Episode 13 of the KeepInTouch.fm podcast is now available. We talk about:
- Todd’s new TV and Amplifier
- Privacy issues with Apple and Ring
- Kids and Cable TV
- … and much more
Air New Zealand has a Carbon Offset programme and that’s a really good thing. I wish it was more attractive to flyers, though. If you don’t normally offset your flight’s carbon footprint, I’m curious to hear if the changes I propose below would make you more interested in participating in this programme.
At KiwiFoo this year I spoke to a few smart people and asked them if they offset their carbon footprint when flying Air NZ. People looked away, shrugged, and shook their heads. When asked why, their answers were a variation around the same theme: it felt futile, and a bit of a waste of time and money.
The rest of this blog post details how I believe this programme can be rejuvenated. I believe more people would participate in the programme if they felt appreciated and rewarded.
People are asked to spend money in order to offset their flights. There is even a calculator for that.
The offset cost for a return flight from Wellington to Auckland, as far as I know, can be as low as $2.49.
In return for that, what you get is just a good feeling. And that should be enough. But it’s not in our human nature for an anonymous good gesture like that to become the norm. What humans need is rewards, or, as we like to call it nowadays, a strong value proposition.
What if, upon paying to offset the carbon emissions, flyers get the following in return:
When other travellers see repeatedly the Pohutukawa Bag Tag insert, they may become curious with regards to what it represents. They may even learn more about the programme, and they may be encouraged to try it.
For each flight, let all the flyers see how much of the carbon footprint has been offset. Visually, that could be as simple as colouring in an Air NZ plane. Better still, maybe there is a way to produce a heat-map of the plane showcasing where the carbon offset spending occurred.
When there is a positive offset (ie. more carbon was offset than produced), then maybe there can be a new form of reward for the fliers who contributed (e.g. discount on the carbon offset cost of their next flight).
I’m secretly hoping somebody from Air New Zealand comes across this blog post and it inspires them to look at the Carbon Offset Programme once again. Is it producing the results that they were hoping it would? Are there ways to make it more attractive to flyers and to encourage them to contribute? I am a Star Alliance Gold member, I fly a lot more than I’d like to, and I often forget that this programme exists.
After attending the Playgrounds conference in Melbourne, I was on the Air NZ 850 flight back home to Wellington together with several other Cocoaheads Wellington members. Prior to boarding, we talked about taking a picture on the plane that we could use both as a backdrop for our website and also as a “thank you” picture that we could send to Andyy Hope and the Playgrounds crew. That idea (and the process of taking the picture) almost gave a poor woman a heart attack.
Here’s what happened: before boarding the plane I asked everyone in our group if they were keen to take a picture together mid-flight. Everyone was “on board” with the idea, and because I was seated right at the front of the plane, I took the first opportunity and I asked the flight attendants if it would be okay for us to take a picture after they had finished with the food-and-drink service. The flight attendants confirmed that it would be okay so we proceeded with the plan.
We used the in-seat communication channel to chat to each other. I was talking to Sam, Tim was talking to Raj or Max, you get the idea. Giggles ensued as Tim suggested that maybe the pilot could join in on the photo, since the plan would surely have an auto-pilot feature. Since we were all scattered around the plane, getting out of our seats was going to be a bit tough and even crawling under the seats was considered. Silly stuff.
The flight was smooth and the food and drink service went by quickly. Once the aisle was clear I stood up and I made my way to the back of the plane. As I approached someone from our group I’d lean over and say “We’re doing this now. Come to the back of the plane”. The first person stood up, then the next, and eventually I reached Tim. He was seated in a window seat right at the middle of the plane. Soon everyone had stood up and assembled at the back of the plane, as per our plan.
I gave Julie my iPhone and asked her to shoot a few photos. She took some pictures of us smiling, and some other photos of us attempting to make the letter “P” (for Playgrounds) using our fingers. We were smiling, giggling, and we were completely unaware that a flight attendant had stopped next to where Tim used to be seated.
Minutes later we started making our way back to our seats but the flight attendant that had stopped next to Tim’s seat was now chatting to him at the back of the plane. A few of us looked back and we didn’t quite understand what was going on so we went back to our allocated seating.
It would all make sense to us later on. After going through the security check, we regrouped and Tim told us what had happened: as he was messaging using the in-seat entertainment system, the woman next to him caught glimpses of words: “…pilot…”, “…auto-pilot…”, “…under the seat…”, “…back of the plane…”, “…after dinner…”. Then she heard my say (in my Eastern European accent) “We are doing this now”, and then she saw a couple of men follow me and the one next to her excuse himself to join us.
It’s easy to see how all those pieces of information could form more than one puzzle (ie. taking a funny picture for our new Melbourne friends) so she rightfully summoned a flight attendant. Luckily I had already informed this particular flight attendant of our plans and she could see us setting up to take a picture so she was able to reassure the worried passenger that it was just a misunderstanding.
I’d hate to think what would have happened on a different flight, with a different crew. In hindsight I smile, because the woman seated next to Tim laughed it all off. But I wonder if I would have had a heart attack, had I been in her place.
In conclusion, thank you Andyy Hope and the Playgrounds crew for a fantastic conference. We all got back home safely and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody was hurt while taking the picture attached to this blog post.
After backing Manton Reece’s microblogging kickstarter I decided not to wait any longer and setup a MicroBlog section on my website where I would keep my short form updates. This post covers my goals and the approach I took to achieve these goals.
There are just a handful of things that I thought I’d need:
I tried a few approaches (involving a range of apps such as IFTTT and various WordPress plugins) before I settled on the approach below.
My website is currently running on a self-hosted WordPress installation. There were two options here:
Option 2 feels more like “doing it right”, and, should anything go wrong in my setup, I never lose any posts I made from my own website.
What I decided to do was to:
With these changes in place I ticked the first couple of boxes. What was left was to sort out cross posting to Twitter and publishing while on the go.
Posting to Twitter proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. The obvious way, via Jetpack’s Publicize feature, seems to share only the link to the post when a title is not present. Therefore I had to look for other options, although I’d much prefer to just use Publicize.
The choice I settled on is an IFTTT rule: “when a new feed item is added to parfene.com/category/microblog/feed post a new tweet to @nicktmro”. The issue with this approach is that IFTTT doesn’t have a smart way of appending a URL to the post when it is over 140 characters, so I was “forced” to append a URL to the original post. It’s not very tidy but the counter argument is that it drives traffic (and search engines) back to the canonical location of the status update.
I carry an iPhone and a Pixel with me all the time. Posting updates to my website is a task I assigned to my iPhone.
I seek speed and simplicity when it comes to capturing my thoughts, which is why I use Drafts for almost every form of text capturing. This text sometimes ends up in iMessage, or in OmniFocus, or in an email, or in my Clipboard, or in WordPress… You get the idea.
I looked at the existing Drafts actions but I soon realised that I needed to be able to post exiting text and snippets, too. I needed an extension point. Enter Workflow. By delegating the communication with WordPress to Workflow I managed to increase the ways in which I drive content to my website.
Here’s how it all works:
Now I’m good to go. When I choose to share my next status update all I do is go to my usual app (Drafts), write a snippet of text, and choose the Post to Parfene.com action.
I encourage you to try microblogging for yourself. My post is lengthy but you don’t have to do everything in one sitting. You don’t even need to fully automate everything, like I have.
This approach has made me feel more involved, engaged, and responsible with regards to the things I share with everyone. As somebody who oftentimes doesn’t count to five before he speaks, this should be a positive outcome…
I want to ask all the people who speak or understand Māori to change the preferred language on their devices to Te Reo Māori at least for one day during Māori Language Week July 4 – 10, 2016. I emigrated to New Zealand in 2005 and I have loved this country ever since. My close friends know that I get emotional when I speak about the incredible difference living here has made to myself and my family. I’ve tried to give something back whenever I could, which brings me to this blog post.
With your help, I want to prove that there is a large enough group of people in New Zealand that would like to see support for Te Reo Māori in our software. Right now we are dealing with a vicious circle: businesses don’t see enough Māori users in their analytics therefore it’s difficult to prioritise implementing support for this localisation over other initiatives. I believe that we can help break this cycle by setting on our devices the default (preferred) locale to be Te Reo Māori.
Regardless if you’re a technical person or not, there are two things you can do to help: set Te Reo Māori as the preferred language on your device (even just for one day!) and then spread the word.
Do this from Settings > General > Language & Region > Other Languages (or Add Language if you already have more than one). Look up Māori and then select “Prefer Māori”.
Running a Google search for “Te Papa” will then produce the same results, but the word “Images” has been replaced by “Atahanga”.
You may think it’s a worthless change. That would be true if nobody else makes the language change I’m encouraging you to make. The more of us do it, the more we move the statistic needle.
Android support is patchy. Unfortunately support for Te Reo Māori does not come out of the box for the official Android releases. If you’re lucky, your particular device may have Māori or Te Reo as an entry in Settings under Languages.
The good news is that Google Developer Group Wellington (which I founded a couple of years ago) has support from Google to put together an official Pull Request to Android that will introduce support for Te Reo Māori. Get in touch if you wish to help.
I need to disclose that I am not an active Windows user so the information below may be out of date. I do believe that Māori has been an option since Windows 8, though. Below you can see a couple of screenshots of what you need to do to express your preference.
Setting the preferred language on the Mac is also quite straight forward.
Check here that you have successfully updated your language settings.
From this point onwards every time you use an app or website you will be counted. Ka pai!
I believe the best thing you can do next is to just speak to people about this topic. It really helps with awareness and it’s more personal.
An easier option would be to send your friends a link to this article or to any of the resources on the internet that discuss this topic.
If you want to be succinct you may consider asking your audience: “Set your device’s language to Māori during Māori Language Week July 4 – 10. Help make Te Reo an option in the apps you love. #TeReoBeCounted”. You can click here if you want to tweet this message.
A number of organisations have accepted to help this initiative in one way or another. There will be a follow-up post after this week is over to report on what we have collectively learned. Thank you Trade Me, Xero, Powershop, Radio New Zealand, KiwiBank, and Te Papa. If you engage with their apps and websites, and you have set Te Reo Māori as your preferred language, your voice will be heard.
If you build apps / websites targeted at New Zealanders, you can help, too. What you need to do is to share with me the number of users or sessions that you see for the mi_NZ locale, before and after Māori Language Week.
Here are a few options for how you can share what you learned:
Feel free to use (without the need for attribution) the instructions above to tell your users how they can go about setting Te Reo Māori as their preferred language. Get in touch with me if you want to continue the conversation.
Your organisation already engages with customers and this is a great opportunity to let the inner Kiwi show. You can break some of the BAU routine by educating your audience that Te Reo Māori is a viable language on their devices. You could take any of the following actions:
Now that you’ve spread the word, these users can be counted in the participating apps and sites. It would be a nice gesture to mention (wherever appropriate or by linking to this page) who else is participating in this campaign.
After the campaign is over, I will aggregate the results and I will communicate to the participants what we have collectively learned. I will then follow up with another blog post for the benefit of the community.
Aotearoa is my home. There are many other people, much more informed than me, who can probably tell you why doing this is a good (or not so good) idea. What follows is my personal view.
Kiwis are amazing. I love Wellington. Even the laws are pretty great when comparing with the rest of the world. All these things play a an important part in how I feel about this place. However I feel that the language does not contribute at its full potential to this sense of belonging.
With enough exposure, here’s what I hope this initiative will achieve:
According to the 2013 Census, there were 148,395 people who can speak Te Reo Māori. Unfortunately I cannot settle with this number. Here are a few reasons:
In reality, we may never be able to know how many people prefer Te Reo. All I want is to show that this number is large enough to justify treating it as a priority in our apps.
I am doing this as a community member, not as the Head of Mobile at Trade Me. By “our apps”, I mean the apps and websites of the entities (people or organisations) who participate in this initiative and wish to better understand their audience.
If you build apps or websites please start tracking the number of users and sessions that use mi_NZ (Māori, New Zealand) as their preferred language.
If the number of users and sessions goes over the critical threshold for your organisation, then it’s time to update your definition of “done” and include localisation to the new features and apps that you build from here onwards. Don’t forget to update your testing strategy to cover text input in Te Reo Māori.
On iOS, you can go back to the same settings screen and tap the Edit button on the top right. Then you will be able to remove the newly added language.
Kia kaha e hoa mā! (Let’s go team!)
Update 5 July
I had the privilege to speak at the very first edition of #JAFAC hosted at the fantastic GRIDAKL. Many people requested that speakers share their slide decks. Since there’s nothing sensitive in mine, I’m able to post it below.
During the interactive part of the talk I mentioned a number of apps. Some these (iOS) apps were: Air NZ, Amazon, Chirp, Drafts, Emoji++, Evernote, Garageband, IMDb, Instagram, Instapaper, Kibo, MacID, Musixmatch, OmniFocus, Overcast, Slack, Starbucks, Trello, Way2Ride, Workflow, and Trade Me.
I didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to take part in this event. I have a lot of respect for the people who put it together, so I went. This tweet right after the conference pretty much sums up my experience:
Thanks #JAFAC for:
– letting me get away with a technical presso
– teaching me quite a few things
– helping me meet awesome people
E noho rā
— Nick Parfene (@nicktmro) April 23, 2016
I came back reassured, inspired, and motivated. Thanks Sandy, Brenda, David, Steph, Jimmy, Christine, Te Miha, Richard, Colart, and everyone else I had the pleasure to listen and to talk to.
It was also very impressive to see just how knowledgeable were all the people in the attendance. Day two, the un-conference, enabled all of them to play a more active part and turned into such a revelation.
If you focus on enabling people to work together successfully, if you are all about empowering teams, if you are keen to find ways to remove needless processes, if you want to learn on how to use feedback properly, if you desire to be in the company of really smart (Agile) people, then trust me, you don’t want to miss the next edition. In the mean time, I’ll leave you with a quote from Sandy: “no pain, no Spain”.
Although I have attended WWDC several times in the past, I have never attended Google I/O. I wanted to, but I didn’t manage to. This is about to change.
After a couple of years of becoming more and more involved in the Wellington Android community (by organising both the Android Meetup and GDG Wellington) I have finally been able to register for Google I/O.
I am a lot more excited than I thought I would be. The advent of Material Design and the relase of better and better Android devices (it’s no secret I’m a fan of the Nexus 5X), have contributed to making me more deeply involved in the Android ecosystem.
If you are around San Francisco between May 15th and May 21st, and you are keen to catch up and talk mobile stuff, get in touch.
I can’t wait to attend I/O and to come back home to share my expeirence with the rest of the Google and Android community here in Wellington, New Zealand.