Meeting Notes - 4 February 2014

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Meeting Notes - 4 February 2014

Post by bdahm on Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:42 pm

Holy Cow! We had 30 people at the meeting this week, even a couple of newbies, Peter being one of them. Our fiendish bounty program appears to be working.

We’ve Been Hijacked!
The fact that you are reading this at all on your new Forum site has to be an indication that you are aware of the circumstances, as I outlined them at the meeting, behind this hijacking. Therefore, I will not go into them further other than to say that it is entirely possible that the ad that effectively hijacks the site may be removed at some point. Even if that happens my inclination is not to return to that site, even though there is a lot of valuable information over there that we do not have access to anymore. The possibility also exists that we could move to yet another site such as Google Groups or some Joomla site. Right now we just need to have a place to call home, where people can find out about our location and meetings and be able to gets links and stuff that are shared at meetings. So, stay tuned.

Can You Trust Reviews?
Last week during our Show and Tell segment I mentioned the Anker 5 device charger. Chris immediately checked out Amazon and looked for reviews in the comments/review section for the device. Those marked “Most Valuable” reviews were anything but complimentary. None were in the 5-Star category.

This seemed strange at the time, but I didn’t have a chance to check further just then. I did, however, go back the next day and found the original article I used as an illustration and noticed the phrase, “... that almost achieves a full 5 star rating from Amazon reviewers”, was the reason I featured it in the first place. My recollection was that I had also checked the reviews for the item on So what would account for the disparity of the comments?

It occurred to me that Chris probably checked the UK site for Amazon. When I went there, I did, in fact, see the reviews he read, but the summary did not reflect those comments/reviews. Out of the 95 comments, 74 were 5-Star and 8 were 1-Star. The overall rating was 4.5 out of 5. So those comments were hardly representative of all the comments, even though the negative comments were subjectively marked “Most Helpful”.

Then I went to the US Amazon store. There were 1,102 comments/reviews, 850 were 5-Star and 19 were 1-Star. The overall rating was still 4.5 out of 5.

One has to be careful when reading and interpreting comments/reviews. There is, no doubt, a certain amount of gaming the system at play. I’ve heard stories of employees of companies producing a product being urged to go on-line and write a positive review, or even write a negative review of a competing product. Some have said that the best way to correct for this situation is to throw out all the 5-Star reviews as well as all the 1-Star reviews and look at the numbers for the remaining ones, maybe only reading some of the 2,3, and 4-Star reviews. Some people have earned great credibility because of their reviews in the past and are well known and trusted among consumers on the site, but most of us would not recognize them.

The bottom line is to take the reviews, particularly the most glowing and the most damning with a grain of salt and be a little critical of the ones you actually do read.

Google Sells Motorola
Though it’s been only two years since Google bought Motorola, primary for its patent portfolio, for $12 B, Google sold it for only $2.9 B after suffering billion dollar annual losses. Of course Google is not a hardware company and since that is not it’s core competency, Larry Page decided it was better to cut its losses and focus on other potentially more successful projects.

While retaining most of the patent portfolio, Google sold the hardware division to Lenovo, which has a successful smartphone line in China, but has been unable to break into the lucrative European and American markets. With a high profile name such as Motorola and it’s established carrier connections in the US, this is quite a coup for Lenovo. This looks to be a real win-win for both companies.

Lenovo, of course, as a Chinese company, took over the PC hardware business from IBM several years ago and maintained the ThinkPad brand as a high-quality product. Lenovo is already the number 3 biggest seller of PCs and with the Motorola acquisition it is positioned to become a big player in the smartphone world as well.

The Clash Goes On
Chris brought us up to date on his  latest adventures with the Clash of Clans. We were able to witness, via instant reply, an attack and plundering of his village. Though he didn’t get wiped out, he did lose a good deal of his treasure.

We didn’t have a lot of time left for YouTube, but he did explain a little about playlists and subscriptions. He will continue this discussion at a later date.

Well, I guess that’s it for this week; I’d call it a wrap. Catch you next week.



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