QP: A great Big Data AWS presentation

The “Essentials: Architectural Patterns for Big Data on AWS” webinar from today was one of the best webinars that I have seen in a long time.

Siva Raghupathy (https://www.linkedin.com/in/siva-raghupathy-823229) methodically covered all the parts that he mentioned at the beginning of the presentation. The last summary slide really shows everything that he covered:

I really like the use of temperature graphs to compare and contrast AWS usage scenarios and the best services for such scenarios. This is a great example of such a graph (I’ve seen some other AWS webinars that use similar visualization).

It’s funny that at the beginning of every AWS webinar a bunch of people ask if the slides and presentation video will be available. The answer is always the same “we’ll send out a link to the slides and video in a few days”. I have attended several of these webinars and with the exception of one – the slides and video are never sent (for the exception – a link to video/slides was available for a few days – then the video disappeared).

These days I typically record the webinars if I can. I’m really glad to have recorded this one. I would love to post the video of the presentation but I cannot do so since it is AWS’s property. If the video for this fantastic webinar does not show up – please hit up @awscloud (https://twitter.com/awscloud) and ask them to give me permission to post the video (alternatively – I’m more than happy to send it to them for posting).

Cheers,

Eli4d

If you found this useful – let me know via <a href=”http://twitter.com/eli4d“>@eli4d on Twitter</a>

QP: Holy ngrok tool/service Batman

I came across this ngrok tool/service (https://ngrok.com/) while listening to the awesome Shared Instance podcast (http://sharedinstance.com/49). It looks like it would be very useful for web service testing through my security spidey sense is kicking up in terms of production use. There’s a free plan (https://ngrok.com/product#pricing) which would be perfect for temporary use.

Cheers,

eli4d

PS: The Shared Instance podcast is 3 iOS developers from Ohio discussing development. It’s like an Ohio version of Mobile Couch (http://mobilecouch.co/) though I’m not sure of the Alex^2 / Sam mapping to Jelly / Ben.

Thanks Hover!

You’re back Hover!

Dear Hover,

Back on 2/12/16 I wrote you an open letter (https://eli4d.com/2016/02/12/dear-hover-please-fix-your-renewal-emails-2/ or http://eli.bz/DearHoverPlsFix) about some problems with your renwal emails. I really appreciate your same day response via Twitter.

This week I got a renewal email that didn’t make me feel uncertain or unclear about costs and pricing. Now I know that you were working on email revision before my open letter (based on the emails that you sent me in regards to this issue). Nevertheless, I really appreciate these changes and I know that they will help all of your customers.

You’re back in terms of your legendary service and responsiveness! I’m really glad that I can wholeheartedly recommend you again and use ‘Hover’ as a term that refers to great customer service.

Thank you!

Eli

PS: Below are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ emails for those that don’t want to read my previous post.

The renewal email before the change

From my http://eli.bz/DearHoverPlsFix post – here is the email that I used to get (with my suggested changes in red).

The renewal email before the change

After the change

Obviously – this is a one domain renewal email. I have not received the multi-domain renewal emails but I assume the price breakdown is the same.

Awesomeness achieved:

(1) The renewal price is clearly shown.

(2) A reminder that once a renewal is processed – there’s no refund and a clear explanation as to why this is the case

After the change

Dear Hover – Please Fix Your Renewal Emails

2016-02-24 Update: Renewal emails have been fixed. Hover is back to being awesome – I created a new post describing the change: https://eli4d.com/2016/02/24/thanks-hover/ or http://eli.bz/ThanksHover

2016-02-12 Update: I got a very quick and helpful response from Hover via Twitter (https://twitter.com/hover/status/698228715612958720) and a detailed email. In the email their representative indicated that:

Hover prides itself on having honesty, empathy and helpfulness among our guiding principles, and it’s clear that we haven’t lived up to that in this case. We’ve prioritized adding a cost breakdown into the renewal notices, which should be rolled out within the next few weeks. As a side note, we currently have a much bigger email overhaul project underway, so instances like this will hopefully soon become a thing of the past.

I look forward to see these changes in the next few weeks. I will update this post when these changes are in place. I also got a response back from the support rep (John) that dropped the ball on my original question regarding this. He admitted to this and was ready to answer any additional questions that I had.

So far – this is the ‘old great’ Hover that I’ve come to admire and appreciate.

Dear Hover…

Dear Hover,

You are my favorite^100 domain registrar. I’ve been your customer for years and you have delivered on your legendary customer service (up to now). In fact, I’ve used ‘Hover’ as a substitute for great customer service in talking to others – as in “well they’re certainly no Hover…even after you go through the 10 levels of voicemail hell, you still end up leaving a voicemail message” or “OMG – that registrar is the opposite of Hover”.

However, recently, I’ve realized that your “you have upcoming domains that will renew” billing related renewal emails are really bad in that:

  1. They don’t inform me of my upcoming cost.
  2. Even after you charge me for a bunch of domains, you give me an email with a total dollar cost without giving me a breakdown within that very email.
  3. Your legendary customer support has fallen on its face in answering my question about this issue nor in remediating this in any way.

In this letter/post – I will explain the problem and the best way to remedy the issue. I hope you live up to the great service that you have provided so far. I know there are plenty of registrars out there but so far there has been only one Hover. I hope that you choose to fix this issue.

The Problem

In this section I cover the problem with your renewal emails and how through omission of domain pricing they inherently mis-inform the customer.

It begins with purchasing a domain

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a domain hoarder, and you don’t make it easy to avoid purchases through your somewhat awesome introductory pricing. Now there’s nothing wrong with this sort of pricing – that’s totally fine. It’s definitely the thing that pushes me over the edge to buy a domain that I’m hesitant about.

It begins with purchasing a domain

A year passes, the earth turns, and it is soon time to renew those domains

Then I get a renewal email. At this point I think “oh yeah – that’s going to be around $15 per domain so $30 since that’s what I bought the domains for – that should fine.”

Now you might counter that my assumption is totally on me and that’s true…I’m human. This is why I need your technological assistance in making the renewal emails better.

A year passes, the earth turns, and it is soon time to renew those domains

After the domains renew – I get the billing email

Wait – how did I end up with a $55.78 bill? Where’s the per-domain breakdown? The renewal email didn’t have any pricing. Heck – even this receipt email has no breakdown of per-domain pricing.

The next day I get the billing email

I know that I can’t cancel a domain after renewal

I’ve asked before about domain cancellation after another billing surprise and I got the following response. OK – I get it – you can’t cancel a domain after it has been renewed – fair enough. So how about letting me know the renewal pricing before I renew the domain. How about letting me know the renewal pricing through the domain renewal emails?

I know that I can't cancel a domain after renewal

So I write you an email about these renewal emails.

I’ll admit it – I was really ticked off when I wrote this email – I’m sorry about that.

So I write you an email about these renewal emails.

The response I get

I get a response from John (not his real name of course).

Say what? So I need to go to https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing to figure out the pricing that you already know when you send me the renewal emails?

Also, first purchase promotional pricing is vastly different than renewal pricing.

The response I get

Why don’t we take a look at https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing ?

So I need to remember the amount of domains that I have to account for any discounts (1). Then I need to search for the tld (2) and write this down, and then search for the TLD of my next domain and write that renwal price. Then I continue onto the next domain and do the same thing. And finally I need to add the total for my upcoming cost. Really?

Now granted – for my 2 domain example this is not that big of a deal. But what about a renewal email for 5 domains or 10?

Why don't we take a look at https://www.hover.com/domain_pricing ?

The Solution

The solution is simple. The whole solution is explained in the following image. I suggest that you include the price of the renewal next to each domain that you list. I’ve used the previously shown renewal email as an example. If you want to be even more awesome – include the approximate total too.

This is a clear honest way to represent the upcoming renewal price for each domain, as well as the overall total.

The Solution

I responded to your support’s email but I got nothing

I responded to the customer support email but so far I’ve heard nothing. You’ve been very very silent Hover – why is that? Why has that legendary customer support faltered?

As your loyal customer – I’m here to help. This is why I took the time in writing this letter and included a solution specification (seriously).

I responded to support's email but I got nothing

Your turn

The solution is simple if not a bit obvious. Will it cost you some revenue because your customers wont let a renewal occur based on blind price assumption – maybe. But you’ve chosen to be a Hover – you’ve chosen to be better than other registrars in dealing honestly with your customers and in providing great customer service. I hope you can approach this renewal email issue in the same way and fix this problem.

Sincerely,

Eli

PS: I’m more than happy to update this post with a response from you regarding this issue.

How to Use your Amazon Prime No-Rush Credits

Overview

In this post I cover how to use Amazon Prime’s no-rush credits. This applies if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. I’ve gotten burned several times because the credit expired or when I tried to use it when it didn’t apply to the item that I was purchasing. I’m writing this post to remind myself how to do this and for anyone else that has wondered about this credit usage.

And to Amazon support: You’re welcome – feel free to extend my Prime Membership at your convenience 🙂

It begins at the checkout screen

What’s that you say Amazon? Get $1 if I don’t use my Amazon Prime two-day shipping? Sure – why not.

It begins at the checkout screen

What’s that – get a $1 credit for a purchase of what item?

So what are those details?

What's that - get a $1 credit for a purchase of what item?

The “Details”?

So what are “select eBooks…”? It seems simple but nothing tells you exactly what you can purchase 😦

The "Details"?

So when you choose the no-rush shipping option…

Lets say that you love David McRaney’s podcast (the cookie eating segment is the BEST) but you don’t need the book right now. So you choose the no-rush shipping and initially nothing happens. You don’t get any information about the $1 credit until the book ships (which makes sense if you think about it – why give you the credit until your item is being shipped via the no-rush date).

When the book ships you get

When the book ships you get

Clicking on additional information once again

So here’s another explanation of the credit and what you can purchase.

But what can I purchase Amazon? I want to use that $1 wisely!

Clicking on additional information once again

So what does this mean?

Q: It sure feels like I can use this on whatever Amazon sells – right?

A: Wrong!

I ended up contacting support regarding this and I got the scoop, skinny, and explanation.

The EXPLANATION with a delicious Hunger Games example

A very nice Amazon support associate called me back when I asked for help through the website. I told the lady (lets call her Jane) that I purchased an ebook and my dollar credit didn’t kick in. Jane empathized with my frugality based sadness. She told me that the “credit only applies to items sold by Amazon Digital Services”. I asked her for an example. She told me to look up the “Hunger Games” books. She said that the key is the “Sold by” area. If that has Amazon Digital Services then the credit applies, otherwise you’re out of luck.

She told me that I should start any search with “Amazon Digital Services” and narrow my query parameters from there.

I thanked Jane for her clear explanation and help (marking the feedback email with AWESOME).

The EXPLANATION with a delicious Hunger Games example

Time to search for “Amazon Digital Services”

So first step is the general search query of “Amazon Digital Services”

Time to search for "Amazon Digital Services"

Lets narrow it down based on department

Choosing “Books” for example from the department drop-down.

Lets narrow it down based on department

Narrowing the department choice further (Books in this case) using the left-side choices

The left-side menu is THE way to narrow the search criteria within a department.

For the Books department I typically use the:

  • Type of book (1)
  • Book format (2)

    These choices are quite useful if you’re a Kindle book hoarder 🙂 .

Narrowing the department choice (Books in this case) using the left-side choices

It’s time for some sweet Space Opera Kindle Books

Here’s an example of search narrowing using the left-side choices.

It's time for some sweet Space Opera Kindle books

Use the credit right away

To each his own of course but due to a fairly quick expiration date on the no-rush credits I suggest that you use the credit right away. Just bookmark your search query with your narrow criteria and you’re on your way.

Conclusion

So there you go. Maximum use of Amazon’s no-rush credit.

Enjoy!


Please let me know via Twitter (@eli4d) if you found this post useful.