Tag Archive: software


Put Up Fences!

I love me a good piece of software – I think it comes with the territory of being a geek. I also love sharing these discoveries with others – I think that comes with the territory of being a didactic marketer/salesman!

Do you have so many icons on your desktop that you’ve forgotten what your desktop background looks like? Do you spend more than 5 seconds trying to find a specific icon on your desktop? Do you wish you had more organization of the icons on your desktop (beyond “Arrange by Name”)? Do you wish you could move entire blocks of icons at a time? Do you wish you could just double click and make all of your icons disappear?

Well, you’re in luck because today’s topic of discussion is Desktop Fences! …and they have a free version!!!

I fit into all of the categories above: I love a nice, clean desktop, but, since I’m working on several projects at once, I have a ton of shortcuts on my desktop.

Desktop Fences was an answer to my prayers, and I bet it can make your life easier too!

Here are the best features:

  • Simply click and drag to create a new “fence” on your desktop
  • Name your new fence
  • Just drag and drop icons into a fence
  • Click a fence header and drag it to move it and all of the related icons
  • Double click and your fences and icons disappear for a nice, clean desktop. Double click again and they come right back

…and, of course, there is a ton of customization available (from transparency levels to color scheme, etc).

Disclaimer (just to say I said it):  I still think that it’s a bad idea to store a bunch of documents on your desktop because, if your computer crashes, you’d lose everything, so I’d advise you (especially if you’re on a network), to keep all of your documents on the network, and create shortcuts to put into your new desktop fences.

Have you tried Desktop Fences? Any awesome software recommendations for me?

I hope you check out Desktop Fences and love it as much as I have!!!

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A picture truly is worth 1,000 words, so I really appreciated the diagram included on the packaging of the driver disc for my Wacom Bamboo Touch Pad.

From the picture you can easily see that they want you to put in the disc, start up the software, and then plug in the Touch Pad.

The problem: The diagram was under the second flap of the case containing the disc. This means that the only people who would see this fancy diagram are the people who were already going to get the disc – these are the people who would have followed these instructions anyway.

What would be more effective than the pictures on the inside of the disc packaging would be the same pictures on a tag on the USB cable near the end that plugs into the computer, so, when someone went to plug the touch pad into the computer, they’d see that they must install the software first.

Yes, a picture is worth 1,000 words, but the placement of those pictures has the power to subtract several hundred of them.

Debit or Credit?

Here is a picture from a gas station down the road.

It asks debit or credit, but nowhere does it tell me which button is for debit and which is for credit!

I found, through experimentation, that the debit card button is the 2nd square up from the bottom on the left side, but this is a little ridiculous!

I understand if you have a bug in your software that can only be evoked after an uncommon chain of events is executed, but allowing something like this to happen during the standard sequence of events is nothing short of an extreme case of “That’s not my job” (or really bad use-testing)!

That’s right, salesforce.com, you’re on my naughty list.

So, we’ve discussed the many pros of e-mail communications over telemarketing phone calls, but, apparently, something still needs to be said about these e-mail communications… Let me paint a picture of the proceeding events:

  • I heard about Salesforce.com and wanted to watch their promotional video.
  • To view the video, you must give them your e-mail address and phone number. (This is very annoying and already a turn-off, but I figured they wouldn’t abuse the privilege…)
  • Almost instantly I received a follow up e-mail asking for some more details about my business and if there were any specific aspects of the software for which I would like more information, which, honestly, was to be expected.
  • Then I received a phone call. Now you’ve crossed a line.
  • Then I received another e-mail asking if my phone number was correct and if there was a better time to contact me (These 2 e-mails and 1 phone call all happened within an hour!).
  • I sent the following response (Paraphrasing):
So far, Salesforce.com looks pretty intriguing to me; however, I am currently not in a position to take advantage of your software.
I know some folks with some influence at bigger companies, and I will do my best to bring your services to their attention, but I’m honestly a bit annoyed at the rate of your correspondence. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to make them put in their own information to watch your demo videos because I’m afraid you would call/e-mail them too much and they would be turned off from your company/service.
Within an hour I had 2 e-mails and 1 phone call from you (I hung up on your phone call because I was eating lunch with my family). Please refrain from contacting me as this is my personal information. I will contact you if I have questions or need additional information about your website.
Thank you.
  • 1 month later, I received the following e-mail:
Just wanted to see if you are still interested in salesforce.comwe have some exciting new updates we are about to release and wanted to see if that is something worth taking a look at?
  • I responded that I was officially uninterested due to the lack of adherence to my request to not receive further e-mails.
  • One month later…I received this same e-mail again.
  • My response: “No.”
Just because e-mail is slightly less offensive, does not mean you can treat this medium like a telemarketer. Your approach should be adjusted to suit your medium!
E-mails can be more easily customized, and address books are easier to manage (and can even be managed by one person) – Don’t just treat your e-mail contacts like your phone contacts, with identical, generic, incrementally-repeating messages!!!
Salesforce.com, I thought you’d be better at sales than this!!!

A long time ago, I bought a Sansa Fuze Mp3 player (as it was half of the price of the iPod with the same amount of memory). It has lasted several years with moderate usage, it has lived through some very extreme environmental conditions, and it’s still working to this day.

Side Note: I’m also a fan of how SanDisk does business: the Mp3 player just acts like a folder when docked to your computer (so you can just ‘click’ and ‘drag’ to add new songs…no need to work through a software like iTunes).

Honestly, it has  been a great little Mp3 player, but it has some quirks that drive me crazy!!!

  • First of all, when you’re trying to move within your song list, you have to spin the wheel to advance to the next song (you can’t just click ‘down’ or ‘up’).
  • Secondly, there is no way to jump to ‘fast scroll mode’. If you want something in the middle of the alphabet, you have to scroll, scroll, scroll until you get there (I wish you could just press and hold)!!!
  • Thirdly, you cannot loop around the alphabet (as in, if you want to get from ‘a’ to ‘x’, you have to scroll, scroll, scroll through ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’,… all the way to ‘x’. You cannot just go backwards from ‘a’ to ‘z’ to ‘y’ to ‘x’).
  • Finally, you cannot create a playlist on the go. They provide you with a “go list”, which is one pre-named playlist to which you can add a (small) limited amount of songs, but you cannot create a second playlist without hooking the Fuze up to a computer.

Now, the thing that drives me crazy about these little deficiencies are that they can all be alleviated with software, they require no additional hardware whatsoever!!!

Hardware costs money, and some companies have limited cash, so I understand why some companies use cheaper components in their products (I don’t necessarily agree with it all of the time, but I understand it).

The thing about software is that there are only two things that separate the great from the mediocre: time and intelligence (and neither of these should be in short supply)!

(Now, before someone  gets on my case, I know we all have deadlines we need to hit in order to keep up our freshness index, but, if we are in too much of a hurry, we will end up producing a far inferior product that annoys people (anyone else cram for tests in High School/College?!?). Also, I know that your software abilities are limited by the chips on which your software is running, but these chips are cheap compared to most of your hardware components).

Therefore, with this in mind, I really see a strong link between software and overall quality of the product and the company which the product represents. If there are bugs, poorly designed features, or broken links on web pages, it speaks volumes more to me about quality than a cheap part used in an assembly.

I get that your company may not always be able to afford better quality parts, but how can your company not afford to simply pay attention?