Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, March 19, 2018

App reviews

Video email signatures - next fad in pissing off customers

A friend spotted this and posted it on his FB feed:

Screen capture of site promoting video email signatures

After my initial knee jerk reaction passed, I settled down into a deep loathing of the idea, as did pretty much everyone I polled.  It's a disasterous digital marketing concept that should have the plug pulled before it even gets off the ground.  The concept is straight out of a scammer's wet dream. Create a little video of yourself promoting your product/self/company and use it as your email signature. First, the pitch should be in the email itself, not a superflous link that takes me to an external site so I have to listen to more blather. It's bad enough the internet is littered with autostarting video ads, now this? 

Second issue comes from my perspective as a computer consultant.  I teach my customers to be wary of links in emails. If you don't know the person, don't click. You never know where that link will take you. There's a lot of scams out there so better to be safe than sorry. I know others who do the same. 

"If you’re on a customer-facing team like sales or customer success, a video email signature can help you connect with your customers on a more human level" 

Well, if you have your video professionally done, maybe it might work. But emaills littered with thumbnails of Joe Blow standing against a weird patterned background with bad edit cuts isn't going to cut it. I've watched a lot of promotional videos and ones done without the benefit of editing skills come off looking unprofessional or creepy.  

Look, if you're a sales team, you don't want to irritate people. It isn't a "pattern breaker", it's a one trick pony that will cause audience fatigue rather quickly. Unless you are 100% sure that customer will enjoy your video, DON'T. Signatures should be to the point - give me the info I want - name,  phone #, email, website. Leave off all the fancy doodles, artwork and videos.  There is already a serious sense of email overload out there and this is adding to the problem.  If I start seeing this show up in my inbox, I'll assume it's more spam and toss it without ever giving the person a chance. 

How about using this as your pattern breaker - be concise. Don't add to the fatigue. 

Screen capture is from "How to make a video email signature


Oh I like this! A new Edge extension for YouTube

I was poking the Microsoft store with a stick again to see what would fall out and look what tumbled out: Logo for Enhancer for Youtube extension Enhancer makes a number of changes in the way Youtube behaves, including volume control with a quick flick of the mouse wheel. It does other stuff too, but the ability to scroll the volume is exciting. Yea, yea, I really need to get out more, but seriously, it's great. Enhancer, by MRFDEV Web Development, offers a number of options, including blocking ads, disable autoplay, set automatic screen size, and much more. It's worth a trip to the store to check out, especially if you watch a lot of YouTube. I personally like the option to preset the video to start on a specific screen size and quality and disable autoplay.

Read more: Oh I like this! A new Edge extension for YouTube

Distractions & fun courtesy of Microsoft Bing

As if there aren't enough time wasting things online, Microsoft offers a few simple, free games to help you along in your work avoidance endeavours. Wander over to and click on the little hamburger grid on the top right corner: funandgames

You don't need to sign in or have a Microsoft account to play they work on all the major browsers.  Hidden away are  a variety of games ranging from trivia to jigsaw puzzles to suduko. Some are quite challenging (Suduko comes to mind) while others are basic and far too easy. Great if you don't want to concentrate and only have 5 or 10 min to kill.  

Read more: Distractions & fun courtesy of Microsoft Bing

My perpetual whine about extensions for MS Edge at an end - Web Developer Checklist

Last time I looked at Microsoft Store's extension offerings, it was a forlorn and desolate place. Not a lot available, much to my ever loving annoyance. I like playing around with extensions, even silly useless ones. Today I decided to see if there's been an increase and what do you know, the offerings have grown to 42! Still not a lot of choice, but a marked improvement since Christmas. 

I decided to test drive an extension called Web Developer Checklist by Mads Kristensen. It turned out to be anything but silly and a potential boon to web designers.

Logo from Web Developer Checklist extension

It's the only offering in the Microsoft Store by the developer, and is available also for Chrome and Firefox. It's a kickass little extension designed to help web developers check that they are using best  practices on their site. Everything is compact and easy to use with a lot of helpful information, quickly accessible with a mouse click.

Screen capture of what Web Developer Checklist looks atHandy little extension to have. It tipped me off to a couple improvements I should be exploring. 

My sole complaint is a minor, quirky one. The screen on the left is from Firefox and the one on the right is from Edge:

Screen capture of Web Developer as it appears in Edge browserScreen capture of Web Developer as it appears in Firefox

It took me a few minutes to figure out the ace was a misinterpreted check mark. Like I said, very minor issue.  Other than that, there are no real issues. I was interested in seeing it snagged a few different issues with each browser. That'll be a project to look at tomorrow. 

 Visit Mads Kristensen's website here 


Win 10 Creators update - how'd my old laptop do?

Screen capture of settings panel on Creators UpdateI took the plunge and upgraded to the Win10 Creators edition last week.  Couple of reminders – make sure you’ve done a backup before doing any major update. Chances of something going wrong are small, but you never know.  Microsoft has issued a warning, when this article was published, that there may be issues with Bluetooth connectivity after the update. They are working through problems now. So, unless you love troubleshooting or don’t use Bluetooth, hold off on forcing the Creators update.

The install:

Oh my, it took a long, long time to install. Painfully long. So long, I was convinced something had gone wrong.  It took a staggering 3 ½ hrs to install (not counting the download).  My laptop is about 4 years old so it should install faster on a new machine. But patience is needed.

Read more: Win 10 Creators update - how'd my old laptop do?

Text Size

Catpaw with a pint & a typical bad haircutTime for a new look - the venerable cat on a postage stamp is now retired. As much as I loved him, it was time for a face lift - bad haircut & all. 

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself."

- Albert Camus

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