Friday, October 14, 2005

I'm shocked...

Did you know what your icons were getting up to whilst you were making that coffee?

I'm shocked...

Latest Notes/Domino R7 videos available for download

Thanks to Ed, here are the latest videos used in the Notes & Domino 7 launch events last week. They are so good and relevant, that I for one realy hope that they get made into full TV ads - ther deserve a wider airing than to those that are already ND devotees.

There are two versions - watch out because they are quite large:

Take a look, they are well worth seeing if you are contemplating a review of your messaging infrastructure, or if you need another reason to get your boss to look outside the MS box.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Credit card fraud down by 29% (or is it?)

Well hurrah for Chip and Pin!

Spotted on the BBC News site this morning...

The Association of Payment Clearing Services announces that:

Fraud involving the stealing and counterfeiting of debit and credit cards has fallen 29% year-on-year in 2005"

Well that is a triumph... Except that:

"But the figures are incomplete as they do not include card fraud over the telephone or internet. In addition, the figures do not include fraud committed when cards go missing in the post."

Err yes, umm, well those are kind of obvious omissions right? Cos if I steal a card, am I more likely to use it face-to-face in a pub or shop, or to use it for an anonymous transaction over the Internet - now there's a tricky one! Secondly, somehow they exclude numbers where cards go missing in the post, and therefore I also assume that Identity Theft is also missing from the numbers.

Well let's give the banks their dues, in-person fraud is down by 29%, therefore:

"Between January and June these types of card fraud cost banks £89m, compared with £127m for the same period in 2004."

But, and here's the rub, it isn't the banks that are hurt by card fraud. And it isn't the individual, as they claim their money back from the card company. And it isn't the card payment gateway/machine providers as they claim no responsibility whatsoever, even when they are supposed to authorise the transaction and validate the card-holders identity.

No, it is the retailer every time! When a card holder reports that their card has been used fraudulently, they tell the bank, the bank takes the money back from the retailer (plus a "chargeback" admin fee), and it is up to the retailer to prove that the card transaction was not fraudulent. This is a process that rarely succeeds, is very time-consuming, and when your business is taking a few high value transactions every day, that is a tough risk to have to accept.

So, conclusions:

1) I grudgingly admit that Chip n' Pin has made a difference in face to face scenarios. You just have to wonder why they've had the system in Continental Europe for at lest 10 years before we in the UK agreed it was worth a try.

2) It doesn't make a jot of difference to internet or phone transactions, which is where the majority of fraud takes place.

3) The banks that are making £ billions of profits every year are all to eager to take the credit for the change, despite the fact that they aren't the ones to suffer, and actually they didn't bear the costs of the change to Chip n' Pin either - the retailers are the ones who had to fund new POS systems, card readers etc. It is time they took responsibility for the flaws in their products and systems, and bore the brunt of the risks they present.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Don't say Rabbit!

Some nice Friday afternoon humour (thanks to The Register)...

The BBC reports that posters for the forthcoming Wallace and Gromit spectacular The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on the south-coast island of Portland will not contain the word "rabbit" out of respect for local tradition which has it that the mere utterance of the word causes quarries to collapse entombing local workers forever in killer cement.

As the BBC explains: "Because burrowing can cause landslips in quarries, residents of Portland, Dorset, instead call the creatures underground mutton or furry things." Accordingly, the W&G publicity will carry the alternative slogan "Something bunny is going on".

Weymouth and Portland mayor Les Ames illuminates: "If the word rabbit is used in company in Portland there is generally a bit of a hush. In the olden days when quarrying was done by hand, if one of these animals was seen in the area, the quarryman would pack up and go home for the day - until the safety of the area had been reconnoitred. It is an unwritten rule in Portland that you do not use the word rabbit."

I've personally always found the yokels down that end of Dorset a bit strange (hailing from Poole myself), but you would have to wonder how they would react to posters for a film adaptation of Macbeth...

Have you seen the latest Domino ad yet?

With thanks to Ed, here is the latest ad from IBM, showing that they finally have a handle on how to market the great product that is Notes&Domino. For years we (that is the IBM reseller/influencer community) have been telling, coercing, convincing, hell even proving that Lotus have the beating of Microsoft in the Collaboration (aka Groupware) marketplace.

At last, we have the marketing effort, and more importantly, the advertising nous to outwit the marketeers in Seattle. Its a great ad, smart, funny, hard-hitting, and above all product-focused. Way to go IBM!

Stonking new Personal Media Player arrives...

Lovely surprise in the post today from our favourite electronics distributor...

The PMP3520 personal media player from Directed Mobile Media. Lovely little unit, 3.5" screen, with features like the following:
  • Built-in 20GB HDD (can act as PC external storage),
    • up to 5,000 songs or 80-hours of video clips in your
    • pocket.
  • USB 2.0 OTG can be used as master or slave.
  • FM radio
  • Clock/Alarm/Date Display
  • Voice recorder
  • 3.5” Digital Screen
  • MPEG4 SP/DivX 3,4,5 /Motion JPEG/WMV9 audio/video playback
  • MP3/WAV/WMA/AAC/LPCM/ADPCM audio playback
  • Still Image playback (support various digital camera picture format, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP)
  • Support DivX DRM
  • Slide Show with audio
  • Build-in DivX and/or MPEG4 video encoder, as well as MP3 audio encoder
  • Audio/Video Recording/Capture (PVR)
What that lot means is that it is a picture viewer, MP3 player (incl AAC format), movie viewer (plays DivX), FM radio, and for me the killer app is that it acts as both a USB master and slave, thus meaning that it can act as a repository for photos and other data whilst away from a full PC - great as an all in one device whilst on holiday.

Haven't really had a chance to play yet, but will place a full review up here in the next week or so, and no doubt we will be selling them at UK SatNav ASAP - yes I know its not really core to what we do, but the market for these PMPs is growing all the time, so we need to be in the business. Besides, it is mooted that the next version of the PMP3520 will feature built in GPS too.