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Tag / Ramblings

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The Subtle Art of Misinformation.

I went all in the other day and ordered a spanking new Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook. I wanted a portable with enough punch for me to sit in the living room with Anniken and play a few games, learn everything about NoSQL, post entries here and have enough screen estate to make the experience less crammed than it would on a netbook.

The Dell XPS 12 covers all those needs and more – with a flip of the screen it turns into a Windows 8 tablet, which will be an interesting experience. The Norwegian Dell site said “delivery before Christmas” and that pushed me over the buyer’s edge: A brand new gadget I could bring with me when visiting family this Christmas. So I placed the order and was very surprised when the estimated delivery date listed on my order status page was January 16, 2013.

The Norwegian Dell site. Spot the link.

The US Dell site with clear shipping dates.

It turned out that the text “delivery before Christmas” (“levering før jul” in Norwegian) was a link that took me to a page clearly stating that the XPS 12 Ultrabook could not be delivered before Christmas. How could I, a seasoned surfer of the interwebs, miss such an important detail?

It’s not really easy to tell that the link is, in fact, a link. I don’t know if Dell did this on purpose just to fuck with people, but they sure managed to screw me over. Now, I could probably cancel the order, but I wasn’t able to find anywhere on the Dell website to do that. Naturally. However, Norwegian law gives consumers who buy stuff on the internet 14 days after they have received the merchandise to change their minds, return whatever they bought and get the money back. Not a totally bad deal, so I think I’ll stick with it. There will be no gadget Christmas present for me this year, but – unless everything goes FUBAR in two weeks time – a nice happy-new-year-present.

I still think Dell Norway should reconsider their link text strategy, though, and perhaps display shipping infromation like Dell’s American site instead.

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Lord Vegard, Lord of Lochaber.

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My Scottish real estate deal was successful and I shall now only answer when addressed as Lord Vegard, Lord of Lochaber. If you’d like to visit my fine estate, put on stout boots, bring a GPS and simply follow these instructions: If you’re not in Scotland already, go there. Then head for Glencoe. Next, take the A828 to Dumr Village. 200 meters beyond the small right hand turning to Cuil is Duror cemetery. Park on the right hand side of the road on a stretch of the old road, and walk along the grass verge south from the car park around the right hand bend. Cross the road carefully opposite Corragon house. At this point, you should turn on the GPS and find Ordnance Survey Reference 197929100 754230900. When you reach the reference point, measure one foot south and one foot east from there. Welcome to my 1 square foot estate. Make yourself at home.

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The Rise and Fall – and Rise of Digg.

You might remember Digg. It was launched back in 2004 as a site where people could discover, share and recommend web content. As far as I can remember, the focus was mainly technology at first, but as the popularity of the site increased, people started to share pretty much everything. By 2008, Digg’s homepage was attracting over 236 million visitors annually. Today, that has shriveled in to 45,6 million visitors annually. There are many reasons for the fall of Digg, but people tend to point at the release of Digg v4 as the final nail in the coffin. The launch and success of Reddit is also to blame; many Digg users, including myself, sought shelter there when Digg began to falter.

The value of Digg has decreased with its user base. In 2008, Google entered talks to buy Digg for around $200 million. That deal fell through during the due diligence phase. For years later, in July 2012, Digg was sold in three parts: the Digg brand, website and technology were sold to Betaworks for $500,000; 15 staff were transferred to the Washington Post’s SocialCode project for $12 million; and a suite of patents were sold to LinkedIn for around $4 million. From $200 million to $16 and a half million in four years. That’s gotta hurt.

On the 1st of August this year, we saw the result of Betaworks’ $500,000 Digg acquisition: The reboot of Digg v1. The old list based design got scrapped in favour of a magazine inspired design with higher focus on images. The hard core Digg users didn’t like it. To be fair, they didn’t like a single thing about the reboot. The new version was also released without a “bury” feature (downvoting of articles) and the only way to log in is with a Facebook account – meaning that every user’s submission and comments history are gone with the wind.

Or is it?

Continue reading "The Rise and Fall – and Rise of Digg."

0

Blacked Out Currency.

On Thursday Anniken left for New York with two friends, leaving me home alone. Although she will only be away for a little over a week, I have to be totally honest and say that miss her already. But on the bright side it enables me to sit in the living room, eat chips with dip, drink my preferred brand of cheap I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-Coca-Cola and watch the World Snooker Championship final. Snooker ain’t exactly Anniken’s favorite past time activity and half an hour of snooker on the idiot box usually means that we’ll have to watch two hours of recorded Say Yes to the Dress afterwards. Oh, I kid, I kid. But there’s considerably more Say Yes to the Dress than snooker on our TV, to put it that way.

Since Anniken is in the US, I decided to take advantage of the good exchange rate on USD and buy that GoPro camera I’ve been drooling over for ages. By sending the order to Anniken’s hotel, she can bring it with her. No need to pay import taxes: 25% saved. I’m also getting a bluetooth heart rate monitor to use with Endomondo and my Android phone. But what happens when I try to order everything through Amazon? My credit card is denied. Weird, because I’m pretty sure it worked just last week. Entering all the credit card information again doesn’t solve the problem, and in the end I decide to cancel the order. The heart rate monitor is sent from another store than Amazon and they’ve also got the information about my rejected credit card, so that order had to be canceled as well. There is no automatic cancellation on that order – a cancel request is be sent by e-mail from Amazon’s web site. Orders sent from Amazon can be canceled directly from the Amazon web site, but unfortunately, they had already started preparing the order and the website reports that they can’t guarantee that it will be canceled. So is my order canceled? Or is it not? Hard to tell. Pretty damn inconvenient.

After a bit of investigating, I realized that my credit card was not the problem, the cause laid with Evry, which is responsible for handling banking services for a number of Norwegian banks. Evry had gone tits up, taking ATMs, several online banks and credit card transaction systems – including my Amazon order – offline with them. How is that even possible?

Continue reading "Blacked Out Currency."

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Viasat – We Meet Again.

Now that the Formula 1 season has started again, I’m glued to my computer every other weekend. Last year I followed the excellent coverage by the BBC using their iPlayer service. The service is not normally available outside of the UK, but thanks to a British VPN provider I got myself a UK IP address and a fat and stable pipe straight to their servers. Since the BBC provided everything for free, I just had to pay the VPN provider a fee. Good times.

This Formula 1 season, however, the BBC shared the UK broadcasting rights with Sky and together they created a puzzle of live shows, highlights, pre-shows and whatnot that gave me a headache. The BBC only got the rights to send a handful of races live, with Sky grabbing the rest of the races. And of course, since Sky is not financed by a mandatory license, it’s pay TV. For me, that meant that I had to pay both Sky and the VPN provider to watch the races, and that got a tad too expensive.

My only real option was to turn to my old web TV adversary: Viasat.

Continue reading "Viasat – We Meet Again."

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