Crappy AT&T Plans, Airbnb Disasters, and the Transforming Go Bag


This week on the podcast we’re talking about AT&T’s crappy new smartphone upgrade plans, the awesome secret stuff you can get on Monoprice, and how to survive an Airbnb disaster. We’re also answering your questions about Mac Wi-Fi issues, MP3 tagging, and transforming go bags.

How to Listen to This Week’s Episode

Here’s how you can listen to our episode:

News and Top Stories

Questions and Answers

  • Marianna asks, “There are over 25 Wi-Fi networks in my apartment building. EVERY single time I want to get on the internet, which with Lifehacker, is very often and for long periods of time, I must go to the WiFi icon on my MacBook and select my own network instead of whatever other one it selected. I’ve scoured LH (and Google) and cannot find a satisfactory answer to making my network the default. I’d eliminate the entire list if I thought I could. I have selected it in Network Preferences and moved it to the top of the list, but it doesn’t last long. Got any bright ideas?”

    Yes! You probably need to reset your network settings. Alternatively, it could be an interference issue. Make sure your Wi-Fi network doesn’t have the same name/SSID and you’ve chosen the best wireless channel. You may also solve the problem by creating a new location in your Network settings (it’s up at the top).

  • Leo asks, “What’s a Mac alternative to MP3Tag for the Mac?”

    Nothing! But you can run MP3Tag natively on the Mac using WineBottler. See our guide to whipping your music’s metadata into shape and our post on Winebottler for more info.

  • Juan writes, “I’ve been looking everywhere for a decent bag that functions as both a messenger and a backpack, preferably a bag that would hide the backpack straps when not needed, and a bag that is big enough to haul a Chromebook, tablet, a book, and other office items. I work in an office close to home so it allows me to drive, or walk (an hour walk), or ride my bike (about 20 minutes). Are there any bags out there that would do the job?”

    We found a few: The BBP Hamptons Hybrid, the Tom Bihn Western Flyer, the Gregory Dub, and the Chrome Falcon Messenger Backpack. There are more out there, you might just have to do a little digging. Thorin likes the PAC Designs bags that have an optional backpack strap for their messenger bags. Also, check out the Wirecutter’s list of bags, then see our list of the gadgets you should have in every bag and how to create a modular go bag for any situation.

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Please keep your questions as brief as possible. This means about 3-5 sentences for emails and 30-60 seconds for calls and videos. Your questions can be specific, but broader questions are generally better because they’ll apply to more people. For example, “how can I breathe new life into my old PDA?” is much better than “what can I do with an old HP iPAQ 210?” Either way, we look forward to hearing from you!



Common excuses for crappy social media marketing

Lots of people try to convince me that social media marketing isn’t about sales. It’s about building a community, interacting with people, showing the fun
side of the brand—you know, being social and stuff.

I really want to slap them in the forehead and ask why they’re even doing it, then. Pull the plug. Stop wasting resources on it.

Marketing is supposed to influence consumer behavior, but what happens when marketing becomes a two-way conversation and the people who are in direct
contact with consumers are not thinking like salespeople? The conversation keeps going, and nobody buys anything. That’s a lot of fun, but it won’t keep
the business in business, which is an important part of business.

There are a million things we do every day that make us feel like we’ve worked hard and accomplished something. Social media is one of them. Today your
social media team connected with lots of people, and you drove conversation and awareness. People commented and you commented back, and all this activity
can be measured, even.

What about those sales? Did anything get sold? That’s when the excuses start to fly.

1. But social media is only about raising awareness—you know, like billboards.

The difference between a billboard and social media marketing is that if you talk to a billboard it can’t talk back. Billboards can’t have conversations,
answer questions, or talk you into doing stuff. They can make you aware of something, but then you have to do something else to learn more—like visit a
website, call a number, or Google it.

2. But the product is crap.

So what? Lots are. Even turds get swarmed by flies. Your job is to sexy up that turd and gather up some flies. If it’s really that bad, you shouldn’t have
taken the job. Find the right audience, and connect with them. Do your job.

3. But it’s hard to connect social media data to sales figures.

Then stop trying to do that. Just look at your numbers before you start a social media campaign, promo, launch a video, run a contest, and look at them
after. Are you selling more? If not, stop doing it or do it differently. If so, double down on it.

I run a digital agency, and my two biggest responsibilities include making sure new business is coming in and great work is going out. We rely 100 percent
on social media for our new business development, so each day when I ask myself and our team what we accomplished today, I don’t mean the details, I mean
the results. What did we do to move the needle forward for ourselves and for our clients?

4. But social media is just about building interest and demand.

Yup. Then what? Is some other team supposed to swoop in and take care of the sales part? Are you going to wait for consumers to call or email for more info
or ask where they can get what you’re selling? You have a captive audience. They just need to know what to do next. Make them not only aware of your
product or service but also aware of what they can do to get it and the reasons they should.

5. But it’s what the client wants.

Maybe the client is wrong. Listen to what the client wants to achieve more than how the client wants you to do it. If their ideas aren’t
working, show them the pie charts. People love pie charts. They clearly tell the story while simultaneously reminding them of pie; everyone loves pie.

A few years back, my agency was pitching a viral video marketing project for IBM. The marketing director asked me, “Do you have the balls to tell us what
you really think, no matter what we say?” You’re the expert in the room. Start acting like it.

By the way, I said yes—and we got the job. Now get back to work.

A version of this article first appeared on


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