Rendier’s persistence is paying off

I while ago I did a blog post about Rendier who is well known for his Youtube channel. In my previous post I made mention of why I thought Rendier’s frustrations would be resolved a lot quicker if he emigrated, rather than try and fight the injustices in the new South Africa.

As it turns out since August 2010, Rendier continues to posts and he’s now started the Rendier show. One thing you’ll notice is a generally more professional presentation. Less swearing and more hard hitting facts.

I’m not sure where Rendier got this new found energy to continue spreading his message but I’m impressed. Along with the better presentation, Rendier has also gone right back to basics. He’s addressing simple matters, “The price of eggs politics” in a way that the regular man on the street can understand.

He’s putting his ass out there in the wind and getting people to listen. If you listen to his overall message he wants nothing more than to assist in establishing a true democratic and fair for all South Africa with less crime and better education.

Lately I’m noticing that besides just general ranting, he’s starting to paint a solution, as I said he’s sticking to “bread and butter” politics and that is exactly what is required to improve South Africa.

Long winded promises of change by the ANC has not helped the situation for the average man on the street very much. Apartheid days are long gone, but a lot of real issues now need to be addressed for South Africa to move forward. Primarily deep funding is required for education. Without addressing educational requirements first, there will always be a vast gap between the upper class and those who can barely afford to eat. As long as improving education is not the main objective the crime epidemic rages out of control.

It’s very simple, South Africans need to realise that until education is improved the country will continue to slip into decay. Rendier knows this, and he’s trying to get this message out there to anyone who will listen and I wish him full success.

Why user comments can no longer be trusted

Information on the web is only good if it can be established as truth. While most people do try and cross check facts, people rely heavily on user generated opinions to assist them to make a decision. Consider a purchase you might make on Ebay, do you trust the seller? Would you believe Ebay alone if they told you the seller was creditable? Highly unlikely, instead you base your trust on the feedback given by other shoppers. These are your peers.

In this dog eat dog consumer world, marketing hype is much less effective as a selling tool than it used to be 10 years ago. This is because companies have abused marketing hype. They’ll tell you just about anything to make their products sound good, often they don’t live up to the hype. Examples can be found everywhere, and in every sector from banking, retail, cosmetics.

When e-commerce first started taking off some people were concerned that it wouldn’t work. Who would buy a product without being able to “touch it” or make sure it wasn’t broken, or make sure it operated as expected? Things have changed, and the web is an excellent place to shop. However the bottom line is consumers won’t buy goods without a certain level of trust, and this varies from consumer to consumer.

It makes sense then that user opinions are crucial to assisting to establish trust. Most web sites now allow users to add their comments or even rate a product. This has been around for a while now, and the system has been working great, up until now.

We’ve entered a new era where the marketing hype has found a way to creep into the user driven content and this is a sad time for all. Companies are adjusting their strategies and finding ways to impersonate users, to make their products more favorable. This problem has existed for some time, but it has never been a modern trend. It has always been considered unethical, but it seems we’re now crossing the line.

It’s like this company A produces goods B, users C,D and E now comment on how great the goods are. User F comes along and decides C,D and E can’t be wrong, and purchases the goods. So how do companies impersonate C,D and E? It is very easy they simply create user accounts and post realistic feedback about their product. Some companies might have whole marketing departments dedicated to this. Others have found ways to automate the posting using clever scripts which means they can cover more ground quickly.

So where does that leave us? It leaves the average guy like you and me with a broken sense of trust. It means we now have to be realistic and cross check everything, and not relying too heavily on user feedback, no matter how trust worthy it might sound.

They’ll bog you down with sheer volume! 1 or 2 favorable opinions might not sway you, but 50 or 100 would. We are going to have to find more creative ways to ensure something works as expected or if the product is right for us.

Here are some important tips to consider:

1. Never trust any official review you might read, that isn’t completely objective about the product.

2. Don’t get caught up in user comment emotion, even if you think it is real, it could very easily be marketing hype.

3. Be weary on forums too, try to cross check every fact. Don’t just accept “Yes I love this product, buy it!” or “This product is great, you won’t be sorry”.

4. Always browse the support forums to a product you might buy. Here is where you’ll pick up invaluable info about what issues the product has and how you can expect the issues to be resolved.

5. Where possible try get a 30 day money back guarantee, you’ll lose some money on having to post the product back, but it is a little bit better than getting stuck with goods that don’t work as presented.

6. Only ever buy from places that you can trust to assist you, should you encounter any problems with your goods.

7. Enquire by email first, or better yet use the phone. Don’t like the response you get, don’t buy the goods.

The situation is getting black and nasty. Companies could even be posting negative reviews on competition products. They could be in the business of posting fake support questions or fake issues on competition product forums. Niche forum sites could also be targeted. As you can imagine, things won’t improve and the whole user comment infrastructure will be wrecked. There is no quick and easy solution to this, but as greed sets in, we will need a way to establish trust.

Sorry to say, but crap like this paves the way to the internet ID. While the internet ID might solve temporary problems. It is only a temporary solution at best, but it will crack down on a lot of the drive by posting that is possible today.

Eheim Ecco Pro 200 breaks and leaks after 1 use

This is not a typical technology post, but it does have to do with technology inside an aquarium.

Recently I purchased an Eheim Ecco Pro 200. It was my first canister filter and I bought it for my new 160l aquarium. My idea was to house Cychlids, specifically Mbunas.

The guide that comes with the Eheim Ecco Pro 200, is not fully comprehensive and if you’re new to canister filters they can be a bit daunting. The guide contains a few pages written in many languages, so it is confusing having to flip back and forth, and at the same time not exactly written for the beginner in mind.

I figured out how to get it running, but never opened it, it has been running fine for the past 2 weeks. In the meantime I’ve created a habitat for the 6 Mbunas now housed.

About 2 hours ago, I decided I would open up the filter to familiarize myself with how it works. Opening the filter is fairly easy, you turn off the intake valve, followed by turning off the out valve. Now no water can come in or out. After this you disconnect the power, and finally turn the lever to the open position.

It was at this time the Eheim Ecco pro 200 broke. The canister cracked as I turned the lever into the open position. Needless to say I’m not amused by this. I’ll now have to post the unit back to where I bought it from and wait for a replacement. In the meantime I’ll need to find another solution for my fish, who without filtration will perish.

I’ve learnt from this experience that besides Eheim claiming to be a high quality filter manufactured in Germany with German standards. It is in reality made from very cheap plastic that can break very easily just by opening the filter.

I would definitely not recommend this filter to anyone in need of a quality solution. I can’t state just how annoyed I am from this experience.