Miklb's Mindless Ramblings

chronicling life in a digital world

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Engaging Users Vs. Advertising

I’ve seen the headline bandied about in social media all week, but over on Unapologetic Alex Guyot discusses his disagreement with Facebook making it harder (again) for brands to advertise for free.. His basic argument is that brands most likely already bought the likes and shouldn’t have to pay to advertise again to those same customers. He also uses the argument that small businesses likely can’t afford to advertise.

I couldn’t disagree more with his take. From the Re/code article of the same name 1, the author quotes the Facebook release

The company announced today it will begin limiting the number of “promotional Page posts” in the News Feed starting in January. That means you’ll see fewer posts from brands asking you to buy products or “enter promotions and sweepstakes,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

I see no issue with that statement. While we all know we are the product on Facebook 2, I still use it to keep up with family and friends, as well as local goings on. I have “liked” very few brands, mostly local businesses. Truthfully, those local businesses don’t use what I would consider “promotions or sweepstakes” or obvious ad-like updates. They are genuinely engaging their followers. Sharing pics of a new dish. Updating on what band or artist is appearing soon. They respond to questions and comments. As you should in social media. So if cutting down on the noise from million plus “fan” businesses in timelines so that the news feed is a truly a “news” feed with targeted ads, and people don’t miss the latest update from the mom & pop shop down the street, I’m all for it. It is well documented that brands and businesses that truly engage their users/followers are the most successful. Perhaps this will push those brands to up their game. Otherwise, it can be a great equalizer for brands and companies looking to gain market share.

Technology Fatigue

A piece at A List Apart today struck a nerve with a lot of developers today, myself included (if I can really call myself a developer these days.) Overwhelmed by Code touches on the constant bombardment to developers from new technologies popping up seemingly daily. The author discusses

It used to be that knowing CSS and HTML was enough, then jQuery came along, then responsive techniques, then Node.js and then Angular, Ember, etc., etc., etc. That list, right there, it tires me out.

To that I can completely relate. When I stumbled into making websites, they were still teaching how to use Photoshop and tables to build sites at my local community college, not pure CSS. The big revelation at A List Apart was Faux Columns. So fast forward 10 years, take a sabbatical for 2 of those, and you can imagine how overwhelming stepping back into grunt, gulp, coffee script, node and Luce1 is.

What do I want to focus on, what do I love about the web? What do I actually want to learn, versus what I think I should learn.

So if I am to do more than dip my toes back into the world of building websites, I too need to focus on what I I think will best benefit me professionally, not try and keep up with kids.

How to Really Install a New Thermostat

Going through my RSS reader this morning, I came across this article at the Art of Manliness, How to Install a New Thermostat. I couldn’t disagree more with 80% of what that article instructs.

First, while they are on the right track on turning off power, but mentioning “flipping power switch off” is inaccurate. Also, it is obvious that this was written by someone from the north in only referencing “furnace”. Generally speaking, the breaker panel will have both an “AC” and either “heat” or “air handler” when it is not a furnace. These need to be off, as the 24 volt current is constant and if the heat/air handler isn’t off, then you can at the minimum blow a fuse, the worst, fry a transformer. By code, both items should have a disconnect for service, and pulling that is equally effective in making sure the power is off.

Second, while they mention taking a photo of the wiring on your thermostat, they ignore it and simply (and wrongly) state the colors on the new thermostat match the wire color. WRONG. The terminals relate to specific functionality, and I’ve seen every color under the sun wired to a terminal. Blue to the Y terminal isn’t uncommon. The O and B terminal? Those are used in heat pumps for the reversing valve and depending on the manufacturer, either one can be used. The B can be brown, or the orange wire can be used for either one. See where this is going? Also note that the C terminal is for common, and most new “smart” thermostats require this, so make sure you have a C wire before even making the purchase. And even if there is a wire (often blue if yellow is used for the Y terminal) that doesn’t mean that it is wired to the furnace/air handler. So while it’s not beyond DIY, there’s a lot more to it than just “matching colors”. And don’t get me started about what color wires may be wired into the furnace/air handler from the outdoor condensing unit. I haven’t touched on what happens if you have a two stage compressor or heat pump with backup emergency heat.

Bottom line, if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars for a smart thermostat, spend the extra money to hire a professional or at the minimum, do your homework regarding your specific unit and be damned sure that it will handle that $250 investment before attempting a DIY

Apple Pay, CurrentC and Profits

Earlier today over on [Pencil Note](last post on Apple Pay) there was a post about Apple Pay and the author spoke to their opinion on how the CurrentC plan from retailers like CVS and Walmart would actually benefit consumers. Upon reading the post in my RSS reader, I quickly tweeted a question asking if he really though the retailers would pass the savings onto customers. Their response was

Yes. Less credit cards means lower prices.

—- Pencil Note

And then, in an old fashioned blogging style, they posted a more-than-140-character reply - Why fewer credit cards mean lower prices. While my formal education on economics is limited to 101 level micro & macro economics courses, I’ve been an informed consumer for long enough to follow the train of thought in that post. While it makes sense that the retailers are fueled by growth, and there is already a race to the bottom for pricing, the end result is still more profit for the owners/shareholders. If the price drops a few cents here or there, it is my opinion that is purely a by-product of profit growth and not the intention.

Why You Frontin'?

Brooklyn Brewery to David Chang: You’re the Snob

“Why you frontin’? You spent your first three paragraphs insulting people just like you…is the cash, fame and luxury not working out?”

Hipsters gonna hipst.