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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SaaS Application Selection – Buy Only What You Need

I have been involved in a product procurement project for the last 6 months or so and have been intrigued by a number of SaaS players in this particular market. There are a couple of what I consider to be niche players that have very high subscription fees for the service I perceive they offer.

After looking further at their offering, I believe that they suffer from a diseconomy of scale. They are forced to meet the SLA needs of the highest level company they are selling to, and have to charge everyone else for that complexity regardless of whether they need it. Sure, some services can be partitioned, but when you are talking about service availability, response time, storage capacity, etc you are talking about common services that would be difficult to partition without splitting it into multiple individual services.

Online storage is a good example of this. Amazon S3 is a robust solution for delivering fast access to big storage. But if I’m a company just wanting to remotely store backups for a rainy day – it’s overkill. And there is a company in the marketplace that realizes it:

Specifically, more generalized public cloud platforms can suffer from what we might call diseconomies of scale — they have to do more in order to grow, but as their size and functionality grow so does the cost of their overhead. Because that overhead cost is distributed across a cloud’s entire user base, each user ends up paying for complexity he or she doesn’t in fact use.

Interestingly, we do this all of the time when purchasing software. We buy into things that provide us with room to grow. That works fine for an asset you will own, but when you are purchasing a cloud solution, it makes much less since. SaaS applications are like electricity – the light bulb is on and you’re going to pay for it whether you benefit from it or not. As such, you should make sure that you are purchasing based on a model that maps to your actual consumption.  This Backblaze solution is a perfect example of purchasing the right solution at the right price for cloud backups.

Read More -> Backblazes Basic Cloud Storage is 25 Times Cheaper than Amazon S3.

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Amazon Book Reviews

I’m seeing an increasing number of “reviews” on Amazon that say something along the lines of this:

The books were delivered faster than expected and I look forward to doing more business with Amazon.

I guess there is a culture gap somewhere so that when Amazon sends an email saying “Please review your purchase”, the purchaser thinks we care about how well Amazon delivered. That’s fine on eBay or some other merchant brokering site, but c’mon folks – we know how Amazon does. Give us a review of the book!

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Upgrades are in the Works

I have been upgrading the site, both the internals and the visual side. A re-branding is in progress, and I’m not sure where it will take me. For the moment, the following issues are KNOWN:

1. If you follow a link from outside (Google, etc.) that contains ‘/mike/’ in the URL, the page will break. This seems to be an issue with my hosting provider maintaining a reference to an old context root that no longer exists. Sorry for the techie jargon, but it is what it is. If you remove the /mike from the URL, it will work. FIXED

2. Formatting of numbered lists is not correct on the live site (this is an example)

3. Formatting (word wrap) of titles that are very long is not correct. Needs more padding. FIXED

4. Email on the “Contact” link is not working again. I wish that the logic that worked on my host provider was more generic so when I check this out of CodePlex it would just work. Oh well, can’t have it all. FIXED

5. Re-Captcha is not enabling on the comments for some reason. FIXED

6. The “like” button is not aligned properly FIXED

7. I don’t like the background on the star ratings. I’m going to categorize that as a nice-to-have though.

8. Doesn’t look correct in IE 8.  It looks good in IE 9, Firefox, Chrome and Safari so I’m going to just leave it as is in 8. Time to upgrade folks

Let me know if you see anything else.

2006 Nissan Xterra Transmission Coolant Leak

This past Friday I started to notice a rough shifting experience on my Xterra when I was above 50 mph. At first, it sounded/felt like I was running over a rumble strip on the road, but eventually I realized that it wasn’t the road. It seemed to be happening only when going into overdrive.

Monday I took the truck into my Nissan dealer to have it diagnosed. I took it out with a technician so he could experience it first hand. It sounded & felt like it was going to be expensive. I got the call later in the day that not only did I have to replace the transmission, but the radiator as well. It turns out that the transmission cooling system had a hose or gasket that failed and leaked coolant into the transmission. Total bill – around $3000. Yikes. I’ve never taken it off road, never towed anything, and just had the 90,000 mile service this year where the transmission was serviced.

I Googled the phenomenon and found numerous people who have experienced the same thing with various models of Nissans over a number of model years. This is sad. I was so enamored (and really still am) with my truck. But I’m going to have a difficult time buying another when the time comes since it seems Nissan is not interested in fixing what seems to be a pretty big design flaw.

The Pitfall of Entertainment Shopping

There is a new form of auction site catching hold around the world that is somewhat difficult to explain. Sites like Swoopo call themselves “entertainment shopping”. I call them a ripoff. Let me explain.

On the surface these penny auction sites don’t look all that unusual. You place bids in preset increments, usually somewhere between 2 cents and 15 cents. Whoever has placed the highest bid when time runs out buys the item at the price the bid.

That is where the similarities end. To place a bid – YOU HAVE TO PAY. That’s right, every time you place a bid, it costs you money. Right now, Swoopo is charging 60 cents per bid. The second, more perplexing twist is that with every bid, the auction end time is incremented by 5-20 seconds. That’s right. So if the auction ends in 5 seconds and you bid, the end time is pushed back by up to 20 seconds – giving more people an opportunity to bid. Below is a screenshot showing the truly bad deal of these auction sites. This one individual won the auction and paid $144.35 for a $900 camera. In order to win that bid, the individual placed 1852 bids at 60 cents each. In total, the person paid over $1500 for a camera he could’ve bought for $900 retail.

When you do the math, you will see that the site hosting the auction generally makes a hefty profit. Even when you see the camera below sell for $36, the site has covered its costs. For every time that the bid increases 2 cents, the host makes 60 cents. Entertainment shopping? Hogwash. Its a ripoff and you should avoid it.