Monthly Archive for March, 2003

On Poo

Misha says:

As of today, I have been alive for 7,785 days.

Assuming I take 1.2 poops a day, that’s 9,342 poops taken.

Assuming each poo is about 5″ in total length, that’s 46,710 inches of poop that has come out of me.

Or 3,892.5 feet. Or about a three-quarters of a mile.

Or, to put things visually, I’d have to take a shit that reaches from the top of the Empire State Building all the way to the street three times to excrete that much poo.

Thank you; I’m very proud too.

Heh… that’s quite a bit of poo.

Notes on Managing Customer Expectations in Advertising Sales

Anna CristinaI’ve been researching some material for a segment of a class I’m giving tomorrow at work. The audience is a great audience, and I’m aiming at having an interactive talking session. I’m speaking to 25 or so employees that are primarily print advertising sales people about managing their customer’s expectations about online advertising.

I’ve found a few good pieces for inspiration (thanks of course to Google):

Articles on Managing Customer Expectations, though it really deals with ‘customer service’ examples.

Something I’ll be doing in this class is offering a “When I’m a Customer, I Want …” brainstorming session, just to get people talking.

I also found this quote:

“Expectations are your client’s vision of a future state or action, usually unstated but which is critical to your success.”

From this page as well as these three steps to managing expectations:

1. Setting expectations

2. Capturing/monitoring expectations

3. Influencing expectations

Here’s another good article I found that says:

“When a customer makes a choice between two or more suppliers of a good or service, that choice is often made on the basis of what they expect in the way of product quality or how they expect to be treated.”

The Project Management Review has an article titled Five Steps to Effectively Managing Customer Expectations which are (in brief):

Step 1: Prepare the team and the executives.

Step 2: Define quality metrics.

Step 3: Kick off.

Step 4: Communicate progress.

Step 5: Review performance.

Lastly, I found this PDF from which I’ll pull some great talking points:

“According to Deloitte and Touche, it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.”

“In the credit card industry for instance, a company must mail 30,000 to 50,000 applications in order to achieve a two or three percent response.”

“A satisfied customer will recommend it to at least four other people, while an unhappy customer will tell seven other people about the product or service.”

While none of these apply directly to advertising sales, I’ll use them as talking points in my segment, just to get the discussion going, and then I’ll speak about specific examples of how to manage advertising client’s expectations. The best way is to make sure you know what their expectations are up front, dispell any misconcieved notions, and then report the results, and help the client interpret them, while always looking forward to the next campaign or product that makes sense for the client.

Ever Steal Code? Be careful if you do…

Ugh… oh how a thief must feel after being caught stealing someone’s code. Adam Kalsey has publicly shamed a thief. And it’s really sort of sad that someone would steal Kalsey’s code, and then put it online to claim as their own. Don’t people realize that there’s just about nothing on the internet that Google doesn’t know about?

MT Hacks – Auto-Notification Needed

Jennifer GarnerI’m trying to learn more about hacks for Movable Type. What I really, really want is a way to send out notifications immediately after a posting is made (well perhaps time delayed by 5 minutes) but auto-notify doesn’t seem to be something that anyone has built yet. Ideally, I’d like to see a ‘post-by-post’ notify feature, and a ‘daily-digest’ feature.

I’ve set up a mailing list, so that I can do this, but haven’t found the right combination of existing hacks to get what I want done truly done.

If anyone’s interested in building something for me, I’d love to talk to you about the concepts. In the meantime, here are some more MT Hacking Links:

Entry Category: Movable Type Advanced

MT Plugin Directory

MT Extensions

David Raynes, who provides plenty of MT categories on his blog.

emptypages

Scripts & Such

Phil’s MT Hacks Page (the old URL moved on me)

Brad Choate’s MT tips

An Apple Tablet? new Safari beta?

Gizmodo reports that Spymac is reporting that Apple’s inching towards releasing a tablet soon (that will be announced 6 months before it’s shipping, if Steve holds true to form at the next MacWorld). Hmmm… Spymac’s batting average anyone?

Something you can bank on is a new Safari beta coming out in the coming couple of weeks.

MyDentity

Rachel J MarteenI just read this article over on Ratcliffe’s Blog, where Ratcliffe expands on Doc’s ideas about an information mediary that has the power to tell company’s that you don’t want their junk mail, spam, or phone calls, but then also gets you the information you do want, when you want it. Sounds like a very interesting business model…

BBEdit is my editor of choice

It’s funny. I’ve learned over the past few years to do almost all of my editing and writing in BBEdit, this this post: BBEdit Shovelware pretty much sums up my thoughts too (though I’ve paid for the full version of NNW)

Bike Shopping

Today we visited the central Austin location of the Bicycle Sport Shop.

We looked at a few bikes, but mainly just got a feel for the price of bikes and talked to a sales rep about what we should really be looking at buying. We haven’t really ridden bikes since we were in grade-school, so it’s been a while, and we have no idea if we’ll end up enjoying riding long road rides, or more trail based rides.

We looked at ‘comfort mountain’ bikes as an entry level style that’ll allow us to do both road and trail riding (but not too aggressive trail riding).

Of particular interest were the ’03 Specialized Crossroads Sport and the ’03 Specialized Expedition Sport (which is slightly more ‘mountain’ ready). After looking around the Bicycle Sports Shop’s website, I also think I’d like to look at these bikes also: the ’03 Gary Fisher Napa, the ’03 Trek Navigator 300, the ’03 Gary Fisher Advance, the ‘03 Specialized Hardrock, the ’03 Trek 4300, ’03 Gary Fisher Wahoo, the ’03 Trek 4500, and the ’03 Trek 4300 Disc.

The Bicycle Sport Shop has a ‘day rental’ program available, so I think I’ll be renting a bike each weekend for the next few weekends before I narrow down what I want to buy.

The brands that we’re looking at also have their own websites: Trek (what Lance Armstrong rides), Specialized, and Gary Fisher. (What ever happened to Schwinn? I used to own a Schwinn BMX when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget that brand. later: found them. I particularly like the Schwinn Mesa GSX.) BTW, Trek and Schwinn have the better websites of the four brands I checked out.

Bracket Braggin’

How are your picks for the NCAA Tournament? I’ve picked 39 of the games as of Friday… I’m actually enjoying this tournament this year… I’m an Aggie, but can’t help but root for the Longhorns this time around (besides Basketball really doesn’t count as a sport in most parts of Texas).

I’m leading the office pool too (money is in my future).

Managing through the war

I Love the PoolJimmy Gutterman’s written a great short article on “Managing Through the War“. The meat of the article is these three statements:

Don’t dismiss worries. Some fears are irrational, but that doesn’t mean the people who express them should be treated as irrational. Some workers are immature, others may be confusing economic fears with war fears. Acknowledge that these are uncertain times and that people should behave prudently, but always bring the conversation back to how you and your employee can work together to make sure business gets done.

Don’t bring it up, but don’t ignore it. Or: Don’t ask, do tell. I’ve been conferring with managers during the past week, and the consensus is that bringing staff in for a let’s-keep-our-chins-up-during-the-war meeting has inadvertently raised anxiety, not lowered it. A letter to your crew acknowledging the obvious may be appreciated, but that’s sufficient. However, if anyone comes to you with a concern, listen and help.

Don’t say what you don’t know. Young employees may have questions you simply can’t answer, such as, Will the war lead to more layoffs? Don’t make promises you can’t keep; acknowledge the person’s concern, but redirect the conversation to how you can make the worker more productive and confident on the job. This is a good piece of advice in peacetime too. Indeed, all these guidelines make sense no matter what the world’s political and military state is. But during wartime, following them is especially important.

Great advice as always from Jimmy.

What’s your weblog worth?

I just stumbled across Blogshares, a fictional stock market type game where people can invest in weblogs with play money. (its nicely done might I add)

This game looks like a worthwhile diversion.

inluminent/weblog is worth $1,139 and the per-share price is $1.21. I think I’m going to sign up and play, as hopefully it’ll teach me a little about the real stock market, and if it doesn’t it’ll be fun none-the-less.

What I missed without my RSS Reader

yvonne catterfeldSo, now that the iBook is back in fully-functional form, I’m amazed at how much I missed without it. (It’s so much easier to gather more information with an RSS reader than by surfing websites with a browser.)

I just caught up on some Anti-Aliasing articles (1, 2, and 3) from Daring Fireball. Very good reading for designers and font-geeks. I also found this interview of Brent Simmons from John.

I missed Todd Dominey’s excellent Impressions of Austin post

I realized that I haven’t visited Inconceivably in a month.

I read a quick article about Adobe saying the PC’s are faster than Macs which I find interesting considering Apple always shows Macs outperforming PCs with Photoshop at Expos.

I learned that Al Gore joined Apple’s Board of Directors from Jeremy Hedley. (Yes, that shows you how far out of the Mac scene I am now… I never ready Maccentral or Macminute anymore… oh, and no, they still don’t provide full RSS feeds that I’m aware of.)

I also found that I totally missed this Essential Field Guide to Fox Blondes. Heh… too funny…

Man, I missed NetNewsWire.

Amazing Warranty Work from Apple

Two weeks ago, my laptop’s LCD screen went blank. I played with it for about 24 hours, trying different things to get it to work, eventually giving up and calling Apple’s warranty department.

I spoke with them for about 15 minutes, describing the problems, and they assigned me a dispatch number and sent out a box so I could Fedex the iBook back to Apple.

I took a week to finally send it to them, but after finally putting it in the mail this past Tuesday, I was prepared to wait for Apple to take up to 3 weeks to repair the computer (because that’s how long it usually takes CompUSA to fix a broken machine for me under their warranty service).

I was floored to see an Airborne Express delivery slip on my door on Friday after work.

I picked up my laptop on Saturday after calling Airborne Express to confirm that it was really at their distribution center. I’m amazed that the iBook was fixed in 24 hours, and shipped back to me with less than a week out of my hands.

Free MP3s – totally free

This site posts links to free MP3s as well as a few that are for sale… great stuff.

[via dasme]

Car Dealerships Should Have Wifi

mmmm...Jeremy rants about the fact that car dealerships should have Wireless networks in them in this post. I didn’t blog my thoughts on this subject back when I last had my Jetta worked on, but I agree… Car dealerships should have Wifi for customers waiting in the service area… they’d likely be able to cut down on the number of customers they had to run all over town in their shuttles if they added free Wifi, and publicised it.

In fact, I think they could also get a lot of usefulness out of Wifi enabled palms that could pull data from a central inventory computer so that sales persons could learn details about cars on the lot, while standing there with a customer ready to buy…

Great point Jeremy.

Another thing is that a well built Wifi network in a car dealership could be used to get the customer to ‘interact with the brand’ more. Perhaps the person logging on to the Wifi network has to first goto a custom built splash screen that introduces all of the services that the dealership has to offer the customer. Perhaps they use it to sell things like after-market addons, or CDs that sound great with that “Monsoon” sound system. Perhaps they could use it to provide ‘movie trailers’ of the cars available for sell. Perhaps they could use it to introduce new services like ‘online service order booking’ or other services…

They could definitely use a forces splash page on a free (and cheap) Wifi network to force the customer to ‘interact with the brand’ just a litte more.

Amazing Resume

Alexis TrČpanier

Just click the link, and sit back and enjoy… fantastic resume eh?

Google News is Stiff

Olivier asks a great question: How comes news.google.com hasn’t created a special ‘news on Iraq’ section on it’s own?

Sales and Marketing Articles

Wow. This list of sales and marketing articles from SMEI is a great primer for sales people in the advertising world… Great ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of different media, and much much more.

Check Bandwidth Charges Before…

AneliNote to self:

If you ever decide to offer a large download to the public, check how your ISP charges you for bandwidth.

This note inspired by Glenn’s ongoing discovery of how much giving away a book in PDF format will cost him…

Ugh… That really sucks to learn that your host might charge you $15,000 after you do something…

Redesigning MT Archives for better search referrals

Kasia’s planning on reworking her archives, and her reasoning makes a lot of sense… I’ll have to keep an eye on how she reworks them, and see if it makes sense to do that here, and possibly on MarketingFix.

Wireless Dell Laptop via Linksys

While I was at CompUSA buying the Linksys Ethernet Bridge, I also picked up a Linksys WPC 11 (Instant Wireless Network Adapter – Version 3.0) or 802.11 card. It was only $80, and since my company said I couldn’t have one, I bought one with my own cash. It’ll be worth it, as I can now surf the net from the work computer while sitting on the couch too.

This really means the wife can surf the web using the PC while I surf using the iBook (once I get it back from the shop) as all of my real tools are on the Mac (Photoshop, Fireworks, telnet, etc…) and I’m so much more fluid on the Mac, as well as the fact that the battery really holds up much better on the Mac than on the Dell.

Woohoo… totally wireless home network now!

(Oh, and setting up the Linksys PC Card on XP couldn’t have been any easier… it was just plug in the card, insert CD, hit ‘ok’ and you’re done. Nice job there Microsoft and Linksys)

Wireless old iMac via Linksys

niceThanks to a tip from Noel, I went to CompUSA today and picked up a Linksys WET111 (a wireless ethernet bridge) this evening. I brought it home, and realized what he meant by “These are a bitch to setup the first time, but work like butter…” as the damn thing doesn’t come with a Mac configuration utility (or if it does, I couldn’t get this old iMac to read the CD).

Luckily, I brought home my laptop from the office just for this sole reason. The setup utility was a snap to use under XP. I plugged in the little bridge via its ethernet cable, loaded the CD into the CD tray, and viola, the CD auto-ran, and the config utility came up. A few ‘yes’ buttons and I was all configured. I reset the bridge, and checked it on the PC. It worked fine.

I unplugged it, and plugged it into the Mac… and viola! I’m now surfing wirelessly on ‘ol Faithful via a Linksys Wireless Ethernet Bridge.

Thanks for the tip Noel. (this means I can now be more productive in my non-office hours again)

Multi-tasking is bad for projects

Hal points out two recent articles about multi-tasking and the harm that it can cause for project managers in his latest post. Good stuff to read… it’s doubful the boss will give a shit though.

Good ‘ol Faithful

imogen baileyI got the trusty ‘ol bondi iMac online tonight at the house… it’s not pretty, but it works… We bought this old iMac in 1998, and originally, it had a 233 MHz G3 processor (pretty fast for the time) and 32MB of on board RAM, 2 or 4 MB of VRAM and a 4 GB Hard Drive and I think was running Mac OS 8. I’ve since upgraded it to a 433 MHz G4 processor, maxed out the RAM at 256 MB and upgraded the Hard drive to 45 GB. The video processor is still a dog, and while I’m running Mac OS X on this machine, it definitely bends under a lot of pressure, mainly due (my assumption here) to the poor video card in it. Alas, that video card is soldered to the motherboard, otherwise, I’d likely figure out how to upgrade it, if I could.

And to think, this trusty old machine used to crank out iMac2Day.com back in the day…

There’s a mess of ethernet and coax cables running from the second bedroom into the office (anyone that can tell me how to get an old Rev/B iMac on a wireless network without buying anything or running extra cables gets lunch) for now, and while it’s not pretty, it’s actually easily cleaned up for company by just unplugging the iMac from the network and rolling all of the cables up into the other room…

(the iBook should be going out to the shop tomorrow, and hopefully will return shortly)

do business online like you would offline

In Jeremy’s latest post: Audible.com mini-rant, he shows why websites should function just like the real world. If you’re going to allow someone to spend more money with you online, then you should make sure you allow them to spend less money with them online as well.

Turn about is fair play, and people expect websites to handle all of their needs, if you present it as a website that can do that. If you don’t handle people’s assumptions well online, then you’re just asking to loose customers, like Audible did with Jeremy…

Trackback

All webloggers should use TrackBack if their weblogging software supports it, and this article helps point to some more articles that explain a little of the ‘why’ question.

Wrong in the News

Why is it that when a news website is caught red handed they shove it under the carpet, instead of listing it on their ‘corrections’ page? Newspapers do it… why don’t we do it on the web?

Microsoft forces their hand, or do they?

This is sad, according to Scott, who cites another source, Office Depot will only sell computer products (hardward and software) that’s certified by Microsoft to run well on their computers…

I like my Apple made hardware, software, and finely built peripherals… That’s the difference between the majority of Apple developers and Windows developers. All Apple developers that sell more than one product know that the standards have to be quite high for most Macintosh owners to recommend the product to a friend… Microsoft developers know that Microsoft users are stupid, for the most part, and don’t expect their computers to work properly the first time, so they can make shitty software and hardware and get away with it… the market’s large enough to have a good amount of idiots willing to plunk down good cash for crappy stuff….

Note about CSS positioning and accessability

I’ve never really paid much attention to accessability guidelines, thought I’ve found them quite interesting. I’m not a designer or a developer by trade anymore, but rather am a sales person, so I just pay attention to them peripherally, but…

I’ve got a new Palm that talks to my phone via bluetooth, and the web via GPRS, so, when using the snazzy little web browsing application, I was quite happy when reading inluminent/weblog and marketingfix (which are basically the same template, but using CSS to position the sidebar on seperate sides on the pages), they both look the same on the Palm browser, that is, the content shows up before the long sidebar/linkrail, which is what I’d prefer, if I were using a small PDA based web-browser.

Sadly, the images aren’t turned off on inluminent/weblog like they should be (thanks to CSS) but still, it’s a great relief to know that the pages are quite readable thanks to CSS positioning…

For more on CSS positioning and accessability/usability guidelines, I’d recommend the following links:

diveintoaccessibility

zeldman

[stop] design

jay small

A List Apart

That’s a short list, but a good one… add your links in the comments.

Struck out – Selling the Decision Maker

Lesson #1: When spending two days out of town meeting with a client about something new that you have to offer them, make sure that the right decision maker is going to be in the room when you make he presentation.

Airplanes and Weather

Just landed in Minneapolis after a quick layover in Denver. We’re lucky to be in Minneapolis as they closed the Denver Airport two planes after us due to the snow… Wish me well on the client visit tomorrow morning.

New Free Image Gallery

Looking for stock photos for a project you’re working on?

Look no further than:

Inertia Stock Exchange: share your photos with fellow designers. For personal or commercial use. Long live the free exchange of information and ideas.

[via angiemckaig]

Todo List for this week

Ugh, I’m so overwhelmed by things to do, I have to try writing it all down:

1. Prepare 8 proposals for clients by Monday evening. All proposals are in various states of disrepair at this point

2. Fly to a client on Tuesday (don’t remember when the flight is right now) and return on Wednesday evening, hopefully with a signed contract in hand.

3. Send iBook to Apple so they can replace the screen (or at least fix it somehow)

4. Set up old iMac at home in the office (just hung the cabinets on the wall) and figure out how to covertly string an ethernet cable across the house to that room (cable internet only comes into the house in one room, which isn’t the office). On second thought, I might consider moving the office and the guest bedroom so that the office is the one wired room in the house…

5. Fix weedeater sometime before the weekend and finish the yard (it’s mowed, but not edged).

6. Get rid of the extra couch and breakfast table that we have that doesn’t fit in the new house.

7. Figure out how to get one of my employees in a Powerpoint class ASAP, as she doesn’t know how to use it properly and ends up emailing 8MB PPT files that really don’t need to be any larger than 2MB.

8. Book our trip to St. Maarten in May (5 year anniversary) using free tickets on AA (hope they don’t file for bankruptcy) and a friend that runs a villa rental company there.

9. Make sure the boss doesn’t mind me taking a week off in May.

10. Figure out how I want to move forward with MarketingFix, our internet advertising aggregator and commentary site that I helped co-found and might be outgrowing my current availability (I haven’t posted to it in a month or so).

11. Find a CPA that can do my personal taxes and my S-Corp. taxes for last year, and that I’d like to use again.

12. Take a client I’ve never met to lunch so we can chat about the travel industry, as I understand it well enough (better than anyone else I work directly with), having worked in it for a year or two.

13. Figure out how to get advertising sales up during the war and post-war economy that we’re about to experience.

14. Make sure that the National Guard isn’t planning on calling me up, when we go to war.

15. Buy beer for a house-warming party we’re planning soon.

16. Clean the pool daily, as the oak trees are shedding copiously right now.

17. Figure out if the budget supports buying a new 1.4 GHz DP PowerMac G4 and 23″ Flat Panel (big ass) monitor. (sidebar: I got to borrow one of these setups from our Apple rep for the SXSW Tradeshow booth we set up last weekend and it’s fucking awesome in person… first time I’d played with one).

18. Remind self to call the wife and tell her to clean the pool Tuesday night when I’m out of town.

19. Explore the PC side of the Palm Essential Software CD I got with my Tungsten last week.

20. Finish those proposals that need to be done tomorrow.

That’s the short list…

stupid error

My mom came up to visit last night as a late birthday. She cooked some great food for us, and loves the new house we’re renting.

She also pointed out that I was 27, not 28 years old.

Sorry for the error folks… my life’s way too busy…

Quote of the Day: Andre Gide

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

  — Andrew Gide

Palm provides Documents to Go for Mac

I read about Steven’s lack of a Mac installer for Documents to Go on a Mac the other day for his new Clie, so I was quite surprised to find a Mac installer for Documents to Go on the “Software Essentials” CD that came with my Palm…

Odd that Sony provides less than Palm does, considering they’re usually the more expensive (and thus thought to be the more valueable brand).

Setting up a Palm Tungsten T to sync with OS X via Bluetooth

Getting a Palm Tungsten T to sync via Bluetooth to sync with a Mac isn’t the most intuitive process in the world, so I’m spelling out the steps for those looking to sync a Palm Tungsten T with iCal (calendar and todo info) and Address Book on Mac OS X via Bluetooth:

1. Install Palm Desktop Software 4.0 or higher (should come via a CD in your Palm box.

2. Install iSync and then the iSync Palm Conduit.

3. Goto the “connections” button in the “Prefs” application on your Palm Device. Add a new “connection” to connect to a PC using Bluetooth. Name it what you’d like to name it (I called mine ‘bluetooth to iBook’.)

4. Go to the “HotSync” app on your Palm and sync.

Finding the “add a connection option to the Hotsync options on the Palm” (#3 above) took me the longest time to figure out, and these instructions aren’t exactly the most detailed, but will hopefully get you to the right places when you can’t figure out what else to do…

(Tomorrow I’ll get the Palm to sync with Outlook on WinXP at the office if I find time)

Birthday in Austin

Nice white bra girl....So, after we all got ready today to attack the city (around 1:00ish) we left the house without any defined plan.

First stop was a quick visit to the Bat Viewing Park, which is basically a large gravel viewing area for the largest urban colony of bats in the US. The bats all live under the Congress Street bridge in Austin. Pretty cool stuff actually… millions of Mexican bats come to Austin every year to spend their summer and eats up a bunch of mosquitos… great news šŸ˜‰

We then had lunch at Thundercloud Subs, sort of an Austin institution… I’d recommend the “Office Favorite” if you ever eat there.

Then we headed out to Mt. Bonnell, which I didn’t even know existed. It’s a high point in Austin that offers views of the Austin Skyline and Lake Austin at the same time. It’s quite impressive to see the lake from such a vantage point, and I’d highly recommend it for a picnic place, if you ever have the chance.

After Mt. Bonnell, we drove around Westlake and looked at stupid expensive houses before trying to pick up a pair of glasses at the local Pearl Vision store that I ordered a few weeks ago… they still weren’t ready…

Then we went to CompUSA where I tried to talk my wife into buying me a Sony Clie… no dice, even though it was my birthday.

We headed out to Lake Travis around 5:00, and pulled into the Iguana Grill at 5:25. We sat on the porch which offers an impressive view of Lake Travis and started ordering drinks. 2 hours later and $120 lighter we’d watched the sunset over Lake Travis and eaten our fill of great fajitas and shrimp enchiladas…

I also opened my birthday present from the wife… she’d bought me a Palm Tungsten. Heh… and to think I’d wanted a cheaper Sony Clie earlier in the day, and she totally lied to me about why I couldn’t have one. Little did I know she’d just bought me a Palm. So, today, I got to upgrade from a Palm IIIx to a Tungsten… I’ve only played with it for a few minutes, and I’m digging it. We’ll se how well it integrates with XP + Outlook tomorrow at the office. I haven’t even tried to get it to work with my iBook yet… that’ll come later in the week. The cool thing is that it’s got built in Bluetooth support.

The day in Austin was great, and I saw some new points that I didn’t even know existed. Mt. Bonnell really is a treat.

Information about writing and website optimization from Andy King

Adrian Holovaty just published an Interview with Web optimization expert Andy King in which she asks Andy a great set of questions that deal with website optimization for news sites specifically, which would also help weblog writers. Here’s some of what I gained from the interview:

“67.5% of us are still plugging away at 56Kbps or less” (See this report: Bandwidth Report)

Writing compelling headlines and decks, or “blurbs” as we call them, is an art form in itself. At WebReference we used to see who could “out-blurb” each other in one or two sentences. The folks at ClickZ.com are especially good at this. I always look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

for all bloggers and journalists I would recommend two books: “Hot Text: Web Writing that Works” and “Wired Style.” They’re both excellent reads and will improve your writing for the Web.

Great little tidbits.

Day off

My company does something pretty cool. They give you your birthday as a vacation day… so I’m taking today off. Today is my 28th birthday, and while turning 28 is pretty lackluster, the day is absolutely beautiful and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend came to town to visit, so later today we’ll go out and do a quick trip around Austin…

Free Wifi on the Tradeshow floor

So, here’s the funny thing:

I’m sitting on the SXSW Tradeshow floor, setting up my company’s booth and the PowerMac G4 (DP 1.4GHz with a 23″ Cinema Display, btw) doesn’t have Office installed on it, so I pull out my trusty little iBook, and make a quick copy for the trade show (we’ve got the license, I just don’t have the disks with me) to install it on the PowerMac, and…

“Eureka!”

They’ve got a free Wifi Network set up on the Trade Show floor…

So, now I’m wondering why we’re paying for a 10BaseT Ethernet connection at the booth when we’ve got two Airport compatible computers in the booth that would easily work on the free Wifi Network…

Argh…

Anyways, I’m now checking my email while I burn a copy of Office šŸ˜‰

Finally on broadband

So, the roadrunner guy showed up today to install my cable modem… why he had to come out to just plug in a modem, I’ll never understand…

So, a week after ordering it, we have broadband.

Hooter Air Redux

Ummm, HiediBack in September I wrote a quick little article about Hooter’s forming a new airline: Hooters Air. At the time, I didn’t think all that much of the article, but, since then, that article has oddly gotten pretty good ranking in Google for the search terms “hooters air” and as a result of that, I’ve seen some great activity from a lot of people that just happen to be interested in learning more about Hooters Air.

According to the Press Release from Hooters:

Hooters Air will be manned by a flight crew consisting of two pilots, three flight attendants and two Hooters Girls (wearing traditional restaurant uniforms). The flight attendants will be experienced, certified, and the position will be gender neutral. The Hooters Girls will be restaurant employees who will assist with hostess and food/beverage functions. Hooters Air will utilize a Boeing 737 outfitted with 112 midsize leather seats.

I’m quite interested in the fact that Hooters Air is using Pace Airlines and is running their flights as a charter service. That really gives them a lot of flexiblity in their planning and pricing, as the airline online has to worry about flying the plain and Hooters can spend all the marketing dollars they want to getting the planes full… the use of a charter service obviously limits Hooters’ profit margins, but it also limits and/or fixes their costs, so they can plan better than they would be able to plan if they’d actually bought Vanguard Airlines and turned themselves into an airline company (which wouldn’t be a core competency of theirs, whereas entertaining people should be).

Anyways, back to the part of Hooters Air that really interests me:

I’ve received traffic from folks at Microsoft, Boeing, the Air Force, the Navy, a few financial institutions in the pacific northwest, GM, Andarko Petroleum Corp, CBS, Newline Cinema, Blockbuster, Ameritech, GE, the USPS, Halliburton, and many more… quite interesting.

Google Pagerank is useful for traffic… now I just wish I’d have had something for all those folks to buy when they got to this website… oh well, maybe next time.

Free Pass to SXSW Trade Show

Fill out a quick survey, get a free pass to the Trade Show portion of SXSW here

Email is a constant battle…

I have 128 message in my inbox at work. All of them are ‘important’.

This morning, I cleaned up my inbox and must have filed at least 100 old message that weren’t really all that important anymore… and I still have 129 messages in my inbox (yes, I got one more while typing this).

The sad part is that at least a quarter of the emails a requests to have meetings or perform tasks, or even updates on task that my subordinates have in progress…

I’m thinking that if my employer had an Exchange server, and everyone that I worked with was on Outlook, I could halve the number of email message I kept in my inbox, as at least 1/4 of them could be handled via the Outlook/Exchange Meeting Request/Task Notification and sharing functions…

Argh… it’s just frustrating trying to stay ahead of my email.

The new house and broadband

The new house we’re renting pretty much kicks ass, though I did have to go out and backwash the pool this morning at 6am due to a small air leak in the plumbing somewhere… all’s good now, but I really am scared of breaking the pool.

Also, I signed up for RoadRunner service (from the local Time Warner monopoly) last week, and they won’t be able to install it until this weekend, so I’m using my morning stop at Starbucks (which is right under my old apartment) to post and check email… expect light postings and long email response times until next week at the earliest.

First Night of Ultimate TV

Wanda's Art[written on 3/3 at 10:30 pm — still don’t have broadband at the house]

Well, the wife and I have been in the new house for three nights now, and tonight was our first experience with UltimateTV.

Wow.

Can I say that I really don’t know how we lived without a DVR in the house up to now. Yesterday, I set the DVR up to record The Practice tonight, and we’d set it up to record Dragnet last night, so, at 7:45ish or so this evening, we plopped onto the couch with our take our chinese food, and surrounded by a multitude of unopened boxes (from the move) we started watching Dragnet. We fast forwarded through most of the commercials (I know, that’s sort of sad considering I work in advertising sales) and finished the show in around 35 minutes. After Dragnet and some channel surfing, I flipped over to The Practice which was in progress and started watching it from the beginning. Again, we fast forwarded through the commercials, and finished the show at around 9:10. This left us enough time to flip over to CSI: Miami (which we’ve never watched really) and we enjoyed 15 minutes of that before I decided we should record it too… Then we decided to flip a few more channels and at around 9:30 we came back to CSI and started where we left off, skipping commercials until we caught up with the show in progress.

This proves to me that a DVR will certainly change our viewing habits, as well as save us some time, in the evenings (or at the least allow us to watch more TV in the same amount of time as we’d been devoting to it in the past).

I can also see it impacting my blog posting, as there won’t be too many commercial breaks in our TV watching experience anymore…

Everyone should own a DVR.

On that topic, I can’t comment on which DVR service is best, as I’ve only ever experienced UltimateTV at this point, and while that’s a Microsoft product, it’s pretty straight forward, and quite useable. I’d recommend it, but again can’t compare it to anything.

Two Great Resources from Media Professional

[written on 3/2 at 10:00 pm]

I justed finished reading the latest Media Professional email newsletter by Adam Cohen and I could these two great resources that I couldn’t help but share:

Direct Creative which is a “direct response resource site from copywriter Dean Rieck.” Adam’s newsletter points out this page with some great offers to try specifically.

And Anybrowser which will help you see what your design looks like in browsers other than your own default browser. (A lot cheaper than buying more than one computer (or Virtual PC) just to test a website design).

moving into the Swankri-La

The wife and I just spent the last 6 hours packing up our limited belongings that we hadn’t put into storage into our two cars and making multiple trips from our little one bedroom temporary apartment to the house we’re moving into tomorrow (5-10 blocks east of our apartment complex). Ugh… I’m exhausted, but I’m also excited about finally getting into a house.

Once again, I’ll tell the story of the power of a weblog.

About a month ago I posted here that we were looking for a house in Austin, and a few readers sent me emails about houses that they themselves were selling, or with information about homes that they knew were on the market. I emailed those folks back with my honest to God financial limits, or with little thank you notes for passing on tips and contact information for prospective home sellers.

Within a few weeks of those emails, I touched base with a friend of one of those readers and we agreed that I would rent his house for at least a year.

The house is wonderful. It’s in one of the best parts of Austin to live in, and it’s beautiful for an older home. The trees are nice and established and the yard is well kept. The pool is a huge plus, and we’ll have a great time entertaining there.

I can’t wait to move in and finally live in the “Swankri-La” as the owner called it.

[note: expect light posting for a week until we get RoadRunner installed there]