Monthly Archive for February, 2003

Your Political Philosophy:

According to your answers, your political philosophy is centrist.

Centrist

Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize practical solutions to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on new issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.

Take the quiz. It’ll take all of a minute.

One example of why BBEdit kicks ass

DanielaSo, tonight, a buddy of mine asks for some help finding an obscure variable in PHPNuke that controls a small piece of how an article submitted by a reader of a PHPNuke powered website is displayed.

PHPNuke is a great engine, but it’s been written piecemeal by the author over time, and sometimes the places that things live don’t make a lot of sense, unless you live inside PHPNuke and understand exactly what is where and why… And the developer does have the tendency to change things from version to version (which is great, as he’s generally cleaning up old code, but it still wears on the mind)…

Anyways, so my friend is a PC guy, and uses Windows XP (because it’s a great OS in his opinion) but we all know that BBEdit is Macintosh only, and there is nothing that really even comes close to the pure power that is BBEdit on Windows.

So, this guy asks me to help him find the variable “_WRITES” because he just can’t find it where he thinks it should be.

So, I downloaded the source code for one of my PHPNuke powered sites (yeah, I know its overkill for most sites, but it was easy to set up) and open a ‘Find’ window in BBEdit and set it up to search multiple files in that downloaded directory and I search for “_WRITES”.

In less than a minute it had searched through 1800 files (text and images, though I could have had it not search the images if I wanted to bother) and it found 36 files with the select “_WRITES” in them. It also displayed in one window the context of what it found, what line it was on, and let me open those files if I wanted to directly from the results pane…

The real beauty of all of this was that in less than I minute I’d solved his issue, and it only took me 3 or 4 steps, and he’d been using XP’s built in ‘find’ menu to search the contents of a directory and he couldn’t find it. He’d spent 3 hours looking for the file manually, and still hadn’t found it when he finally asked me for help.

I didn’t rub in the fact that I’ve been telling him Macs are better than PCs for some things at that particular point in the conversation, but after a few minutes he said “Man, I really wish I had a Macintosh sometimes.”

That’s the power of BBEdit. Apple should really be thanking Bare Bones as much as they can…

OS X: Cocktail

On recommendation from Todd Dominey:

Cocktail is a free, simple system utility that should be on every OS X userís machine. Housed in a clean, simple interface, Cocktail replaces most other free system utilities by offering a one-stop solution for many tasks including file prebinding, enabling / disabling of the journal file system, manually running Cron scripts , file and folder permission repair, force empty trash, system cache removal, an Auto Pilot function, and more.

What does he know?

Enthusiasm

“If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.”

     — Bruce Barton

Good Management Articles

This article by Mike Perla is well worth reading if you’re in management, or close to management, and are interested in how you’re perceived by your employees.

I believe that perception is truth when it comes to how employees perceive their managers, so managers that want their employees to think they’re good managers, need to shift their employee’s perceptions of themselves (okay, that was a mouthful… I’ve never claimed to write good copy).

Being a ‘Good Manager’ is often more art than science, but I also think the principles and traits can be learned if the manager is interested in being a good manager, thought that’s usually the hard thing to sell to a manager…

Oh, and after you’ve read that article, go back and read Mike’s first article on the subject:

The multiplier effect of bad managers can wreak havoc on the talent flow within an organization, leading to lower morale and productivity, and higher costs to attract quality candidates and retain valuable employees.

I really love good content that’s free. Most of the concepts Mike has covered in these articles have been taught to me at work in fairly expensive classes… Thanks MarketingProfs.

Three Management Lessons from the dot com era

beautiful girlJimmy Guterman has posted a long entry on his weblog discussing three management lessons from the dot com era:

1. Things have changed for good. AOL’s current distress notwithstanding, surveys suggest that the number of new people on the Net is increasing every month, most dramatically outside North America. The current bandwidth overcapacity won’t be a permanent problem. More and more companies are doing more of their business over the Net, which means there are still many infrastructure opportunities. For example, most commerce-related Web sites are still way too complicated and unreliable. Those who build on the fine usability and architecture work done at Amazon, eBay, and a handful of other firms will be on the right track.

2. The Web is only the beginning. The savvier dot-com entrepreneurs understood that the Web may be the universal interface, but it was a means, not an end. The Web is a front end to everything from remote database retrieval to online collaboration. More and more companies are standardizing on Web-based applications that were once handled by other clients (everything from e-mail to terminal access). And recent efforts to expand what is available on the Web, like the Semantic Web project, suggest that there’s much more to do on the basic Web than just point and click.

3. Some projects can succeed only if they start big. It’s become fashionable to attack the fallen dot-com heroes for hubris, but sometimes what seems to be hubris is ambition. Google, for example, would not have succeeded if it tried to encompass one topic, then another, then another. Its impact was so great because its offering was so impressive and all-encompassing early on. Hail Mary passes remain risky, but sometimes they do lead to the end zone.

[emphasis is mine]

I think Jimmy’s three lessons are good ones to keep in mind in your own day to day management struggles…

Happy Birthday Steve

Steve Jobs was born today in 1955.

I figured I’d take time to say Happy Birthday as I play with tabbed browsing in the latest Safary Beta to leak into my hands… my Apple existance is now complete thanks to tabbed browsing. It’s still a little buggy, but it’s pretty slick to see how quickly Apple is responding to user’s requests for added features in a beta product.

See Screenshots at Thinksecret.

Bar-b-que and Family

Janaina OlssonThis weekend was a blast. We needed a weekend of relaxation and decided that we should spend it in a small town:

The wife and I drove down to Sealy to visit my brother and his wife, and let them cook for us. My brother’s got a very big grill in the back yard that he uses to compete in BBQ competitions, and man, does it cook good food.

We got there on Friday night and sat around chatting and then watched a movie after playing cards grew boring (no money on the table = boring cards).

On Saturday morning we woke up and started a fire in BBQ pit. After it cooked down for an hour or so, we added more wood to get it really hot (the fire box was at least 700 degrees on the outside, and likely over 1000 degrees inside (the thermometer wouldn’t register the heat of the flames).

At 11am we threw on three big briskets and some pork ribs, and later added some sausage.

Some more family members came over around 2pm and we all sat out back waiting on the food to cook. At 3 o’clock, it was finally done enough to eat, and man was it good eating.

After we all gorged ourselves on the good food, we sat around talking and watched a movie, before eating dessert (“ummm… chocolate meringue pie” as described by the wife).

After our guests left we headed out to the Sealy bowling hall and had a good time bowling and visiting with some old school-yard friends (who we didn’t expect to see, but were pleasantly surprised to see). We headed home around 1am and tried to watch a movie before we all fell asleep in front of the TV.

On Sunday we headed to the outlet mall in Katy, Texas, where we all bought stuff we could probably do without, but enjoyed spending our money in support of the economy.

Great weekend, and hopefully we’ll do it again soon.

There’s just something about spending the weekend in a small town that rejuvenates the soul…

the parade…

Got this in an email from a buddy of mine that is an Army helicopter pilot:

I’m going on a desert safari, see you boys after the parade…

I give it 3 weeks to start.

Quote about goals

“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”

— Unknown

Old Friends

Lisa Tombasova and the WallToday I got a call from my mom towards the end of the day (I was in a meeting and took it because she wouldn’t call during work hours unless it was important).

I answered the phone:

“Mom, I’m in a meeting. Can you make this quick?”

She answered:

“Bob had a heart attack this morning and is in the hospital there in Austin.”

I thought to myself…

“Holy shit!”

Bob is a friend of mine that is my age. We grew up together. We played little league baseball together, and went to grades 1 – 10 together. We played junior high football with each other and lived less then 5 blocks from each other (realize that I grew up in a small town here in Texas that wasn’t much bigger than 10 blocks by 10 blocks in size when I was a kid).

I watched his sister grow up, and knew his grand-parents. I looked out for his sister when she was just starting to date…

I wouldn’t say that Robert and I were best of friends, but we were friends. We haven’t spoken since I left high-school for college in the 10th grade, not for lack of wanting to, mainly because I grew up, and left that little town as quickly as I could.

So, back to the story:

This friend of mine had a heart attack sometime this morning (most likely around midnight). He was in the hospital and I hadn’t seen him in almost 10 or 12 years. The hospital wasn’t far from the office, so I worked late, and called another high-school buddy of mine that lives here in Austin and coaxed him into going with me to visit our old friend.

We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 and our friend’s Dad was there. I opened the door to two big smiles and we all remenisced while talking about the heart attack. The doctors couldn’t explain it, but he’d definitely had a heart attack, and his family doesn’t have any bad heart history, so they’re keeping him in the hospital for 3 days. We talked for a bit, and then excused ourselves. There is plenty to catch up on with this old friend of mine, but visiting hours were ending, and he was kind of tired…

Did I forget to mention my friend’s age?

He turned 27 years old five days ago.

Fox doesn’t get it (the power of the web that is)

Ana BeatrizSo I read that Joe picked Zora on the FuzzyBlog!

Cool, but Scott doesn’t link to anything, so I google for “Joe Millionaire” and find Fox’s official Joe Millionaire website (which looks like it was pretty under budget, btw) and I find that I’m utterly disappointed.

Fox could really cultivate it’s younger audience with a more interactive website so easily. It looks like they tried to do something with their forums, but they pretty much suck too… and why isn’t Fox running any online promotions for all of the other shows they’re broadcasting on the Joe Millionaire website?

Hello TV people… ever heard of convergence? Leveraging brands? How about promoting 24 (which comes on tomorrow night), or DareDevil (their latest movie)… Come on Fox. If you’ve got a captive audience, tell them about your other shit.

Fox doesn’t get it. I wonder when they’ll figure it out.

MoveableType + BBEdit Glossary = Pure Joy

I use BBEdit to write all of my entries for this weblog, as well as to edit the templates remotely, so finding this MT Glossary for BBEdit was quite cool. I’m looking forward to using it soon to update some parts of this site and MarketingFix.

[via PixelCharmer]

Marketing 101: How to be a Marketing Millionaire

I just signed up for the ‘eNewsletter’ from a local advertising firm here in Austin: Tocquigny Advertising, Interactive + Marketing.

The newsletter is great, but I really found an article that Yvonne Tocquigny wrote very useful. It contains these 9 tips:

1. Never Forget the Basics

2. Reconnect

3. Feel Their Pain

4. Talk to the Fear

5. Ask Yourself

6. Leads Are for the Closing

7. Borrow From the Competition

8. Database! Database! Database!

9. Talk to Your Prospects – Online

And it does a great job of turning that quick list into useful information for the average business person. So, if you found that article useful, sign up for their newsletter.

There’s a reason Tocquigny is on AdWeek’s Top 50 Interactive Agencies List (they’re actually number 20).

Marketing Advice from FastCompany No. 67

Ther are two articles in this month’s FastCompany that are worth reading for marketing information:

Marketing on $0 a Day gives us:

1. Pour what you’ve got into making your product best of breed.

2. Listen twice as much as you speak.

3. Choose your battles.

4. Get out more.

and a sidebar on “Brand Aid” that’s quick and easy to read as well as being useful.

And then there’s the longer In Praise of the Purple Cow article written by one Mr. Seth Godin himself, which is about ‘remarkable products’.

Cool Mouseovers

I saw some really kick ass mouseovers on Phil Ringnalda’s site, and decided I wanted to use them on inluminent/weblog, so… I stole the code, and implemented it here…

The thing is, I think the code only works in Mozilla or at least Gecko based browsers on a Mac (though it sounds like Safari might support it soon too). It works ‘sort of’ on IE 6 on a PC, but doesn’t look as good as it does on a Mac using Mozilla…

Anyways, here’s what you should see:

Cool Mouseover

I think it’s cool. It’s a combination of CSS and Javascript, and I dig it. It only happens when I add “title=text” tags to the links, but that’s cool, and serves the purpose I want it to.

[update: I just learned this technique is called “nice title” and the source is Kryogenix through a trackback on this post.]

Blogger bought by Google?

Masha MakarovaSo says Dan, [via Phil]

The buyout is a huge boost to an enormously diverse genre of online publishing that has begun to change the equations of online news and information. Weblogs are frequently updated, with items appearing in reverse chronological order (the most recent postings appear first). Typically they include links to other pages on the Internet, and the topics range from technology to politics to just about anything you can name. Many weblogs invite feedback through discussion postings, and weblogs often point to other weblogs in an ecosystem of news, opinions and ideas.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this,” said Evan Williams , founder of Pyra, a company that has had its share of struggles. He wouldn’t discuss terms of the deal, which he said was signed on Thursday, when we spoke Saturday. But he did say it gives Pyra the “resources to build on the vision I’ve been working on for years.”

Part of that vision, shared by other blogging pioneers, has been to help democratize the creation and flow of news in a world where giant companies control so much of what most people see, hear and read. Weblogs are also becoming a valuable communication tool for groups of people, and have begun to infiltrate the corporate, university and government spheres.

Looks like Google beat Yahoo to the punch possibly, and that leads me to believe that innovation at Yahoo is pretty slow nowadays (only my thoughts from what I’ve read).

[later: Jeremy comments on this development and I’m sure many many more will do so soon as well]

Loving Over the Rainbow

As I said a bit ago, I ordered Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Alone in IZ World and I love it.

I bought it for one song, but really love the entire album. IZ’s voice is beautiful as he sings his native language songs set to wonderful music.

Order It, if you think you’d like it.

Checks – Do you use them?

I write maybe one or two checks a month. About a year ago, the wife and I signed up for “Web Bill Pay” from our bank. As soon as I signed up, I spent around an hour setting up all of our bills and started paying them.

It took me a good half the time it used to take to pay the bills that first time. Since that first ‘bill pay’ session, I’ve learned how to pay the bills even faster as you can schedule multiple payments to multiple merchants on one screen with different payment dates.

I love it, and it frees up my time.

I’m posting this because I just read this story at the Philly newspaper’s site which I was pointed to via Eric and I wanted to share.

“Web Bill Pay” rocks. See if your bank offers it and try it out. I bet you’ll like it.

Windows Annoyances

Jennifer Garner ... mmmm ...Are you annoyed with Windows? I am sometimes… Like, “Why does XP always ask me to report a crash to Microsoft?” or “How do I customize the Start Menu?”… I ask myself these questions a lot it seems.

It’s nice to know about websites like Annoyances.org:

Annoyances.org is the most complete collection of information assembled for and by actual users of Microsoft Windows.

They’ve got some great categories of information:

Using Windows

Customizing

Annoyances

Networking

Reducing Clutter

Performance

Troubleshooting

and

Applications

And some of the tidbits are quite cool: Stop Windows XP from asking if you want to send a report to Microsoft whenever a program crashes and Customize Windows XP Styles are pretty useful.

And lastly, go grab a great Windows Desktop here [via StevenF]

Space Shuttle Exploded…

[The following is what I typed beginning at 8:30 am on January 31, 2003, the day we lost the Columbia. I debated posting it after seeing so much posted in the blogosphere, but figured I’d post it today, 2 weeks later, for my own retrieval someday.]

The wife and I are in Fort Worth today so that our moving company can pack our belongings and then move our stuff into storage tomorrow (we’ve sold our house finally).

We woke up this morning, a little late, around 8:00. The movers were showing up around 8:30, so we started getting ready quickly. All of a sudden, the dog started barking, and we heard a loud echoing boom.

We didn’t think too much about it, other than a quick flash of ‘was that a bomb?’ and then we dismissed it as construction noises and went about our morning.

At 8:40, the movers arrived and I made a cup of coffee.

9:00 am: My neighbors called and asked if we knew the big news… I said “what news?” (remember that I don’t have internet access without dialup, and I’ve turned off the cable service in the house.)

The neighbor said that the space shuttle Columbia exploded over Dallas. I immediately turned on the one radio that was easy to get plugged in (our 1940’s era tube driven shortwave and AM radio) and tuned in 1080 AM – KRLD.

9:10 am: Ugh. We’ve confirmed that the shuttle exploded and are now listening to the reports… I’m sort of glad that we don’t have pictures to look at of what might have happened… I still remember the sinking feeling when I watched the Challenger mission fail during lift off. I was a school kid at the time, and we were dilligently watching the first ‘teacher’ go into space. Man, those feelings are all coming back…

10:00 am: The radio personality has been reading off the names of the astronauts, over and over (it’s really sad)… He’s speculating different reasons that this might have happened. I just heard the CBS network news report that they’ve found human body parts near Jasper, TX (that’s in east texas near the Lousiana border). Somebody please tell me why they had to report that on the radio? It’s not good news, but rather just sensationalism.

10:19 am: Listening to a report from Mount Alba, TX given by a waitress at a roadside cafe. She said that there were pieces of the shuttle all over their county.

10:20 am: The CBS network is back on, and it’s sad… NASA has lowered all of their flags to half-mast reportedly. NASA hasn’t given a briefing yet, but that’s confirmation enough that there’s been a terrible tragedy.

more speculation…

10:30 am: A friend that we were supposed to go to dinner with just called to say that he wasn’t going to make it, and then shared with us that he took some classes with the female Astronaut that went the UT Arlington. Ugh… He had fond memories of her: good student, great person…

11:00 am: Can’t write anymore… too much work to do, but I’m sure that there will be some interesting posts in the blogosphere when I return to the ‘net.

Bill Clinton’s Aquittal

Oh, and while we’re talking history, did you know that Bill Clinton was aquitted on Feb 12th, 1999? BTW, Clinton was in Austin today speaking to a packed Erwin Center audience (coverage here).

On February 12, 1999, the five-week impeachment trial of Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.

Continue reading ‘Bill Clinton’s Aquittal’

Advertising History — Radio

Jennifer GarnerA bit of history for you:

The first advertising-sponsored radio program debuted on February 12, 1924. The show, “The Eveready Hour,” was sponsored by the National Carbon Company. Sponsored programs, which would later give way to spot advertising, provided much of the economic impetus behind the growth of radio and television. Although sponsored programs had virtually disappeared in television and radio by the 1970s, corporate sponsorships became a common source of funding for Web sites in the mid-1990s.

Courtesy of The History Channel.

Someone do the math for me… how long ago was that? And is it all that different from what Steven Heyer is recommending?

Coca-cola’s Gauntlet

Steven Heyer, president and COO of Coca-cola, probably the world most known advertising brand, has thrown down a gauntlet:

So how does Madison meet Vine? What’s the intersection?

It’s not the property, the TV show, the movie, the music or the brand. It’s why, where, and how we bring them together. And it is, as ever, about the consumer, all glued together by a powerful idea.

It’s the insight about people’s passions and the connections we create — naturally and uniquely – between them and the equity in our brands. Cultural icons in brand context. Important events tied to important brands… with an important reason why.

So what does that mean to you? Read the whole speech before you comment…

NetNewWire 1.0

I just purchased my copy. Go get yours.

Quote about Relationships

This quote came out of a leadership training class I sat in today:

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

   — Carl Jung

Playing with MOJO Mail

lovely dressI’ve downloaded and have installed MOJO Mail for possible use with MarketingFix. Steve Hall (the co-founder behind AdRants) recommended it as a quick easy free way to host a mailing list (we’re looking for a good commercial solution, but haven’t decided who to go with yet). It looks pretty good, but also is definitely a free solution. I’ve already had to go into the PERL script to play with things because the documentation is lacking or non-existant.

I’m also looking for a good primer on HTML email and what tags are supported and what’s not supported (man I wish I had my HTML manuals with me — they’re still in storage). I’ve found a little helpful information online, but not much:

Florentine Design has a good tutorial on HTML Email as well as a great list of resources.

George Dillon gives us

and I also found this article discouraging the use of HTML in email.

A readability study from Wilson covering fonts to use in email.

TemplateKit sells HTML email templates… which is kind of cool.

Anyways, I’m still not satisfied that I know enough about HTML email templating to write a good CSS styled email… I might just resort back to <font> tags and tables to get the email the way we want it looking, but that’s a lot of work too…

Office to support Exchange Servers

Took them long enough… I wonder if they’re finally releasing this because if they don’t Apple will take all of their marketshare away with .Mac enabled Office-type software sometime in the near future possibly?

I want an XServe

Apple updated the XServe is finally shipping the XServe RAID. I’m honestly thinking my next home computer purchase will be an XServe.

The Ten Commandments of Online Media

Jimmy hits the nail on the head with “The Ten Commandments of Online Media”:

1. Thou shalt not rely on press releases.

2. Thou shalt check facts.

3. Thou shalt seek out new stories not being covered elsewhere.

4. Thou shalt speak frequently to a wide variety of informed sources who aren’t the usual suspects.

5. Thou shalt search out and quote people who don’t have a financial interest in the story.

6. Thou shalt write brief, informative, provocative leads.

7. Thou shalt provide context, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

8. Thou shalt not commit cliches or lazy writing.

9. Thou shalt not forget who thine audience is.

10. Thou shalt make thine own decision about what the most important part of the story is, not simply agree with conventional wisdom.

Chocolate for Valentine’s

Mmmmm…

A former client of mine just sent me an email talking about a new client of his:

Ganache Chocolate

Go to that website and tell me if their chocolate’s don’t look amazing!

I just ordered some for my wife for Valentine’s… you should too.

(Smart marketing tactic for the ad agency that I used to work with emailing trusted colleagues with a new client’s website address this close to Valentine’s… targeted, trusted, and useful. Not at all spam either. Smart.)

Fantastic Dinner – Hudson’s on the Bend

Dinner?Wow.

Last night the wife and I went out on a celebratory dinner… just us. She’d mentioned that she wanted to have a good dinner. A Special Dinner. So, I turned to a list of the best restaurants in town and picked one that sounded like it would be special/romantic, and that had a great menu. I read a review of Hudson’s on the Bend and decided that it sounded perfect.

Parking was not what I expected (we had to park in a dirt/gravel lot and walk down a hill to get to the front door – which was really the back door). Once we were inside, we stood under a heater for a minute because it was freezing outside.

Once we were seated, we took in the menu and the wine list.

We chatted for a bit before ordering a bottle of Merlot, and then moved on to our appetizer, Omar’s Rattlesnake Cakes. Ummm… The texture was sort of like crab cakes, but all the more delicate, and slightly woody. They had sort of a smoked game taste to them.

For dinner, I ordered the Vennison Backstrap stuffed with Lobster Tail. Oh my, it was to die for. The Guava Soury Cherry sauce that it was sitting in was like candied cherries and complemented the superb smokiness of the lobster tail, which was truly juxtapositioned well against the meatiness of the vennison. Oh, and I could cut it with a fork… when’s the last time you could cut vennison with a fork?

The wife ordered the Tenderloin of Beef which was cooked to perfection. Medium on the outside and pink on the inside, but warm all the way through. It looked like a large filet, and had a lobster medalion (a big damn shrimp) on top of it as it came to the table. The meat was tender enough to be cut with a butter knife, and the accompanying vegetables were wonderful as well.

The most intriguing side dish was the mashed sweet potatoes, as they weren’t candied yams, but rather were woody smoked mashed sweet potatoes. They weren’t bitter at all, but also weren’t overly sweet, and they were dry versus sopping wet with glaze or butter. They were truly remarkable on the pallet. Our ’99 Fall Creek Reserve Merlot complemented the meal quite well.

The waiter was great, seeing to our every need, and the Candied Ginger Cheesecake in Mango sauce was truly a perfect ending to a fabulous meal.

The final bill: $150 (tip included).

It was well worth it. I’d recommend Hudson’s on the Bend to anyone looking for a perfect special dinner (oh, and btw, their Valentine’s special is $150/couple and will fill up fast. Call ahead to make your reservation: (512) 266-1369.)

Opera doesn’t matter on Macintosh

Anne at the GlobesJohn Gruber’s done it again. He posted a great little article on why it doesn’t matter that Opera is thinking about stopping development on the Macintosh platform. Here are two snippets:

…the Mac’s primary purpose is to be better. Windows’s primary purpose is to be ubiquitous. Both platforms have been successful in achieving these goals.

and

Opera is exactly what Apple doesnít need: exactly like the Windows version, but six months behind.

Phil then comments on John’s remarks on his weblog:

I did realize that the only reason I might get a Mac was because NetNewsWire and EspressoBlog are Mac-only, but I hadn’t really realized that kick-ass Mac-only programs were really the only thing Apple had going for it. Microsoft needs to make new versions of programs that are different enough from the current version that you’ll have to upgrade, Apple needs to make new programs that are good enough that you’ll buy an expensive computer just to run them. That’s an interesting situation.

And I’ll throw in my 2 cents:

I don’t know that just having Mac-only software is good enough for Apple to be successful at being ‘better’ in that in today’s open-source world, the majority of great Mac-only applications are being copied and built for the Wintel platform pretty much right after they come out. Sure, there isn’t a BBEdit for Windows (but arguably there are “good enough” alternatives out there). Same goes for most of the other software out there.

Mac-only won’t help Apple gain marketshare, but rather Apple deciding what markets it wants to be the leader in and their helping those software providers build Mac OS X tools will help Apple gain rather than lose marketshare. My company is pretty much going to dump the Macintosh in the coming year or two I think, primarily because the tools that we’ve decided to build our company on have dropped the Macintosh and the software runs well on Windows 2000. So, we’re switching, but its not the kind of switching I’d like to see.

The Apple rep that sells to us knows of the problem and there’s nothing he can really do. It’s more of a corporate decision on Apple’s part (in my opinion) to not push third party developers really fucking hard to build OS X apps. I’m not talking about Adobe (who did Apple a favor by embracing OS X, btw) but rather the bigger more enterprise priced applications out there. There’s just no interest in OS X from those companies.

Sure Apple might have decided they want to own the consumer market, and bravo to them if that’s what they’ve done, but I don’t see them really trying to own it yet… they don’t have a great entry model computer (at least not one that they really market the shit out of).

Mac-only apps won’t save Apple today, but might help them in the long run.

But, I’ll agree that Opera doesn’t matter on the Macintosh.

Save Cash with a Renter’s Policy

Wow, I didn’t realize how much cash we’d be able to save with a Renter’s insurance policy over a Home Owner’s policy.

The wife and I’ve been paying for a Home Owner’s Insurance policy into an Escrow account for the past 2 years. Now that we sold our house yesterday (whoopee!) I called our insurance company to change the policy over to a Renter’s policy. Our premium went from $3,000 $1200 a year down to $300 a year, I suppose primarily because we’re no longer insuring the property and our belongings, rather now we’re just insuring our belongings.

Also, because we were paying into an escrow account, we’re getting almost $900 cash back (after we pay for the first year of renter’s insurance). Nice.

(Note: Edited amount of home owners policy because I was an idiot and doubled it unneccesarily)

TGIF

Rachel LeighMan, this has been one helluva week.

Last weekend, we moved out of our old house that we’ve sold. All week I’ve been dealing with last minute things like disconnecting the utilities and such, as well as looking for a new home here in Austin. Today the couple buying our house is closing on it.

We found our new home in Austin, and I’ll refer to it as the Swankri-La, because that’s what it is according to the owner. It’s pretty pimp, and its right where we want to be geographically. It’s got a great view of the capitol, as well as a great relaxation pool (complete with fountains). I’ll not rub it in anyone’s face any more. The really interesting thing about finding this house, is that we found it, not through the local newspaper, or via a free locator service, but via this weblog.

I posted that I was looking for someplace in Austin, and an aquaintance sent me an email about a guy that was moving and needed someone to rent his place. A week later and we’ve signed all the paperwork and I’ve already gotten lessons on how to take care of the pool.

The power of weblogging: I found a place to live and another guy found someone to take care of his house while he’s not living in it.

Amazing. As the title of the post says: TGIF.

Managing Deadline Slippage (look at the system)

yummy blondeAubrey Daniels answers a question about slipping deadlines asked by a manager with some great points about management:

“People are doing the best they can today, given the way they are being managed.” While it’s often satisfying to look to employees as the source of your problem, it will rarely lead you to a satisfying solution. The fact that you have a general problem of meeting deadlines suggests that it’s not a performer problem, but rather a system problem.

You are the one who created the environment in which this work takes place. That environment is, by and large, responsible for what employees do on a day-to-day basis.

This is great information, and helps put the manager back into management. I firmly believe that anyone can be pushed to suceed in a supportive environment.

One final piece of advice: Check with employees each day. Give them a chance to show you how they’re progressing, how hard they’re working and how clever they are. If you do these things, you’ll be surprised by how energized your employees will become and by the increased pride they take in their work. Before long, meeting deadlines will become a routine part of the workday.

Sidebar: Interestingly when I read that article online, the only ads showing up where for Quickbooks 5.0 for Mac OS X. I wonder if perhaps Entreprenuer sold their online Macintosh traffic to Intuit for that one product… I’ll have to check it on a PC tomorrow. Smart, if they did that, as the small business owners using Macintosh’s have only had one product in that realm for three plus years now.

External Branding (how about internal?)

Throwing a hearty thanks back to XPLANE for the thanks they gave to MarketingFix (have you gotten your FIX today?) in the latest update to their bblog, I’d like to point out this article:

The Internal Impact of External Branding

for two reasons:

1) it’s a great read for anyone looking at the idea of ‘branding’ and

2) it’s a great article for anyone looking at increasing overall understanding and morale amongst employees.

At my job, we’re having internal debates about ‘what are we’ that truly require us to evaluate our brand and evaluate how we position that brand externally as well as internally.

I’ll be forwarding that URL around the office tomorrow. Thanks XPLANE.

Broadband in Agriculture

Elsa BenitezI read about the new Rural Broadband Coalition (RBC) today, and it looks pretty cool. I was an agriculture major in college, and I always thought it was sad how far behind the rural community was behind the rest of the world (yes, I grew up in a small Texas town before college). Throughout history the US government has subsidized agrigulture and the development of rural communities and a lot of my ‘more educated’ friends have always asked ‘why?’ in conversations that we’ve had about open markets and economics.

I’ve always understood that while some countries may have a advantage in production of things like silicon chips due to low labor costs, just as they may have an advantage in growing agricultural products, the fact remains that one industry the US can’t lose to foreign competitors is its agricultural industry. It’s one of those ‘strategic’ industries like steel that without, we can’t guarantee the support of our own needs and demands as a world power. (without rice and beef, we can’t feed our troops during wartime for example)

So, anyways, that’s kind of off topic, but it’s nice to see things like the RBC working to create more incentives to keep our youth in the agriculture field:

January 30th, 2003 – The USDA Rural Utilities Service has released regulations for the:

RURAL BROADBAND ACCESS LOANS AND LOAN GUARANTEES PROGRAM

For FY 2003, $1.455 billion will be made available for loans and loan guarantees for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities.

I like that, personally. Hopefully it’ll keep kids in the field instead of creating too many falsely propped up businesses in the rural markets that it should serve.

Google PageRank Explained perhaps

I haven’t had time to read it, but in this post on MarketingFix, one of my colleagues links to an interview that should help explain Google’s PageRank a little. Again, I haven’t read it, but it looks like it would be worth reading.

A few words

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” –George Washington

Aggregator playing nice

Taking a cue from others in the RSS weblogging world, Brent is going to rid the Ranchero.com referrer listing in the next revision of NetNewsWire.

Good for him. I wrote about this back in September oddly enough.

Looking for a new iMac?

If you’re looking for a new iMac, I’d recommend holding your cash for a few days… something new should be coming out soon… most likely tomorrow.

That’s about all I can say at this point.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

You know that great rendition of “Somewhere over the rainbow” that you hear in commercials now (and that was on ER once)? I heard it in full this weekend on a radio station, and decided I wanted it, but didn’t know who sang it, or where to buy it… so I jumped on over to Google and searched. I found out that it’s Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and it’s from his Alone in IZ World album.

The title of the track is “Over the Rainbow” [mp3 sample].

It’s for sale at $18.20 from Amazon.com or $16.98 from BuyHawaiianMusic.com.

I ordered it from Amazon thanks to free shipping, though, I should have bought it from BuyHawaiianMusic.com, just because they were cool enough to offer a free MP3 sample of everysong on the album, which allowed me to ensure that I was buying what I meant to buy… also, I didn’t have to sign up with Amazon, because I’d done it before… there’s a lesson in that reason somewhere for a retailer trying to make it online.

Oh, I bought the album because the song’s catchy enough to stick in my head for three days straight, and should prove to be a great ‘pick me up’ in the office.

Makin’ Believe…

Makin' BelieveHere’s a blast from my past…

Makin’ Believe from Social Distortion’sSomewhere Between Heaven and Hell” album.

… used to drive like a bat out of hell between Houston and my home town in my 1972 Volkswagon Beetle (with an aftermarket stereo — I think it was a Jensen POCrap with a set of two 12″ Kicker’s in the back seat) blaring this song.

Just bought it at Amazon.

Can’t wait to get it.

(FYI, that’s a cover of an old Country Song. Most of their stuff is pretty hard, so if you like that one, you’ll probably like this album too.)