Category Archives: Tips

The Dirty Secret of Google Apps

Before you click that submit button to sign up for Google Apps for your domain, burn this into your brain right now:

If you ever think about letting your domain expire, this doesn’t destroy your Google Apps account. You must cancel this service as well.

Any future registrant of your domain, if they determine you had Google Apps – and it is a trivial process – all it takes is a couple of days and they will have full control of whatever information resided there – which includes Google Apps email archives, Google App Docs and more.

I don’t blame Google for this, this isn’t a hit piece on them and they shouldn’t be policing the expiration of domain names from Google Apps accounts.

It is no secret that I buy and sell domains. I’m not as active as I once was, but I still browse the drop lists for expired domains and actively search new domains with keywords of up-and-coming business/tech and terms in the news.

In the last 6 months alone, I’ve picked up 3 domains1 that I realized, after the fact, had Google Apps accounts configured. Between those 3 domains, and before I deleted the Google Apps accounts, I had access to 37 email accounts and their archives. A cursory look through a few of those accounts and assuming people lagged behind in changing the email address associated with their accounts, I could have likely found a way to access:

  • Cell Phone Accounts
  • LinkedIn Profiles
  • Facebook & Twitter Acccounts
  • Affiliate Network Accounts
  • An Ashley Madison Account (hmmm)2
  • Business Plans
  • Apple ID & iTunes Account
  • Hundreds of Contacts
  • And more, you get the idea

Like I said, I deleted the accounts associated with these domains. Mainly because I would hope someone would do the same for me, but also because there was some temptation to dig for some competitive information that I didn’t feel right doing. I removed the temptation and kept the ethical compass pointing north, mostly north.

Before you let any domain expire, audit its past usage and clean up the loose ends so they don’t come back to bite you.

1 Don’t ask, I’m not revealing which domains they were.
2 A married, and from what I gathered, a prominent business person in his city.

The New Las Vegas

I just returned from my second trip to Las Vegas in 2010. This Vegas isn’t the Vegas I used to love.

The sandwich, a $20 or $50 sandwiched between your credit card and drivers license depending on length of stay, used to secure a decent upgrade from your friendly front-desk clerk. A hundy would put you in a near-rockstar suite. Now tips are banned for “Guest Service Agent” (GSA) and in place is a carefully metered up-sell chart, which garners the GSA a spiff, valued nowhere near what they could take in tips before.

Thankfully the practice can still gain upgrades in the luxury hotel market around the country – A $50 sandwich in Kansas City gained me a penthouse suite for Friday-Sunday stay this past fall – but I digress.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada signThe city of sin has become the city of hand sanitizer as the transformation from a city of vice and debauchery has given way to a city of luxury – and faux luxury. Recent ratings from the Foodies has Las Vegas seated squarely in third place in the USA as a top culinary destination. Ranked behind New York and San Francisco.

Don’t get me wrong, I like food, I enjoy food, and I will go to great lengths to seek out culinary enjoyment. I think someone should do a ranking of celebrity and figure out where Chef ranks in the international pecking order of cool.

A celebrity chef has the power to flavor the food with psychology and desire, carefully measured with focus groups, marketing messages and repetition to serve a plate one thinks is above all others. Make no mistake, in order to be a top successful restauranteur, one must master the ability to improve margins; e.g. separate the diner from their cash. In the new Las Vegas, this jives well with the gambling mantra.

I will argue with those who tell me Las Vegas is a culinary destination. As far as food goes, it is simply a celebrity chef ego stroking affair, Bringing accessibility to the folks who eat up food television and its ever increasing ratings and spinoffs. Las Vegas’ third place ranking should emphasize that Las Vegas is ranked 3rd among those who use rankings to determine the value of their culinary intake.

My favorite menu item I saw: 10 oz Prime Filet Mignon (Nebraska) $56 (with a close second place to Proudly serving Omaha Steaks). Guess what, you won’t see a Nebraska cattleman paying $56 for a 10oz filet. In fact, if you see a Nebraska cattleman eating a steak other than one raised, butchered, and grilled locally, you won’t see him opening up his wallet for much more than about $15 and it damned well better come with sides. I live in Nebraska and can tell you that most local folks don’t bother with Omaha Steaks either.

And while the price of food has increased astronomically, the trend hasn’t been lost on the beverage side of the house. Wine is a whole different ball game and worthy of a different post. Where on God’s green earth is a pour of Absolut with a measure of Red Bull worth $14.50 and a 12 oz. Corona worth $7.50? Ding, ding. Las Vegas.

Good luck getting a cocktail waitress when you are gambling. Where free drinks used to rule the day, cocktail waitresses are few and far between these days. Why? Two things, Psychology and The EconomyTM.

Remember the anecdote about the brilliant employee that determined if they reduced the number of olives in a jar by one they’d save gazillions of dollars? That happens in Las Vegas every single day and with The EconomyTM hurting the way it is, Corporate Las Vegas is tweaking every parameter in the Separate-You-From-Your-Cash algorithm. From 1995 to 2009, the time between free cocktail runs in the slot areas has increased from 14 minutes to 27 minutes. Why? discretionary income is down and visitor counts are down. Increasing time between cocktail runs serves several fronts, including reduced wait staff and increased play by those gambling in order to offset the reduction in gambling dollars.

I’m interested in seeing what happens when the economy recovers. New Las Vegas is already worried about visitor counts. A friend in the hotel business, who would find a hole in the desert to drop me in quicker than you can yell “blackjack” if I revealed which hotel, tells me the average non-convention stay has dropped from 3.1 nights to 1.6 nights over the last five years.

Short of sharing details in the manner of cliched What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, My Las Vegas included weekend trips with my buddies that consisted of a gambling stash, a plane flight out, and a the only concrete agenda item was to make it back to the airport before our return flight left. We didn’t book hotel rooms, we didn’t take luggage other than a carry-on bag. We either earned the comp room or obtaining a place to crash through luck, skill, womanizing and/or bribery.

I have my fingers crossed that Manufactured Las Vegas loses their grip on sanitized artificial reality and returns to its roots. Gambling, booze, and debauchery. Until then, my trips include a detour to the local grocery establishment – or ABC Stores! – to stock my own private hotel-room bar. Vegas, you are going to have to work harder to get my money than by relying on your focus groups.

*I don’t have public-attributable sources for my stats other conversations with people I know in the business. Take ’em with salt (and a lime wedge with tequila) if you want to quote them as fact.

My Fix for iPhone Battery Woes

My iPhone started draining the battery fairly quickly by most accounts of battery life, including going from a 100% full charge to the Red Battery Warning in 7 hours with absolutely no physical usage (during the overnight hours).

I tried two things (during the same time) so I’m not sure which was the actual fix but here goes:

1) Let the phone run down past the red battery warning up to the point where it shuts off and becomes unresponsive. Plug it in to charge for a few minutes then use the force reboot (hold down the menu button and sleep button until it resets) to get the phone operable again, then charge until full.

2) My original working hypothesis was that Safari wasn’t shutting down to a sleep state when leaving the browser and going back to the menu. My evidence was, that in my days of usage before getting to my 7 hour drain state, every time I went to Safari, my page was trying to refresh. I set up a bookmark for the address of about:blank to create an empty browser page and started loading that prior to returning to the main menu.

The result. I’m now on hour 18 of my latest charge and my battery icon is indicating I still have roughly a 75% charge with normal usage during those 18 hours.

Anyone out there who can help me test in an A/B fashion would be appreciated since my iPhone is apparently fixed.