The Power of the Blog – Travelocity Listened

By StrangeWork.com: Some of you may remember my recent rant about Travelocity. Well I’m happy to report that today my girlfriend received an email from the Travelocity.com complaint department stating they would issue her a full refund AND give her a free one night stay at a hotel of equal value. Wow!

I’m quick to rant on a company that has shady practices, but I’m also just as quick to write about a company righting a wrong. Travelocity did the right thing and refunded the full amount for the hotel room that we didn’t stay in. Was it because of my blog post? I’d like to think my rant played a part in their change of heart. After all I did send them the link.

It’s customer service like this that can help companies survive. I vowed never to use them again, but after the way they handled my complaint I will be using Travelocity for my future travel plans.

You won me back Travelocity. Good play!

How To: Download Podcasts with iTunes and Sync with a Zune

By StrangeWork.com: As most of you know I purchased a Zune 80 last week, just in time for my road trip to North Carolina for the holiday. My new Zune was a godsend. Zune LogoThe 10 hour drive flew by as I listened to hour after hour of audiobook and podcast. After returning from my trip I really made the effort to stop using iTunes and use the Zune software as my primary mp3 program. Well after day one I can honestly say that isn’t going to happen.

The Zune software makes it too hard to determine which Podcast shows have new episodes. So I decided to switch back to iTunes for downloading and listening to podcasts/music, but I still wanted to sync to my Zune.

Below are the steps I used to download Podcasts/music from iTunes and sync to my Zune automatically.

Step 1: Unsubscribe from all of your Podcasts on the Zune Software. This will stop your Zune software from downloading new episodes when they are released. iTunes will do this for you from now on.

Step 2: Find your iTunes media folder

1. Open iTunes
2. From the Edit menu select Preferences
3. Click the “Advanced” tab

Your media folder is listed where it states “iTunes Music folder location” Remember this location

Step 3: Change your media folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > General
3. Click the “Change Folder” button and point to the media folder you pulled from iTunes in the previous step.
4. Save your settings

Step 4: Change your Podcast folder in Zune Software

1. Open up your Zune Software.
2. Select Settings > Collection
3. Under the Podcast section add the media folder you pulled from iTunes in Step 2 and select the Podcasts subfolder (ex: c:musicPodcasts) The folder will already exist.

That’s it! The Zune Software will now look in your iTunes media folder for new Podcast episodes and add them to your collection automatically.

Hopefully Microsoft will update the software soon to fix many of the complaints we have about their Podcast section.

Cyber Monday grows at a ridiculous rate

By StrangeWork.com: Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday is finished, and Cyber Monday is here! Cyber Monday is an exciting day for anyone working in the online retail industry.

Cyber Monday 2007Batteries.com is no exception. We see a huge spike in sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving and use Cyber Monday to really kick off our seasonal promotions. This year alone we are on track to crush last years Cyber Monday sales figures and I’m sure we are not alone.

Deal websites such as SlickDeals.net and FatWallet.com are exploding with one day only sale items all over the net. It’s amazing how big Cyber Monday has become in just 2 years since it was originally coined by Shop.org in 2005. Of course it’s no surprise why online retailers jumped on the bandwagon.

Eat Me! I’m a Turkey!

By StrangeWork.com: Well it seems like just yesterday was the 4th of July and BAAAM here’s Thanksgiving!
Gobble Gobble
I do love the Holidays. It helps to take a step back every now and then and take your mind off of everything.

I was able to find a Zune80 yesterday at Wal-mart. I couldn’t have found this Zune at a better time as I’m heading to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. It’s all loaded up with 1,500 mp3s and about 100 various Podcast episodes. I’ll be sure to write a full Zune review when I return.

I’ve also been working on a new secret project on SitePoint and hope to make the official announcement soon so stay tuned! Have a great holiday!

AdultFriendFinder.com sold for $1 Billion?

By StrangeWork.com: TechCrunch.com has posted a juicy rumor from one of their tipsters. According to their insider, AdultFriendFinder.com has been sold to Penthouse for somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion.

AdultFriendFinder.com LogoSo why does this news interest me so much? Glad you asked! Andrew Conru, CEO and Founder of AdultFriendFinder.com, is actually my cousin. I’m having dinner with him next month when I fly out to Oakland for the Raiders vs. Colts game. Should be fun to hear his side of the acquisition, if it’s done by then.

Let’s hope I have the same internet startup gene that my cousin has!

No Zune for You, Microsoft drops the ball!

By StrangeWork.com: Well ZDay has come and gone and I’m sitting here writing this post without a Zune in my hand. If you read my previous post 10 Reasons why I’m buying a 2nd Generation Zune over any Apple iPod then you know how much I was looking forward to the launch of the new Zune.

I talked to 6 Circuit Citys, 2 Best Buys, 3 Game Stops, Frys Electronics, and a Wal-mart, all of who had NO Zune 80s in stock. In fact the only stores that actually received any Zune 80s was Circuit City and Wal-mart, both of which had a very small supply. Microsoft isn’t even selling Zune 80s on their online store!

I’m extremely disappointed at how Microsoft has dropped the ball on the Zune release. How does Microsoft plan to be a major iPod competitor when they can’t even handle a major product release? One compliment I can say regarding Apple is at least they know how to launch a new product. They make sure to have enough stock ready for the launch. Obviously Microsoft can’t figure this out and they wonder why Apple dominates the market.

Get a clue Microsoft. You just really pissed off a major supporter of your Zunes.

Zune Originals: Microsofts big secret for ZDay

By StrangeWork.com: Well just when we all thought ZDay (Zune Day) would come and go with no surprises, ZuneScene.com has leaked some new information.
Zune Logo
Rumor has it that Microsoft will be announcing Zune Originals on Tuesday. People who order their Zune from Zune.net, will have the added bonus of being able to customize their zune. Customization options include color, up to five lines of custom text, and the choice of 25 preset logos that they can have etched into their Zune prior to delivery. There will be no added cost, but it is only available through Zune.Net.

Is it true? No one knows for sure but apparently Microsoft does own ZuneOriginals.com and ZuneOriginals.net which currently only displays a Zune logo. This throws my Zune buying plans for a loop as I’ll now have to wait and see if the rumors are true. If so it looks like I’ll be ordering my Zune from Zune.net.

The PHP Anthology Book from SitePoint

By StrangeWork.com: SitePoint.com is at it again. Fresh off the press and in my hands is the new SitePoint book The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks, 2nd Edition.
PHP Anthology Book
As most of you know I primarily use Microsoft technologies for developing, but as this blog shows I also like to dabble in the dark arts known as PHP. I’m no PHP expert, so this book will make for great reference material when I’m hacking up plugins or modifying scripts.

As always SitePoint has done an amazing job at making a technical book easy to read, understand, and actually enjoy! I recommend this book for PHP enthusiasts and experts alike!

Get Organized with the WordPress Todo List Plugin

By StrangeWork.com: Have you ever come across a topic you wanted to blog about, but didn’t have time to write at that moment? So you put it off and come back to it later, right? Of course, but what happens if you forget about the original topic you wanted to post about? I’ve had this problem a few times, so decided to find a plugin to help me out. Enter the WordPress Todo List Plugin.

WordPress Todo List Plugin Screenshot
The Todo list plugin is a great way to help organize topics you want to write about. With it’s simple interface you can easily add and manage your own Todo list. The plugin also displays on your dashboard to help keep your Todo list fresh on your mind.

For easy access I created a bookmark directly to the add new item page for quick additions on the fly.

I highly recommend this plugin for anyone wanting to get more organized with blog topics.

Know how I know this country is gay?

By StrangeWork.com: Know how I know this country is gay? It’s 2007 and we still can’t vote online! Actually it’s 2007 and we can’t even register to vote online! What is wrong with this country?

Go Vote!We spend millions upon millions of dollars for voting machines that are untrustworthy, rather than invest that money in technology that would allow anyone to vote from the privacy of their own home. Sure there are security risks involved, but there are security risks involved with banking and shopping online too. If we start investing in the technology today it would be ready in the next few years.

Want to get more young adults to vote? Let them vote for the next president on MySpace. Guaranteed to double voter turnout.