Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Want my attention ? Send me something useful.

[this is an expansion of my tweet earlier today.]

Getting the email address of your users and keeping in touch with them is a classic technique. So classic that it's been mentioned in umpteen different places - I won't even bother to find the references. So classic that quite a lot of companies do pick it up, eventually.

However, there is one detail. The emails that you send need to be wanted by the user. This is a detail that escapes frequently. As a result, I am getting a lot of updates from various companies "hey, we are doing this!" or "please take a look at our new new model of humbambillistic hyperbanana!" - while, if they noticed, I did not really use their service. I tried and did not find it too compelling, or it did not solve my problem.

More impulsive of you will exclaim - "hey but unwanted email is precisely the definition of spam!"

Well, not quite. The thing is, I might have agreed to be mailed at a particular point in time. When I thought this source might be interesting. However, the first mails proved not as much substance as I wanted. Should I unsubscribe ? Maybe. However, sometimes with the subcontractors acting on behalf of representatives of the newly formed subsidirary of the ... well, you get the point. It might not be trivial.
On the other hand, I do not want to send this straight away to GMail's "spam" folder - because it will harm the users who maybe are interested.

So, I found a way that would not harm anyone and requires minimal involvement from my side - simply create filters and transit those "not interesting anymore" messages to a special folder to settle.

Maybe I read it one day when I don't have anything to do, maybe I won't. But I won't read them now.

I do this if I consciously remember that I get more than two messages with the first three sentences not holding the content that is informative and useful for me.
This reveals the other side of the coin - it's somewhat ok to poke me if I do not remember when was the last time you poked me. Unless the background pokes from different places burst together such that I get sufficiently annoyed with random flood of poke-like messages on a particular day.

I wonder if I am unique in seeing this problem (and this maybe just my own laziness), or there is indeed something to it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Uploading the files to the VMWare ESXi server

Every now and then I need to upload the stuff like an ISO image to my ESXi server.
Since I do not use windows, my only remaining option is the CLI - which is big and clunky. However, today I digged a bit and after reading the CLI tools source realized that uploading the file onto an ESXi host is trivially simple:
  1. Browse the datastores till you get to the correct place, take that URL and append the target file name.
  2. perform the HTTP PUT request for that URL, supplying the data.
This way, the only tool you need to upload the files to VMWare ESXi really is curl:
curl -k -X PUT --data-binary @IMAGE.ISO 'https://user:pass@host/folder/FOLDERNAME/IMAGE.ISO?dcPath=DCNAME&dsName=DATASTORE'
The above command is a problem if the files you are uploading are large (say, a VMDK or a DVD image), and the machine you are working on is not memory-rich. You will observe the error message from curl "curl: option --data-binary: out of memory". A better approach seems to be to use "-T" option, which allows to specify the file name to upload:

curl -k -X PUT -T IMAGE.ISO 'https://user:pass@host/folder/FOLDERNAME/IMAGE.ISO?dcPath=DCNAME&dsName=DATASTORE'