Marketing: doing it right

We’ve recently bought a Karma Go (a wireless cellular network to WiFi router, flat rate, pay as you go, non-expiring data). Karma gives you 100mb free data for every new account that signs up on your router, and 100mb for the free account that signs up.

This is great marketing for 3 reasons:

  1. It gives the prospect a free taste of the service.
  2. It gives the existing users incentive to share and promote the service.
  3. Best of all, it spends marketing money on clients, rather than on marketing for its own sake.

Marketing. Are you doing it right?

Dak

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El Capitan, take 2 [updated]

So…I’ve been using El Capitan (OS X release 10.11) over two days now. (see  previous article). It’s very stable, fast, and generally pleasant to use.

Nice little featurettes:
New contacts are found in Mail.app, just like in iOS.  Click to add contact or update it.

New appointments continue to be highlighted, and are now moved to the top of the email message that they appear in.  Nice incremental improvement, mail.app team!

First login does require some slight delay to update data; however, most upgrades to apps (Mail, photos, etc.) are done at app startup time, not at OS upgrade time, so they aren’t painful.  Note to developers:  this is a good pattern; pay for the time when you need to, not in advance.

Bugs:
Day One (a popular journalling app) temporarily lost my journal entirely on the Mac. It’s still there on my iPad and iPhone, and I had two support requests in. iCloud sync doesn’t didn’t work, as I didn’t have iCloud Drive turned on before I logged into El Capitan, and Dropbox sync doesn’t work.  I have, however, recovered from backup while I wait, and I do have Day One’s own synch server up and running (now).  iCloud synch is working very nicely.  I have to remember to switch the other devices to iCloud…

Mail.app had lost an email alias I had in place. After a very helpful discussion with Apple Support, I determined, and shared with them, that the setting can be restored, thus:
Mail -> preferences -> accounts -> account information.
The third field allows entry of an alias that was wiped out in updating to El Capitan. Support has passed this on to Apple Engineering. This is a minor inconvenience.

The confusing part is that

Mail -> accounts

*will not* get you to where you want to go.  You have to go to

Mail -> preferences -> accounts, as above, to get to the mail specific settings.

Oddities:
Chrome appears to hang on first access of a web page from time to time. This may be a plug-in issue.
The good news: Safari is really doing well. I’m not cross-platform at the moment, so I’ll just live in Safari instead of Chrome.  I’m liking the current version of Safari, it’s behaving very well.

I did have to upgrade to VMware Fusion 8.0  in order to use Windows 10 and El Capitan. (either requires the upgrade.)  I didn’t appreciate having to spend money on the upgrade; VMware, this was disappointing.  That said, it performs VERY well in initial testing.

Bottom line:  as far as OS upgrades go, this one was free, fairly painless, and makes my now 6 year old desktop Mac hum right along.  Thank you, Apple!

Best,

Dak

Apple’s OS X “El Capitan” first impressions

TL;DR: Faster, more secure, better looking, and the latest thing.
I upgraded last night.  NOTE:  it’s BIG (6 GB).  For those of you still have data caps, this can be a problem.  Start the process, and then go to bed.
What’s great so far:
1) You can see the new usability features from help.apple.com website, which is the first specific item in the Help menu in Finder:
The El Capitan Finder help menuThe El Capitan Finder help menu
In my case, upgrading from Yosemite (10.10), this points to:
2) The new font.  You will hardly notice it, except that the user interface looks…clearer.  Apple has chosen a font that will look great on Retina and non-Retina displays.  I am typing this on my trusty workhorse of a 2009 iMac, and it looks very clean and clear.
3) Faster graphics (including text rendering).  Much of the old OS X was built on top of OpenGL.  OpenGL is still in place, but now the library graphics calls in use by all apps are going straight to the Metal…which is Apple’s new “more direct to the hardware” API for rendering graphics, first debuted on iOS, where it made rich 3D games possible with lower CPU and therefore power use.  Think of it as DirectX for the Mac.
This means it will be faster for you, including on old machines, and it doesn’t break anything.  Note to business folks:  when developers tell you “we need a layer of abstraction” this is why.  These changes are invisible under the layer of abstraction which is the Mac programming API.  The developers are free to make things work faster and better, without breaking existing programs.
4) Application Transport Security.  A huge number of applications (all platforms, sadly) either don’t use modern encrypting transports when talking to web applications and/or web services.  Even worse, in some ways, they use the secure transports badly, giving the impression of security without the full benefit.  This enables things like “man in the middle” attacks, where your information that should be secure can be intercepted by an untrusted third party.  ATS enforces “works or breaks” in using application transport security by:
     a) requiring applications in OS X and iOS to use the latest secure transport, TLS 1.2.  Previous versions are known to be broken from a security standpoint.
     b) Except:  exceptions for particular domains may be made, but must be explicitly listed. (This is a small lie; you can tell ATS to allow unsecured.  BUT DON’T DO THAT.)
     c) Only ciphers which support forward security are supported.  This obsoletes a number of cyphers which permit men in the middle attacks, as above.
NOTE: 4. breaks a number of applications.  THIS IS A GOOD THING, THEY NEEDED TO BE FIXED.  IF the development companies decide NOT to fix them, there’s a work-around…but don’t do it, *you are betraying your customers by doing so*.  Take the (minimal) time and DO IT RIGHT.  (Sorry for the CAPS).
Remember, these are just first impressions.  I will post a follow-up later. Looking forwards to trying out some of the new features (full screen split screen!).
Have an excellent day,
Dak