International Space Station Tour Video

Before leaving the International Space Station, Sunita Williams decided to record a video tour of the space lab.

Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail’s Secret Domain Blacklist

Saw this over on Slashdot:

Hotmail and Yahoo Mail are apparently sharing a secret blacklist of domain names such that any mention of these domains will cause a message to be bounced back to the sender as spam. I found out about this because — surprise! — some of my new proxy site domains ended up on the blacklist. Hotmail and Yahoo are stonewalling, but here’s what I’ve dug up so far — and why you should care.

Why Must I Sign In, Google Maps?

Brian S Hall describing his aversion to the new Google Maps iPhone app:

From the moment you open up the app, Google asks you to sign in. Because, apparently, you can’t really get from fucking point a to fucking point b without signing in to your fucking Google account.

This sums up my feelings about the new Google Maps app. Why must I sign in to get directions? I don’t need to sign in online to get directions. And why can’t you access the contacts on my iPad? Do you seriously think I am actually going to retype all of my contacts into my Google account? Give me a break.

Apple Gets What It Wanted With New Google Maps

Unless you have been living under a rock, Google Maps has been released for iOS devices on the App Store. Even though 74% of Apple Maps users are satisfied, this is still great news nonetheless—they now have a native app that ties into Google Map’s architecture and data.

What does this mean to Apple?

Simple: they got what they wanted without having to compromise.

Apple originally wanted Google to bring turn-by-turn directions to the original iPhone Maps app, but Google asked for more than Apple was willing to deliver on. Instead of waiting around, Apple set off to build their own maps app and remove Google from the equation, literally. Up until today, if you were on an iOS 6 device, your only way to access Google Maps was via the web.

What does this mean to Google?

To tap into the iOS user base you have to play by Apple’s rules. Judging by the fact that Google released Maps for a competing platform, the users must be worth a lot.

What does this mean for the iOS user?

One additional choice. As a Navigon user, I already enjoy a great mapping solution with Street View built-in, so I am not sure what benefits Google Maps will bring to the table for me. But if you are part of the 26% unsatisfied by Apple Maps, and do not want to pay for an alternative, Google Maps is a great option. Just make sure you have a signal because Google Maps does not support offline maps.

A/B Testing at the Obama Campaign

From Optimization at the Obama campaign: a/b testing:

Optimization was the name of the game for the Obama Digital team. We optimized just about everything from web pages to emails. Overall we executed about 500 a/b tests on our web pages in a 20 month period which increased donation conversions by 49% and sign up conversions by 161%. As you might imagine this yielded some fascinating findings on how user behavior is influenced by variables like design, copy, usability, imagery and page speed.

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