Monday, December 28, 2009

Does the lining make a difference?

At Nutshell we are always looking for better ways to make our products ever safer and increase our (still very small) market share.

To this end last year we introduced the single-magnet-caught-between-two-pieces-of-steel. If our customers are a measure (which they are) this has been a resounding success. Today over 75% of our belt cases are shipped with that single magnet closing the case.

Why a single magnet? Easy - to minimize as much magnetic leakage as possible. The sort of leakage that can potentially cause problems for delicate electronics.

How do we know if it is effective? Well, let's just say that so far very few customers have come back at us and told us in no uncertain terms that what we are doing is wrong and a complete waste of time. In fact, praise for the development has snowballed the emails.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example most Blackberry devices demand we strategically add a small magnet to enable their auto-shut function. And in a strange twist, the latest Motorola Droid device will not continence a magnet anywhere near it. Apparently Motorola designers decided the best way to change the state of the Droid when loaded into a car cradle or similar was to use a small magnet - darn! So for this device we strongly recommend users choose our Velcro closed cases (should they choose a tab or full flap across the top of the case).

Now it is time for us to consider making yet another ground-breaking shift; replacing the synthetic liner we currently use with one made from natural fur; to wit the shaved pelt of the possum. Not only does this add value to the Nutshell by providing a plush liner. it adds an anti-static property to the case.

New Zealand's possums are apparently pretty unique in the animal kingdom.

A genetic development of the Bush Tailed Australian Possum, our little critters were introduced from Australia many, many years ago.

And they changed. My - how they changed!

Where the Aussie possum had to survive by munching on the leaves of trees that had taken millenia to develop protective measures to counter their appetites, when they hit New Zealand they must have thought they were in Nirvana; our trees were not only very tasty, they were also unprepared to resist the attack of the possums.

Today the New Zealand possum is regarded as a pest; there are more possums in New Zealand today than there are people - and sheep. The New Zealand department of conservation estimates some twenty to seventy MILLION possum roam our native forests, munching their way happily through thousands and thousands of native trees every year.

As New Zealand is a country that prides itself on its clean, green and ecologically pure status in the world, the attack of the possums has rent a huge scare on our pristine environment.

To that end the possum is one of our most reviled predators; not some warm fuzzy little beastie but a ravaging, scavenging molester of our soft, supple and very edible native trees.

But - I digress. Suffice to say the New Zealand possum is a pest of the first water.

However, its hair is most prized for several reasons; not only is it sleek and warm, it is antistatic, meaning it repels electro-magnetism.

How? Darned if I know, but unlike most other creatures the possum in New Zealand has a pelt that is made up of hollow fibers...not solid ones...which apparently contain an oil that expands in cold weather and shrinks in warm.

This may have something to do with the possums ability to keep on munching its way through the forests when the temperatures hit sub-zero. It certainly has something to do with the fact that the little beggars breed faster than they can be knocked out of the trees. this space.
Possum pelts are on the way.

Just remember.
It's a Nutshell - naturally!

PS: there has so far been one comment about this item, in which a very good customer expressed concern that we may make this liner a default.
So far, that is NOT our intention.
We shall be offering this liner as an option...and take it from there.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Site Optimization - Give me a hand. Please

If there is one thing you learn after running a website for more than a couple of years, it is that constant attention to the minutest detail is very, very important.

It is not just a question of making sure that pages look and feel OK, it is more to do with those 'slips of the keys', where stuff happens that you surely don't want.

And with more than 700 pages running live on this site, each with its own little 'open text' entry area...there is nothing worse than discovering, to your chagrin,. that you have missed something that is important to someone.


if you come across an errant page, that kind of does not make sense...please let me know.

And together we'll beat this thing into shape.

Happy holidays from Nutshell


Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Nutshell site goes live!

It has surely taken a while, but finally Nutshell's new website at has gone live.

Not surprisingly the workload increased exponentially as we worked to make sure all aspects of the site remained relevant to our customers; shipping rates relating to specific countries had to be generated (that was a bit of a pain), and, as usual, getting the head around the intricacies of a new operational environment takes some time.

Luckily we had held off making the migration for as long as possible; although the site still has to undergo some radical changes to reflect our new persona (friendly as always, but DEFINITELY more professional).

Lucky we did hold off though.

With over 600 product matches (Nutshell cases matched to fit specific mobile phones and handhelds)  and with each product listing have a bunch of personalizations ( as NetSol refers to options, the past iteration of the site had been a real hassle to maintain. On the last site, once we had generated a product page, that was it - the page became a 'fixed moment in time'.

We had just started the process of working through ALL the products to fit the new format, and I was dreading the thought of having to individually manipulate each product page in the future (if I needed to change an image, or a description, or a price), when NetSol offer us a global personalization template! Yay!! Now, instead of the time consuming hassle previous experienced, it is a snap and a breeze (and a lot of other things as well) to make a personalization change. Thank God someone, someplace listened to the user!

Obviously there are a lot of other new advantages to be mined. For example we can now offer registered customers a discount, just for being registered customers. Make that 2.5% off everything in store. Just because we can!

And from the back-end of the operation, the new environment is certainly easier to use. As Nutshell has several people involved in tracking, shipping and managing both customers and products, a better overview has been long overdue.

Luckily we secured the services of Mark Greentree, a long time web professional who once worked for our web host Network Solutions. Mark's input has been of tremendous help and, as you will soon see, when the new environment goes live, he certainly knows his stuff.

It is amazing how one no longer actually needs to be in the same room, same town or even the same country to get things done. Mark resides someplace outside New York, while Nutshell lives in Auckland.

Distance is no longer a barrier (although at times language can be).

Suffice to say, the next step will be getting this blog liniked to our website, so that everyone, including our customers, have an opportunity to have their say. As I am sure they will.

In the words of the Master: Bring It On!