Inna Demianova is a persistent woman

Inna Demianova is doing her best to overtake Ronak Parker’s persistency record. Looking for a way to migrate WooCommerce data, I ran across her company’s Cart2Cart service, and pinged them in chat to ask if they do what I need. Inna responded, confirming they do, but I got a sense she really didn’t understand what I was asking for, so I didn’t proceed with Cart2Cart.

I must have provided my email address when initiating the chat, which has led to Inna’s persistent queries:

Five follow-ups and counting! We’ll see how long this continues…

Ten follow-ups and counting! We’ll see how long this continues…

Haven’t heard from Inna in a while, but her colleague Oleksandr Yablonskyy has stepped in to take the baton:

2016-08-21 It continues…


A letter from Pinky

Yesterday, I received a random email from “Emily Johnson”, from “Ranks India”:

Hi esteemed Sir/Ma’am, Could you please outsource some seo business to us? We will work according to you and your clients and for a long term relationship we can start our SEO services in only $99 Per month per website. Please advice: Emily Johnson

I replied:

My suggestion, when approaching companies like mine, is to use your real name. It will come across as much more sincere, and that’s what we’re all looking for.

I didn’t expect a reply, but one did arrive, from Sandeep Kumar Pandey:

Hi esteemed Sir/Ma’am, Could you please outsource some seo business to us? We will work according to you and your clients and for a long term relationship we can start our SEO services in only $99 Per month per website. Please advice: Pinky

Ronak Parekh is a persistant man

Several weeks ago, I posted a job on Upwork looking for an individual who could help me test our new product, ChessDrop. In addition to receiving applications from individuals, I also started getting emails from all the offshore companies who use Upwork as a source of leads.

Many don’t even bother to read the job description. Here, Mr Ronak Parekh seems to believe that I’m looking for developers to build a mobile version of our product. Our mobile product, of course, already exists, and my post didn’t mention any development work, or a single planned enhancement.

As with the others, I didn’t bother replying to Mr Parekh. Unlike the others, as you can see below, that hasn’t dampened his resolve. I’m curious when he’ll finally give up, but in the meantime I’ll keep updating this post with his contacts. We’ll see how long the list gets! 🙂

The pace of user interface innovation at Spanish airports

Back in 2003, I posted this paragon of user interface design that I discovered at the Malaga airport, when trying to pay for my parking ticket:

While visiting the Malaga airport this weekend, I thought I’d check to see how things have things have progressed over the past 13 years—yes, thirteen years!! As you can see, the size of smartphone images has increased over that period, but unfortunately the user interface design of Spanish airport parking machines hasn’t seen much progress:

As far as I can tell, the only change to the machine is the addition of some stuck-on signs helping to explain how the crazy contraption works!

Bank of America Online—Get ready for a major change!

Bank of America are making a change to their website so dramatic they need to continually remind me about it—starting six months in advance.

What kind of change could be so important? Are you sitting down? They are going to put the username and password on a single screen instead of two, and will drop the display of my “SiteKey” image.

Of course I’ve created a new high-priority OmniFocus project called, “Get ready for the Bank America login change”, and will soon fill it with all the actions needed to ensure I’m fully prepared when they finally flip the switch on this at the end of the year.

Thanks for the head’s up, Bank of America; I’ll be ready.

So what exactly do you do?

This is just the kind of thing I would have never posted to Dafacto, but is perfect for Rantbox. 🙂

Sitting in my office this morning, a lady walks in and asks, “Is this the insurance company?”

I answered, “Nope, that’s the office next door.” And she left.

A few minutes later, she walks in again, “Sorry, but they’re not open.” I replied, “Yeah, they seem to have an unpredictable timetable.” She says, “But if that’s true, how can Pepe work there?”, to which I replied, “I have no idea who Pepe is. That business changes every few months, so to be honest, we know little about them, nor do we keep up with them.”

She sort of glared at me suspiciously, and then said goodbye.

Finally, a couple minutes later, I see her walking back towards my door again, and entering the office.

She just couldn’t help herself: “Sorry for bothering you again, but what exactly are you doing here?”

I just replied with a smile, “I’m sorry, but that’s none of your business.”

Meeting UFC champion Fabricio Werdum

Fabricio Werdum is currently the interim heavyweight champion of the UFC, and calls California home. Several years ago, though, he lived in Madrid, Spain, where he ran one of Spain’s first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies.

As a three-time world champion in BJJ, he was as famous in our circles back then, as he is in the Mixed-Martial Arts world today. So it was huge surprise when I walked onto the mats at my first-ever European BJJ Championship, to find that Fabricio himself would be the referee of the match!

Nervous in the moment, and still a novice at the Spanish language, I extended my hand and intended to say, “It’s an honor to meet you!”

But instead, as these things go, I screwed up the Spanish and standing there with my white-belt proclaimed, “Hola Fabricio. Es realmente un honor conocerme!”—which translated means:

Hello Fabricio—It’s truly an honor for you to meet me.

He sort of looked down for a moment, and said, “Yeah, let’s get this thing started.” And that ended my one and only conversation with current UFC heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum.

Louis Zha and the brand benefits of the word DIPSHIT

A few days ago, I received an email from “Louis Zha”, informing me that a company in China by the name of “CQT Intl Ltd” had applied to register Makalu’s trademarked regoapp as their own brand, and requested him to reserve a number of related domain names. Gasp!

As a responsible and concerned businessman he was gracious enough to check with us first before proceeding with CQT’s request:

This, of course, is a common scam in which Louis hopes I’ll respond by asking him to quickly register all those names for us before the (fictitious) company CQT Intl Ltd has a chance.

I usually delete these mails, but this time I thought I’d try something. I replied to Louis indicating that we did not authorize CQT Ltd to use our trademark, and are quite concerned! But as part of my reply, I made a little made modification — I replaced every instance of the word regoapp in his quoted original email with the word, dipshit.

Sure enough, a few hours later, I received this reply back from Louis:

To this, I replied, letting Louis know that after deep and careful consideration, we’ve decided we’re OK with allowing this Chinese company to benefit, to the maximum extent possible, from their use of the word DIPSHIT.

Rego goes viral in Brazil for the wrong reason

Yesterday we at Makalu launched our latest product — Rego, an iPhone app for bookmarking locations. It’s like Gowalla, but without the social part.

The good news is that Rego is doing very well, throughout the world. But then to our surprise, it went viral in Brazil. The unfortunate news is why it went viral in Brazil.

Turns out, Rego has an “special” meaning there, and Gizmodo Brazil covered the story in this hilarious article which got thousands of retweets and Facebook likes.

Here’s my version of the story:

As they say, “All press is good press”—so we’re looking on the bright side, or maybe better, where the sun don’t shine.

Update: After posting this video, I had an interview with Daniel Junqueira of Gizmodo, the author of the brilliant original post there. His colleagues then followed up with a second article on Gizmodo, about our interview.

Update 2: You know, our first thought about this was, “Oh what a disaster!” But at that point, there wasn’t much to do. And, to be honest, it’s pretty damn funny so we just rolled with it. Turns out the situation has been very positive — the meaning isn’t that strong, downloads in Brazil have gone through the roof! And since Rego is actually a pretty great app, the Brazilians are loving it (as is everybody who has downloaded it!)

Strangest failed payment notification ever

Pingdom is a great service, and we use them to monitor all of our sites and apps, but I gotta say — they just sent the strangest failed payment notification ever.

So let’s figure this thing out:

  • It’s not a notification, it’s a “status update”

  • It’s begins by letting me know that, “an idea I voted on has been closed.” An idea that I voted on. What on earth does that mean?

  • Doesn’t matter, really; I’m encouraged to go spend some more votes! On more ideas!

  • So which idea did I spend my one vote on? “Problem with payment”. (That’s a good idea, or is it?)

  • Something’s been completed. What has been completed? “(No Status)”, that’s what.


p>Weird. weird. weird.

I just confirmed with my credit card provider that no failed charge attempt happened, so let’s just chalk this one up to them, hopefully, beta testing something?

Spamming the SEO Spammers

Right, there’s another one. If you run a website, I’m sure you’ve gotten your share of these:

Hi there!

We found your weblisting on one of the back pages of Google. Wouldn’t you rather be up front? Our experts in Search Engine Optimization can help you become more visible and more productive. A quick email will get you details.

Thanks in advance!
Silvia Abernathy

Continue reading Spamming the SEO Spammers

Getting trapped in a cooling tower at the Georgia Power Company Plant Yates

Excluding a high-school job at the Kroger grocery store, my first real job was with the Georgia Power Company, at their electrical power generation plant in Newnan, Georgia — called Plant Yates. I had a very pleasant surprise this morning, to receive an email from an old colleague there.

Continue reading Getting trapped in a cooling tower at the Georgia Power Company Plant Yates