Transparency and Integrity

Russell Buckley from MobHappy, who I respect a lot and who has always provided great, brutal feedback when required, emailed me this morning slapping me around the head regarding a couple of issues I want to air here because I think they deserve a broader forum for discussion, as they touch upon issues I haven’t totally got my head around yet.

The first is regarding a somewhat defamatory entry made in my Wikipedia profile recently by someone who chose to remain anonymous – although, by looking at the IP address, I know who it is. The entry reads:

In 2007 Cameron sold out and excepted cash for comments from Telstra which included running shows about Telstra without owning up to the fact he is accepting money from them. He finally let it slip on the 11th Episode of On The Pod with Duncan Riley.

Now this isn’t the first time people (mostly this same person) has chosen to write shit about me in my Wikipedia entry. I’m not sure what the point of it is. Apparently they either don’t understand that Wikipedia is *supposed* to contain accurate, factual information – or they just want to be a dickhead, annoy me and waste my time. Needless to say, the person who wrote this didn’t ask me anything about what I’m doing for Telstra. He just wrote it up there based on a comment I made on Duncan’s show.

For the record – Telstra engaged my services recently to produce a series of podcast pilots for them which will be run off of their website, not TPN, starting in the new year. I haven’t mentioned it in detail because they have asked me not to – they want to “launch it” in the usual Telstra way with a full PR process. Fair enough. Since they have engaged my services, I think you’ll find I have kept my blogging and podcasting about Telstra agnostic as always – I wrote something as recently as this week saying their NextG wireless card didn’t seem to perform as well as Three’s NetConnect card on my testing. If this is “cash for comments”, then they are getting the raw end of the deal. The ironic thing is that they actually engaged my services, I believe, because they knew I would be an agnostic voice coming in and doing these shows, not somebody who is on the Telstra payroll. I make enough money from TPN that I don’t *need* to take corporate work. If anything, it cuts into the time I have to do TPN work. I take it, though, when interesting projects come my way and when I think the client genuinely shares the same vision I have for what podcasting should be about. In this case, the Telstra team I am working with share my vision. So I’m excited about it.

Anyway, here are the two questions I have about defamatory comments in Wikipedia:

1) What do you think the acceptable procedure is when people write shit about you? Should you a) amend it yourself (making sure, of course, that you log in and therefore put your changes on the record, not like this person or Adam Curry would do) or b) alert the Wikipedia editors about the issue or c) blog about it and hope somebody fixes it for you?

2) At what stage do you think people will realize they can be sued for writing defamatory comments in Wikipedia? I know back in February 2007 a pro golfer Fuzzy Zoeller sued a the owner of an IP address after allegedly defamatory comments were left on his Wikipedia entry. Personally I’m not a big fan of legal alternatives until you’ve tried all other possible avenues, and when I read this thing about me I just though “dickhead” and meant to blog about it but didn’t get around to it until Russell slapped me over it.

The other issue Russell asked me about is my sponsorship recently from Global1Training and the interview I did with Dr John Demartini. I won’t go into details about Russell’s concerns (he can do that here in the comments section if he thinks it’s appropriate) but I did want to mention that I’m doing a follow-up interview with Dr Demartini this Tuesday and would welcome your input into my questions for him. For the record – when I did my first interview with him, I had never heard of Global1Training and they approached me a few weeks later about sponsorship ideas. So if you have any concerns about my interview questions with John the first time around, know that there wasn’t even the suggestion of a commercial relationship until weeks later. And if you listen to that first episode I actually talked with Dr Demartini about getting him back on the show during his next trip to Australia, which happens to be this week. Just in case you were wondering….

The bottom line here is this: I think I’ve been doing this show long enough for regular listeners to know my attitudes towards transparency and integrity when it comes to advertising and commercial relationships. I genuinely value people like Russell calling me out when they are unsure of what’s going on – it makes me realize I need to be constantly vigilant about revealing my commercial interests as early as possible. There is a balance though between revealing them and keeping my mouth shut when I am working on projects for clients who want to reveal them in their own time and way. That’s just business. If I had been writing or podcasting really positive stories about Telstra lately I would feel obliged to reveal that money had changed hands but as I haven’t been doing that, I can sleep at night.

Any questions?

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

parking

A couple of months ago I got a letter in the mail attached to a parking infringement notice claiming I had double parked out of the front of my kids’ school one morning and fining me $66.

Now I don’t remember ever double parking. So I sent them a letter asking for clarification. They sent me the above letter. Basically it says “well you did it so pay up or else”.

I just sent them a follow up email which states:

I am unfortunately unable to accept your assertion that I committed the said offense and respectfully request
evidence to support your claim before I consent to pay the fine. I believe in this country we are still considered innocent until proven guilty.

What do you think they will do? And do you think my position is fair? Should a council just be able to send you fines in the mail without providing evidence of your supposed crime? Or does this fit under the Federal Government’s new terror laws and I can be picked up by ASIO and held for questioning for ten days without even being informed of the charges?

TPN Audience Survey 2007

It’s that time of the year again when we ask you, our most loyal and lovable audience, to spend ten minutes of your life answering a bunch of questions about what makes you tick. We do this in the hope that this information (all anonymous of course) will encourage advertisers to increase their interest in advertising on our podcasts. We love producing these shows for you and we love the fact that they are freely available. However it takes a lot of work, time and energy and the costs of the infrastructure grow every year. We need to generate some revenue to allow us to keep building and getting better. You can help once a year by filling out our survey.

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Testing Telstra Bigpond’s NextG vs 3 Mobile Broadband

Although I’ve been impressed with Telstra’s NextG card (the 7.2 Mobile Card Sierra AirCard 880E), including spending my lunch in a cafe today watching Henry Rollins interview Michael Chiklis on YouTube, running it full screen, it doesn’t seem to always work that well.

The NextG service is called “7.2” which you might think (as I did) means that it runs at 7.2 mbps but apparently not for the BigPond site states:

BigPond Wireless Broadband now covers a massive 98% of the population, making it Australia’s largest wireless network. It’s also faster, with average speeds of 550kbps to 1.5Mbps, and a peak network downlink speed of 3.6Mbps.

Maybe 7.2 is the version number?

As I started to write this post, I decided to test it using a broadband speed test while I sit in the Powell Hotel in Footscray, Melbourne (here’s a link to a map to see how far I am from Melbourne’s CBD) in case you think I’m sitting near Uluru.

Here are the results of the first test:

Telstra Test One

Test run on 12/11/2007 @ 05:39 PM

Mirror: Telstra Bigpond
Data: 600 KB
Test Time: 48.4 secs

Your line speed is 101 kbps (0.1 Mbps).
Your download speed is 13 KB/s (0.01 MB/s).

OUCH!

A quick look at the network monitor shows that the card’s signal isn’t great. See image below for a screenshot.

bigpond-wireless-broadband-20screensnapz001.jpg

So I ran a second test and it just got worse:

Telstra Test Two

Test run on 12/11/2007 @ 05:51 PM

Mirror: Telstra Bigpond
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 339.42 secs

Your line speed is 72 kbps (0.07 Mbps).
Your download speed is 9 KB/s (0.01 MB/s).

Hmmm… getting worse. My third and final test for today was slightly better:

Telstra Test Three

Test run on 12/11/2007 @ 06:00 PM

Mirror: Telstra Bigpond
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 71.87 secs

Your line speed is 341 kbps (0.34 Mbps).
Your download speed is 43 KB/s (0.04 MB/s).

For a comparison, I plugged in my NetConnect card from Three and got these results:

Three Test One

Test run on 12/11/2007 @ 06:05 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 600 KB
Test Time: 5.68 secs

Your line speed is 860 kbps (0.86 Mbps).
Your download speed is 107 KB/s (0.1 MB/s).

Three Test Two

Test run on 12/11/2007 @ 06:06 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 14.96 secs

Your line speed is 1.64 Mbps (1637 kbps).
Your download speed is 205 KB/s (0.2 MB/s).

Whilst I’m not going to give up on the Telstra NextG card just yet, this afternoon’s tests haven’t been positive.

The NextG card is available for $349 plus $114.95 per month for 1Gb data (see all pricing plans here).

Three’s NetConnect card is free on a 24 month plan and costs $29 per month for 1Gb data (see full pricing plans here).

UPDATE:

I’m sitting this morning at 35 Collins Street, downstairs from the Telstra offices, and the speed is much more acceptable, although still only a third of the speed I was getting on Three last night:

Test run on 13/11/2007 @ 09:48 AM

Mirror: Telstra Bigpond
Data: 600 KB
Test Time: 7.2 secs

Your line speed is 679 kbps (0.68 Mbps).
Your download speed is 85 KB/s (0.08 MB/s).

Why doesn’t my Macbook wake up?

Here’s another Macbook support question.

Sometimes when I open up my Macbook, it doesn’t come out of “sleep” mode. I try closing the lid and opening it again a few times but that doesn’t seem to help. I always end up shutting it completely down with my finger on the power button until it re-boots but I’d rather not do that for a number of reasons.

Have any of your Mac fanboyz/grlz experienced this before? What’s the story?

A question about Ebay etiquette

I met some people at MODM recently who told me they had never – EVER!! – bought anything via Ebay. WTF? Who are you people? Even Nicole, who is currently cutting my hair, has bought something from Ebay (although she said it wasn’t very successful – it wasn’t what she thought it would be like… she assures me it wasn’t a sex toy. It was a dress.).

Anyway… a couple of weeks ago I bought a remote control for my old XBOX from someone in Hong Kong. It turned up okay but doesn’t work very well. I mean, it works if I’m no further away than a meter or two from the box – but if I’m lying in bed (the old XBOX is the bedroom media center) it’s a pain in the ass.

So I gave the seller a neutral review on Ebay – not negative, because she shipped it quickly and it was as described… it just doesn’t work very well. The next day, I got an email from the seller saying she was very sorry that I wasn’t happy with the item and asking me if I would reconsider my review if she gave me a $5 refund. I asked the folks on Twitter what I should do, and the unanimous response was that I should leave my review as it is and that the seller was trying to buy a positive review.

So I ignored the first email. Then, yesterday, I got a message from Paypal saying I had received a full refund on the product from the seller! Now I’m feeling torn. On one hand, the product isn’t very well made – but that isn’t the seller’s fault. She has been very responsive to my review and has, of her own volition, given me a full refund and not even asked for the product back. To be fair, I didn’t complain about the quality of the product when I received it and, if I had, she might have been willing to give me the refund and under those circumstances I probably WOULD have given her a positive review. When we buy something off of Ebay (or anywhere else for that matter), isn’t that all we ask for? Good service? Obviously we hope the product will always be first class but, when it isn’t, we just want good service?

So I’m torn. I don’t want to have my review “bought” but, on the other hand, i want to be fair to a seller who is trying hard to do the right thing. Or is she?

G’Day World #301 – Migrating From Windows To A Mac

Before I move into the “making the world a better place” motif for Season 04 of G’Day World, I wanted to do a show about my recent experiences of migrating from Windows to a Mac.

Yes – hell has finally frozen over and I’ve bought a Mac.

As some of you (those who read my Twitter feed) will know, about two weeks ago the terrific folks at Global1Training sponsored a 17″ widescreen MacBook Pro for your humble host. Global1Training are the folks who run Dr John Demartini’s seminars around the world. If you haven’t listened to the interview I did with Dr John (G’Day World #276) then you really should. He’s got a lot of good tips for taking control of your life. If you’d like to attend the upcoming Demartini seminars, click on the Global1Training link above for a 2 For 1 discount on tickets.

So.. onto the Mac.

This show is going to detail my reasons for getting a Mac and my experience of the migration.

Is a Mac as easy to use as Mac aficionados claim?
What is a .dmg?
What does “eject from disk” mean?
What is the “Command” key?
Why doesn’t CTRL-C work?
Where is the “Backspace” key?
How do you drag to “Applications”?
Why doesn’t tapping the touchpad work?
Where is the right-click button?
Where is the “START” button?
Why won’t Safari or Firefox go full screen?
Do Macs “blue screen”?
Do you have to buy two versions of all of your favourite programs if you are still running a Windows machine and a Mac machine at the same time?
Which is the best 3G card – the Telstra NextG card or the Three NetConnect card.
What do I think of the Blue Snowball USB mic?

These were just some of the issues I faced after cracking the seal on the MacBook. Is the Mac truly superior to Vista? Listen to this show to find out.

Update: A good suggestion by Raf, here are the recommended apps that Jono from Xero and Duncan Riley sent me:


Jono’s list with his comments:

Twitterrific: Best twitter client, IMHO

Growl: Notification software – ties in with a whole bunch of Apps. So, new emails, downloads finishing, etc.

Delicious Library: Cataloguing software… Sounds nerdy, but it looks soooo good…

Sapiens: Mouse gesture launcher. Version 1, so doesn’t do much yet.

Transmission: Nice BitTorrent App, very clean interface.

xTorrent: More fully featured Bit Torrent & downloading App, has very good search feature.

Download these so quicktime player will play a lot more codecs:

Perian: This adds DivX playback, amongst others…

Flip4Mac: This adds WMV playback.

Any other movie files should work in either VLC or MPlayer…

And of course: Google Earth, Skype (features lag behind on the Mac unfortunately).

Use iPhoto, its awesome 🙂

Duncan’s list with his comments:

Twitteriffic: you’ll love it

Audio Hijack Pro for Podcasting: Hijacks any audio on your mac (ie Skype calls). easy to use but you do have to pay for it after a trial. If wasn’t expensive for memory. General podcasting support is built in via Garageband for non-sykpe calls.

Cyberduck for FTP: it free, there are paid clients out there but this does a pretty good job

Snapz Pro if you want to do screencasting, captures SL as well. Payware but fairly cheap after trial.

For running Vista
Parallels: if you’ve only got the upgrade Vista I can tell you how to install. Parallels allows you to run windows from the Mac desktop, and programs like they were native on your mac. Bootcamp from Apple is free but you cant run Windows and OSX at the same time.

I presume you’ll stick with Microsoft Office under win, but if you switch try Neo-office, its Open Office code but customized to be more Mac friendly. It’s a little slow in loading, but its cheaper than buying office itself. You’ll find Thunderbird for Mac cool as well.

Become part of the G’Day World conversation.

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perfectly targeted advertising is just information

“Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information. And that’s good!” (says Dave Winer via Doc Searls).

I have believed that for a long time. I am time poor. There are products and services out there which can improve my quality of life. I want to know about them. Someone needs to tell me about them. That’s advertising. If the communication about those products and services is relevant to my interests and respectful of my time and intelligence, it’s a good thing, not an imposition.

Speaking of Doc, he points to Rageboy’s impending birthday and a photo of a recent Cluetrain reunion. What an impact these gents have had on how we think about advertising, the net, marketing, etc. How many times a day do you think someone in the world says “Markets are conversations”?

My Second Life podcast with Mark Jones is up

Late last week I was invited onto Mark Jones’ “The Scoop” podcast to talk about Second Life with The Markster himself, as well as Lisa Romano, Project Manager, Strategic Development, ABC INNOVATION, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Gary Hayes, head of MUVE development, The Project Factory.

It was an enjoyable chat and I hope you enjoy it. Listen here.