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Category Archives: Tech

Scary lesson from the WordPress hack

Last night I received about 800 emails confirming my subscription to various WordPress blogs, obviously the result of a hack. After I figured out what was going on I deleted them. No harm done, since almost all of them followed the best practice of requiring the recipient to confirm that they did indeed subscribe. Unfortunately, […]

How to transcribe speech from a web page

[UPDATE: Unfortunately, Google has disabled the ability described below to transcribe audio from a web page. Now you get an alert to attach a microphone and record from that. Playing audio over your computer, or playing a recorded message from your phone, doesn’t work. Unclear if this is a deliberate move to limit the program […]

First review of $50 Amazon Fire tablet

Mine arrived today and I wanted to review it on the Amazon website but they said the product has not yet been officially released and can’t be reviewed so I’ll share experiences here. It’s a 2 or maybe 3 star product. Good performance and graphics, but due to interface problems it’s going back if I […]

Making the most of your Xiaomi Yi camera

I have been having fun with my Xiaomi (pronounced show-me) Yi, a GoPro knockoff I bought online for a little under $70. You can order on Amazon at prices that fluctuate, but always under $100, and there’s no reason not to get one of these and have fun with it and maybe even discover a […]

If you can’t read the results, why test it?

My early direct mail copy chiefs beat this mantra into me: only test one thing at a time. If you change the offer and simultaneously change the letter lead, how do you know which change was responsible for any lift? I thought of this as the drumbeat of “Free FICO Score” offers from Chase Slate […]

One-of-a-kind at CES 2015

One of the pleasures of attending the Consumer Electronics Show is seeing new concepts making their debut for the benefit of prospective investors and manufacturing reps. Many of these are clustered in the “Eureka Park” area which, unlike last time I was here, was part of one of the main exhibit halls. Some products are […]

Smart homes and smart marketing at CES 2015

“Smart homes” is a useful topic for a marketing review because, while it’s exciting (or maybe ominous) to think about gadgets turning out the lights, managing security or monitoring our baby’s heartbeat, it’s up to the marketers to tell us exactly what their specific products do. Witness a few examples, good and bad, from the […]

The Idiot of Things visits CES 2015 Las Vegas

I saw IoT all over Las Vegas on buses and billboards, and asked a booth staffer for an explanation. She said it stands for the Internet of Things and then proceeded to explain what that meant. I already knew the concept, just not the acronym but too late; I felt like a clueless Luddite. Anyway, […]

Persado is not going to put copywriters out of business. (Whew.)

A recent article on artificial intelligence in the Wall Street Journal had me trembling with fear. It described a technology called Persado which writes emails and landing pages for multivariate testing, stating each component of the message in an infinite number of ways which can be mixed-and-matched through AI to surface the result that gets […]

NetSuite vs. SAP: using competitive advertising to reposition your company

We’ve talked in the past (and you can read in my book) about strategies for competitive advertising—promotions in which you talk about a competitor as much or more as yourself. It’s a good strategy for smaller companies because, by positioning themselves against the bigger competitor, they can gain instant credibility. It’s probably not so smart […]

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