Smithsonian nonsense, instapaper spam?

instapaper-spam-from-smithsonian

When instapaper got bought by Pinterest, I always wondered what would change. The first thing was the end of preminum subscriptions. I got my email telling me I had a refund and the paypal subscription was now terminated. But I also noticed I seemed to be getting a lot of spam or ads in my instapaper.

Some may say, well you accidently clicked something or you got some external thing making this happen. Very unlikely, especially since each one links to a different page.

As you can see above I’m getting a lot of Smithsonian links. Of course I never added it myself, never even heard of the site and if you search you will find 408 results in my instapaper! Interestingly my public profile doesn’t show of them and to be fair its not got a lot the stuff I’ve shared with instapaper. But I did actually go through deleting a load of them on my instapaper app and they are back!

This is why I don’t have a good feeling about what Instapaper has done. I got a good mind to read the End User licence agreement to see what the difference is between the previous preminum one and freenium one (which is the only option now).

I know correlation does not imply causation but this is so weird, I can’t seem to find anyone else with the same problem but I’m seeing lots of questions about instapaper spam.

Its not about change Tony, its about forcing the users into a corner against their original intention. This is why I have to leave instapaper and now I invested in a Android epaper tablet, there really is no need for instapaper anymore.

Goodbye instapaper it was good but now its not.

Tell us about your morning habits?

Early morning Manchester

Got a message on Twitter which originally thought was spam from HabitClock.

We are looking for the morning routines to inspire people with our new app HabitClock. You can help us by sharing the morning routine you wish to gain. Thank You!

I thought it was kind of interesting so I submitted my own morning routine.

This is what I wrote

I am woken by my lightclock. I get up straight away going to the nearest loo before checking my phone and Google Now for what I need to do for the rest of the day. At the same time, I trigger the latest Tech News Today (Twit network) on my XBMC raspberry Pi setup (Xbian) via my HTC phone. The podcast is usually about 45-50mins long.

Then I go to my kitchen boil an egg or two using my egg boiler. While that is boiling I jump in the shower, dry myself, have a shave and brush my teeth the sounds of my FM shower radio tuned into the podcast via a FM transmitter.

The eggs usually finish just after I finish in the bathroom and I can continue listening to the podcast on a FM radio in the kitchen, while I make toast and tea.

By the time the podcast is finished I have eaten, checked twitter, torrents and most important emails. And I’m ready to hit the road street to go to work. I pretty much time where I am in the podcast with how late or early I am. Although my body clock does go out of sync when the daily podcast is running long or short that day.

And that is the honest truth, although most of the time, the podcast does finish way before I’m leaving for work. So I usually start another one which slows me down again. Also forgot to mention looking at tasks and using Any.do, but heck it will do. Also reminds me I need to hook up the last.fm reporting to xbian.

Of course you can submit your own here.

Littlewood letter con for a shower radio

I tend not to get any of these because I’m pretty protective about my details. But somehow this one got through because, I believe Argos are part of the same group and I bought a very cool wind up shower radio online.

I saw the radio on the argos website when booking my slower cooker (more on this soon) as I’ve been looking for a decent radio to listen to my podcasts in the shower room for a while. Unfortunately I don’t have power in the shower room, not even a charger for my electric razor. I consider putting one in and even running a power cord under the door but all the power points are too far away for maybe this exact reason? Oh and electrification…

To be fair I do have a shower radio but its years old, runs through 3x rechargeable batteries within a few weeks, sounds crappy and is shaped like Gromit! (cute its not). The new shower radio is highly recommend because it supports headphone out (you can plug this into speakers) and a usb charger if you can’t be bothered to wind it. The audio quality is also light years in front of my old gromit radio.

So anyway I got this letter in the post looking pretty official, once I opened it, I released it was spam.

It claimed you won between £15 to £1500 pounds but to claim it you will need to setup a credit account. I get this kind of rubbish in my email all the time and I usually hit delete or the spam button (which ever one I can be bothered to hit first) but I’ve never seen it in letter form before. I shall have to be a lot more careful in the future.

The small print for a Littlewoods application

Did you get a email from Octane about BarCampLondon2?

BarCampLondon2 17th-18th Feb 2007

I just do not understand. When did Press Release mean emailing everyone who wrote about BarCampLondon in the last year?

Ben and Tom make their feelings known and rightly so I have to say.

I have little to do with the emails which went out today. Honestly if this was even mentioned to me I would said no this is certainly a very bad idea. I did agreed with BT putting out a press release. But I was under the illusion this meant emailing newspapers, magazines, etc not bloggers. Lets cut the crap, does a event which sold 100 tickets in 1.5 hours and is now holding back tickets to the public currently need even more PR? No I don't think so. You only have to whisper BarCampLondon and
people are kicking off emails asking when and where to sign-up. This is no bad thing because BarCampLondon was such a great event last time and I'm sure it will be even better this time around.

What killed me about the emails from Bethan at Octane PR was.

  1. Bethan used a Press release which I had corrected previously when BT sent it to me, Nat and Jason recently.
  2. The link to BarCampLondon2 was wrong in the emails
  3. The email addresses must have been found by searching Google or Technorati
  4. The start of the email twists the truth to sound like it comes from a trusted source
  5. The emails were sent to people who merely mentioned BarCampLondon not BarCampLondon2 (hence Ben got one although he lives in SF)
  6. Bethan must not have done much research into the event because even I got a email and I'm a bloody organizer (geez)
  7. The signature for Bethan Thomas, account manager at Octane PR is over 10 lines tall! Do they have no shame?

I do not want this to distract from the great work BT has done in opening up its building for BarCampLondon2. We really have a great space and BT were happy to offer us even more. They even had a backup venue in case we felt the BT Centre in St Pauls wasn't suitable (no idea how they could have felt that). I'm sure it will blow over in the next few days, plus everyone is talking about the BBC CBBC World at the moment to notice most of the blogs
charting the email (although I expect the number to grow by tomorrow).

My personal apologies goes out to Ben, Tom, Drew, David, Adrian, Nat, Richard, Leisa and anyone else who it went to.

I do promise to talk to BT and I'm sure they will appreciate the honest response they are getting from bloggers. Last but not least a quote from the Cluetrain.

To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. But first, they must belong to a community.

For those wondering about the email, look no futher here it is.

Hi Ian,

I notice that you’ve registered your interest in going along to BarCamp London this year. Just wanted to make sure you have the updated details on the event and have the registration details if you do want to go along.

Thanks,
Bethan

News Alert

January 23, 2007

BT BACKS INNOVATION BY SPONSORING BARCAMP LONDON


As part of its commitment to driving innovation in technology at every level, BT has announced it’s the lead sponsor of BarCamp London 2007.

The event, which will be held at BT Centre, London, on February 17 and 18, 2007, is the second to be held in London and is part of a worldwide programme of conferences that includes Los Angeles, Montreal and Seoul.

BarCamp London brings together the UK’s technology community to share ideas and learn about technology in an open environment. These include attendees from design, usability, marketing/PR, digital agency work and venture capital backgrounds, as well as developers and programmers.

The BarCamp rules are very clear and create an environment where there are no spectators, only participants: everyone who attends is expected to present, give a demo, lead a session or support the event in some way. This helps to get everyone involved, but also creates more of a community atmosphere. First time attendees have to make a presentation or lead a discussion.

Gavin Patterson, group managing director consumer at BT Retail said: “As a company, we’re driving innovation in the technology sector, both for businesses and consumers. BarCamp is at the heart of this and brings together some of the most talented people in the industry, creating an environment where they can share, discuss and develop the latest technology and services, which is why we’re sponsoring the latest event in London.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about BarCamp London 2007, please go to http://barcamp.org/BarCampLondon or register at http://cubicgarden.eventwax.com/barcamplondon/register


Bethan Thomas
Account Manager
OCTANE
A division of LEWIS – Global Public Relations
Millbank Tower, Millbank
London, SW1P 4RS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7802 2662
Mobile: +44 (0)7714 768952
Web: www.octanepr.com

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Best Companies – Michelin-rated one star accreditation, 2006
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