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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Napster To Go proves its worth...

I signed up for Napster To Go in December, deciding to give the service a chance. I was also particularly interested in the free trial sales model that they were using. In classic form, I got busy with the Holidays and forgot to cancel my subscription. However, today when I finally logged in to cancel my account, I was shocked to find the following cancellation process to be REQUIRED!

1. After going through my client to the cancellation section, I clicked "change my account to Napster Light" (i.e., cancelling my account)
2. Although it appeared my account had been cancelled, I read the small print and it was actually a cancellation warning. Not only had my account not been cancelled, but I was required to call a 1-800 number to cancel
3. When I called the number I was required to listen to five minutes of company support messages prior to receiving the touch tone menu
4. When I clicked the tone for "cancelling my account" I was informed "Your wait time is estimated to be between 10 and 20 minutes"

Does anyone else find this policy to be completely anti-consumer?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

SlickDeals.net - The Best Deal Site Online

I am now a near 100% online shopper. Furthermore, I consistently blown away by how few people are aware of online coupons and deal sites. If you are ever making a purchase online, search for the store and the word coupon, ie "Ofoto Coupon." 95% of the time there is something available - why not save $10 for 2 minutes of work?

Btw, the best deal site online is SlickDeals.net!. Check it once a week or more frequently, and you will be thankful.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

SprintPCS & The Music Industry Give Free Ringtones to the World

As of 4pm on Friday March 4th, 2005, I had never downloaded a ringtone in my life. By 6pm the same day, I had free access to every ringtone in the SprintPCS catalog. Yes, 50 Cent personalized tones, the Stanford Fight Song and Usher's "Yeah." How did I do it? Read on to learn how SprintPCS and the music industy have lost their mind (and their content), again.

It all started when I decided to buy a ringtone - 50 Cent's In Da Club, to be specific. I went to Downloads -> Ringers -> Get New -> Browse by Artist -> 50 Cent -> In Da Club. However, I was shocked to see the price tag ($2.50) was more than buying the song outright on iTunes ($.99) AND it expired in 90 days. I am cheap bastard and immediately decided ringtones were not for me.

I quickly searched for "free ringtones" on Google and found a piece of software from Xingtone (http://www.xingtone.com) that allows you to make ringtones out of your own MP3s. Since I own In Da Club, I could make it myself. Within five minutes, I had In Da Club as my ringer. But, I wasn't satisfied.

I was quite curious which ringtones were consdired the newest, coolest, or most popular. So, I went to my account on SprintPCS.com and clicked See All Ringers -> What's Hot. #1 on the list is "Lovers and Friends" by Lil Jon, so I clicked on the song name and then clicked Listen Here . What happened next was suprising and shocking.

A window opened on my computer:
Do you want to open or save this file?
Name: PCS18544C192636.mp3
Type: MPEG Layer 3 Audio, 87 KB
From: content.sprintpcs.com
[OPEN] [SAVE] [CANCEL]

Of course, I clicked "SAVE," thinking to myself that there was no way that SprintPCS just opened up their entire library of content to a first time user. Oddly enough, they did.

Tiger Wood's custom ringtones? 50 Cent? Fight songs? Movie themesongs? Celebrity voices? You name it, SprintPCS makes their entire library available to users to SAVE to their hard drive as an MP3 and then upload to their phone via Xingtone, or any comparable software package. All FREE OF CHARGE courtesy of SprintPCS and the music industry.

So, it appears that within a matter of minutes, any teenager in America can download the entire SprintPCS library of ringtones and upload them to their phone. I struggle to understand if SprintPCS believes that users are too dumb or too lazy to figure it out. Furthermore, how many DRM solutions are there on the market to help companies like Sprint avoid opening up their ringtone libraries? There are hundreds.

As former member of the music industry myself, I really believed that the industry had grown up and had learned from their mistakes. I guess I was wrong.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

4info.net Official Launch

Sick and tired of paying for 411 calls or having to call your friend to look up the number for you? Need to find the number of your favorite delivery place?

My very close friend, Zaw Thet, just announced the official launch of his new company 4info.net.

Here is the description of the new service, straight from the source:

What is 4INFO? Instant mobile info. More precisely, 4INFO is a text message (SMS) search service that gives your cell phone the power to get local directory and real-time information wherever you are. Read on for more details, but send a text message to the short number 44636 (4INFO on a phone keypad) with the text “start” to get some initial instructions.

You can help us by using 4INFO, giving us feedback, and telling your friends! This is a nationwide rollout with all major US carriers. Any cell phone that is capable of sending a text message can use the service for free. There is no SPAM, we only send you a message when you send us a search query.

Use 4INFO to search for: local directory, stock prices, flight updates, sports scores, movie times, weather, and more! All info is live and updated in real time. We started this company with the premise that users want to access all the same information they get on computers and television on their mobile devices. Even more importantly, that users want to access this information in a user-friendly format without having to remember any complicated grammar, syntax, or other such nuisances.

Here are some quick examples of information channels we offer and sample searches:

Local Directory: 'coffee 94306', 'victors pizza 415', 'sushi sf'
Stock Prices: 'yhoo', 'netflix'
Flight Updates: 'Southwest 1243', 'united jfk sfo 10p', 'ual849'
Sports Updates: 'sonics', 'stanford', 'nfl eagles'
Movie Times: 'movies 94109', 'fockers san francisco'
Weather: 'weath 99501', 'w 94109 th', 'weather madison wi'
Drinks: 'shot”, 'cocktail'
National Numbers: 'Hertz', 'United'

Please feel free to send me your thoughts.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Interested in trying Movielink?

Free Movielink movie download from Movielink. Just enter your email address and a code will be sent to you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

B-to-the-E from Budweiser

I am fascinated by the growth of the functional beverage space and it is interesting to see Budweiser jump into the fray. I am interested in any thoughts or comments on the new B-to-the-E product.


Wayne Yamamoto and Ben Smith found MerchantCircle

My good friends and former colleagues Ben Smith and Wayne Yamamote recently founded a new startup calledMerchantCircle. I actually help them create some of the initial user flows and participated in the early brainstorming process. From their site, "MerchantCircle helps small enterprises build strong relationships with local customers. Ultimately, better relationships result in larger revenue."

Also, check out the recent article in the Mercury news about it.

I am excited by the opportunity they are pursuing and am anxious to watch the company's development.