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Saturday, March 27, 2010

iPhone: ActiveSync and Contacts

Microsoft's ActiveSync is one of the ways I am able to get some of my emails onto my iPhone. And generally speaking I have been overly surprised with the connectivity and integration with the iPhone. It is fairly impressive given the tempid history between Apple and Microsoft. While in the near futur I will post a more specific post on my experience with activesync, this particular one focuses on an odd behavior I saw earlier this week.

All of my activesync contacts mysteriously disappeared.

Gone.

Empty.

Nothing.

Even when checking my phone and caller id log, the numbers were there but the names and the contact information bad vanished. Seemingly into thin air.

In actuality what had happened is my iPhone had not been able to connect to the Microsoft Exchange server where all of my contacts were. For about 16 hours or so due to maintenance. Apparently after 12 hours or so, they just expired from the iPhone. Which seems really odd that they were not persisted.

Once the ActiveSync server came back online, everything was restored immediately. But, I still have not found the reason they disPpeared, even running searches.

Which means I am still looking for a reason and perhaps a solution other than MobileMe to make it work. Any ideas out there?

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

iPhone: Email Importance, Sensitivity, and Return Receipts

While some may think that I am not enjoying my new iPhone having been a 10+ year veteran of the RIM Blackberry's services, I must say it is quite the opposite. I am thoroughly enjoying the new device, the new user experience, and the availability of working and non-buggy apps that riddled my Blackberry experience.

Still, that being said there is a ton of room for improvement that I discover on almost a daily basis to fully bridge the gap between some of the key functionalities that people need in order to be fully functional.

The one I identified this morning was a lack of email options when composing or replying to an email. Any of us that use Microsoft Outlook or any other email programs know that there are a couple of settings on which you can tag an email to change some behaviors.

They are:

Sensitivity: The ability to set the sensitivity of an email. Common flags are Confidential, Private, Normal and Personal.

Importance: Enabling you to set the High, Low, or Normal importance of an email. Of course we all know what this one looks like, it is that big red exclamation point next to an email that we sometime see too often from certain people.

Return-Receipts: The ability to either request a receipt (or email confirmation) when your email has either been delivered and/or read by the recipients.

Adding some of these basic features to the email capability would be a great way to continue to improve on the features and functionality of the iPhone email. We can always hope for the iPhone V4 software, right?

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

iPhone: Notifications for Different Email Accounts

As I continue to explore and learn more about the usage of the iPhone, one big disappointment I have is apparently with the lack of flexibility of notifications on the device.

With my Blackberry device, it was pretty simple...not only could I have 4 different modes of notifications but I could also have different notifications setup for every different type of message, include for each email account.

And that's where a little bit of the rub is. I support multiple email accounts on my mobile / cell phone / smart phone device. Yet, with the iPhone it does not natively support different notifications on a per account type. It does on a very basic notification type (for example SMS text vs. email), but I cannot choose for instance to have my GMAIL account notify me silently with a vibratoin while my Hotmail account chimes each time.

The functionality at least natively appears not to be there...either that or I cannot find it. Of course, I could go through the process of building contacts for each type of email...that would be way too much work however.

Hopefully in the V4 of the iPhone OS this type of fine grain support for different different accounts within a certain messaging type to have different notification types. Please Apple, it's needed!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Posting Frequency Phenomenon

You're a blogger. You've posted a ton of articles and built a decent base of traffic from a number of sources that drives a decent amount of traffic to your site which generates a decent amount of revenue.

Then one day, you stop posting. It could be for a number of reasons...you're tired, you're burnt out, or your day job and the rest of life is so busy. Regardless of the reason, you stop posting altogether.

Over a two month period, what happens to the traffic? In theory, if a majority of your traffic comes from posts on previous years...it hasn't lost any relevance, should your traffic suffer?

Well, this what I will explore in a couple of short minutes. I basically stopped posting in January and with the exception of a small post in February have done nothing in terms of this site.

What happened to my traffic? Let's look at the graph below.



It's been a pretty steady decline over the period of the two months in which I stopped posting regularly. In the last month where I did not post at all, it was a 10% overall decline. Since January 2nd, the total traffic has fallen almost 50% from the peak to yesterday March 23rd. There would seem to reason there is a lot of seasonality around the holidays (specifically with Wii posts), but there is no question that Google has sent less traffic my way.

The real question is whether or not the algorhythm that Google uses is taking recency into account and penalizing me for not posting. Or, if simply people are searching less for the results that traditionally bring traffic to the site. While not a fact yet, when I did post yesterday, I did notice about a 10% bump and uptick in traffic again. Not conclusive, but will be an intersting data point as I attempt to post more frequently over the next couple of weeks.

Of more interest though, is that my overall revenue from advertising has not fallen despite the shortage in traffic. Which seems to indicate that either advertisers are spending more per click, or the customers themselves are high revenue generating for me. It's possible to tell, but I'll need to download my Google Adsense data for the last couple of month to verify.

With all that being said, I have two hypothesis:
1. Even with older articles, sites that have more frequent updates are likely to get more traffic, even to that old content.
2. Even with the lower amount of traffic, for some reason more profitable (to me) visitors are coming to the site.

We'll discover a little more as to the answers over the next week or two...assuming the traffic comes back and validates hypothesis #1.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

AT&T: iPhone 3G Better Than Blackberry Bold 9000?

Just a couple of days, I finally made the switch to an iPhone 3GS 16GB from my old Blackberry Bold 9000 device. When I announced it on my Facebook and Twitter pages, it immediately was a mix of "welcome to freedom" as well as "you're really going to miss the Blackberry" types of messages.

What I'll do over time is post short notes on things that are both better and worse with the iPhone rather than the Blackberry.

Here are the first couple:

1. For some reason, AT&T's 3G service is MUCH more reliable than on the Blackberry Bold 9000. Not sure what actually causes this, but both the connectivity, quality of data, quality of calls and dropped calls have been almost non-existent on my new iPhone. It was so terrible on the Blackberry Bold 9000 that I had to force it back to 2G service on the Edge network.

2. Active-Sync with push emails is an absolute battery killer on the iPhone. I've since turned push email sync off and gone to a 15-minute / one demand pull with dramatically improved batter life....

This is just a short snippet...more to come!

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