Be careful what you send people, they may just laugh at you with the world watching

This is just funny and clever stuff because it is in context. The dogs leaping into the pool isn’t bad viewing either.

And if you are a lawyer or a company with a lawyer and feel the need to send me a cease and desist letter, for anything I have done, said or will do and say, I will publicly ridicule it and you as well. I will probably pee on it instead of oven-toasting it!

Fight fair and write with care. And compete with your brain, not your lawyer. You’ll look smarter and less like a whiney-momma’s boy-cupcake-nancy-pansy.

Yup, that oughta get me at least ONE letter.

Annoying little kids at the New York Times

Yo-Yo Ma Photo by: Ron Edmonds/Associated Press
By: Ron Edmonds/Associated Press
Today, the New York Times is “the annoying kid at the magic show shouting, ‘I know how you did that trick!'”

Why did you have to spoil the illusion? Did we really need to know this? Why couldn’t you just let the magic happen instead of stirring a pot nobody needed to watch?

There are facts and then there is truth. The beauty of the music, the feelings of change, the togetherness of the moment is the truth. And you ruined it all with the facts.

Thank you. Thanks a lot. If you want to come over and kick me in the ribs, I’m sure that would make for a full day and you may be able to die happy, knowing you have kicked the crap out of everything beautiful.

Round up all the web geeks and pelt them with pebbles

I just spent the last hour of my life fighting with some CSS that works perfectly in Safari and MESI 7.0, but not in MSIE 6.0 or the “standards compliant” Firefox whatever version it is now. Since I am working pre-coffee, pre-office hours from a laptop on my kitchen table, I don’t have the luxury of checking out the site on a MSIE 6.0 browser. All I have is a really badly worded description of the problem, sent in an email by a very late Boomer who is using a language all her own to describe the issue.

Let me start by explaining I am very, very good at CSS, HTML, PHP, Perl, MySQL, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a whole host of stuff that has long been discontinued. I have been in the Internet and Web game since 1995 so I think it is fair to say I know what I am doing and have employed a pretty sizable library of fixes, kludges, hacks and plain ol’ cheats to make stuff work on a Web site. I can read, write and design. Don’t even start assuming I’m an idiot or unknowledgeable. You would be very, very wrong.

In some circles, I would be considered a geek. But in mine, I am a User Interface Designer. My job — some would say my obsession — is to make the interaction between the human and the machine seamless and intuitive. If training is needed, the system is too complicated. At least that is the ideal.

I have lost more time, brain cells and sleep to the hubris of geeks than any other tech-related issue. I am convinced the only reason that we have browser discrepancies with CSS, HTML, etc is because the geeks were in charge and they did not have the skills to play nice with each other or anybody else. They looked down at the user because they weren’t as smart, because they didn’t get it. And, they looked down at each other because each one was more right than his peer.

What if each company making street lights decided on a different order of the red-yellow-green? Of, decided that the colors were way too boring and decided purple-pink-magenta would be better. Or, what if they decided that light were just not good and they used coo-coo clock birdies instead? And imagine if a different signal was installed on each street corner. But, the wrinkle is that each user was able to choose which signal he/she liked best for that day, for that corner? What a mess!

So, now we have this mess of browser technologies that don’t play well with each other. For every hour I have to spend on the phone or email, explaining why MSIE 6.0 is a piece of crap, I would like to invoice Microsoft. And, in all fairness, Microsoft should take that invoice payment out of the paychecks of any geek who decided that their way was better. Let them live with the consequences of the mess their hubris created. Apple and Mozilla, you’re not off the hook either.

I expect the geeks to either ignore this post or defend their position. I really don’t give a crap which they do because today, I woke up as a fully frustrated user who doesn’t care to hear another excuse about why your way is better. I am no longer a developer; I will be a user first. If I have to fight with it, I ain’t gonna use your technology.

Standards are good. Community-agreed conventions keep use from wasting time. Pay attention to the user, geeks and peek out from your self-induced world every once in a while.

And quit going to geek conventions where everyone validates your opinion about the user. They’re wrong; we’re not stupid. We just have lives where technology is a tool, not an ends.

I was rejected by AdAge

I received an email from Charlie Moran yesterday, stating that my blog was just not good enough for them to care about at AdAge. Here is his email.

Thanks for submitting your blog to the Power 150. Unfortunately, because of high demand, we can only accept applicants who score at least 20 total objective points, that is, before a Todd Score is added into your total. Here is your point breakdown:

Yahoo InLinks (1 to 30): 1
Technorati Ranking (1 to 20): 1
Technorati Authority (1 to 20): 1
Technorati InLinks (1 to 20): 1
Alexa Points (1 to 15): 2
Bloglines Subscribers (1 to 10): 1
Google PageRank (0 to 10): 4
Collective Intellect (0 to 10): 0
TOTAL: 11

You are welcome to resubmit your blog once you’ve built up some more links and influence, although we ask that you wait at least three months before doing so. Hopefully, you’ll make it in next time, and, if not, there’s no limit to the amount of times you can reapply, as long as they’re three months apart.

If you have any questions about this policy, please check out my blog post about it and/or drop me an email, and I’ll be glad to help.

Thanks,
Charlie Moran

It is hard to argue about the in-coming links and Technorati stuff, even though I have been blogging here since 2005. See the first blog, started appropriately enough, with an end.

But, to score a 0 on Collective Intellect? Why doesn’t Mr. Moran just take a big ol’ bag of salt and just start pouring. Then, after that, he just wind up and take a big kick to my ribs.

What Mr. Moran missed when he rejected my blog was a chance to connect with a user of the marketing technology, not just a prophet of the technology whose use of the technology feeds into the validation of the prophesy. What Mr. Moran missed was that even small dogs can be big. What Mr. Moran missed was that he was just as guilty of using “big media” metrics to rank the “new media” as the new media guys rail against. Interestingly ironic.

Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. As more people are joining the social media movement, there seem to be just as many who work double-time to keep them out. Very much like a high school clique.

I’m not as popular as Seth Godin or as enamored with Web 2.0 stuff as Chris Brogan, but for the few people who read me faithfully when I share my thoughts, I like to think I am in their Top 150.

And worth every minute they spend with me, for which I am unconditionally grateful as only a puppy can be.

PS: From now on, I’m just going to focus on communities who recognize even small dogs are worth paying attention to, like Guy Kawasaki and Neenz at Alltop.com who welcomed me with open paws.

Extra blogging stuff pulled from my brain

Brain dump
Brain dump

I collect newspaper clippings for blog ideas. Mostly, the articles are things that sent my blood pressure over the edge or got me wondering “what if it were different” or just things that make me go “hmmmmmmmmmm..”

These clippings sit on my desk, tugging at me to write a blog post about them. But there just isn’t enough brain material for an entire blog post. So, they stack up, hoping to bump into other clippings that glue them together in this big “human condition” context. And, sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

And all the while they are tugging and screaming at me to do something with them, often culminating to a deafening roar. So, to quiet the clippings, sweep them off my desk and hopefully into a discussion with you, I am going to just knock out short thoughts of each and then let them go. Hopefully my readers will take off where I could not.

Nov 28, 2008, WSJ, Page A13
Breakfast with St. Peter My thoughts on this article are conflicted. I at once want to find a St. Peter for myself, but mostly I want to be a good enough person to be a St. Peter for others. I hope I am lucky enough to be one or the other before I meet the real St. Peter.

Dec 30, 2008, WSJ, Page B1
Claiborne CEO Flies Commercial to Cut Costs This was supposed to have been a blog post about the value of TIME and how important it is for a CEO or any leader of any multi-million dollar company, hospital emergency room or Oval Office to have enough sleep to be able to function. I know the “perception” of using a private jet to the average Joe is like burning dollar bills while dancing on a grave, but do we really want our leaders — corporate or otherwise — flying the crappy skies? I don’t. Read the article and decide for yourself.

Dec 21, 2008, DDN, Page C5
Motor City’s woes extend beyond auto industry One passage made me pause and think about my own retirement plan in America.

“…I’m seeing guys make a conscious decision they’ll be better off in prison than in the community, homeless and hungry…. In prison, they’ve got three hots and a cot…”

Here’s my retirement plan, given the current state of my 401(k) and less than 20 years left of a working career: On my 65th birthday, I will commit some sort of Federal crime bad enough that will get me sent to prison for life, but not death row. There, I will not have to worry about getting my medication, food or deciding between heat and food. If I am good enough, they may even let me keep a canine pet with me. That is the plan, unless Obama can turn around this “all for me and me alone” culture we have created for ourselves. Or, some foreign country will let me expatriate.

Jan 2, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Treasury to Ford: Drop Dead Part of me wants to scream out, “Jesus H. Christ, Mulally, did you not see the GMAC bank thing coming? What the hell is wrong with you?” and another part wants to slap Mulally on the back and congratulate him for doing the right thing, for taking an ethical stand. I’m conflicted, but am almost certain Ford Motor Company is toast.

And my last clipping…

Jan 3, 2009, WSJ, Opinion Page
Blame Television for the Bubble Just when I begin to wonder where all the common sense, level-headed real people are, they do something crazy like write an opinion article in the WSJ. Yeah, I’m sick of all these 20-something yucks buying $500,000+ houses.. Where the HELL do they get the money, assuming that to make the kind of money they need to be making to afford a house that expensive at their age they had to go to one hell of a good school and have student loans coming out their butts. I have owned my home for 23 years and I STILL find home ownership expensive. What the heck am I doing wrong?

Ok, that is it. The clipping tray is now empty and I have dumped my thoughts out onto this blog post like Dumbledore’s thoughts into a pensieve.

What, can’t a dog be a Harry Potter fan?

You’re such a muggle.

Not entirely an accurate analogy on Net neutrality

Found this analogy about Net neutrality and depite its convincing face, it is not entirely accurate.

Say there was no deal cooked up between Telus and the big pizza chain and everyone was competing equally. But, the local pizza place decided it would make a really delicious, super-duper pizza that everyone wanted, but was not going to pay Telus for extra capacity for phone calls to come in to the shop. They had one line and people could reach them, they claimed.

Moreover, the local pizza chain demanded that Telus install additional lines at no cost to them so they could deliver their extra super delicious pizza that everyone was clambering for. “Pizza should be available to all who want it!” was the battle cry of the pizzeria and their customers.

Yet neither the pizzaria nor their customers were willing to pay extra for the additional phone lines to be installed. “Telus should provide those for free! They MUST be anti-pizza!” came the sequel to the battle-cry.

I am not anti Net neutrality. In fact, a lot of my tax money went to establishing the Internet and without that seed money, the Net would not exist. Nor am I pro Net neutrality. I fight all the time to establish value for web sites we develop that people think should be a free service.

I don’t know the answer, but I know analogies like the one published is not a complete picture of the issue.

Originally published on: GerardMclean.com

I hate AT&T Wireless

I hate AT&T Wireless. I hate them with all the rage and visceral hatred reserved for really crappy bosses and ungrateful relatives. Here’s why.

I have an iPhone. The only way I can make an iPhone work is to connect it up to the AT&T Wireless suck-o-meter. AT&T knows this and they press their advantage. Only 900 minutes and 1500 text messages a month for an insane amount of money. I also have a Verizon Wireless account that services five phones, has 1500 minutes and unlimited text messaging for $38.00/month LESS.

I hate AT&T Wireless.

Not because they are more expensive, but because they take extreme advantage of their advantage they have over me right now. When I am able to use my iPhone over another network, I am dumping them.

Brands create loyal customers, champions and evangelists when they have an advantage and DON’T exploit it by over-charging their customers. All things change and eventually, I will break free. While AT&T Wireless may have made out with a few extra bucks while I was in their prison, they squandered the opportunity to get my money during a lifetime.

I hate AT&T Wireless. Passionately and completely.

Another example of obtuse marketing

Really cool speakers I didn't buy.
Really cool speakers I didn't buy.
I was in a Sam’s Club this afternoon, cruised through the electronics and noticed this really cool speaker set by HMDX Audio. The speakers were rechargeable and wireless. Wow, really cool. Except it said it worked for iPod.

Well, did that mean iPhone 3G also? I don’t know, but I had an iPhone and they had a web site. I fired up Safari, plugged in the web address and was stopped faster than a snowball against a brick wall. The entire site was in Flash.

I left the store without buying the speaker set. Too bad, it was really cool looking and was my impulse purchase for the week.. perhaps the month.

If you sell Apple anything, do not make your Web site using Flash. Honestly, don’t you know we all have iPhones? Except one person in Ohio who maybe bought a Sprint Instinct instead.

A funeral dirge for trade shows?

maclogoApple announced today that will no longer participate in Macworld Expo, the largest annual show for Mac enthusiasts. In a press release, Apple says:

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Appleā€™s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Are trade shows becoming obsolete? Apple seems to think so.

At TourneyCentral, we’ve scaled back from a couple dozen local shows and two national shows (NSCAA and US Youth Soccer) to just one per year, the NSCAA. In short, much of the material was a repeat of the shows, the exhibitors — with the exception of the NSCAA — were treated like second-class citizens that were allowed to pay, but not participate.

Perhaps this was Apple’s experience, but most likely not because of their size and heft. But, for smaller companies who have other choices to reach their audiences, this sounds like “permission” to break away from the “must show” trade shows.

Yet there still exists that fundamental human need for touch. As trade shows become less and less attended, what will replace that? Tweetups? Webinars? Live TV shows? More likely, the answer will be some combination of all of these, initiated or complemented with Twitter, blog comments and posts.

With any luck, we’ll start meeting people again in laundromats, grocery stores, bars and dog parks. And, maybe we’ll even unplug the cell phone from our ears and turn to them and have a real conversation.

What do you think is the future of trade shows?

How the US Postal Service blows its brand every December

USPS Santa Letter Box at Englewood OH 45322
USPS Santa Letter Box at Englewood OH 45322
Every December, Santa hands the US Postal Service a shiny new opportunity to rebrand itself as a lovable, caring organization that is an integral part of all 43,000+ Zip Codes it services. Every year, the USPS blows it terribly.

I found myself in the Englewood OH 45322 Post Office last Friday about 4:00pm. Ironically enough, I had forgotten it was Christmas and there might be a line. There was. But that was a good thing because it gave me an opportunity to look around, read all the signs on the walls, thumb through the FBI wanted sheets, straighten the certified mail postcards and Priority Mail envelopes and stickers. And then, I noticed a wrapped box on top of the glass case.

It was a box so kids can drop in their letters to Santa Claus. In truth, it was a spare box somebody found in the back. Perhaps another employee went to Big Lots and bought the cheapest wrapping paper they could find with Santa faces all over it, wrapped it hastily, punched a hole in the top and wrote “Santa Letters” on a card and glued it to the top.

What it should be is an opportunity that comes once a year that every postal employee is excited to be a part of.

What it should be is a old-tyme mail box, encrusted with candy canes and icicles, covered in snow with reindeer prints leading up to it.

What it should be is a production for every kid in the Zip Code area to go to their local Post Office to drop their one and only Santa letter into the magical mail box that only comes out the Friday after Thanksgiving and goes away when the post office closes the day before Christmas Eve.

What it should be is a tradition that kids mark on their calendar like an Easter egg hunt, their birthday and Santa coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

The US Post Office — in Englewood, Oh anyway — has taken an opportunity to market itself for free and turned the Santa drop into an obligatory wrapped box, stuck on a glass counter, too high for most kids to reach and too nondescript for them to care about.

Don’t worry, Postmaster General John E. Potter, this little pesky holiday will be over in eleven days and all your postal workers can get back to work and quit worrying about kids coming in wanting to mail their letters to Santa Claus.

What are the little brats doing running around a post office anyways. Don’t they know there are lines to stand in, postal standards to adhere to and stupid questions about perishable or hazardous materials to answer?

Bonus Material:
This is some bonus material that was knocking around my brain, was kinda related, too much for a tweet and not enough for another blog post, so here goes.

Other unfriendly stuff I saw while waiting in line: FBI wanted sheets, sign that said: passports by appointment only! Hours: 10am-2pm, no Fridays, sign that said in all caps NO DOGS! (presumably cats are ok), a long list of crap we can’t mail, the rules of standing in line, including no cell phones… and the ever ubiquitous, but entirely unnecessary barking when it is your turn… “NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!” *sigh*