A big thanks to the AWS in Education team!

Posted in: Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Enterprise Java

My new course at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) begins in late July and there is an informational Webinar tomorrow (June 7th) for those that are interested in finding out more. Details of the webinar and the class can be found here:


But now to the point of this post. I was just notified that the AWS in Education team has stepped up to the plate in a big way and has provided an “AWS in Education grant award” to help the students in the class cover some (possibly all) of the costs of using the AWS services while they are taking the class and carrying out the various assignments and completing the class project. This is a huge deal to the students who will already be paying for the class itself, now they will not need to worry about the costs of using Amazon’s services and can concentrate on learning instead.

Thank you to everyone in the AWS in Education team!

You can find out more about the AWS in Education team here:


Remember, the UCI course is 100% online and open to anyone, anywhere on the planet!

You Are Who You Work For

Posted in: Customer Service, Software Development Team Leadership

At some point in the past you made a choice to be an employee of the company you now work for. By accepting to work for a company, you implicitly take on everything that the company stands for. The success of that company is also your success. The failure of that company is also your failure. The policies of that company are now also your policies, because those policies are what are responsible for that success (or failure). You cannot take a piece of the success as your own (like a paycheck), without also taking on the policies as your own. If you don’t agree with a policy, you either need to accept it and move on, or get it changed, or you need to find a new employer. The one thing you cannot do is stand in front of a customer and claim that you don’t make the policies therefore you are not responsible for those policies – this stance is feeble and disingenuous and customers see right through it.
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Amazon Threatens and Then Does Terminate Associates Program In California

Posted in: Customer Service

I received a not unexpected email from Amazon today informing me that they intend to shut down all Amazon Associates who reside in the state of California, if a new law forcing online retailers who have a presence in California to begin collecting sales tax was passed. Amazon (and others) hope to dodge the sales tax issue by cutting all ties to California, including their online affiliate programs.
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Smart Phones, Dumb Commercials

Posted in: Customer Service

The current round of Blackberry and Android tablet commercials almost universally and prominently call attention to the fact they are able to render Flash based content. Using terms like “Flash Enabled” or “Flash Compatible”. Obviously this is a less than subtle swipe at iOS based devices (iPhone, IPads etc) which do not deal with Flash content.

If the best product differentiator these companies can muster is the fact that their device/OS can run bloated Flash based advertising banners across the top of web pages that I am viewing on a slow mobile connection, then I think Apple will hardly be rushing in to “support” Flash.

Even Adobe, the creator of Flash, has begun to quietly waive the proverbial white flag in defeat when it comes to the Apple Vs Flash battle. Just in the last few days, on their Labs website, Adobe announced the first availability of Project Wallaby (great name IMHO), which is a tool to convert Flash applications to the HTML 5 standard that many browsers already have support for, and surprise, surprise so do iOS based devices.

Bottom line: if the main reason you pick one smart phone over another is that one runs Flash and one doesn’t, then it is possible you are not qualified to own a smart phone just yet.

Just When I Thought AT&T Couldn’t Anger Me Any Further …

Posted in: Customer Service

Wow, and I thought I couldn’t hate AT&T any more. Just got charged $3.49 a minute to call Australia – so the 11 minute call to my Mum to tell her she had a new grandson cost nearly $40.

It really is outrageous and unjustifiable when you think services like Skype and Google Voice only charge me $0.02 a minute to Australia. There is just no possible way that it costs AT&T 175 times as much to provide international calling as it does those other services, even with their lower overhead etc etc.

Add that to the insult that I get either no coverage or fluctuating coverage at my own home. Forget you AT&T, this is one customer you can kiss goodbye as soon as my contract is up.

Barnes & Noble Enters Apple Vs Flash Debate

Posted in: Customer Service

Saw this at the local Barnes & Noble tonight.

Notice the interesting juxtaposition of the “Apple & Everyday Computing” signage, with the books about Flash and Flex development immediately under them.

If you were the kind of person who loves a good conspiracy, you might think that Barnes & Noble is attempting to suggest that Flash is part of the everyday computing experience and Apple needs to support it, possibly because the Nook (B&N’s e-book reader) will support Flash going forward.

If you are not one of those kinds of people, you might just think it is a benign coincidence. :)


Road Runner Internet – So Very Bad

Posted in: Customer Service

I recently changed ISPs to use Road Runner (not really by choice, it is just happens to be who Time Warner Cable works with for their bundled deals). And boy has it been a real eye opener as to how bad the ISP industry really is.
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Good TV, Terrible Customer Service from Sony

Posted in: Customer Service

Just posted a review over at Amazon.com detailing my dealings with Sony this morning.