts’).

want the party to include my family and friends, not just my geeky friends. See point #1.

Conclusion

I still have Google+. I will still put the +1 button on websites. I still may log on randomly. I just don’t really care, so I deleted the app off my phone.

So is Google+ a failure? I think so. Although, as point #4 implied, we don’t really know what it’s purpose is.
If it tried to take out Facebook, it failed… If it just exists to data-mine it’s users, I’d say it is a success.

Stephen Kiers enjoys taking part in a variety of different things. He does marketing, design, and customer service for the email newsletter application, Industry Mailout, is a co-founder of WedImg, husband to the beautiful @JenelleKiers, and has worked in youth ministry for the last decade part time.

Find me on Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , or Google +