Kualo – new host :)

so razorshine.com has a new host 🙂 Kualo to be precise. It was getting irritating hosting it on my machine – mainly because Telewest are rather tight with their upload allowance (128K rather than the more usual 256K). Anyhow, having browsed the various blogs/boards, Kualo came up as a good host and good value for money – especially as they have a great offer on right now called the Superplan. They have different pricing for in the UK compared to in the States but you can choose where you want to host and so get access to the US rates if you want to.

So whats the verdict?

Well wordpress installation was a one step process – brilliant – though there was a minor hiccup because they do not say anywhere that you have to delete the placeholder html file in the root first if you want to install to the root folder. Didn’t take me too long to figure out though 🙂 The default install didnt have me needing to worry about mySQL databases which was nice. There were a decent selection of major module addons for WordPress but having already built my not so different theme to use Gallery2 (rather than Gallery), I opted to install Gallery2 from scratch rather than the easier Gallery install. You have full control of WordPress so you can choose to go with the wizard based addons or just download and install as normal.

As for the host – well I am still waiting for a decent statistics solution for my blog – ie one that is tailored to blogs. Kualo give you AwStats, Webalizer and Analog as well as being able to see a quick breakdown of your latest visitors so you get a good selection – none of them are ideal for blogs though. There is simple backup system as well so no worries about losing data. Overall feature wise I am more than happy 🙂 – there is SpamAssasin for email, 3 options for webmail interfaces (none as usual a patch on Outlook Web Access). The one thing it does not seem to do well is DNS management – I cannot add SPF records for example – though subdomains and mx records are perfectly well catered for 🙂

Performance – well I think its not that much faster than my home grown solution – I might be wrong here – as I have not tested it in a quantitative fashion – and I am used to fast connections but compared to other sites it just felt slower. They claim 8.5Gbps connectivity so maybe its just been a slow week.. anyhow its not so bad I want to move – after all it was less than £50 a year 🙂

Apple and Rosa Parks

I read this post on Scobleizer and agreed wholeheatedly with him why Apple have a great brand. I felt that they knew how they could connect with their audience. The idea to remember Rosa Parks on their website was sound. But..

I just read comments on Mini-AOL‘s blog about the same topic. The question raised was “is it right to use her image with a company logo?” It’s a very good question. I went back to Apple’s website and had another look at the image. Sure enough there is the Apple logo and “think different” underneath, which I saw before but never really thought too much about – why should I? it is an image in memory of Rosa Parks – that was the main message. Apple’s logo and tagline is subtle.

If that poster had been used on a billboard somewhere I might have thought the same thing as Mini-AOL right off the bat. That of course for me is the problem. I think Apple did go too far “over the line” in this case. The line is of course blurry, but I think it would have been better to just show the image in memory of Rosa Parks – most people would have still have got the subtle connection to Apple’s brand – but at least the non-cynical could say that they were doing it to remember an important person in America’s history. I am not certain you could argue that with apple’s logo and tagline on it.

[UPDATE] There is a lesson to be learnt here – obtain all the facts before criticizing (or praising!) somebody. I found out over the weekend that Apple had previously run that specific poster in an advertising campaign – for me this changes things – they no longer took a poster of Rosa Parks and added their logo and tag.

IRSS – the evolution of RSS?

It is not often that I write about Silverpop – a company that provides enterprise class email marketing solutions and one that I have worked at for 9 months now. This has not been because I have nothing to say, but more because I have been afraid of turning this blog into a marketing website for email marketing and Silverpop’s products (I am a fan so I choose instead to leave this blog for talking about the Internet, where I want it to go and what other companies are doing to move the medium forward). I think in hindsight this is a mistake and I should talk more about email marketing, especially as I am a huge proponent for it (I will try and avoid turning this blog into a marketing page though!).

So, what has caused me to look at this? RSS. IRSS (Individualised RSS) to be precise. It is an evolution of the RSS standard which will allow content to be published in a way that can be targeted, measured and personalised. This means that every subscriber to an RSS feed can receive unique content meant only to him or her or a specific group.

Silverpop have released a product called RSS Direct, which takes advantage of IRSS and combines it with an enterprise class email marketing solution. This means that marketers can start using RSS in the same way they already do with email such as tracking, content personalisation, segmentation, event triggered posts, enterprise level security etc.

More than that though, you can put an end to phishing emails by only communicating through an IRSS feed. This is one benefit I think will certainly change the way companies communicate with their customers. A bank for example can use IRSS to guarantee delivery and the authenticity of its messages. Right now there is a chance that a message cannot get through or that the customer will think it is a fake. IRSS means that not only will the specific individual see the message but also the individual will know that there is no danger of it being faked by those pesky phishers.

There are plenty of other scenarios I can think of but they will have to wait till another day!