Friday, February 14, 2014

USB Tethering to Mac with Nexus 5

I've been traveling around Australia for over a month now. Mainly we've been staying at hotels where we have some sort of status, Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton, etc., and the WiFi has been free.

This week I'm staying where they outsource the WiFi to Tomizone, which is fine, but they only let you use one device at a time, even though I've paid $60 for my 9 days.  I'm using a Nexus 5 lately so I've been using the N5 on the WiFi and then tethering to my Mac over bluetooth. This works but seems a bit flakey.  Occasionally the Mac can't connect and I have to turn the N5 bluetooth on and back off.  Luckily Android also supports USB Tethering.  Great, but of course the Mac doesn't support that out of the box.  A quick search lead me to HoRNDIS by Joshua Wise.  It works like a charm.  Extra bonus, my N5 is always charging while I'm using the Mac.

Thanks to Mactip for the great Android Mac USB Tethering howto guide.

Next step, turn on internet sharing and get my Kindle and Nexus 7 on the net through the Mac via WiFi!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lake Wakatipu versus Lake Tahoe

We've been spending some time next to Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown New Zealand. It reminds us a lot of Lake Tahoe at home. I decided to look up some stats. Tahoe is a bit larger, deeper, and higher. Wakatipu is amazing though, and longer. The water is fed from the glacier and it's filled with very finely ground granite, so it's a really unique color. Tahoe water is also amazingly blue but it's a different kind of blue.

Both lakes are amazing. We did have a windy day recently and I got to speak with a guy who just came in from kite surfing. He said it was pretty rare to be able to kite on Wakatipu.  The same could be said for Tahoe!

Max Length
Wakatipu 75 km
Tahoe 35 km

Max Depth
Tahoe 501 meters
Wakatipu 280 meters

Altitude
Tahoe 1,897 meters
Wakatipu 310 meters

Area
Tahoe 191 square miles
Wakatipu 112 square miles


Monday, January 27, 2014

Giant Clam on the Great Barrier Reef


Giant Clam on the Great Barrier Reef
Originally uploaded by albertwmui

Had a great experience diving the Great Barrier Reef today. Lots of amazing wildlife, but the most amazing new thing I saw was the Giant Clam. These things are pretty cool. They have a similar lifespan to humans!

I went on the Silver Sonic and would recommend them highly.  The divemasters were very good and the crew was super nice and helpful.  They warned us a few times about the high winds today and gave us the opportunity to reschedule. I didn't have the luxury of changing the date, so I went for it. Man, was it rough. About half the passengers lost their breakfast on the way out. I took some of the complementary ginger tablets and that did the trick on the way out. On the way back, after eating a bit too much for lunch, it was a real challenge to hold down my lunch, but I barely made it.

We did three dives, two of them drift dives where you drift along the reef and meet the boat at the other end. Besides clams, I saw a medium sized shark, a turtle, and tons of interesting coral, fish, and mollusks.  The divemaster would occasionally point out things we might have missed or hand us some creature that is safe to handle, like a starfish or sea cucumber.

Even though it was rough getting out and back from Port Douglas, it was worth it for me. I'm not sure the snorkelers on the trip would agree though.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Where is the Global Entry PASS ID or Membership Number?


It's on the back, in the upper left hand corner.  I found this information on the Global Entry site in this PDF file.

I was just filling out my profile on American Airlines, hoping that I'll get TSA Pre check next time I fly American.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Growth Hacking with Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistant Slides 
I first heard of virtual assistants when I read The Four Hour Work Week by +Tim Ferriss. I even tried hiring a VA back in 2007 and found that it took more time to manage the VA than to do to kinds of tasks that I was asking him to do. We were getting ready to leave the country and I wanted to find storage for my Tesla Roadster which I was sure would arrive before we left to live in Saigon.  (It didn't.) In retrospect, trying to explain to a guy in India that I needed a garage space for my electric car, was maybe not the right task.

Fast forward to 2013 and I'm trying again. After reading APE where +Guy Kawasaki  recommends contacting reviewers on Amazon and inviting them to review your book, it got me thinking. Could I leverage the same group of folks to get them to review the Sensr.net webcam recording service? How could I find reviewers on Amazon that might be interested in reviewing or blogging about Sensr.net?  

Camera Product Reviews

It's all about the camera models.  To use Sensr.net you need to have a webcam, IP camera, or network security camera. In fact that's how we get most of our users today. They are trying to figure out how to use their Foscam or Dlink camera to FTP images or setup the firewall.  They Google "Foscam FTP" and end up on our site.

The Amazon reviews are a great place to find folks who know what an IP camera is to begin with. The Foscam FI8910W has 3,488 reviews right now. To put that into persepective, the Sensr.net site has fewer than 20 thousand registered emails at this point.

So how can we leverage these product reviews to spread the word about Sensr.net? My idea was to pick camera models that are popular on Sensr.net and then go through the reviews and create a list of folks who have reviewed the cameras. My friend Erbil Karaman suggested to me that to effectively use a VA, you must create a script of what you want them to do. I pretended I was the VA and created a Google spreadsheet with the information I want to track and practiced going through the reviews while filling out the spreadsheet. It seemed pretty simple.  Now to find some VAs.

The oDesk Experience

After listening to a recent Gweek podcast where +Kevin Kelly discusses hiring virtual assistants to help with his new book Cool Tools, I was inspired to go hire some VAs. I decided to use oDesk for this, mainly because I already had an account there, but this was my first time actually posting a job. It went very smoothly. Within an hour I had verified my account, created a job posting, and folks around the world were applying.

I decided to choose a few different VAs from different parts of the world to see how they would compare. So far I've hired three VAs and each one is working on a different camera model that I care about. I'm paying between $1.17 and $3.33 per hour and definitely seeing a difference in the quality of work. You get what you pay for.

When this is all said and done, I should have a hundred or so folks who seem to care about IP cameras.  At that point, I need to figure out how to contact them.  I'll probably try sending a personal email, tell them about Sensr.net, and see if they are interested in updating their review on Amazon to include a few words about how our service works with the camera that they reviewed.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions on how to use VAs or the data that they are collecting.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Growth Hacking Sensr.net

The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking

Growth at Sensr.net, the company I started a few years ago, needs a boost. I've decided that I need to learn how to become a Growth Hacker and see if I can get our growth up to interesting levels.

To do this I've been trying to get close to the users. I'm doing the customer support on a daily basis and asking folks what they think of the service. Mostly this is a very positive experience. Sensr.net is a service for techies, so these are my people. You pretty much need to be tech savvy to get an IP camera working.  So where do we find more tech savvy folks who are into IP cameras or security cameras?

When users cancel, I ask them why and try to get them back.  That's a great learning experience.

The first thing I've been doing is learning about Google Analytics.  We've had it on our site since the beginning, but we're not using it very effectively. My mountain biking buddy Wendy Hummer at EXL Media recommended I start with this course to get the basics under my belt. Now that I've done, that I know enough to be dangerous and ask reasonable questions on Stack Overflow about Google Analytics.

I've also read Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Kawasaki and Welch.  This is about publishing an books but it has a lot of great advice for promoting things in general.

As I learn about Growth Hacking, I'm hoping to share some of the techniques and experiences that work for me along the way.  A tip from +Guy Kawasaki is to blog at least once a week. So here we go!