Dan Ariely – Are we in control of our decisions?

A amazing video on decision and how context and the default changes the results.

Utterguys.com Poor Customer Service

Utterguys.com you are at the top of my list today – Customer service is just so critical.  I just got off the phone with Jason over at the UtterGuys.com – Its about 1pm on Saturday in Florida. I placed an order with them on 7/9 – 9 days ago for a Shop Fox D2058 base for my new router. I have the confirmation email but no item. So I logged into their website last night to check the status, I was expecting 4-5 days for shipping and when I logged at http://www.utterguys.com the system had no order history.

Minor mix-up no problems… I called and after giving Jason my customer number he hummed and hawwed and said he would call me right back. About 10 minutes later he did, and he said “Sir I need you to check your spam folder or inbox because we sent you two emails and then canceled your order because it was not in stock at utterguys.com”

I explained to him that I did not get an email and that nothing was in my spam box but the order did have my phone number and I wanted to know if they called? He said we did not call just canceled the order. I explained to him that I was waiting for my new tool until the base came in because at 600 pounds I did not want to pick it up twice! He said that it would be back in stock in 2-3 weeks and I then asked if they would then ship it out to me, but this time express rather than ground.

This is when things turned bad… told me that this was not something that they did, and that this was not there issue – yes I do have an invoice and yes my credit card was valid but no they would not be shipping it to me, because as far as they were concerned I would have to reorder it.

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FAA confirms data breach 45,000 People Affected

Looks like the government is at it again. Doing their best to keep our information safe (subtle irony here). There were 48 files that were breached from a server containing information on over 45,000 FAA employees and retirees.

You can read more about it on the FAA website at – http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=10394

Mediatemple Review

Sick and Tired… This describes my year long spiral into unhappiness with Mediatemple.net. Fantastic reviews online, but overall a really crappy provider. I use a service called Pingdom.com which tracks uptime of all of my domains and websites. And after checking out the stats I was so disappointed with Media Temple and their support staff that I just had to call it quits.

The Pro’s

  • Great Interface
  • Plug and Play Applications
  • Great Reputation
  • The Con’s

  • Uptime
  • Responsiveness of the staff to tickets
  • The server just felt – “sticky” sort of sluggish – slow to respond
  • I would get a page from Pingdom, letting me know the site was down – I would wait a few minutes, check and then fire off an email… I then got a reply that they were working on it. You know, it is just once to often. The other big issues was how the server would just freeze up for a few seconds, and as long as 30 seconds when I was SSH’d into the machine. I would be untaring a file, it would hang and then just sort of restart. Very frustrating.

    As my brother would say “Ambitious, but Rubbish

    Here is my uptime image from Pingdom, and you can see why I am leaving.

    Mediatemple sucks

    Mediatemple sucks

    This may just seem like random squabbling, but I used to own (and sold) an ISP and hosting company. The reason I went to (MT) was because I wanted a managed service, with better than average performance for a fair price.

    The Story of Stuff

    Lisa showed this to me a few months ago and it has been drilling my head about consumerism and “stuff” in general. It is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to watch the presentation on the website. It is a provocative tour of our consumer-driven culture.

    Take a check it out at The Story of Stuff website.

    Virtualization Journal

    Its always nice to see your name in print. Today I found this article about me in Sys-Con.com. The Virtualization Journal is one of the top industry publications for server virtualization.

    It is always nice to be syndicated and mentioned in an International Media.

    Calea Interview for Itmanagement.com

    I was interviewed this week for an article in ITManagement.com about CALEA compliance.

    Here is the full article and a link to the original at IT Management Calea Interview – Brad Slavin

    Way back in 1994, agents at the FBI were getting nervous. They saw emerging digital and wireless communications technologies as one more reason to worry — and one more way for hardcore criminals to evade capture. That year, Congress passed CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) to ensure that the FBI and other law- enforcement agencies would be able to conduct electronic surveillance — essentially, legal wiretapping — on devices beyond landline telephones. From fax machines, pagers and mobile phones, CALEA now extends also to broadband Internet communications and VoIP services.

    Last year, the U.S. government required that all “telecommunications carriers??? — which the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) defines as common carriers, facilities-based broadband Internet-access providers and interconnected VoIP service providers — be compliant with CALEA by May 14, 2007. That means that a carrier’s equipment, facilities and services must be capable of allowing law enforcement to perform electronic surveillance, which is also referred to as lawful intercept. Simply put: You get a subpoena, and you must be able to immediately execute a tap on the network and transmit the data to the law-enforcement agency that served the warrant. The tricky part is this: The government has put the onus on the telecommunications industry to determine CALEA standards and solutions.

    “For a long time, CALEA seemed catered to VoIP and VoIP networks. It didn’t seem to apply to us, a broadband provider,” explained Brad Slavin, vice president of engineering at Skyriver Communications Inc., an ISP near San Diego with 3,500 business subscribers. “There’s no governing body — you may not even know that this is a prerequisite.” The ISP received clarifications on the mandate in February, and Slavin spent the 90 days before the deadline pushing to become compliant.

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    CALEA Compliance

    Skyriver has worked very hard on becoming CALEA compliant. We worked with a vendor Solera Networks on our project. They felt that we had an innovative solution to a very expensive problem. They have been selling capture devices for a number of years, but they asked me to participate in a podcast because of the creativity in the implementation.

    Give it a listen:

    Case Study Podcast

    A link to the mini-profile from Solera Networks

    Solera Networks provides more than just a CALEA compliance solution to Skyriver

    The deadline for CALEA compliance arrived and Skyriver needed a cost effective solution to quickly bring them into compliance. Solera Networks provided its Solera CALEA Appliance to enable Skyriver to provide lawful intercepts or “wire taps??? when requested by Law Enforcement Agencies.


    Skyriver is a Fixed-Wireless broadband wireless carrier located in San Diego, California, providing enterprise grade high speed internet access to businesses throughout Southern California. In addition to enterprise grade bandwidth, they provide typical Internet Service Provider (ISP) solutions including, web-hosting, spam filtering and e-mail intrusion detection services. They also provide on-site network services and full infrastructure management and maintenance as well as deploy and maintain WiFi hotspots for hotels and other hospitality organizations. Skyriver has 40 employees located in Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside, California.

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    Skyriver’s Backhaul Upgrade

    Working at one of the largest Broadband Wireless providers in California is exciting. What is even more exciting at times is seeing your hard work and efforts made public after years of execution.

    We have just announced the completion of a huge, I mean really MASSIVE back haul upgrade to the network. I know that in a press release you can only say so much but this is a BIG deal, not just for a company of our size but for any of the competition. This is a leap-frog upgrade that takes Skyriver to the forefront in the space.

    Here is the release:

    Skyriver Communications Completes Major Upgrade of Backbone Network Infrastructure

    SAN DIEGO, June 7 /PRNewswire/ — Skyriver Communications
    (http://www.skyriver.net) has successfully completed its high capacity
    backhaul upgrade in anticipation of its planned WiMAX rollout.

    Through a strategic alliance with a world-class telecommunications
    equipment manufacturer Skyriver has upgraded its backbone network utilizing
    High Capacity licensed microwave backhaul. This upgrade will allow Skyriver’s
    business customers to have on demand access to a High Capacity network with
    greater than ever reliability and Quality of Service. President and CEO,
    Saeed Khorami answers the question of what this means to Skyriver’s existing
    and future customers, “Our customers have come to expect a certain level of
    enterprise performance and this latest achievement ensures that we will
    continue to deliver on our promise of reliable enterprise-grade service while
    leading the way in WiMAX deployment.” Khorami also expresses his excitement
    over this new technology as it “puts Skyriver in a great position to offer
    fixed WiMAX across its expansive network footprint in California.”

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    Skyriver Communications Expands Its Wireless Broadband Coverage Into Orange County

    SAN DIEGO, March 20 /PRNewswire/ — Skyriver Communications (www.skyriver.net) announced today it has added Orange County to its fixed wireless footprint. Wireless broadband speeds of 1.5Mbps to 45Mbps can now be accessed in Anaheim, La Habra, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Brea and Orange County Broadband map. This expanded coverage is part of Skyriver’s aggressive growth strategy, which includes a fixed WiMAX rollout throughout the Southwestern United States.

    “We are thrilled to be able to offer Skyriver’s rich suite of converged communications services to the businesses of Orange County” states Manny Fennessy, Skyriver’s VP of Sales. “Skyriver’s entrance into the Orange County market will vastly improve the depth of services available for business customers and will provide a much needed and true alternative to the traditional data service providers. Further, Skyriver’s Agent Program will provide local software providers, LAN consultants, ISPs and technology integrators with the opportunity to generate new sources of revenue while providing their customers with enterprise grade access solutions.”

    Brad Slavin, Skyriver’s VP of Engineering and Operations added, “The successes that Skyriver has achieved in the technical trials of our next generation network and wireless platform has given Skyriver the confidence to push the envelope of the services that we can deliver over the air. We are at the forefront of service delivery and implementation of the next generation Wireless Broadband internet connectivity.”

    About Skyriver Communications

    Headquartered in San Diego CA, Skyriver Communications is an innovative connectivity services provider, offering a complete set of converged communication solutions to enterprise, small-medium businesses, and hospitality markets. Through its trusted and reliable wireless broadband, hotspot, business continuity, IT services, and ISP offerings, Skyriver is uniquely qualified to meet the full spectrum of mission critical connectivity, implementation and support needs of today’s fast paced communications environment. For more information about Skyriver Communications, please visit www.skyriver.net.

    St. Bernard Eliminates Thousands of Spam Emails Per Month for Skyriver Communications

    Readers will remember a few weeks ago I was talking about the anti-spam solution from St. Bernard Software (previously Singlefin) and just how amazing I thought that their solution was in the marketplace and how they really met the need for SMB spam filtering.

    Well life has been very interesting since then, I was invited to participate in a radio show along side the CEO of St.Bernard Software as a customer representative – you can hear it live on MyTechnologyLawyer.com or download it directly from the site here.

    I really think that the radio show rocked and the PR Firm for St.Bernard an agency called Lewis Pr asked me if I would participate in a press release for the LivePrism product. I said that I would be happy to participate and on Friday there was a press release about how Skyriver has utilized the LivePrism product to protect our clients.

    I have attached a copy of the release:

    SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 16, 2007–St. Bernard (OTCBB:SBSW), a global provider of security and hosted office solutions for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), today announced that Skyriver Communications has deployed LivePrism throughout its organization and to selected customers. St. Bernard’s on-demand services include hosted email, instant message (IM), Web filtering and hosted office solutions. LivePrism eliminates spam and ensures that Skyriver’s customers are compliant with federal and industry regulations.

    Skyriver Communications is a Broadband Wireless Communications carrier, serving SMBs throughout Southern California. The company required an easy-to-use and cost-efficient service to reduce email spam and ensure that its customers in the financial-services industry meet necessary compliance regulations by archiving all electronic messages.

    After testing solutions from multiple hardware- and software-based vendors, Skyriver selected LivePrism as the most reliable offering to manage configurable and scaleable email, Web and IM filtering. In January 2007 alone, LivePrism identified and stopped 75,542 spam emails from reaching users on the Skyriver network.

    Designed to specifically meet the needs of SMBs and leveraging on-demand infrastructure, LivePrism services are remotely managed and delivered to Skyriver over the Internet, removing the burden of costly hardware installations and sustaining IT management. Skyriver and its customers now have access to the power of enterprise-class solutions, but with the flexibility to choose services and scale as business requirements dictate.

    “Since our customers consider spam to be the most pressing IT issue, we needed a solution that provided exceptional functionality at a reasonable price,” said Brad Slavin, VP, network engineering and operations at Skyriver. “We chose St. Bernard’s LivePrism because it is scalable and requires minimal maintenance and support, while offering maximum security and reliability.”

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    Spam Filtering

    About three years ago I started using an anti-spam / anti-virus filtering service known as Singlefin, now St. Bernard Software product called LivePrism. It has been the most amazing and reliable filtering solution that I have ever used and I have used a number of them including Postini and a the Unix SpamAssassin.

    I called their corporate office to rave about their product and how much one of my clients in San Diego were just enamored with the service. Next thing you know I am a spokesperson for their product. (No I don’t get paid nor get a discount to mention them.) It really is just the best spam protection on the market and they have a 30 day trial, so what is there to loose?

    Well there was a press release about their product and they mentioned me:

    Singlefin Launches Free E-Mail Security Service for Businesses

    Singlefin today announced the launch of its free e-mail filtering service for businesses. The hosted service provides enterprise-class anti-spam, anti-virus and technical support without the need for additional hardware or software, or any change in a company’s current ISP or e-mail provider. Businesses can provision themselves for the security service at the Singlefin website (www.singlefin.net) in less than 5 minutes.

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    Wimax Forum

    This release is a little old, but thats OK. As part of my 15 minutes series I am keeping track of my name in the Press, either positive or negative.


    Broadband wireless access to venue enables high-speed capacity quickly 11 July 2006, San Diego, CA – WiMAX Forum today announced that San Diego wireless Internet service provider Skyriver Communications has been selected to provide wireless wide area network (WAN) services for the broadband wireless industry member conference this week. Skyriver was selected from a number of telecommunications providers in Southern California because of its
    ability to provide the business critical bandwidth that the conference requires. The wireless association requirements included providing broadband speeds to the 600+ tech-savvy professionals for an entire week. “We needed to provide no less than 10 Mbps access around the clock for our member company representatives to remain productive during the conference,??? said Matt Wangler, operations director at WiMAX Forum. “This exceeded the capabilities of the hotel resources. Skyriver was the right choice because of the quality and capacity needs. As a wireless service provider, they brought the regional experience we needed.???

    “We welcome the opportunity to work with the WiMAX Forum to address their connectivity requirements in San Diego,??? said Brad Slavin, Vice President of Engineering for Skyriver Communications. “We are confident that the quality and caliber of service will exceed the WiMAX Forum’s expectations. Skyriver has engineered its network to cater to the high bandwidth demands of Enterprise customers in Southern California.??? Slavin continues, “Skyriver plans to be the first provider in Southern California to implement a full WiMAX overlay on its network.???

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    Skyrivers Expanded Coverage

    As part of my 15 minutes series there was a press release about our expanded broadband wireless coverage in Pasadena. As you know I work for a broadband wireless provider, and we are in the process of adding a huge amount of coverage to our network and Pasadena is critical to our expansion.

    It’s not easy to get the find the location, get the roof rights, get the FCC licenses and build out new territories – thank goodness I have such a great team at the office who makes this all feel so seamless. As my brother would say “It’s not all glamorous”.

    I am mentioned near the bottom of the press release. It is just amazing to be working on a carrier class network with pre-Wimax gear, I constantly feel like a trailblazer. I love what I do for a living.

    Skyriver Launches New Wireless Broadband Coverage in Pasadena

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