photo The super dumb adThe picture on the left side is the dumbest ad I have seen in the last month – in fact, it is so absolutely stupid that I have to share it with you. It says:

Austrias number one dating page

More than ten million singles await you…

The catch is short and sweet: Austria’s 2001 census reported just 8,032,926 million inhabitants, with current estimates south of 8500k…

My developmental journey started out at PalmGear’s: my first programs were available exclusively from them. However, I eventually switched away due to ever-higher royalties and extremely difficult communications – MobiHand was a cheaper and (at the time) communicative ESD. Unfortunately, there is Money in PalmGear…which is why I restarted offering my products there when FileFind 4 was released.

The boys never were too fast when it came to “accepting apps”: while a distributor like MobiHand accepts your app initially and removes it later if objectionable, PalmGear insists on performing an “acceptance test” on the first upload. These tests have always taken a day or two in the past…but recently, things started to escalate. Their latest masterpiece concerns TimeDrift, and can be seen below (look at the order of the messages…it is wrong, too):
 Delay o rama   or   PalmGear takes 10 days to certify an app

Needless to say, of course, this is extremely unhealthy for a product’s marketing campaign. TimeDrift sold quite a bit at MobiHand’s, while PalmGear has yet to see a single sale. The initial peak makes quite a bit of money: money which both PalmGear and the developer loose. My PalmGear rep originally blamed the delays on a system change…as a few months have passed since then….

Colleagues of mine have even gone so far as to wait with their entire marketing campaign (and the releases at other ESD’s) until PalmGear eventually accepts their product. From a marketing agency’s point of view, this is a total catastrophy – imagine having to time releases with a +/- 10 days time frame…

P.S. In the past, PalmGear compensated developers who experienced such delays with a free marketing campaign. I will submit this “claim” and keep you posted on what happens…

The following bit of news hit me via an Austrian newspaper which fell into my hands by good luck and ill fortune while coming home from Bratislava tonight:

The Queen has a budget for Christmas presents and won’t spend more than £50 a time on festive gifts for the family, even ordering staff to save the wrapping paper so it can be re-used.

The very moment I read this, I immediately thought about what a PR agency working for a gift shop or paper manufacturer could make of this story. Royals, a few rolls of free gift paper and a press release are a perfect mix – I can see the headlines about my client’s products in rags all over the UK.

I am fully aware that your every-day needs in communicating and developing eat loads of time – but keeping en eye out on the world can reveal great PR opportunities you would miss otherwise…

P.S. Before anyone flames me: the headline is not referring to the idea of recycling stuff (ask me about my envelopes), but rather about making a fuzz about it…

Quite a bit of time has passed since Seth Godin’s last TamsPalm mention – but I simply can’t resist posting a link to his latest post titled “making vs. taking”.

Seth’s core point is that there are two ways to launch a new product: you can either create a market sector, or work on integrating your product into an existing one.

As all developers have to launch a new product every now and then, this decision is more important than one may think it is on the first glance. Hit Seth’s blog – the post is short, but interesting!

The emergence of cheap digital cameras has led to an unique situation where every citizen is capable to create a print-worthy photo. Professional-grade cameras start at 1000$ nowadays, whereas every cameraphone can create a decent 15x10cm print. Unfortunately, traditional enterprises have had huge issues with this new freedom of information. Many houses have responded with repression – people who use cameras get booted off the premises.

This hard-hand approach sometimes leads to truly paradox situations – the (government-owned) Austrian railroad management company’s policy has inspired me to this rant. Before we dive in, it’s time for a little background information:

As the OEBB is a government-owned agency, it unfortunately isn’t free to do the economically best thing. After a few highly intelligent but misunderstood managers were laid off to protect political cronies, quality plummeted significantly. This led to bad press – the company responded by prohibiting professional photography on-site. Furthermore, hundreds and hundreds of Euros are invested into journalists every month, giving them access to free drinks, newspapers and even cheaper tickets.

Yours truly often commutes to the FH Hagenberg, and thus rides a train at least twice a week. So far, everything has gone well – unfortunately, the above-mentioned policy led to total mayhem a few days ago. I waddled into a Club Lounge with a loaner phone and wanted to test the camera by photographing a few coke bottles standing around the lounge.

Unfortunately, a brain-dead clerk felt threatened – and /me was booted out of the lounge by local security. Even though the press spokesperson intervened, the clerk still was stubborn as I returned to the lounge from Hagenberg in the evening (it was encouraged by a highly intelligent local head honcho).

In the end, the OEBB lost out big-time. The hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on yours truly (and the good impression created by many motivated employees) has been fuxated by a single brain-amputee. Instead of a free link to its web site and a few mentions of its high-end Club Lounge service, the OEBB netted this rant.

Allowing customers to photograph stuff they like or dislike leads to discourse. While the discourse may not always be favorable, I personally prefer to “know my weaknesses”…

What do you think?

P.S. Seth Godin’s mind seems to be connected to mine somehow – he just posted about the same thing

The process of separating journalists from groupies is one of the most significant parts of operating a media center. Make it too lax, and you have too many groupies in there. Make it too stringent, and you risk pissing off legitimate journalists who forgot to accredit beforehand and happen to crawl by.

Using press ID cards for separation has worked very well in Europe – unfortunately, the two companies outlined above (working for Viva) have managed to fuxate this basic process.

Yours truly has had a press ID from a reputable journalists club for ages, and wanted to get into a backstage area to make some pics for a cop rag.

Unfortunately, the semi-simians deployed by ST security were too stupid to understand what a press ID card is. It took ten minutes of arguing until a level 2 supervisor came up and managed to rectify the situation…which made me go to another stage to get my shots there instead.

The company that lost out big-time was their employer – instead of getting some positive (and free) PR, StarGate group and ST security managed to piss me off enough to produce this rather lengthy rant.

Cutting a long story short: if you want your event to work well, stay clear from Stargate group and ST security. Feeding an extra groupie or two may cost a few cents…but pissng off a journalist is even worse…

MyTreo’s Tadd Rosenfeld has become pretty talkative two weeks after we originally published our expose about the non-payment fiasco. He keeps sending me corrections over corrections, but refuses to answer my questions except with references to corrections sent before.

In order to keep the reporting balanced, here’s his correction on the “MobiHand takeover” – do with it as you please:

Mobihand has ** NOT ** taken over mytreo.net. That’s couldn’t be further
from the truth. In fact, we have NO direct contractual relationship with
that firm.

We signed a deal to have SmartphoneExperts — which was last year ranked the
fastest growing private company in America by Inc. Magazine — to provide
our e-commerce platform. We took this step because it will allow us to
focus on supporting the Treo community effectively.

Before doing so, we operated a store that served over 80 thousand customers,
and we gained tremendous experience in the Treo market. But
SmartphoneExperts someday soon serve their millionth customer (or some
amazingly high count). They are a truly great partner for us as we approach
our 500 thousandth member on the site.

SmartphoneExperts has contracted with Mobihand to provide software, which is
why their software e-commerce solution is advertised on our site.

In the end, however, the result for developers remains the same. MobiHand (a company that pays bills in time) now handles the MyTreo store…and this is the only thing that really counts. I am pretty sure that everyone(Tadd and developers included) will be more than happy with the way the store will work from now on…

MyTreo’s Tadd Rosenfeld has sent in an email stating “his side” of the story below. Cutting a long block of text short, he states that he did not contract MobiHand directly. Should you want more info, click this link for the full scoop!

MyTreo.net’s recently-covered payment issues have been largely resolved, as the software store has been taken over by MobiHand. Most affected developers seem to have received their cash or are scheduled to do so soon.

MobiHand has provided me excellent service with next to no downtime in the past; I consider the company to be the best ESD currently on the market.

Unfortunately, current developer accounts from the MyTreo.net store can not be taken over. Instead, developers must register at MobiHand’s developer back end Mobireach and add their products top the MobiHand catalogue if they haven’t done so before.

P.S. The rumors about Handmark entering the ESD business by taking over the MyTreo.net store are false…

David’s official announcement is below:

Just to clarify, MobiHand has just launched a new software store on
MyTreo.net. MobiHand is not the owner of the MyTreo.net site, and our
arrangement does not involve taking on prior payment obligations.

We look forward to working with all our current developers, and additionally
welcome prior MyTreo.net developers who are not yet working with us to sign
up at http://corporate.mobihand.com/sda_dev.asp, so that we can offer the
best and most complete collection of software on MyTreo.net and across the
MobiHand network of mobile-oriented stores.

My friend Tobi at Palm’s has undug the following press photos of the blue Centro for your enjoyment – click on any of them in order to feast your eyes on a bigger version. Finally, developers may also like the one with the white screen – it can IMHO be used to create mockups of your app running on an electric blue Centro:

Centro ElectricBlue4 ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro  ElectricBlueBackBattery ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro ElectricBlue ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro ElectricBlueback ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro ElectricBlueDarkL ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro ElectricBlueLSide ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

Centro ElectricBlueRSideUp ProductShots AT&T (Cingular) Preview Electric Blue Centro   stock images

 Electric Blue Centro   stock images

A big thank-you goes out to Tobias Kuderna for providing these images!

The PalmGear -> PocketGear merger has caused pain and agony for many developers(I have heard many horror stories, and also had my fair share of bad experiences). However, the story sent in by developer Dan Nabutovsky truly puts morphine icing on the valium cake developers need to stay calm – read on:

Ok, here is my story. Hope this helps me. :)

At the end of 2007, palmgear created new site, Pocketgear.com. My program has not been moved to the new site. After a careful search, I found the following sentence in their site:

“While we have eliminated much of the outdated and freeware listings, actively selling current titles have been migrated to the new PocketGear.”
(http://www.pocketgear.com/en_US/html/developersGuide.jsp)

My application (Agushka Backgammon) was neither free($9.95) nor outdated (I upgraded it at the end of 2007). Its last sale on palmgear.com was on October 10, 2007. It is also remarkable that they removed freeware programs, while at the same time they claim to “provide our customers with the premiere place to go for all of their smartphone content.” As we all know, customers just hate freeware.

Nobody bothered to inform me about my application not being accepted at the new site or about a new site at all. Pocketgear.com simply told that “There is no customer with the e-mail address you specified.” All my e-mail requests about the issue were ignored. I should myself discover what happened and how to get into my developer address (throw developers.palmgear.com)

For some obscure reason, sales of my application stopped on palmgear (but continued on handango). This is in spite the fact that my application can be found on palmgear or pocketgear as easily as before.

I don’t see why should I keep an application which, according to pocketgear.com, does not bring any revenue. Therefore, I disabled it, but to no avail: it is still visible on palmgear. My emails about the issue were ignored.

Finally, I decided that I am fed up with palmgear. I increased the price from $9.95 to $19.95 and wrote them to remove my application because I have copyright on it. They, guess what, ignored my emails, AND they did not increase the price. Here I am, totally pissed at them, and don’t know how to get rid of this site.

Even though I personally can not complain about them ignoring my emails(of course, being the webmaster of a Palm Os web site does help a bit); many of the things Dan reports have also been confirmed to me by other (big) developers immediately after the switch.

Anyways, I have now forwarded the whole story to my contact PalmGear and expect a reply soon(will be published here). As always, MobiHand remains a cheap and unproblematic alternative; HandAngo remains expensive as always(but also is said to work well).

Do you have any horror stories to share? If yes, please send them to Tamog@gmx.at and I’ll see what we can achieve together!

intro Resco Photo Viewer updated
Jan Slodicka from Resco’s has just informed me that his excellent Photo Viewer has seen an update!

Version 3 of the program improves the product’s fax support, makes cropping easier and is significantly faster when handling large folders. Owners of Treos with a green “call” key also get a new feature – they can now use this key in order to open the context menu.

People who have purchased the program in last year can get a new unlock key for free by following the procedures outlined on this web page. All other Resco Viewer owners must pay 50% of the regular price – more information on this option is to be found here.

Apparently, the idea of sending shady/invalid cease-and-desist letters didn’t grow on the minds of a few people who don’t quite understand English – it looks like the principle of trying to shut up journalists and bloggers seems to be pretty wide-spread.

A company called MobiTV sent a cease-and-desist letter to Howard Chui of HowardForums – and got fillips from literally hundreds of analysts.

If there’s one advice that you I beg you to take from me: never attack an analyst unless you are 100% sure you can take him down quickly and without anyone noticing. If you cannot get the guy offline immediately and for good(which is highly unlikely), rest assured that you’ll receive massive flak from the community.

Instead, get in touch with the guy and see what can be worked out. Most(all) of us are reasonable fellows who usually don’t want to fu** anyone over – miscommunications can happen and can usually be cleared out cheaply and easily…

It has been a long time since TamsPalm last talked about marketing and advertising – but this thingy simply caught my attention too much to let it slip:
0a Managing downtimes creatively
0b Managing downtimes creatively

Essentially, we are looking at a very big pharmacy called KaiserKrone that is currently rebuilding its shops and needs to route customers to a secondary location.

Instead of just putting up a big arrow saying ‘go to container’, the company created interesting graphics showing plants growing out of its products…to symbolize the growth of its shop.

A little bit of creativity can go a long way towards keeping customers loyal and happy.

When have you been creative recently?

For the longest of time I have been an avid supporter of open source projects. I still am. However, there is one inherent problem with not being paid for your development time: There is a distinct lack of commitment and dedication in comarison to closed source and commercial applications.

Take everyone’s favorite IDE OnBoardC, for example. The application is good enough, but there is definitely room for improvement and optimization, particularly in the area of code generation.

But we’ll save compiler optimization for another day… There is one major problem with OnBoardC that really bugs me (along with many other OnBoardC users): The lack of Bird integration. When you look at the OnBoardC source code, it looks like it is almost child’s play to do this… “Then why hasn’t it been done, Ryan?” you may ask. Simple, really; It is a lack of dedication on the projects administration’s part.

According to the OnBoardC Developer’s Charter the following must happen in order for a change to the source code to be made:

1. A bug or feature request is posted appropriately on the Sourceforge project page.

2. A member of the OnBoardC project must propose a vote for the upgrade to happen.

3. A second developer seconds this.

4. Via the Sourceforge Developer’s mailing list (which, by the way, has been inactive as of 21st December 2005) a vote is made on whether the proposed change should be enacted.

5. If it is approved by more than half of the project members the Point Of Contact is chosen and they are in charge of handling the task. At this point they are in charge of handling the code, obtaining the Roger and committing the code.

As for Bird integration, we are still on step 4, and it seems it will stay that way indefinitely. I originally purposed a vote per the charter, and Steve Little himself has seconded a vote, yet where is it?

Now, granted, Steve and Dave Beers have other things going on, I fully understand this. I just feel that administrators almost have an obligation to be the driving force in their project and actually DO SOMETHING. If an administration is too busy, then appoint another administrator who is able to spend more time on the code.

For example (And I’m sure he’ll be mad at me for even mentioning his name for another project) John Wilund, the now primary developer of SrcEdit, would make a wonderul OnBC administrator. The SrcEdit bundled with OnBoardC version 2.51 is an ok source editor, but a bit outdated. When you download the latest SrcEdit from the Trac page, the improvements will make you very happy. What’s more is that the SrcEdit development is far more active than OnBoardC development has been in a long time. If you were to E-Mail a bug report to John, you can expect a bug fix very soon, and this fix will work as stated. John is in the rare situation where his area of work affords a lot of free time to programming.

Now I’m pretty sure John isn’t up to working on OnBoardC, on top of a number of other projects he ahs, but I still believe that OnBoardC development could use some fresh blood.

To put this somewhat ranty post into focus, I have a moral (and there is the collective groan from all of the TamsPalm readers): For any open source project to survive, not just OnBoardC, it as to be active and most importantly needs a strong administration that can fuel this activity.


—End Note—

I first wrote this in a ©2007 Ryan Rix “Moment of Brilliance” and, originally, I had no real plans of posting this. It is a bit harsh to David and Steve, but hopefully it will spur some sort of action (as long as that action isn’t a defamation of character lawsuit ;-) ) But maybe it will just end up pissing Dave and Steve off, which, believe it or not was not the intent of this post.

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