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SEOkomm 2011 Pre-Event Post

Nov 24, 2011   //   by Jens Buch   //   Conferences  //  No Comments

seokomm

Live-Blogging To You This Year

Together with Thomas Sickl and Bernhard Hochrainer, I will be doing the official live-blogging from the SEOkomm 2011. I have never attended this event, but the feedback from last year makes the conference seem very promising. Furthermore, there is a very good line-up of speakers with some pretty awesome topics (especially if you are active in the German-Speaking area). I will mainly be following ‘track 3‘.

Unfortunately, I will miss the party tonight (24-Nov) – The good thing about that, is that I will not be hung over and therefore able to provide you guys with better updates ;) . Feel free to hook me up on twitter and if you see me, feel free to have a quick chat. I really prefer to get interesting content with input from the crowd (after all the event is for you) – rather than just echoing the speakers. We decided that I write my posts in English, but I speak German, English, French and Danish – so don’t be shy. I look forward to the event and even more to meet some of you guys.

Below is a picture of me (one in conference mode and one in party mode) – I am sure there will be some of both tomorrow.

Google’s Green Message In Conflict With Google Chrome For Mac

Jul 15, 2011   //   by Jens Buch   //   Green  //  1 Comment

google green‘Being Green’ has become a widely used marketing message from leading tech companies. This is also the case for google. They have even dedicated an entire section of their website and $780 million on being green and energy efficient etc etc. Very good and very nice. But google could become seriously greener by simply looking at their software engineering for their web browser Google Chrome for Mac.

Let me share my story and view with you.

Like millions of other people, I am all for being green, but also like millions of other people, I do not cut the electricity of my energy hungry computer setup, tv, stereo – the list goes on and on. I have it all on standby when I don’t use it – yet knowing that it is still using serious amounts of energy. Yes, it adds up on my  electricity bill – but so be it. I should care, but I don’t and I am getting of the point of this post now anyway :)

So after the motherboard of my highly loved 3-year-old macbook pro decided to give up on me, I was forced to get a new one (fuck investing 600 EUR in an old computer to get it repaired). The amazing apple engineers have managed to produce laptops with significantly longer battery life which was something I was seriously looking forward to. Going from 2-3 to 6-7 hours of battery life on one charge is awesome after all.

Google Chrome really is draining my battery life

I got the new baby and recovered the settings/software etc from my apple time capsule and a few hours later I had my old computer back inside a new piece of hardware. It did not take long before I noticed that I am NOT getting the 6-7 hours of battery life as promised by apple. Being the tech geek that I am, I went through various tech forums to find out why this was. It did not take long until I read about google’s web browser Chrome being the cause for all this.

Check out the screenshot from the battery life indicator while Chrome IS running.
google chrome running
And now see the battery life indicator while Chrome IS NOT running.
google-chrome-not-running
So holy shit – this is actually true. Google Chrome is really the cause for my battery life to be far below what it should be. That sucks major time – especially as running Apple’s Safari does not impact the battery to anywhere near the same extent (firefox also causes more energy use, but nowhere near the same as Chrome).

What this means for energy consumption

Let’s get back to ‘green’. I don’t want to be like an idiotic corporate strategy consultant, but putting together a little energy calculation is needed here.
If Chrome causes my computer to use 2x as much energy, I will also need to charge it 2x as often when using Chrome. Therefore using 2x as much electricity out of my electric socket.

I looked around the internet for ages trying to find out how much energy is actually used to charge a macbook pro 15″, but couldn’t find it. Anyway – it doesn’t matter right now. According to Wikipedia, Chrome’s rising market share is currently somewhere around the 15% mark while apple has just over 10% of the US PC market with about 1.8m devices sold per quarter. That means every quarter about a quarter of a million additional mac users are using google chrome in the US alone. OK, this is getting confusing now and these numbers really need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

What now?

My point is, that if so many people need to charge their macbooks 2x as often, we are looking at a fucking lot of energy consumption here that is not necessary when the apple and firefox guys were able to develop a web browser that does not use as much energy. So here is my suggestion to google. Why not take some of the $780 million in your ‘green fund’ and put it towards engineering a version of Chrome that takes it easy on the energy consumption. It would leave macbook Chrome users with longer lasting batteries and cheaper electricity bills while making google’s green effort look more genuine and something people can relate to.

Please do me a favor

If you think this article makes sense and is generally useful to your and/or peope around you, please give it a facebook like, retweet or google +1 (I would actually really like the google +1 as that is google’s own product.) Finally, it aint that often that I write stuff on here and I really don’t spam people, so please also consider signing up to the newsletter.

Thank you for your time – if you have additional input or comments, add them in the comments section. I keep and eye on it and will reply to them so that you are not talking to a wall ;)

iPhone 4 is now available in Luxembourg – Luxgsm, Orange and Tango’s offers are analyzed and compared right here

Aug 3, 2010   //   by Jens Buch   //   mobile  //  34 Comments

iphone4

Click here for the iPhone 5 article

Written 3-Aug-2010

In my post prior to the iPhone 4 launch in Luxembourg, there were many active readers of this blog discussing and sharing information on the launch of the iPhone 4 in Luxembourg. Now it is here. All three providers (Luxgsm, Orange and Tango) started to sell the iPhone 4 on the 30th July 2010. Due to the large readership of the prior post, I have decided to also make a comparison of the iPhone packages by Luxgsm, Orange and Tango.

Luxgsm, Orange and Tango iPhone 4 Prices and Packages

All three providers have at least 3 kinds of subscriptions. In order to provide the best transparency, I have made direct comparisons of the ‘same level’ subscriptions. I simply name them small, medium and large packages.

Small Luxgsm, Orange and Tango Packages

luxgsm
luxgsm
tango
tango
orange
orange
iphone 4 (16 GB) 199 EUR 169 EUR 199 EUR
iphone 4 (32 GB) 299 EUR 279 EUR 259 EUR
subscription / month 35 EUR 30 EUR 35 EUR
duration 24 months 24 months 24 months
calls national 120 mins 100 mins 180 units (shared with sms)
calls international 0 mins 0 mins 75 mins
calls roaming 0 mins 0 mins 0 mins
sms 120 100 180 units (shared with national calls)
data national 2 GB 2 GB 2 GB
data roaming 0 0 0
internet tethering Yes No Yes
Sim-Locked No No No


Medium Luxgsm, Orange and Tango Packages

luxgsm
luxgsm
tango
tango
orange
orange
iphone 4 (16 GB) 99 EUR 49 EUR 59 EUR
iphone 4 (32 GB) 199 EUR 149 EUR 159 EUR
subscription / month 50 EUR 45 EUR 50 EUR
duration 24 months 24 months 24 months
calls national unlimited unlimited unlimited
calls international 0 mins 0 mins 150 mins
calls roaming 0 mins 0 mins 0 mins
sms unlimited unlimited unlimited
data national unlimited unlimited unlimited
data roaming 0 0 0
internet tethering Yes No Yes
Sim-Locked No No No


Large Luxgsm, Orange and Tango Packages

luxgsm
luxgsm
tango
tango
orange
orange
iphone 4 (16 GB) 0 EUR 49 EUR 19 EUR
iphone 4 (32 GB) 99 EUR 149 EUR 79 EUR
subscription / month 75 EUR 50 EUR 75 EUR
duration 12 months 24 months 24 months
calls national unlimited 100 mins unlimited
calls international 0 mins 300 mins 200 mins
calls roaming 0 mins 0 mins 80 mins
sms unlimited 100 unlimited
data national unlimited 2 GB unlimited
data roaming 0 0 10 MB
internet tethering Yes No Yes
Sim-Locked No No No


Which is the right package to choose?

This of course depends on your personal needs. Your best option is to take your itemized bill from the past months, and see how many calls you make within and outside of Luxembourg. Also look at how many sms you send and finally also check how much data you consume (in case you already have a smartphone). You will then get a better idea of what you need.
I still want to give you my opinion on things, so here we go:

iPhone 4 16GB or 32GB?

The price difference between the two models are roughly always 100EUR. If you look at the total sum you will be spending on owning an iPhone 4 (regardless of package chosen), 100 EUR is really not a lot of money. If you are honest to yourself, then you also know that your music, video and application collection is not exactly set to decrease in size – it is rather likely to increase. Remember, in theory you will have this phone for at least one or two years. In my eyes, it is therefore a no-brainer to get the iPhone 4 32GB.

iPhone 4 Data Packages

It can be rather tricky and confusing to choose the right data package. Over the past 18 months where I have been using the iPhone 3G, I have never managed to use over 500MB in a month. This is with 3 push-mail accounts, calendar and contacts synchronization as well as facebook push notifications. This is generally not very heavy data consummation, but I also view many youtube clips and I also use the iPhone as navigation device. This is the more data-hungry applications, and still – I don’t even get close to 1 GB data consumption.
In my eyes, the only thing that will really get your data consumption close to 2GB per month, is if you start using internet tethering (i.e. connecting your computer to the internet via your iPhone). I believe the number of people concerned here are very low.
Notice that the smallest data packages from every provider is set to 2GB per month. As a result, do not let the data consumption packages make the choice for you – you are very unlikely to reach the limit with any of the available data packages.

iPhone 4 National Call Packages

The medium and large packages all have unlimited national calls (except for tango’s large package). Therefore this section only concerns the small packages. I believe it is fair to say that most mobile phone users use their phone more than 100 minutes a month for national voice calls. If you choose one of the small packages, you should therefore expect additional call charges on your monthly bill.

iPhone 4 International Call Packages

skype for iphoneOnly Tango and Orange offer international calls as part of their packages. Orange as the only provider also includes international calls in their medium package. If you make numerous short international calls, this could be interesting for you. If you are more likely to make longer but less regular international calls, it is highly recommendable to use skype via your iphone. Since earlier 2010, skype’s application is also able to be used under 3G reception on your iPhone and not only wifi (as it was before). Skype’s international call charges can easily compete with any Luxembourgish mobile phone provider’s international call charges.

Other note-worthy iPhone 4 stuff

Orange offers 10MB roaming data transfer – 10MB is close to nothing. If you choose this package, make sure you ask Orange to notify you when the 10MB has been used, so you have the option to manually switch if off. If you are not careful here, you can very quickly get a nasty surprise on your bill at the end of the month.
Luxgsm has a package only for young people up to 25 years of age. If you qualify for this, it may be worth having a look at.

iPhone 4 without a contract

Unfortunately, none of the providers in Luxembourg sell the iPhone 4 without a contract. If you are looking for an iPhone 4 without a contract, you will need to order it from the French or British apple store. They are not simlocked, which makes it possible to use it in Luxembourg (or anywhere else for that matter). Note that local shipping addresses will be needed to place the order.

Antennagate – the ‘problem’ with the iPhone 4 antenna

antennagateJust after the launch of the iPhone 4 in Luxembourg, readers commented on my prior post with information concerning the antenna problem. Nobody saw any note-worthy change when touching the ‘sensitive’ spot on the iPhone 4 on Luxgsm, Orange or Tango. We therefore conclude that this problem does not seem to be anything serious for Luxembourg iPhone 4 users. Nevertheless, I recommend watching Steve Job’s video on how Apple handles the Antennagate problem. If you have purchased your iPhone 4 before September 30th 2010 – you can get a free case, by following this link.

Which provider is best for the iPhone 4 in Luxembourg?

Remember that the iPhone 4 is a very data-hungry smartphone if you compare it to other smartphones. If you are with a provider with a poor data network, you are not going to get the most out of your iPhone 4. I even go as far as saying that it can be very frustrating. Therefore, make sure that there is good data coverage in your area. I cannot tell you if it is good or bad in your area. This is where you simply just have to ask fellow consumers who have the device about their opinion or even make them get this app that can test the speed. If you test with this app, make sure that you are connected to 3G and/or Edge – not wifi. Do not ask the providers – they will not give you a neutral opinion. Generally speaking, all three providers have decent data coverage in Luxembourg City.

iPhone 4 is coming to Luxembourg in July 2010 – What’s the deal? Which provider will get it, when will they get it and how much will it cost…

Jun 9, 2010   //   by Jens Buch   //   mobile  //  221 Comments

iphone coming to luxembourg - picture from WWDC

Written 09-Jun-2010 02:12
(update 1 09-Jun-2010 12:15)
(update 2 10-Jun-2010 16:45)
(update 3 30-Jun-2010 13:00)
(update 4 15-Jul-2010 15:20)
(update 5 22-Jul-2010 11:55)
NEW POST-LAUNCH ARTICLE HERE

When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS, he never gave specific details for Luxembourg. When Apple announced the iPhone 4 – it was there and it was clear. iPhone 4 is out in Luxembourg in July 2010. If Apple’s CEO says it himself on stage, then it is fair to say that there is something to it. From past announcements, we have learned that Luxembourg has been kind of the wild wild west. For the iPhone 3G, it was Orange who got it first. Then Luxgsm got it a few months later – and somehow without major announcements, Tango had it as well. When visiting the official apple iPhone page for Luxembourg – there is not any mention of the iPhone 4 (Situation on 9-Jun-2010). This means, all we can do at this stage is to speculate and contact the various operators in Luxembourg to see what they are willing to reveal.

Luxgsm, Orange and Tango will all sell iPhone 4 – it’s confirmed

Luxgsm

I contacted the commercial director of Luxgsm (Mr. Celis) who was only able to confirm to me that they will get the iPhone 4. I was not able to get any further answers to my questions with regards to:

  • Will the iPhone 4 still be sim-unlocked?
  • Will it still be 2 years minimum contract or still available without a contract?
  • Will the release date be in July 2010?
  • How much will it cost?

All I got out of him was: “All I can say is we will get it”.
Since mid-July (after very unclear communication to the public from Luxgsm), you can enter your email address to get informed when the iPhone 4 is available on Luxgsm via their website.

Orange

Mrs. Hoffmann (head of marketing and communication) from Orange Luxembourg confirmed via email that they will also be selling the iPhone 4. No details on dates, prices etc were given. Since mid-July, Orange is allowing people to enter their email address to get notified when the iPhone 4 is available on Orange via their website.

Tango

Mrs. Montagnese (communication manager) from Tango has also confirmed to me in an email (early June) that they will be selling the iPhone 4 at some point in July 2010. A press release on their website on 22nd July 2010 confirms that the iPhone 4 will be available at their retail stores as of 30th July 2010. The pre-order form that was available prior to 22nd July 2010 is no longer available. It is still unknown under which conditions and at what price tango will sell the iPhone 4.

Stay Informed About iPhone 4 in Luxembourg

At present, we have very little facts and many assumptions. So to keep everything nice and clear, keep and eye on the table below that will be updated on an ongoing basis:

Provider Un-Confirmed Confirmed
Luxgsm sim-unlocked
available without contract
tariffs will remain the same
will sell it
accepting availability notifications via their website
Orange sim-unlocked
available without contract
tariffs will remain the same
will sell it
accepting availability notifications via their website
Tango sim-unlocked
available without contract
tariffs will remain the same
will sell it from 30th July 2010 at their retails stores

Tariffs for the iPhone in Luxembourg

Chances that the talk plans remain untouched are pretty high. The prices for the devices is the big question. Will they remain how they are or will they change. Steve Jobs announced prices starting at $199 for the US at the WWDC 10. At present, the talk plans for the iPhone in Luxembourg are as following for each of the providers:

Luxgsm Talk Plan and iPhone Prices

luxgsm-iphone-tariffs

Orange Talk Plan and iPhone Prices

orange-luxembourg-iphone-tariffs

Tango Talk Plan and iPhone Prices

tango-luxembourg-iphone-tariffs

Stay updated on the iPhone 4 situation in Luxembourg

This blogpost will be updated as soon as there are more news concerning the iPhone 4 in Luxembourg. To stay updated, simply sign up for the newsletter below in the orange section. Finally, please click the ‘facebook like’ button below in case you found this post useful.
NEW POST-LAUNCH ARTICLE HERE

Reply to Philipp von Plato’s email where he asks how he can improve his elitist social networking site called Inter Nations

Mar 6, 2010   //   by Jens Buch   //   social media  //  1 Comment

internationBack in 2004 when Eric Wachtmeister started asmallworld.net he was onto something unbelievably powerful. He founded an elitist invitation only online community. I was lucky enough to join it in 2005 and at the time it really was amazing (not that I am very elite btw) – people were sharing information and building networks within networks like crazy. It did not take very long before other communities copied this phenomenon in order to get their share of the pie. Schwarze karte in Germany, Internations – the list goes on and on.

Then came facebook – open to everyone and soon you realized that it was all happening there…it is by no means elitist, but you as user choose who you want to share information with and who not. So that takes the ‘elitist’ part out of the equation. It is no longer some selected people within the community who chooses who is elite enough to get to you, but users themselves who choose who in their eyes is worth (or elite enough) to share information with. On top of that, facebook is just a much better platform from a usability point of view. We’ll get to that later.

Now these ‘elitist social networks’ are all struggling in their own way.
asmallworld sold out a large chunk to the weinstein brothers who wanted to grow the userbase – which results in the community no longer being as elitist as it initially intended. Schwarze karte is a german speaking community – so by default it is doomed in a globalized world (especially as ‘elitist’ people have global networks). Internations were too late at the mill but they have at least taken the step of asking people ‘why do you not use the network?’ in a general email to its users who has not logged in (and opened their emails) over a longer period of time. It is actually that email which made me write this post.

I think it comes down to one simple and easy explanation. Usability and reach.

Usability:

People are lazier than ever before when sitting in front of their computers. Something as simple as a login prompt triggers the thought: ‘what’s my username and password for this again? – oh fuck it – nevermind’ and make people go back to their email platform and one social network they really use and trust (most of the time facebook). The business minded people behind the elitist networks simply don’t understand this and retreat to the desperate mean of getting users back to their community: Emails – Lot’s of emails. ‘What happened this week in the community’ and ‘We now have many new interesting people in your area who joined the network’. BULLSHIT guys – it is just a desperate attempt to re-animate something that is close to death.

Now let’s get to the point of this post. Asmallworld, internations etc were all built by business people telling geeks what to do in order to monetize their platform in one way or another – facebook is the opposite. Geeks building a platform and then asking business people how to monetize it. The key here is that the geeks understand how to use technology and business people often don’t. Sending out more spammy type emails in hope of getting your online community back to life is not the way to go in my eyes.
A social network that has understood how to spread is twitter. It has done so through its application programming interfaces (APIs). Do not think that heavy twitter users go to twitter.com and use the service from there. What the heavy users do, is use software that gives them a great overlook on what is going on. Look at tools like tweetdeck and seesmic. They use social networks’ available APIs to create one tool – through which you manage all their social networking activity – even for multiple profiles.
tweetdeck with multiple social networking sites

Reach:

Facebook now has 400 million active accounts. That is a serious reach and you are very likely to find people on there. Again, remember that the elitist part of the equation is out – so people will go to the large network to find people.

That means that the power of an elitist network does not lie in who knows who and who is connected to who – it lies in the discussions and offline activities that you can trigger with the people in your community. If you really want to be elitist then you need to play on that – we are past the bragging of ‘I know this many people’. I am sure many very good discussions and events take place in the elitist communities of which I am a member, but I never get to them as I cannot be bothered to login and start looking for them. On the other hand, if you present them to me in a one tool interface next to my facebook activity, I am much more likely to engage in the content and take part – and thereby re-adding value to the elitist network in question.

Conclusion:

So here it is – create an API so that people can add your social network through ‘one-tool’ applications. Secondly, put more emphasis on making your users discuss with each other as well as use your platform to do off-line things together.

But it sure doesn’t end here. Now it is your job to educate your users on using the one tool. It will be a long and hard process – and definitely not necessarily a successful process – but in my eyes, it is the only thing you can do unless you wish to continue to watch your elitist social network slowly die.

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